* The New Korean Cardinal Created in the Ordinary Public Consistory
In St. Peter's Square on Friday morning, March 24, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first Ordinary Public Consistory with over 30,000 believers gathered, during which he created 15 new cardinals from eleven different countries. Among those cardinals, there was His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyeongyang.
This was a historical moment for Korean Catholics that after 37 years the name of a Korean cardinal was called out again in St. Peter's Square. As the Pope read the name of Nicholas Cardinal Cheong out loud, about 700 Koreans enthusiastically expressed the joy with shouting and waving Korean national flags.
On Saturday morning, March 25, the Holy Father presided over Eucharistic Concelebration with Cardinal Cheong and the other fourteen new cardinals in the square.
At the Pontifical Korean College in Rome on Saturday afternoon, there was a Congratulatory Ceremony and Mass for the New Korean Cardinal. In the ceremony, there were His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Fumio Hamao, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Michael Pak Jeong-il, H.E. Ambassador Don Bosco Seong Yuom, Ambassador of Korea to the Holy See, and lots of Korean believers. In his homily, Cardinal Cheong extended his heartfelt thanks to all Korean people and expressed, "Like a little star shinning in the dark sky, I, as a cardinal, put all my efforts to bring peace into hearts and souls of people and also comfort those in difficulty."
On Sunday morning, March 26, Cardinal Cheong also held an inaugural Mass in Italian at his titular parish, Santa Maria Immacolata di Lourdes at Boccea in Rome. In his homily, he explained the Catholic Church in Korea in detail to over 300 attendants in the Mass and asked them to pray for the Church in Korea as he prays for their well-being and peace.
On Monday March 27, His Holiness Benedict XVI met the new cardinals, their family members and pilgrims present at the Consistory. In the audience with Cardinal Cheong, the Pope showed his counting on the Catholic Church in Korea and ensured that he would pray for the North Korea.
After the Consistory was over, the Archbishop of Seoul returned to his daily commitments. “In harmony with my pastoral moto 'Omnibus Omnia'”, he said, “One of my main tasks remains to support the ethical battle against embryo experimentation in Korean society and to continuously strive to improve the religious situation of the North Korea with several aid projects and through the allocation of funds for our brothers and sisters in North Korea.”
On this historical event, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop Emeritus of Seoul, commented, “The Pope has given great joy to Korean Catholics with a new Cardinal and has honoured the whole nation. This demonstrates how much consideration he has for Korea.” And he added, “My successor has a clear view on missionary work in Asia, including North Korea, and he is on the frontline of the pro-life struggle, so I do believe he will be a good shepherd who loves his flock and gains their confidence.”
* Holy Mass for the First Anniversary of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI
The members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) concelebrated the Holy Mass for the first anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, with 500 believers gathered at Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul, at 6 p.m. on March 23, the last day of the 2006 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK.
In his homily, the Most Rev. Emil P. Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, invited the faithful to pray for the Pope and added, "Together with him let us give witness through truly Christian lives that God's love has been revealed in His Son."
Benedict XVI succeeded his great predecessor John Paul II on April 19, 2005.
* Ceremony to Commemorate the First Anniversary of the Death of Pope John Paul II
The Lay Apostolate Council of Korea plans to honor Pope John Paul II who died on April 2, 2005, at the Coste Hall in the Myeongdong Cathedral Compound on April 6, 2006. The ceremony will be held with the theme "I am happy and you should be happy too" which is one of the Pope's last words, in memory of his great acts and teachings.
In the first part of the ceremony, His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, will make an opening address and the Most Rev. Emil P. Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, will read a condolatory address. In the second part of the ceremony, Sr. Claudia Lee Hae-in will recite a poem in memory of Pope John Paul II and a film on him will be shown. In addition, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and some Catholics are going to witness to the deceased Pope. In its final part, there will be musical concert in memory of him and Mr. Thomas Han Hong-soon, President of the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, will make a speech on a subject of 'Roman Pontiff and the Catholic Church in Korea'.
Korean bishops also invited all Korean Catholics to pray for and pay homage to the deceased Pope John Paul II.
* Dedication of Bible-shaped Stone Statue for the Late Biblical Scholar
On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the death of the Rev. Joseph Im Seung-phill (Biblical Scholar), a Mass and a ceremony of dedication of bible-shaped stone statue were celebrated in memory of him at the graveyard of Hwang Sa-pyeong Martyr in the Diocese of Cheju on March 24.
The late Rev. Joseph Im devoted his life to the translation of the Bible and passed away in 2003. With the recent publication of the Korean translation of the Bible for Catholics, The Korean Bible: Seonggyeong, the Catholic Conference of Korea organized the memorial Mass and presented a bible-shaped stone statue to his tomb as a token of gratitude for his contribution.
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju, presided at the Eucharistic Concelebration with the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, the Rev. Michael Hong Seong-mo, Secretary of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, the Rev. Vincent Choe Wono, Undersecretary of the CBCK, the Late Rev. Joseph Im's father and relatives, and over 350 believers.
During the Mass, the Most Rev. Peter Kang mentioned, "I am so pleased to have a ceremony of the dedication of a bible-shaped stone statue, in memory of the late Rev. Joseph Im Seung-phill who devoted his whole life to studying the Bible. He may receive this with joy in the Kingdom of God."
In his homily, the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon, said, "In the newly published Korean Bible, there is no part which left untouched by the late Rev. Joseph Im. In memory of his devotion to the words of God, we are dedicating the bible-shaped stone statue."
Following the Mass, the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon unveiled the statue on which was carved the first verse of Psalm 96, "Sing a new song to the Lord, who has done marvelous deeds," which the late Rev. Joseph Im used to reflect on frequently.
* Appointed New Executive Secretary of the CBCK and Secretary General of the CCK
"I have no idea of the way how God will use 'a stone stuck' in the seminary who knows nothing. However I do my best to contribute to the growth of the Church of God with sincerity and fidelity."
This humble comment is how the Rev. Peter Pai (Diocese of Suwon) viewed his new ministry after being appointed as Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and Secretary General of the Catholic Conference of Korea in the 2006 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK.
After obtaining a master's degree in fundamental theology at the Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck in Austria in 1984, he was ordained in 1985 and started to teach seminarians at the Catholic University of Suwon in 1989. He received a doctorate in theology at the Catholic University of Korea in 2000. He has served as a member of the Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith of the CBCK since 1999. In the Catholic University of Suwon, he has served as the rector of postgraduate since 2003 and the dean of academic affairs since 2004. He has also served as a procurator-advocate of the Diocesan Office since 2004.