◎ Korean Closing Mass of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 Celebrated Throughout the Nation
All dioceses of the Church in Korea closed the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 with the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
The Church in Korea praised and thanked for abundant grace and favor that God has granted to Korean faithful and renewed her pledge to continue to journey toward the new millennium with the spirit of the Great Jubilee.
The Seoul Archdiocese had closing Mass of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 at the Myongdong cathedral on January 4th presided with the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, the Archbishop of Seoul and the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, the Apostolic Nuncio with other auxiliary Bishops in the presence of about 1000 Catholics including clergy and religious.
"The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 is ended today, but, its spirit has to be continued in the every life of the Christians," Archbishop Cheong said.
The Archdiocese of Taegu had closing Mass of the Great Jubilee on January 5th at Kyaesan-dong Cathedral presided by the Archbishop Paul Ri. All other parishes of the archdiocese celebrated closing Mass as it was ordered by the Archbishop Ri and gave thanks to God for all graces received during the Great Jubilee.
In his homily the Archbishop asked his faithful not to forget abundant grace of God and Church they received during the Great Jubilee and take resolution to strengthen their faith life, especially to observe the obligation of Sunday. the Day of God (Dies Domini)
The Archdiocese of kwangju had closing Mass at Imdong Cathedral on January 5th presided by the Archbishop Andrew Choi.
Since the proclamation of the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1994, the Church in Korea responded by prompt preparation for it.
The CBCK launched the New Life and New Day Movement on national level and the dioceses, individually and collectively, carried out various programs. As a closing act the Church in Korea made to the Korean people an official confession and repentance of her faults that she has made during 200 years of her history and asked a sincere apology by publishing a document entitled Renewal and Reconciliation.
To the request of the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong and some other Bishops the Apostolic Penitentiary allowed to the Church in Korea to extend the period of indulgence of the Great Jubilee to February 4th, 2002 to mark 200th anniversary of the Shinyu persecution (2001) during which many Koreans died martyr. With this permission Korean Catholics will obtain indulgence when they complete the conditions asked by the Church.
◎ Church Alerts "Ki" Culture Expanding under Form of New Religious Sect
The Most Rev. Peter Kang, Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Seoul and the Episcopal Vicar for Social Apostolates, asked to be careful for "Ki" culture that is expanding rapidly among religious people.
On January 12th, the Most Rev. Kang sent an official memorandum to all clergy and superiors of religious institutes in the archdiocese by saying that "recently there are increasing number of clergy, religious and lay faithful who frequent center of "KI Kong" and "abdomen breathing", and they invite other faithful to come with. In the beginning, people start it for their health, but, they gradually pass to a kind of spiritual dimension."
"Religious dimension to which such Ki culture leads becomes easily linked to a mystic, transcendental and individualism centered outlook of the world. And that is not compatible with Christian faith." he pointed out.
He asked clergy and religious who are using Ki methode by thinking it helps them for spiritual concentration or meditation to have discernment for such practice because that can cause confusion for ordinary faithful.
"Unlikely the established religions that seek for a common good of the society new religious sects promise individual peace and physical health. This kind of sects including Ki training are emerging in Korean society," he said.
◎ New Priests Ordained
During January and February following 85 new priests are ordained..
On January 9th, the diocese of Inchon ordained 9 new priests.
On January 8th, the diocese of Chonju ordained 8 new priests.
On January 11th, the Korean Foreign Mission Society ordained 5 new priests.
On January 16th, the diocese of Wonju ordained 1 new priest.
On January 19th, the diocese of Suwon ordained 20 new priests.
On January 19th, the Clerical society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae
ordained 2 new priests.
On January 29th, the diocese of Cheonju will ordain 5 new priests.
On January 31st, the diocese of Masan will ordain 6 new priests.
On January 30th, the diocese of Taejon will ordain 14 new priests.
On February 1st, the diocese of Pusan will ordain 18 new priests.
On February 2nd, the diocese of Cheju will ordain 1 new priest.
◎ Caritas Coreana Calls for Generosity for Starving People in the World
The Most Rev. Gabriel Chang, President of Caritas Coreana of the CBCK, issued a message on the occasion of the Caritas Coreana Sunday on January 28th, 2001 and asked generosity of Korean Catholics to help starving people in the world.
The message with title of "Love for Those in Hunger" insisted on charity and sharing of goods with people in need. "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sisters in need and yet refuses help? (1Jn 3,17)
He said that "We have to follow Jesus who identified himself with the poor. There are millions who are deprived of hope due to the fact that, in many parts of the world, their situation has noticeably worsened. Before these tragedies of total indigence and need, in which so many of our brothers and sisters are living, it is the Lord Jesus himself who comes to question us (cf; Sollicitudo rei socialis, 13)" and went on "If we ignore them we are not any different of the rich man who ignored the poor Lazarus who was laying at his gate (cf; Lk 16,19-31).
The current Caritas Coreana's original goal was to help Koreans in need, but, the CBCK extended it to the world in 1992. With this decision Caritas Coreana's funds are used for people in foreign countries suffering from starvation and various reasons. Every year, the Caritas Coreana has contributed more than 1,000,000,000 won through Caritas International.
◎ Taegu Archdiocese's Auxiliary Bishop Nominated
On January 10th, 2001, Pope John Paul II nominated Rev. John Choi Young-soo as auxiliary bishop of Taegu archdiocese.
Rev. Choi is actually the president of Pyonghwa Radio.
◎ Pontifical Korean College Has New Rector
The Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples appointed Rev. Antonio Chon Dal-soo as the new rector of the Pontifical Korean College in Rome as of December 31st, 2000 to succeed the Very Rev. Msgr. Simon Cheong.
Rev. Chon was born in 1946 in Uisong-gun, Kyongbuk Province. He studied the philosophy at Kwangju theological college and graduated from Sogang University in Seoul and Seoul Catholic University, and was ordained a priest in 1979. He studied at Pontificia Universita S. Thomaso d'Aquino from 1983 to 1984 and obtained master's degree in pastoral theology, and studied at the same university the spiritual theology and obtained the doctorate in spiritual theology in 1990. From 1990 to 1997 he taught at Taegu Catholic University and from 1997 to 2000 he served as pastor of Ta-in parish in the diocese of Andong.
◎ Religion Leaders Join Voice for New Legislation
Some 150 religion leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Won Buddhist including other civic movements held a joint prayer meeting and rally at the entrance of Myongdong Cathedral on January 8th.
The participants demanded the government and politicians abolition of the National Security Law and the legislation of human rights and anti-corruption bills, and declared to carry out campaign until their demands are heard.
The participants urged Kim Dae-jung administration to keep the election pledge to abolish National Security Law (NSL) and to make an authentic political reform.
"Korean people's anger and disappointment against the current government reached the limit because during the three years of so-called "the government for people" there was no real political reform and President's election campaign pledge to make Korea a nation of democracy and human rights has remained as a lip service," Rev. Moon Kyu-hyon.
A group of human rights activists staged 13 days of fast for abolition of the NSL in freezing weather from December 28 at the Myongdong Cathedral compound.
Among the participants found 60 Sisters from the Korean Catholic Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious, members of the Priests' Association for Justice, 26 Protestant ministers and 24 Buddhist monks.