◎ "Evangelization, Most Precious Service for People" - Great Jubilee Congress of the Laity Declares
Four million of Korean laity declared to be leaders of the new evangelization of the new millennium.
The Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (President: Joseph Yeo Kyu-tae) held the National Great Jubilee Congress of the Laity at the Seoul Changchung Gymnasium, Oct. 29, and declared leading role of the laity in the life of the Church through personal sanctification and evangelization of the society.
In the Congress with theme of "Witness of Christ in the New Millennium: Christ Yesterday, Today and Forever," some 8,000 participants pledged conversion of their lives and renewed dedication to the values of the Gospel and to endeavor for personal sanctification, service for neighbors, evangelization, supporting foreign mission, respect of human rights, and work for the unity and reconciliation of Korean people.
High prelates who were present at the Congress were the Most Rev. Paul Kim, President of the Committee for the Lay Apostolate of the CBCK, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong of Seoul and Archbishop Andrew Choi of Kwangju and delegates of the 15 dioceses. Many prominent political figures like the Opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang, Kim Young-bae, Advisor of the Ruling Party and Kim Han-kil, Minister of Culture and Tourism congratulated on the Congress.
In the key note speech, the Most Rev. Michael Pak, Bishop of Masan and President of the CBCK, stressed that the Church which doesn't announce the Gospel is not a genuine Christian Church and Christians who don't announce the Gospel are not authentic Christians," and he went on "in deed, the proclamation of the Gospel is the primary task of the Christians, the witness of Christ."
Archbishop Nicholas Cheong of Seoul said "the mission of the lay faithful is to announce the amazing love of God to the world" and he encouraged them to commit themselves to evangelization.
The statement of resolution read "we reconfirm that evangelization is the most precious gift we can offer to our people, so we are determined to commit ourselves in the mission."
On this occasion, His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, sent the message.
"The Holy Father was pleased to learn that the Great Jubilee Congress of the Laity will be held in Seoul on Oct. 26-29, 2000, and he sends warms greetings to all taking part. The Jubilee is an occasion of particular spiritual intensity when all Christ's disciples are called to conversion and renewed dedication to the values of the Gospel. His Holiness is confident that the faithful of Korea , mindful of their baptismal vocation, will eagerly embrace the challenge to be courageous and convincing witnesses to the person of Christ in the family and society, in the world of work and in the various fields of human activity. He particularly encourages them to see the Congress's theme 'Witness of Christ in the New Millennium: Christ Yesterday, Today and Forever,' as an invitation to all the Korean laity to play their part in promoting reconciliation and mutual understanding at this important time in the history of the Peninsula. Entrusting all present to the protection of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing."
Thomas Kim Dae-jung, President of South Korea, sent a congratulatory message to the Congress. "Proclamation of the Great Jubilee means to announce the Gospel to the world and renew our faith in God. The celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 has a special significance for us because Korean people struggle now to open a new are of peace and collaboration between South and North Korea by overcoming the thick wall of the national division that has lasted for 55 years. With your prayers and renewal movement of faith, I wish the stabilization of peace in the Korean peninsula and grand national harmony beyond conflicts between regions, classes and generations.