Celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diocese of Pyong-yang
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyong-yang, presided over the Mass celebrating the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Diocese of Pyong-yang, at Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul on March 18, 2007.
In his homily Cardinal Cheong said, "We may devote ourselves to more intensive prayer for the North Korean brothers, if we know better the situation of the North Korean dioceses which remain in a long silence after the division of Korea," and he urged the Catholic faithful "to pray God for the North Korean brothers ardently, especially on the occasion of this anniversary."
A congratulatory ceremony followed the Mass. In his congratulatory note His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop Emeritus of Seoul and the former Apostolic Administrator of Pyong-yang, said, "We can tell the fact that the Diocese of Pyong-yang still remains in silence, when we look up the contents about this diocese in the Pontifical Yearbook, which are blank as before." And he asked the Catholics to pray for the North Korean brothers and the Diocese of Pyong-yang, saying "we can keep hoping in the midst of a situation where there is no hope, because we believe that Jesus Christ is always with the persecuted."
The Most Rev. Victorinus Youn Kong-hi, who was born in Jinnampo of Pyong-yang Province, said, "I am sure that there is enough manure for the evangelization in North Korea thanks to sacrifices of the North Korean martyrs as Tertulian once said: 'the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.'" And he urged the Catholics to pray for the Church in North Korea, saying "it comes out an impetus for the self-examination about my service for the Church whenever I think about the totally sacrificing life of my senior priests and the faithful in the North Korea."
The Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, urged the Catholics "to remember the North Korean brothers and sisters in prayer, and show them the Christian solidarity with the acts of charity."
The Rev. John C. Sivalon, Maryknoll Superior General, one of the special guests of this 80th anniversary, said, "I sincerely wish that I could go back to Pyong-yang and resume the mission which was interrupted under compulsion, and bear witness to the great love of God, and participate in the God's work to rebuild the sacrament of salvation."
At the ceremony Cardinal Cheong awarded appreciation plaque to many priests and sisters who have contributed for the cause of the development and evangelization of the Diocese of Pyong-yang.
After the ceremony, the participants took a view of the photo exhibition for the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Diocese of Pyong-yang, which was open from March 7 to 20, 2007 at Myeongdong Peace Gallery, with the title 'Get up, let us go!' (John 14,31). At this exhibition, the visitors could see not only the photos but also some materials which all witness the life of priests and the lay faithful in Pyong-yang before 1950.
This celebration for the anniversary of the Diocese of Pyong-yang is the second one after that of 50th anniversary in 1977.
President Roh thanked Catholics
Mr. Roh Moo-hyun, President of the Republic of Korea, invited five prelates of the Catholic Church in Korea to luncheon on March 20, 2007 at the presidential residence, Chungwadae (Blue House).
On this occasion, President Roh explained his last visit to Vatican and asked the understanding and cooperation of the Catholic Church in Korea for the governmental policies.
President Roh expressed his deep thankfulness for the welcoming hospitality of His Holiness Benedict XVI, as he visited the Vatican. And he said the rapid increase of the Catholics in Korea is the result of the good influence of the Church upon the society.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk responded that the remarkable buildup of the national strength and prestige contributed to the good result for the Catholics in Korea.
Beside Cardinal Cheong, the Most. Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, President of the CBCK, the Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archibishop of Daegu, the Most Rev. Andresa Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju. were among the guests.