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Communication on July 23

2009.08.25 13:56

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* New Diocese of Uijongbu To Start with 152 Priests

The Diocese of Uijongbu, newly erected on July 5, 2004, will start with 152 priests, including the Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-taek, appointee of the first Bishop of Uijongbu.

On July 18 when Bishop Lee administered the sacrament of confirmation at a parish, he revealed that of 77 priests who are currently serving in Gyeonggi area, 45 priests preferred continuing to serve in the new Diocese of Uijongbu, and other priests in the Archdiocese of Seoul, amounting to more than 100 persons, also applied to transfer to the new Diocese. For the composition of diocesan presbyterium in the new Diocese, the priests in the Archdiocese of Seoul were asked to submit an application by July 15, 2004 (cf. Communication on July 9, 2004).

Bishop Lee indicated that the diocesan presbyterium would consist of mostly young priests, saying, "the Diocese of Uijongbu seems to become the youngest diocese in Korea," and asked the faithful "to pray for the unity and sanctification of all priests in the diocese."

The number of priests (152 persons) amounts to almost twice the number of priests currently serving in Gyeonggi area. As the composition of diocesan presbyterium is settled, the division project of two dioceses is expected to proceed rapidly.

*  Chaplains Urge to Delay the Enforcement of Work Permit System

The Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju) held on July 14, 2004 a meeting of chaplains in charge of pastoral care of migrant workers in each diocese by inviting officials of the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice.

At the meeting, Bishop Kang made a strong appeal to postpone the enforcement of Work Permit System and said, "we also call on the Ministry to reconsider this matter more seriously because it will only result in producing more illegal residents and there exists a danger to violate their human rights."

"Since migration is a global trend, the Catholic Church in Korea also cannot ignore the problems of migrant workers," he said, and then asked the policy makers to develop more appropriate migration policy by examining the cases and policies of other countries advanced in this field.

As the Work Permit System will be put into effect from August, the Committee prepared such a meeting for the purpose of exchanging opinions between the government and the Church and seeking constructive ways to enhance the rights of migrant workers.

During the discussion, the chaplains claimed to abolish the Industrial Trainee Program, by which many trainees became illegal residents, and proposed legalizing the existing illegal residents.

However, Mr. Jang Ji-pyo, an official of the Immigration Bureau, said, "It is deemed difficult to alter the position of government to put into practice the Work Permit System along with the Industrial Trainee Program," and revealed that they would force some 60,000 illegal migrant workers to depart Korea by 2005 through a strict crackdown.

He also expressed a negative opinion regarding the suggestion to protect the rights of migrant workers as well as their family, saying, "It would give great burden to society if we would protect even the rights of the family of migrant workers in the framework of laws."

* Plenary of Korean Catholic Missionaries in Latin America Held in São Paulo

The 6th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Korean Catholic Missionaries in Latin America (Chairman: Rev. John Son Gyeong-su, M.M., currently serving in Peru) was held on July 5-9, 2004 in São Paulo, Brazil.

This plenary assembly is for all Korean priests, religious, lay missionaries in Latin America, covering from Mexico to Argentina, to exchange experiences, build communion and make a renewed commitment to dynamic missionary work. It is held every year since 1999.

This year, some 120 Korean missionaries from 12 countries participated in the meeting. The Rev. Esteban Judd, M.M., who has been committed to mission in Peru for 30 years, gave a lecture on the mission history in Latin America from theological and sociological perspectives. Participants also had a time of refreshment through presentation of their missionary experiences, the performance of folk dance, and other group programs.

In particular, the Most Rev. Lazarus You Heung-sik, Coadjutor Bishop of Daejeon, met the participants, while he was visiting the Korean parish in São Paulo to administer the sacrament of confirmation. As if they had met their father from homeland, the missionaries welcomed Bishop You and had a warm and fraternal time with him.
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