Promoting Beatification and Canonization of a Lay Missionary
The Diocese of Incheon opened the official process for the promotion of the beatification and canonization of Mr. John Song Hae-bung, a lay missionary, who died a martyr during the Korean War (1950-1953), and established a diocesan committee for this matter.
As the president of the committee, the Very Rev. Msgr. Joseph Lee Hak-roh, diocesan vicar general, was appointed, and as the actor, the Rev. Nobert Cha Dong-yeop, President of the Future Pastoral Institute, and as the postulator, the Rev. Joseph Jeong Gwang-woong, diocesan pastoral administrator. This is the first case of the promotion of the beatification and canonization of a lay Catholic who died a martyr after the era of Japanese colonial era.
This year the committee will search for the related documents and materials, and also record witness for the organization and verification of the basic data. And a life story of Mr. Song, "24 Years Old, Too Early Settled Flame " will be published and distributed soon.
Mr. Song was born as the first son of the faithful parents. In 1944 he entered the seminary of Dukwon to become a priest. But after the liberation of Korea from Japan in 1945, he gave up the theological study and became a faithful lay missionary in the area of Gimpo near Incheon, opening a night school for the poor. But as the Korean War broke out in 1950, someone falsely accused him of a communist. He was sentenced to death by firing squad.
The Public Relations and Cultural Pastoral Ministry Count!
The CBCK and many dioceses in Korea started to promote public relations and cultural pastoral ministry.
With the beginning of the year of 2007, the CBCK consolidated the Department of Public Relations and the Computer Team into a "Media Team". It aims to provide the public with correct information of the Catholic Church, and also check up the public opinion to improve and actively publicize the good image of the Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese of Seoul also tries to promote the public relations and cultural pastoral ministry. The archdiocese recently promoted the Public Relations Sector to an independent Department of Culture & Communication and appointed the Rev. Mattias Huh Young-yeop as its first administrator.
It was a measure to accommodate the ever increasing needs of the cultural pastoral ministry fitting to the so-called "cultural age" of the 21st century. And, as a matter of fact, there have been many indications so far that the Catholic Church has been not so well prepared for the public communication.
The new department will hold many cultural events, including religious movie previews and exhibitions. And it will also support many cultural programs. Furthermore, it will systematically organize and manage the cultural organizations and institutions in the Church to optimize the capacity for the cultural pastoral ministry. For this purpose it will actively carry out the plan to set up and offer training courses for the agents of public relations in every parish. Here they will learn the media application skills, along with the advisable orientation of the Church.
The Rev. Huh said that "The social demand for the information of the Church drastically increased, especially after the appointment to the cardinalate of His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk. Not just for such event but for the appropriate public relations of the Church to the age of mass media in the 21st century, it is necessary to mobilize all mass media inside and outside the Church." And he added, "I will do my best to promote the public relations and cultural pastoral ministry to abolish the image of the "closed" Church and make it a more intimate one for the public."
The Diocese of Uijeongbu is also planning to promote the Department of Communication System & Information to the Department of Culture & Media with an ambition for the future-oriented cultural pastoral ministry. As the first step, the Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-taek, Bishop of Uijeongbu, approved the renaming of the department, which was agreed at the presbyteral council on December 28, 2006.
The Diocese of Uijeongbu has already opened the "Catholic VJ Academy" to train the so-called "Catholic VJs" who can serve at the diocesan Internet Broadcasting Center UTV, which was established for the cyber mission and proliferation of the right media culture.
The Rev. John Choi Sung-woo, Director of the Department of Culture & Media, said that "the Department of Culture & Media, composed of culture section and media section, will be a center where the fitting media of the digital era are utilized for the proclamation of the Gospel." It is hoped that other dioceses will follow the good examples of both dioceses soon.