JEJU, South Korea — Pope Francis expressed his support for Yemeni refugees in South Korea by sending funds from papal charities.
Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic nuncio to Korea, visited Cheju Diocese July 28 and 29 for the first time and showed the pope’s solidarity for Yemeni refugees on the southern tourist island of Jeju, ucanews.com reported.
The refugees arrived on the island after fleeing their country’s 3-year-old civil war.
The prelate stressed that the diocese’s efforts on behalf of the refugees coincide with those of Pope Francis. In addition, Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju released a pastoral letter July 1 urging Catholics to support the Yemenis.
Xuereb visited a mission station of Moseulpo Church, where nine refugees are staying and listened to their stories of hardship. The church has provided them with food and is helping them learn the Korean language.
“Pope Francis asked the refugees staying on Jeju not to lose their courage,” Xuereb said. “There are no first-class or second-class citizens. We are all beloved human beings. When we admit other people and other religions, we can show our love concretely.”
Asking refugees to respect the law and system of South Korea, he added, “You will be welcomed in Korea when you prove you are not harmful to Korean society. You should cooperate with Koreans while staying here.”
Xuereb presided at Mass July 29 at Jeju Joongang Cathedral with Bishop Kang.
“With some 500 Yemeni refugees, Jeju received national attention. It is shameful that we dispute only 500 refugees while Germany offered homes for 1 million refugees,” Kang said in his homily.
After the Mass, Xuereb delivered about $11,685 from papal charities to the diocese for its work with the Yemenis.