A Letter from the Families of Those Missing from the Sewol Ferry Tragedy to Pope Francis

A Letter from the Families of Those Missing from the Sewol Ferry Tragedy

14 August 2014

Your Holiness, Pope Francis,

We are the families who lost our loved ones on April, 16th, when our beloved ones were on board the Sewol ferry, heading for Jeju Island. South Korea has been in deep sorrow and shock as the whole nation watched the live broadcast of 304 passengers being swallowed by the ocean. 10 missing people are still wandering over the deep cold water, and have not yet returned to the bosom of their families.

Families who are anxiously waiting for the last 10 missing passengers are standing on their edges of life, enduring unbearable agony and sorrow at Paengmok Harbor. Many have fainted due to extreme exhaustion, and one of the family members had to go through a lung surgery to remove 2/3 of his one lung. Another family member is not receiving his brain tumor surgery, as all he wishes for is finding his daughter from the deep ocean. We are going through this severe pain for over 120 days, staying up days and nights at Paengmok Harbor. We pray to the Lord for the reach of His blessings and mercy on us through your holy hand.

We feel like our missing children are crying on the wet beds waiting for the reach of a helping hand. At Paengok Harbor, their voices are echoing and their families’ tears and painful outcries are unending. We are still unable to escape from this ocean of agony, and although the Sewol tragedy is still on-going, we are being forgotten as there are “only” 10 missing passengers left. Your Holiness, we heard that you are meeting the bereaved families. Please, Your Holiness, we beg for your prayer for the blessings of the Lord onto the families of those missing, so that we don’t let go of the courage and strength to fight against this time of sorrow and so that the people of Korea remember us. And we beg for your presence at Paengmok Harbor, to hold our grieved hands.

Also Your Holiness, we beg for your prayer for our sons and daughters in the ocean, so that they can say goodbyes in the bosom of their parents, and also for us, to be able to let our loved ones go to the heaven after the last encounter we longed for. We sincerely wait for the reach of your prayer upon us, as we are unable to find our children and will live the rest of our lives with huge bruises in our hearts.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.(Matthew 11:28)” We pray that these words may get to us as a saving hand through our prolonged encounter with you, to comfort the suffering souls of ours.
Our Most Holy Father, on behalf of the families of those missing who can’t come near you, please pray for the missing students, teachers, and people who were the jewels of our lives. Please pray for us with all the people of South Korea. We bless your visit to South Korea with tears and pain. We sincerely hope for the Lord’s love upon the families of those missing through Your Holiness, and your presence at Paengmok Harbor.

Sincerely yours,

The families of those missing from the Sewol ferry tragedy