|* Diocese of Uijongbu Erected, Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-taek Appointed as the First Bishop|
The Holy Father erected the Diocese of Uijongbu (area 2,626㎢, population 2,311,858, Catholics 161,872, priests 67, religious 60), with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Seoul, making it a suffragan of the same Metropolitan See, and appointed the Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-Taek, S.J., Auxiliary of Seoul, as the first diocesan bishop of Uijongbu, the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea and the Archdiocese of Seoul announced on July 5, 2004.
The Diocese of Uijongbu is the 18th diocese (including the three dioceses in North Korea) of the Catholic Church in Korea. It will cover most part of the northern Gyeonggi-do, including six cities and two counties, and 52 parishes will belong to the new diocese.
On the same day, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued a letter and said, "Given the current changes of situation, it is clearly foreseen that the newly erected diocese can develop and grow in a big diocese in a near future," and wished that the new diocese will bear much fruit in proclaiming the Gospel with grace of God and special care of the Pope.
Bishop Lee said, “I will do the best I can in order to respond to the will of God faithfully, who allowed a new diocese in the Church in Korea and called me to be the first diocesan Bishop. …… First of all, I will try to lead the faithful to lead a joyful and fruitful Christian life by always adhering to God."
The installation of the Diocesan Bishop will take place right after the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK, probably on October 15. Bishop Lee, born in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do in 1934, entered the Jesuit order in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1971 after graduating from Saint Louis University in U.S.A. He had served as President of Jesuit-run Sogang University in Seoul until he was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul in December 2001. He was ordained a bishop in January 2002.
The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the CBCK, expressed gratitude to God and congratulations to the two Bishops, saying, “It is a source of big happiness for the Catholic Church in Korea to have a new diocese and a new diocesan bishop.”
In the meantime, the Archdiocese of Seoul and the Diocese of Uijongbu will set up a task force to discuss and carry out the division of the two dioceses. As a preliminary step, the diocesan priests in the Archdiocese are asked to submit a written application to the Diocesan Secretariate by July 15, 2004, in which they can freely choose the diocese they will belong to.
* Beatification Cause of 124 Korean Servants of God Begins
The cause of the beatification of the Servants of God Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions began on July 5, 2004, the feast of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, patron of the Korean clergy, at the conference hall of the CBCK. It is the first time that the inquiry of the cause of beatification is entirely entrusted to the Catholic Church in Korea.
The judicial inquiry is to be instructed by the Most Rev. Michael Pak Jeong-il, the judge, with the Rev. Joseph Rhee Chan-woo, the episcopal delegate, the Rev. Chrysologus Ri Sang-guk, the Rev. Donatus Pak Dong-gyun and the Rev. Christopher Kim Gil-min, the promoters of justice, the Rev. Paul Lee Chang-young, the notary, and Ms. Jang Hu-nam, the assistant notary.
The day's first meeting progressed favorably, including reading of the petition; reading of related documents and decree of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints; the oaths of the principals involved in the inquiry; the presentation of the name list of witnesses to Bishop Pak, the judge.
From this on, the inquiry to the life and sanctity, and the fact of martyrdom of each presumed martyr will be held on every fourth Friday with the witnesses attending.
After the meeting, Bishop Pak said, "This inquiry is not the final procedure for the cause of the beatification," and warned against the impetuous worship by the faithful, saying, "the faithful must not try to worship or admire publicly the 124 Servants of God until the final decision or declaration is made by the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in the Apostolic See."
* Caritas Coreana Launches to Give Direct Aid to Bangladesh
The CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) is geared to give direct and long-term aid to Bangladesh. It is the first time for Caritas Coreana to give direct aid to other countries, not via Caritas International, since it started the overseas aid in 1993.
As Bangladesh was selected as the main country to be supported this year, Caritas Coreana made a three-year plan to support the project of Caritas Bangladesh to build houses for the handicapped and poor women and children, and sent USD $96,000 as the first step on July 2, 2004. It will be distributed through Caritas Bangladesh to 105 districts in seven cities across Bangladesh, including Dacca, the capital, Mymensingh, Barisal, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Khulna and Rajshahi. With this support, Caritas Bangladesh plans to build 1,050 houses until June 2007 for the handicapped, poor women and children, who are living in a miserable condition.
Caritas Coreana also sent a separate fund of USD $48,000 to Bangladesh to construct welfare centers for the handicapped and to train workers in the field of the welfare of the handicapped.
The Rev. Paul Jeremiah Hwang Yong-yeon, Secretary of the Committee for Caritas Coreana, said, “This project clearly shows the growth of the Catholic Church in Korea, which became to give aid to other countries independently," and urged the faithful for more concern and support for the shake of the globalization of sharing and charity.