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Pope's translator

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By Baek Byung-yeul

Since Pope Francis and President Park Geun-hye met at Seoul Air Port, Thursday, there has been a Korean aide translating the Holy Father's every word.

He is Rev. John Chong Che-chon. The 57-year-old priest belongs to the Society of Jesus, a religious order in the Roman Catholic, which produced Pope Francis.

Rev. John Chong was appointed as Pope's translating aide by the request of the Vatican, which wanted a Korean Jesuit priest who is proficient in speaking both Spanish and Italian as a translator ahead of the Pope's historic visit to Korea.

The Society of Jesus, ordinarily called as the Jesuits, was founded in 1534 by St. Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish soldier-turned-priest. Accepting Ignatius's request to give a permission to form a new Catholic order, the then Pope Paul III approved the Jesuit order in 1540. Pope Francis is first Jesuit pope in history.

According to the Society of Jesus in Korea, Rev. John Chong, who was born in 1957, entered the order in 1990 and was ordained as a priest in 1996. Before becoming a priest, he obtained master's and doctoral degree in Spain, majoring in spiritual theology.

He was appointed as a new head of its Korea branch in June and will start his term from the beginning of next month.

Rev. John Chong will keep serving as a translator during Pope Francis's five-day trip to Korea until Aug. 18.


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