|◎ Bishop Choi Published Directive about the Prayers for Healing|
The Most Rev. Paul Choi, Bishop of Suwon, sent, on February 7th, to his clergy and responsibles of groups a memorandum with excerpts of Instruction on Prayers for Healing issued recently by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and translated in Korean and recommended them to help the faithful not to abuse personal prayers for healing.
In his memorandum, Bishop Choi said, “in these days there are people who are confused because of some Catholics who pretend they received gift of healing, wherefore, I thought to send you this Instruction so that you understand clearly about the traditional teaching of the Church concerning the prayers for healing.”
Bishop Choi enumerated cases that are not in confirmity with Church's traditional teaching on the matter and added that mistakes are done because they do it without permission of the competent bishop but with permission of individual priests.
Some Christians are confused because some of these prayers are not in conformity with Church's teaching, he pointed out and went on by saying that "my big concern is that some of those who are involved in this prayers are considered as ardently devoted faithful."
Bishop Choi encouraged the pastors to guide the faithful to the upright prayer life and insisted the need of reeducation of the faithful.
◎ Church in Korea to Promote Martyrs’ Spirit and Their Canonization
The Archdiocese of Seoul announced yearlong celebration to mark the bicentenary of Shinyu Persecution on February 2nd during Mass at Myongdong cathedral.
The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, Archbishop of Seoul, in his homily, stressed the unique place that Korean martyrs have in the Church in Korea. In the tradition of the Church history of Korea, the religious persecution and martyrdom of Christians are very important elements.
The martyrdom was not a personal act of faith of individual faithful but it was based on community faith in God. The persecution over 200 years was an opportunity of divine grace, so we have to renew the spirit of our martyr ancestors, the Archbishop said to 1300 participants who came from different dioceses of the country.
The Archbishop made clear his intention to promote prayer movement and investigation for the cause of beatification and canonization of the martyrs of Shinyu Persecution.
During Shinyu Persecution, the most violent persecution against Christianity, that lasted one full year from December, 1801, about 100 Korean Catholics including Father Ju Mun-mo, the first Chinese missionary, were killed and over 400 faithfuls were exiled. Among those 100 martyrs were a considerable number of outstanding lay leaders including those scholars who started studying the doctrine of Christianity. Also most important books and writings concerning the Christian doctrine and catechesis were confiscated and burned by the governmental agents.
The Christianity that was introduced by Korean scholars in 1784 suffered six persecutions for 100 years, provoked mostly by political reasons, until it obtained the religious freedom in 1876. Among them, the Shinyu Persecution was the most cruel and important one in many aspects.
Innumerable Catholics died as martyrs and among them were one Chinese and twelve French missionaries from the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Of these 103 martyrs were canonized by Pope John Paul II in Seoul, in 1984.
Dioceses having martyrs, especially those of Shinyu Persecution, agreed to work together to promote spirit of Korean martyrs among their faithful and work for the beatification and canonization of their martyrs.
In this line, Koran Martyrs Exaltation Committee of Archdiocese of Seoul (Dir. Father Peter Bai Gap-jin) made various programs and projects that will be carried during yearlong celebration up to February 4th, 2002.
In the meantime, the diocese of Cheongju announced campaign to increase one million Catholics that will begin with the seminar for 2000 leaders of Region Mary from Feb. 17-18.
As of the end of 2000 the diocese had 120,696 Catholics and 8.5% of evangelization rate. If the campaign succeeds, the evangelization rate will be raised up to 10 percent.
The Most Rev. Vincent Ri, Bishop of Chonju, rich region of martyrs, made plans for the 200th anniversary celebration of Shinyu persecution and will open it on the coming Ash Wednesday, February 28th. One of the attractive plans is expected to be the "John and Lutgardis Festival" the couple who died martyrdom to witness their faith in God and lived celibate life for the sake of the Gospel. The diocese is planning to make the festival a popular event jointly with local cultural groups. The festival will consist to celebrate the martyrdom of celibate couple, John Yu Jung-cheol (1778-1801), Lutgardis Lee Sun-i (1781-1802) and Augustine Yu Hang-geom (1756-1802), father of John Yu Jung-cheol. This festival will be celebrated annually as local festival for Catholics and citizens.
Jeonju City plans to include this festival as part of 2002 World Cup events.
◎ "Taxi" is Our Mission Place
"The taxi missionary" is the nick name of the Association of the Catholic Taxi-Drivers Apostolate in Seoul.
“We believe proverb; many drops make a shower.” said Mr. Lee Moon-sok, president of the Association, who collected 68 million won last year and distributed it to 40 groups and some individuals who are in need.
“360 members of the Association installed a Charity Box in their taxi.
Some put 10 won while some put 10000 won and some nothing. How much is not important but their heart and concern are important to the eyes of God. We explain to clients about the Charity Box very simply. We exchange simple conversation. One said that he has been lethargic. It may be time to go to the Church, one client said. That day I was very happy.”
In all cities, many people recognize Catholic taxi drivers of the Association with yellow uniform, gentle and kind.
◎ Korean Prominent Artist Died
Peter Kim Ki-chang, the prominent figure of Korean painting circle, well known under the nom de plume of Unbo died at House of Unbo in Chongwon-si, Chungcheongbuk-do on January 23, with age of 89.
Born in 1913 in Seoul, Unbo lost a sense of hearing with typhoid when he was a 7-year-old little boy. From 1930, he learned painting under Kim Eun-ho, the famous Korean painter at that time. Unbo produced over 10,000 famous paintings. When he was young he painted to earn his living but after his wife died he dedicated his artistic talent for the disabled. He gave precious lesson of love for them. He remodeled many old welfare facilities of the disabled and founded welfare center for the disabled with hearing.
In 1985, Unbo was baptized by H.E. Cardinal Kim at St. Lazarus' House. Since then, he painted a number of paintings with Christian themes. "Crucifixion of Jesus" (101x73.5cm) painted on silk is one of his chef-oeuvres.
Cardinal Kim said in his homily that "Unbo's death is a big loss for all of us. He was a great torch that illuminated our society. For him, the faith and the art were one. During his lifelong struggle and suffering he never gave up courage for life. He was faithful to his life until last moment as human being and an artist. This is a real human victory."
He met his brother Kim Ki-man, the famous painter in North Korea, at the second encounter of separated families held in last Fall.
His daughter Anawim Kim Young, the last of four children (one son and three daughters), is a sister of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa.
"My father became a Catholic when I entered a convent. When I told him my decision to become a nun he was sad but accepted. My father said he had a dream of forthcoming conception and saw a Sister. He thought that Sister was me. Inspired of that dream he painted with theme of 'Church, Nun and Dove' (housed at Museum of Vatican). In that painting the Sister resembles me. I think, living my life as a good Religious in obedience to the will of God every moment of my life is what my father wants to me," Sr. Anawim said
Sr. Anawim, graduated from School of Art of Sejong University in Seoul, joined the Missionaries of Charity and made final vows in 1992. Until then she lived in Philippines for 9 years among the poor. Now she is taking care of 34 abandoned elderly in Inchon.