CBCK News


Communication on February, 25, 2005

2009.08.25 14:18


* Archbishop of Seoul Issues Message for Lent

On the occasion of 2005 Lent, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued a message, inviting the faithful to a life of reflection and conversion to God.

In the message, titled "Life of Forgiveness and Reconciliation," he explained that conversion can be embodied through prayer, fasting and charitable acts and stressed that sharing what we have with needy neighbors is a good way to follow the Lenten journey.

Recalling that this year marks the 60th year of the National Liberation, he particularly wished a peaceful reconciliation of two Koreas, which will enable many separated families to meet each other and reunite.

"During Lent, conversion is required both in person and in community. Given the realities of the today's society, Christians, who believe and follow the Lord, should first show the example of conversion." He also hoped that not only Christians but all the people, families, society and the entire national community can be reborn through sincere conversion.

* The First Korean Deaf-Mute Candidate for the Priesthood Accepted in the Seminary in Seoul

A 36-year deaf-mute candidate for the priesthood who has walked a difficult way to be a priest more than 10 years is coming close to his dream, thanks to the help of two priests.

Recently, the episcopal council of the Archdiocese of Seoul announced that Benedict Park Min-seo would be accepted in the graduate school of the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul and take the course for the diaconate.

Park said, "First of all, I would like to thank Archbishop Cheong for receiving me as a diocesan seminarian. Even though there can arise difficulties in my school life, I will do my best to make my efforts finally bear fruits here. With an open mind, I will approach other seminarians and professors first."

After having lost his hearing at the age of three, he started to grow the vocation to priesthood in 1985 when he was going to a Sunday school for the deaf youth and met the Rev. Michael Jeong Sun-oh, who then as a seminarian worked for the Sunday school. Since then, he had tried many ways to become a priest. The solution he found was to go to the U.S.A. for studying.

In the U.S.A., he entered Gallaudet University in 1995 to study philosophy and then graduated with the Master of Arts in Theology at St. John's University in New York in 2004. While studying in the U.S.A., he could be helped by other American deaf-mute priests.

Although he received the lectorate in the U.S.A., he still has to receive the acolytat and the diaconate in Korea. The Archdiocese of Seoul revealed that further discussion and procedures will be necessary for him to reach the priesthood.

For the present, there are 18 deaf priests all over the world, including seven in the U.S.A. and three in the U.K. However, there is no deaf priest in Asia.

* Pastoral Council Organized in the Archdiocese of Seoul

To carry out the synod spirit of "Open Church" and "Participating Church," the Archdiocese of Seoul established the Pastoral Council on February 16, 2005, which is composed of two bishops, 11 priests, 8 religious and 11 lay Catholics.

By setting up this Pastoral Council, the Archdiocese manifested its resolute will to reflect the desire of the diocesan faithful in the pastoral ministry, along with the establishment of the Planning and Coordination Office and of the Research Center for Integral Pastoral Ministry.

For the first Executive Secretary, the Very Rev. Msgr. Paul Ra Won-gyun was appointed and for the Secretary, the Rev. Bartholomew Jun Won. The members will officially receive the letter of commission and have the first meeting in April.

The Very Rev. Msgr. Paul Ra, currently the Director of the Planning and Coordination Office, said, "Besides holding its own meetings, the Pastoral Council will also function as a consultative body for the Planning and Coordination Office in order to reflect various opinions as much as possible." He also called on the pastors for participation, interest and cooperation.

* Beautiful Family Movement to Focus on Helping Child-Headed Households and Single-Living Elderly

On February 19, 2005, the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (President: Mr. John Bosco Son Byeong-du, Spiritual Director: Rev. Francis Cheong Wol-gi) held the 38th General Assembly and decided to make this year a time of making the "Beautiful Family, Beautiful World Movement" take roots.

At the assembly, some 60 participants reaffirmed the proper roles of the laity for the social evangelization and family sanctification. The main projects decided for this year include: to promote various activities of social evangelization for the sake of family sanctification and the culture of life; to settle the identity of the Council and intensify the apostolate of associations; to carry out the spirit of the Year of the Eucharist.

To this end, they decided to promote a campaign to form a supporting relationship with child-headed households and single-living elderly and encouraged individuals, families, groups and work places to positively join in this campaign.

In addition, they proposed concrete actions for family sanctification, for example, to encourage child birth, to remove TV sets in families to set aside time for praying, reading the Bible and having dialogue among family members.

They also adopted a resolution composed of six clauses, where they determined: to help the North Korean escapees and contribute to the democratization of the North Korea; to prepare for programs to experience and meditate on the mystery of the Eucharist; to cope with all kinds of social pending issues for the social evangelization.

The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and the President of the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate, asked the lay faithful to live as Christians who do not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for neighbors.

* A Priest Obtains a Doctorate in Buddhism

A priest in the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul obtained a doctorate in Buddhism, with a thesis titled "Comparison between ‘Mercy' in Early Buddhist Scriptures and 'Agape' in the Synoptic Gospels," at Buddhist-run Dongguk University in Korea.

The Rev. Thomas Aquinas Kwak Sang-hun, professor at the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul, compared the two notions in the perspectives of "self-interest and altruism", "wisdom and mercy", and "justice and mercy" and reached a conclusion that mercy in Buddhism and agape in Christianity have something to learn from each other.

For example, he insisted that mercy emphasizes wisdom while agape values justice, so that mercy can be complemented by activities for social justice while agape can be enriched by wisdom including spiritual enlightenment.

He said, "Today, mission should be conducted through witness of life and activities of genuine love, not by theoretical pressures of doctrines so that non-believers can be attracted on their own initiatives." He noted that practice of mercy and agape can be an effective means of mission and a way of contributing to the peace of humanity.

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