The 1st Working-Level Meeting between Caritas Corea and North Korea
For the Aid Project for North Korea of the Caritas Internationalis, the Caritas Corea had the 1st working-level meeting with the North Korea representatives at the Consultation Office for Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation in Gaeseong, North Korea, on September 6, 2006.
This meeting was held to prepare the Aid Project for North Korea of the Caritas Internationalis which will start next year, as the Caritas Corea will take charge of the project from 2007.
At this meeting the Caritas Corea asked North Korea to show its blueprint for the cooperative project. And the representatives of the Caritas Corea and its counterpart of North Korea discussed the details for the effective cooperation in the future project.
The North Korean representatives issued no official comment about the flood disaster of last summer in North Korea. They just confirmed their attitude to accept only humanitarian aids as before and the fact that the nation-wide relief work is still in progress.
The Rev. Paul Jeremiah Hwang Yong-yeon, National Director of the Caritas Corea, and three other members of the Caritas Internationalis took part in this meeting.
At the 2nd and 3rd meetings, to be held in late September and early October respectively, full-dress matters will be discussed. From next meeting on, other staff members of the Caritas Internationalis from foreign countries will also join the discussion.
The 30th Anniversary of Kkottongnae
Kkottongnae commemorated its 30 years of charitative activities at the open field in front of the Training Institute of Love on September 8, 2006.
The Kkottongnae, Korean for the Hebrew “Nazareth” (Flower Village), is a Christian community where the homeless and the abandoned are nurtured and cared for nothing.
The Rev. John Oh Woong-jin, Founder of the Kkottongnae, delivered a special lecture about this community. He said, “Kkottongnae was founded with a new covenant with God. ... and from now on we will also take care of the dead on the street, not just the homeless and the abandoned as before.” And he asked the participants “to live a life practicing the evangelical teaching of ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt 25:41).”
The Most Rev. Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, presided over the Mass. He said, “Kkottongnae has borne three fruits in last 30 years. Firstly, it has opened the spiritual eyes of the people to live a life of serving and loving God. Secondly, it has led many people to the life of love, service and sharing. Lastly, it has saved many lives and families.” And he assuredly said that “The fruits of the Kkottongnae resulted from the love, sacrifices and fervent dedication of the religious working here in Kkottongnae.”
More than 14,000 people in miserable situation have come to the Kkottongnae and many of them have already passed away in peace. At the moment, 800 religious and volunteers are dedicating themselves to serving more than 4,000 people who desperately need the helping hands.
On the same day, a ceremony for the dedication of “Spiritual Center of Love” took place. Along with the Training Institute of Love, it will be used as a center for retreat and contemplation.