|* Church to Help the Train Blast Victims in North Korea|
For the victims of the recent train blast around Ryongcheon Station in North Korea, the Catholic Church in Korea is gearing up to help the victims and give aid to the relief and reconstruction work.
The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, issued a statement on April 26 titled "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" and called on the faithful to practice charity to North Korean brethren who are deeply suffering from the tragic accident.
Saying that, "To share the suffering of our brothers and sisters is the essential mission of the Church," he ordered an extra collection to be made for this purpose in parishes in the Archdiocese of Seoul on May 9, the fifth Sunday of Easter. Earlier, the Archdiocese of Seoul sent USD $ 80,000 to North Korea as emergency relief aid via the Diocesan Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People.
In addition, the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" has been promoting nationwide donation from April 27, in collaboration with the Caritas International, which on behalf of the entire Catholic Church promotes relief work in North Korea. The Caritas International already spent a fund of USD $ 200,000 in helping the damaged Ryongcheon area as the first step.
The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People also held an ad-hoc meeting on April 27 and decided to request dioceses and the conferences of major superiors of religious to make contributions. The official channel of aid shall be the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People and the Association of North Korean Catholics (Chairperson: Mr. Samuel Jang Jae-eon).
On April 26, on the other hand, Mr. Paul Kang Ji-young, Vice Chairperson of the Association of North Korean Catholics, sent a reply to the April 24 letter of consolation by the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, President of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People, and appreciated the "fraternal support" of the Church in South Korea.
The CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" also envisions long-term aid plans such as the reconstruction of educational or medical facilities, its Secretary said.
* Diocese of Andong Dedicates Its New Cathedral Church
On April 25, the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, Bishop of Andong, dedicated the newly remodeled church of Mokseong-dong Cathedral of Andong.
Some 1,000 people attended the dedication Mass, including the Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo, Auxiliary Bishop of Taegu, and the Rev. Bernard Tschang In-san, Vicar General of the Diocese of Cheongju and diocesan priests of Andong.
The old building was established in 1927 and relocated to the current site in 1949. However, it was deteriorated with the passage of time and came to need more space to play role as a Cathedral.
The new premises include a chapel, a grand hall, meeting rooms, residence for priests and a house of sisters and the chapel can accommodate some 600 persons. There are also a socializing place for the elderly and free funeral facilities for the local community.
Bishop Kwon said at the dedication Mass, "The Cathedral is now newly dressed. Therefore, it should try harder to become the center for diocesans as well as for local community and to proclaim the Gospel values to them." He also stressed that they should make the Cathedral a living church for all those who visit the church.
* Descendents of a French Martyr Saint Visit Korea and Experience the Culture and Church in Korea
Twenty five Catholics from the Diocese of Amiens, France, made a ten-day visit to Seoul from April 20 to 29, at the invitation of the Galhyeon-dong parish in Archdiocese of Seoul (Pastor: Rev. Paul Yong Dong-jin).
On April 21, in particular, the pilgrims led by the Most Rev. Jean Luc Bouilleret, Bishop of Amiens, visited Galmaemot Shrine in the Diocese of Daejeon, the martyrdom place of St. Daveluy, who was from the Diocese of Amiens and served as the fifth Vicar Apostolic of Joseon until he was martyred in 1866 during the persecution in Joseon Dynasty.
The Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong Gap-ryong, Bishop of Daejeon, presiding Mass at Galmaemot, said, "Martyrs are like a mirror reflecting Jesus Christ who shines as light." At the Mass, there was a benediction ceremony of the bronze statue of St. Daveluy and then Bishop Bouilleret presented the surplice of St. Daveluy to the Shrine.
Besides, they visited places of other Korean traditional religions, for example, famous Buddhist temples in Korea and looked on the parochial meetings such as those of Basic Christian Community or the Legion of Mary. Bishop Bouilleret said, "I think Korea is very spiritual country and has a unique origin of Catholic community because it combines the wisdom of the traditional religions with the Catholic faith."
During the visit, the French visitors could personally experience the Christian life of Korean families by staying at homes of Galhyeon-dong parishioners and the Korean hosts in turn had very good impression by the courteous and pious attitudes of the visitors from a traditional Catholic country.