Korean celebrities create music video ahead of pope's visit

Logo for Pope Francis' August, 2014 visit to South Korea. Credit: Archdiocese of Seoul.

More than 20 Korean celebrities have come together in making a music video honoring Pope Francis’ upcoming visit, and is an initiative they hope will help to overcome religious differences.

“I thought that if we united in praying for others (through this song), it would be the most beautiful flower bouquet that we could give to the pope when he arrives,” actor Ahn Sung-ki, who organized the event, stated in a July 7 news conference releasing the video.

According to the Korea Herald, the video, entitled “Koinonia,” is a celebration of Pope Francis’ Aug. 14 – 18 visit to South Korea, and was named for the title’s Greek meaning of fellowship, sharing in common and communion.

“So many people live just for themselves. If more people prayed for others, the world would be a better place to live,” the song’s composer and lyricist, Noh Young-sim, said at the news conference, which was held in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass his final day in Korea.

Among other celebrities who participated in the event were actress Kim Tae-hee from KBS TV drama “Iris,” actor Kim Woo-bin from SBS’ “The Heirs,” actress Kim Ha-neul from SBS’ series “A Gentleman’s Dignity” and singer Bada.

“The song carries our hope that the pope’s visit will bring joy to all of Korea, beyond religious differences,” Sung-ki explained, stating that “Surprisingly, many (stars) were willing to participate, although some couldn’t make it because of their schedules.”

Executive producer of Realies Pictures Won Dong-youn, whose former projects include “Masquerade” (2012), directed the music video. Speaking with those present during the Monday conference, he pointed out that all celebrities involved in the video did so on a volunteer basis.

“As a producer, it was such an extraordinary experience to work with so many stars all at once,” he said. “It was easy too, because they were so willing to do this, considering it a true honor to be part of it.”

Won and Noh are also making plans to release different versions of the song and new videos in coming weeks. The original version will be played during numerous events in the pontiff’s trip, including the Beatification Mass of 124 Korean martyrs.

The preparation committee organizing the pontiff’s visit also revealed that they have been in contact with North Korean authorities to negotiate the possibility of inviting North Korean believers to the pope’s final Mass in Seoul.

“We’ve invited around 10 North Koreans to participate in the event,” Rev. Mattias Hur Young-yup, a representative for the committee, said. “We expect an answer by early August.”

Pope Francis’ visit was announced by the Vatican in March, and comes after his reception of an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.

Following the motto “Rise Korea, clothe yourself in light, the Lord’s glory shines upon you,” the pope’s visit will begin with his departure from Rome the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 13.


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