Message for the 39th Military Mission Sunday
The Most Rev. Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of Military Ordinariate, issued the Message for the 39th Military Mission Sunday on October 1, 2006. He said, “The military is a very precious place to build a Church of hope and a new society.” And he made it clear that special prayer and support from the faithful and all the people are needed to build a new military. He also said, “Young soldiers of new generation search for the Church naturally and desperately through the hardship of military life. ... The military is a school and a training center for the younger generation to have an experience of life and faith.” He expressed his hope that “God may bless all soldiers, especially the Catholic soldiers on this Military Mission Sunday.” And he added, “It is a very hopeful and visionary mission to make the young soldiers aware of the true meaning of life, and to tell them the word of life, which Jesus preached us in Gospel.”
At the Korean Army Training Center in Nonsan, Catholic priests administer baptism to 1,000-1,500 trainees every month. The Rev. Augustine Hong Sung-hak of the Trinity Parish at the Military Ordinariate of Korea said, “It seems to be an incomparable event in the whole world that the Catholic baptism is administered to more than 10,000 trainees at a single parish in a year.” But at the moment the church building is too small to accommodate all such abundant religious fever. So the Military Ordinariate decided to build a new church building and education center next year, with the support of the faithful and all people of good will.
Message for the Month of Mission
The Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo, President of the Committee for Evangelization, issued the message for the Month of Mission on October 1, 2006. In the message entitled “Let Us Endeavor to Evangelize the Family!” he said, “Unfortunately today families are confronted with various difficulties.” And he noted that the difficulties are: family separation for the sake of better education of the children, widening generation gap, indifference of more than 70% of the Catholic families to the Sunday Mass. And he saw in these problems the importance of evangelization of family. In his word, the evangelization of family means to change our family with the Word of Jesus and to build a new order.
And he suggested four practical ways for the evangelization of family as follows.
Firstly, we have to build a family of mutual love. For the practical way for that purpose, Bishop Choi suggested to have “A day of dialogue in the Lord, for example, on birthdays, feasts, or holidays.” In these day the family members could have a sincere dialogue among family members centering around the Word of Jesus.
Secondly, we have to have a family of prayer. The father must educate the children in the faith. and the mother must lead the family prayer and meditation, so that they could build a family of mutual love and trust. In such a family the evangelizaton will be achieved much sooner.
Thirdly, we have to have a family, where all family members actively participate in the sacramental life. Bishop Choi said, “Parents must create an environment where all family members abundantly receive the graces flowing from the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and Marriage.”
Fourthly, we have to have a family, where all family members read the Bible together. Bishop Choi assured that family can be united centering around the Gospel with the matter of value attitude and sense of the faith when they read the Bible together.
As conclusion, Bishop Choi said, “Let us evangelize the family so that it can be the first school where children can learn the social virtues. "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1Cor 9:16)
Publication of The Braille Bible
The Catholic Church in Korea published the Bible in Braille type for the first time in her history. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) approved the publication of The Braille Bible at the 2005 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK, and provided the Catholic Blind Mission in Korea, engaging in this project, with 100 million Won (approximately $100,000). The Braille Bible consists in 18 volumes of the Old Testament and five volumes of the New Testament, which amounts to more than 6,000 pages in total. The Catholic Blind Mission in Korea (CBMK) cooperated with the Braille Library of the Hasang Center for the Disabled. Especially the library exerted its efforts to make The Braille Bible faithful to the biblical text through ten meetings and three proofreading sessions in two groups.
A Mass and a congratulatory party were celebrated on September 28, 2006 at the grand hall of CBCK for the publication of The Braille Bible. Along with the Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, the Rev. Joseph Kim Young-tae, Spiritual Director of the CBMK, and Mr. John Bosco Kang Seong-ryeong, President of the CBMK, 11 representatives of the Catholic Blind Mission in Korea were present among more than 200 guests.
In his congratulatory address, Bishop Kwon said, “We may touch the words of the Bible more lively with our finger tips than with our eyes.” Quoting the pericope of a man blind from birth (John 9:1-12), he asserted that we all might be partly disabled from birth so that we could live only with the help of others, and with this mutual help, we could do the work of the Lord.
In his address in reply, Mr. John Bosco Kang Seong-ryeong, President of the CBMK, said, “I hope that everybody sees in the Bible, which can be read only by the finger tips, a chance to live in a world where there is no mutual discrimination between the ‘disabled’ and ‘normal’ people.” And he expressed his hope that the Prayer book and the Hymnbook in Braille type could follow the Bible soon. In an interview, he already told a reporter, “I thank you all who helped us to publish The Braille Bible.” And he added, “I felt like as if I had seen a ray of light when I heard the news that the CBCK would publish The Braille Bible.”
There are over 2,000 members of the CBMK but there has been very little support and concern for them from the Catholic Church in Korea. Nevertheless the faithful who are blind have continued their life of the faith diligently in such a hard environment. This Bible in Braille type will be a gift of the Church to the blind who have been alienated from the printing media. And it will help them to practice a more active life of the faith.