Families of the victims of the April Sewol ferry accident have appealed directly to Pope Francis for justice on the eve of his visit, reports the Catholic News Service.
Under overcast skies and spitting rain at the plaza outside of Seoul City Hall, a handful of families asked the Pontiff to help them get answers for why their children 'had to die' the way they did.
They have been pushing for a special law that would allow for an independent, transparent investigation into the accident and the pressing criminal charges against those they believe responsible for the accident off the country's southwestern coast that left 304 people dead, mostly high school students.
Park Bona, 20, read her mother Jung Hye-sook's message before dozens of reporters, saying her family of 'devout Catholics' had been looking forward to seeing the Pope well before the April 16 accident. 'However, our hopes and anticipation were crushed by tragedy. I lost one of my two children, my 18-year old son. ... Park Seong-ho Emmanuel was a good child who wished to be a priest like you,' Jung wrote.
She said the government has 'no political will to seek the truth.' The proposal got stalled in parliament after members of opposing parties could not agree on certain provisions.
Father Jang Dong Hun of the Incheon Diocese told Catholic News Service that it was important for the Church to support the families. For the past two weeks he has led dozens of diocesan and religious order priests and nuns who have joined the hunger strike at various intervals since it started in mid-July. Apart from taking only water from morning until the end of the day, group members also recite the rosary every hour.
PHOTO: Nuns and other women gather at the plaza outside Seoul City Hall in South Korea on August 13 to support families of the Sewol ferry victims.
FULL STORY Families of Korean ferry accident appeal to Pope Francis for justice (CNS)