* Symposium on 'The Contribution of Foreign Mission Societies to the Catholic Church in Korea in the Early 1900s'
The Research Foundation of Korean Church History (Director: Rev. Joseph Kim Seong-tae) held a symposium under the theme of "The Contribution of Foreign Mission Societies to the Catholic Church in Korea in the Early 1900s" at the Myeongdong Catholic Center in Seoul, on October 20, 2007. The symposium focused on the achievements of foreign mission societies and their significance in Korean Church history.
The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and Director General of the above institute, expressed, in his keynote address, his gratitude for the efforts of foreign missionaries who assumed almost full responsibility for pastoral ministries at the end of the Joseon Dynasty and during the Japanese occupation period.
Four speakers respectively presented activities of four representative foreign mission societies in the Church in Korea.
Mr. Cho Hyeon-beom, a member of the Research Foundation of Korean Church History, made a presentation with the theme "The Paris Foreign Missions Society and Division of the Vicariate Apostolic of Joseon." He said, "In 1911, the Vicariate Apostolic of Joseon was renamed as the Vicariate Apostolic of Seoul and the Vicariate Apostolic of Taegu was separately instituted. Since then until 1920, the number of indigenous priests had doubled, thanks to the commitment and contribution of the Paris Foreign Missions Society."
Fr. Raphael Seon Ji-hun, Order of St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey, with the theme of "The introduction of the Order of St. Benedict into Korea and its missionary works", analyzed the methods and characteristics of Benedictine missionaries who worked in Korea and in Manchuria from 1909 to 1949, in three areas: religious life, educational work, and the liturgy. He stressed the important roles those benedictines had played in the development of the liturgy of the Church in Korea.
Mr. Kim Su-tae, professor of Korean History at Chungnam National University, gave a presentation on the topic of "Missionary works of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America-Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers in the 1930s." He said, "The most notable works of Maryknoll missionaries in the 1930s were to take the initiative of 'renewal movements for the laity' and to animate missionary works through publications.
Fr. Simone Ok Hyeon-jin, professor of Church History at the Catholic University of Kwangju, made a presentation with the theme "Missionaries who came to the Far East - Missionary Society of St. Columban in the Diocese of Kwangju until Korea's liberation from Japanese rule in 1945." He said, "Despite many difficulties, the Columban missionaries mostly from Ireland and the U.S.A. made their efforts to inspire a spirit of independence into the hearts of the Korean faithful on the grassroots level.