Message for the Day for Persons with Disabilities
On the occasion of the 28th 'National Day for Persons with Disabilities' on April 20, 2008, the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, Episcopal Vicar for Social Ministry Apostolate of Archdiocese of Seoul, issued a message for the Day for persons with disabilities with the title "Peace be with you" (Jn 20,19).
In his message Bishop Lucas Kim said, "The Peace of the Lord is different form that of the world. The Peace of the Lord is not a temporary peace stemming from the material satisfaction which fulfills our physical needs, but a calling and invitation to the self-perfection in the deepest dimension of human being as the image of God." Then he said, "Korea ratified 'the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol', which the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus, on December 13, 2006, and enacted 'the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination and Relief of Persons with Disabilities' on April 11, 2008, so that all discriminations against persons with disabilities are prohibited and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities is more consolidated. The significance of this law implies a new paradigm shift enabling persons with disabilities to be the subjects of equal rights the same as the non-disabled, overcoming the limited opinion on persons with disabilities as the objects of help and the recipients of the welfare. Now persons with disabilities should participate directly in the processes of governmental policies and of the management and service of welfare institutes, so that they can demand their own rights."
Bishop Lucas Kim also said, "Law and system alone are not enough [for persons with disabilities]. However the government promotes and puts emphasis on the rights and welfare of them, there still lacks something. That is our love. persons with disabilities need all the more our love for neighbors based on the love of God."
At the conclusion, Bishop Lucas Kim said, "This love provides men and women with not only material supports, but cares for and encourages the spirit and promote power. This love makes us to regard all people as precious children of God, and is a prerequisite that we all live together the true peace of the risen Jesus."
Seminar on the Women in the Church
The Committee for Women under the CBCK Committee for Lay Apostolate held a seminar at the Franciscan Education Center in Jeongdong, Seoul on April 10, 2008.
The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, President of the Committee for Women, said, "It has been since long that almost the same themes about the matter of women in the Church are repeatedly discussed, because the Church has had very few occasions for the discussion about it together with women." Then he said, "I hope that the efforts to listen to each other will be continued in the future, so that priests and lay men, as well as lay women, can understand the situation with more clarity and they will be led into the right path."
With the theme "How to utilize the capacity of women in the Church?" Dr. Lee Sang-hwa, Professor of the Korean Institute for Gender Equality Promotion and Education, and Dr. Park Eun-me, Professor of the Center for Anthropology Education at the Catholic University of Korea, presented their papers.
Prof. Lee demanded the attitude change of priests and Church leaders, indicating the 'unchanged' situation of the alineation of women from the decision making process in the Church. Prof. Park indicated the fact that many women, especially highly qualified women want to have a chance to serve the Church, but there are de facto too little chance for them.
Two panels of the discussion, Rev. Hugh Park Jeong-woo and Ms. Kwon Kyung-soo, President of the Catholic Women's Organization of Korea, pointed out the lukewarm interest of the Church towards the women, and urged the Church to provide them with the institutional devices and opportunities for the practice of their professional abilities in the Church.
Special Lectures of Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, O.F.M.
Invited by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in Korea, the Most Rev. Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, O.F.M, Archbishop of Trujillo, President of the Bishops' Conference of Peru and President of the Committee for Mission and Spirituality of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM), gave a special lecture on the "Great Hope of Aparecida" in Coste Hall of Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on April 11, 2008.
This occasion was prepared as one of the events of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in Korea, commemorating the 120th anniversary of its entrance in Korea and also the Year of St. Paul.
Archbishop Miguel said "Priests, men and women religious, and the lay faithful in Korea must have concern for the Latin Church." Then he said, "Latin America needs persistent mission, ...... which demands unity, spirituality and boldness." He also said, "50 % of the Catholics in the world are Latin Americans. We are suffering from the severe shortage of priests, men and women religious and missionaries, even though 80% of the populations are Catholics. ...... Mission means to be a disciple of Christ, and to love our neighbors with our Lord following his example. ...... Without passion, we cannot achieve a true mission."
Archbishop Miguel proposed four criteria for mission: repent, unity, engagement and renewal, uttering the reason for mission is "to renew the world in Christ and to change the family of God as a leaven and the soul of society."
Aparecida in the State of Sãn Paulo, Brazil, is a place where the 5th general assembly of the CELAM was held, and especially famous for the miracle of good fish catch after a statue of the Virgin Mary was found in the Paraibu River by three fishermen.
Besides Archbishop Miguel, Rev. John Sohn Kyung-soo of Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers and the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America in Korea, gave a lecture on the 'Mission Theology of Latin America.' He said, "A missionary should first repent before he can go to save people." Then he said, "A pastor must go and search a lamb, before a lamb comes to him."
At the conclusion, Rev. John Sohn said, "Now mission does not belong to missionaries alone but to priests, men and women religious, and the lay faithful to begin with the everyday life."