CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Editor: Vocations and ...

Vocations and the Renewal of the Church

   
    Around the bicentennial of her establishment, the Catholic Church in Korea saw a great growth and bore much fruit. Now, whether she can continue to grow from a "mustard seed" to a large bush where "birds of the sky can come and dwell in its branches" depends on her efforts for renewal. Just as the Council of Trent loudly proclaimed the "reform of head," the Church in Korea also should give priority to the renewal of the clergy. First, priests today must follow the spirit of the Apostles who "devoted themselves to prayer and to serving the word" even by entrusting the task of charity to others (cf. Acts 6:2-4). As a pastor taking care of an ecclesial community, a priest should carry out the duties of administration and management. However, it is more important for him to conform to God, to be nurtured by Him and to proclaim the Word of God. For this, a priest must commit himself to a life of prayer and to preparing homilies and catechesis faithfully.

   Second, while consecrated people need to read the signs of the times and adapt themselves to them, the first principle of their renewal always lies in the observance of the rules of the institute which embody the spirit of the founder. History shows us that when religious forget their fundamental spirit and just pursue comfort, they end up compromising with the secular world. Regardless of time and place, religious should make it an essential point in their lives to pray in silence, to be united with God, and to live a simple life working in the spirit of evangelical poverty.

   Third, history teaches us that the Church can renew herself when she can read the signs of the times and respond to the needs of the time and place. As the Second Vatican Council stressed, the Church "has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel" (Gaudium and spes, n.4). The Catholic Church in Korea should reflect on herself to see if she is properly serving the needs of our society and our people.

   Fourth, we need to recall the recommendation of Bishop Giberti with regard to vocations to the priesthood. He said, "A smaller number of valid candidates are better than futile many." This saying is all the more worthy of remembrance when the number of vocation is decreasing in the Church. Seminaries and religious institutes must intensify the admission criteria of candidates for the priesthood or religious life and provide them with high-quality formation so that only selected people will serve the Church and the People of God.

    The renewal of the Church is the fastest path toward activating vocations, the guarantee of a brighter future for the Church. 

+Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Auxiliary Bishop of Kwangju
President Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & 
Interreligious Dialogue
of the CBCK

 

 

 

2005 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK

Decisions Made at the 2005
Spring General Assembly of the CBCK

      

   The bishops in Korea held the 2005 Spring General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea from March 7th to 10th, 2005 and decided as follows.

   1. The Bishops decided to adopt the new translation of the Bible as the official version in the Catholic Church with the Korean title of "Seong Gyeong"(Biblia Sacra). More than 15 years of toil on the part of many biblical scholars in the Catholic Church in Korea has produced this new translation which is more faithful to the original text.

   2. The Bishops approved the publication of the Guidance for Catechesis in the Catholic Church in Korea and the Syllabus of Sunday School Catechesis, which the Committee for Catechesis presented.

   3. To avoid the Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People falling on the same day as Papal Sunday, the Bishops decided to observe the Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People on the Sunday preceding June 25th (Korean War Memorial Day).

   4. In Korea Migration Day will be celebrated on May 1st (when it is Sunday) or on the Sunday preceding May 1st, from the year 2005.

   5. The Bishops decided that each diocese would celebrate the Year of the Eucharist in its own way.

   6. The Bishops decided to set up the "Committee for Research on Pastoral Administration" on a temporary basis for the standardization of pastoral administration among dioceses, including the reformation of the register system within the Church.

   7. It was decided that the Bishop of Uijeongbu should be included in the Special Episcopal Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People.

   8. The Bishops decided to positively support on the level of the Episcopal Conference the constitutional petition for the amendment of the "Law Concerning Ethics and Security of Life" that the Bioethics Committee is planning to make.

   9. The Bishops approved the "Regulations for the Administration of Archives in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea."

   10. To make the Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting more fruitful, the Bishops elected the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju, the Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Daegu, and the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chunchon, as the collaborators of the Korean side.

   11. The Bishops decided to unify the signs of the Catholic churches across the nation as "Catholic church" and to register the logo sign of the Catholic Church as a trademark.

           In Memoriam

    The Most Rev. Gabriel Lee Gap-soo, Emeritus Bishop of Pusan, passed away on December 21, 2004 at the age of 80. The funeral Mass was offered on December 23, 2004 at the Namcheon Cathedral of Pusan with the bishops of Korea concelebrating. Born in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsang-do in 1924, the late Bishop was ordained a priest in 1950 and appointed as the second Bishop of Pusan in 1975. He retired from the see of Pusan in 1999.

 

 

 

 

Message for the 2005 Week for Sanctification of the Family

Message for the 2005 Week for Sanctification of the Family

Family Sanctification, a Mission of Every Christian

      

   Dear Brothers and Sisters,

   1. Today, at the closing of a year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and start the Week for Sanctification of the Family. This Week is the time to reflect on the profound meaning of the family, the place of life, and to make a commitment to the sanctification of the family.

   2. The family is the most basic and primary community of human persons. It is in the family that "life" is born and interpersonal relationships begin. The family is the starting point and destination of all human relationships and constitutes the fundamental cell to form many structures for human life. "Life" and the "family" are therefore inseparably related.

   3. There is a saying "Ga-Hwa-Man-Sa-Seong," which means, "When the family is peaceful, all things go well." The family is the basis of society and the Church. Today, the family faces a crisis of break-up for many reasons, including the prevalence of divorce. Conjugal love and the begetting of children, the two pillars of the family, have been shaken. If the family collapses, so does the life.

   4. "The family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love" (Familiaris Consortio, n.17). The family, starting from love, constitutes the human community, gives life and participates in the life and mission of the Church, including its social development. Pope John Paul II urged Christians in the Letter to the Families to build a "culture of love" based on the closeness and intensity of family bonds (cf. n.13). This love requires great efforts to overcome the selfishness of individuals, couples and societies. This love also requires total self-giving to others. Every beautiful thing we create is completed by the love of the cross of self-giving.

   5. These days we are faced with the serious problem of family break-up. The divorce rate reaches record highs year by year, abortions prevail reaching 1.5 to 2 million cases a year, and the birth rate drops to the lowest in the world. Various kinds of serious family-related problems are emerging, including disregard for the institution of marriage, sexual openness, preference for the single-life style, cohabitation, aging population, orphans caused by divorces, households headed by children, poorly-fed children, domestic violence, and juvenile delinquency.

   6. Materialism and selfishness lie at the root of the family crisis and its break-up. Our society has regarded economic growth as its paramount goal. The population policy of the government had provoked the weakening of social moral ethics, and this brought about disrespect for life and family. The first victim of this pathology was the family itself, and the wounded and broken family in turn has caused other forms of problems; it is a vicious circle.

   7. To save the family in crisis, we should make every effort to sanctify the family. This effort is the mission of every Christian. For family sanctification, we should first of all recognize that the family is the "agent as well as the object of the family ministry." The domestic church should carry out its priestly, royal and prophetic ministry through family prayer, evangelization and service. The family should realize its role as an agent of evangelization to evangelize itself and as an apostle sent to evangelize other families. We also should positively take part in various forms of family formation, such as family education, chastity education, premarital education including natural family planning.

   8. It is the mission of every Christian to restore the value and dignity inherent to the family, to protect and sanctify the family as did Jesus who became part of the Holy Family. The family is the gift of God and the hope for humanity. When the family is sanctified and becomes a domestic church as a basic community of happiness, we can establish an upright relationship with God.

   9. Pope John Paul II taught in his Encyclical Redemptor Hominis that "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it"(n. 10). Therefore, the family established on love and life shows the true meaning of the human community. The first task of the family is to lead a life of unity, by making love the inner principle, the eternal drive and the final goal. For without love the family cannot be a true human community nor can it survive and grow as an integral human community.

   Dear Brother and Sisters,

   10. The problem of the family is the problem of the Church and of each of us. Thus, the crisis of the family is the crisis of society and of the Church. Facing the destruction and break-up of the family, we Christians should concentrate our wisdom and power on the sanctification of the family for the sake of our future, the future of the civil society and of the Church.

December 26, 2004

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

+ Peter Lee Ki-heon

Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of Korea

President Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry of the CBCK

 

 

 

 

 

Message for the 2005 Overseas Aid Sunday

"Give, And It will Be Given to You"(Lk 6:38)

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

   1. God is our Father, the Father of all of us. As we have God as our Father, God loves each and every one of us without exception. His love does not know differences of races, skin types, nationalities and religions. We Christians who love God our Father and are loved by Him must also love everyone as our Father does. "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"(Mt 5:48).

   2. On the Feast of the Holy Family, we heard the news of the tsunami that battered South Asia. According to news reports, the tsunami claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Malaysia and caused many people to be bereaved of their family and ground of living. To help those in great need is one of our important tasks as Christians. We should pray to make this disaster an opportunity to realize that things in this world are momentary, that God alone is eternal, and that we should fear and obey the will of God. We also help the needy with concrete actions along with continuous prayers.

   3. The Committee for "Caritas Coreana" of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea helps the needy and marginalized in North Korea, in other areas of Asia and in Africa in the name of the Catholic Church in Korea. After the Korean War when we faced adversity, many countries helped us with prayer as well as material aid, thanks to which we were able to reconstruct the nation from the ruins of war. Thanks to them, we have now achieved eye-opening economic growth and economic abundance in our time. In many poor countries, a thousand-won note (or one dollar bill) we save can feed a family for a day. "Little drops of water make the mighty ocean!" The Church should take more positive action towards helping the needy in other countries. Then we will receive greater rewards from God. "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous"(Lk 14:12-14).

   4. In this world we often witness inequality. Inequality exists in the quality of life, among individuals as well as among countries. While some people suffer from diseases caused by overeating in some parts of the world, many others are afflicted with undernourishment. Clearly, it is not because God is partial but because people do not share what they have. In many cases, conflicts and disputes are due to the human greed as we do not share but just accumulate things. The world produces food enough to feed all humanity if we practice a life of sharing. Our Father in heaven wishes His children to love and help neighbors.

   5. God gave us his most beloved Son. We, beloved children of God, also should give what we treasure to others. When we give, we can be true Christians in the image of God. "It is more blessed to give than to receive"(Acts 20:35). The Holy Father said, "No one is so poor that he has nothing to share, and no one is so rich as not to need the gifts of the others." I hope we Christians can receive even greater grace by practicing a life of sharing. Overseas Aid Sunday is the Sunday to help the needy in other countries in a concrete manner. "Give, and it will be given to you"(Lk 6:38).

January 30, 2005

Overseas Aid Sunday

+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik

Coadjutor Bishop of Daejeon

President Committee for "Caritas Coreana" of the CBCK

 

 

 

 

Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity(summary)

Christ, the One Foundation of the Church

     

"For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, 'I belong to Paul,' and another, 'I belong to Apollos,' are you not merely human? …… For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. …… And you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God"(1Cor 3:1-23).

   The reason for the division in the Corinthian community lay in clinging to the old attitudes of selfishness and arrogance, not in rejecting the principal doctrines of the faith. They received abundant grace but they could not unite in one heart. The Apostle Paul, however, totally depended on the grace of the Lord, saying that he did everything as a minister of God.

   We live in a similar situation. The tension and conflict in the Christian community do not originate from issues of faith but rather from the human desire to control others as we will. The answer of the Apostle Paul was to create unity with humility regarding duties. We can strengthen each other by being aware that we are all partners with God and that we constitute one building built on the same foundation, that is, Jesus Christ.

   In November 2004, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity organized an international meeting near Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar Decree "Unitatis Redintegratio," where representatives of the Catholic Church, Protestant Church and Orthodox Church gathered to repent the fault of the past and pray together. In the spirit of the meeting, the Pontifical Council and the WCC Faith and Order Commission prepared together this year's Christian unity octave and jointly published the material. Hopefully, this collaboration can open a new era and take a step towards the Christian unity.

   Pope John Paul II stressed in his Encyclical Ut Unum Sint (1995) that "Ecumenism implies that the Christian communities should help one another so that there may be truly present in them the full content and all the requirements of "the heritage handed down by the Apostles." Without cooperation on the spiritual and fundamental dimension, communion cannot be complete.

   If ecumenical movement is limited to annual events or functions, it is an act of abandoning the will of Jesus. Each Church or Christian Community should respond to the working of the Holy Spirit and respect each other's charism. Therefore, we should repent our fault which damages the evangelical love and ask the mercy of the Lord. Repentance should start from, "an awareness of certain exclusions which seriously harm fraternal charity, of certain refusals to forgive, of a certain pride, of an unevangelical insistence on condemning the 'other side', of a disdain born of an unhealthy presumption"(n. 5).

   Until now, the Church in Korea has made efforts to understand the profound wounds of our divided brothers and to cure their suffering, but this is not sufficient. For the unchristian antagonism among Christian communities in the recent past, we should ask for forgiveness of each other and the mercy of God for what we have done. It is a grave misconception to regard the division in Western countries in the remote past as a legacy of faith. On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, let us pray "Ut unum sint!" and invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit so that Christian communities can take further steps towards a more mature collaboration.

   This year more than ever mutual collaboration is required for reconciliation and peace because in many parts of the earth many people are suffering from wars, discrimination, poverty, hunger, disease and natural disaster like recent earthquake and tsunami. In this situation, Christian communities must take the lead in facing this calamity and practice the love of Christ.

January 18, 2005

+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong

Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue of the CBCK

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea

     * Quake-Tsunami Relief of the Catholic Church in Korea

   For the victims of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami, the Catholic Church in Korea coordinated her relief efforts from the national level down to the individual level.

   The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju) sent on December 28, 2004 $50,000 to the worst-hit countries, such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, and on the same day The One Body One Heart Movement also sent $30,000 to Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Movement sent its staff members and a medical team to the afflicted area. The Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Coadjutor Bishop of Daejeon) also raised donations, in which many religious and lay Catholics actively participated.

   Relief efforts were also made on the diocesan or parochial level. The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued on December 28, 2004 a special message appealing for positive support for the victims and directed parishes to make an additional offering during Sunday Mass on January 2, 2005. Other dioceses, including Pusan, Cheongju, Uijongbu, Kwangju, Suwon, and the Military Ordinariate, also had a second offering. The Dioceses of Incheon and Wonju raised contributions on the level of the parish. On December 30, 2004, the Archdiocese of Daegu delivered $10,000 to the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana."

   * Religions United in Social Welfare Sector with "Charity and Mercy"

   The Conference of Religious Social Welfare Agencies was founded on December 29, 2004 as a corporation to mobilize the resources of religions and to represent the position of religious circles in the social welfare sector.

   At the inaugural meeting, Mr. Jeong In-deok, a Won Buddhist minister, was elected as the first president and the Rev. Joseph Kim Yong-tae, Chairman of Caritas Seoul, was elected as vice president.

   The Conference, composed of eleven religious bodies from the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church, the Chentae Buddhist Order, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, Won Buddhism and the Jingak Buddhist Order will promote diverse activities, including collaboration among religions in the area of social welfare, academic work, cooperation with public social agencies, study, publication and publicity.

   This year, the Conference will arrange a workshop of working personnel in April and hold social policy conferences in May and September and will have meetings with the Minister of Health and Welfare four times in order to discuss pending issues of the social welfare area.

   * Catholic University of Korea Wishes for Religious Freedom
              in North Korea at Its 150th Anniversary

   The Catholic University of Korea (President: Rev. Simon Oh Chang-seon) celebrated Mass on January 10, 2005 marking its 150th anniversary, with the intention of religious freedom in North Korea.

   Some 400 faithful attended the Mass, including the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, the Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, Bishop of Pusan, and the Rev. Peter Ryu Jang-seon, President of the Jesuit-run Sogang University.

   Archbishop Cheong said in his homily, "In our present society where materialism and selfishness prevail, I hope the Catholic University can contribute to human education and life-respecting education as well as to the formation of talented students."

   Father Oh said, "The 150-year history is a history of efforts for respecting human persons and life in the spirit of the Gospel. On this occasion, we confirm our identity anew and make a new resolution to pursue our educational goals of truth, love and service with all our energy and ability."

   The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, who has served as the 11th and 16th President of the University, read a congratulatory message and invoked blessings on the future of the University.

   Before the Mass, a ceremony blessing a statue of the Rev. Andrew Kim Tae-gon took place. This year coincides with the 160th anniversary of his ordination of priesthood.

   * Newly Established "Catholic Seoul Mission" to Strive for the Mission to America

   The Archdiocese of Seoul approved on January 26, 2005 the "Catholic Seoul Mission" (Director: Rev. Louis Kim Taek-gu) as an official body of the Archdiocese to foster the mission to America.

   Along with the existing Korean Foreign Mission Society (established by the CBCK in 1975) and the Korean Foreign Mission Sisters (established by the Diocese of Pusan in 1986), the Mission will involve a wide range of the faithful, from clergy and religious to the laity.

   Unlike the Korean Foreign Mission Society's focusing on mission to Asia, the Mission will concentrate its energy on the mission to America. It will form clergy, religious and lay missionaries to be sent to foreign countries and develop programs and initiatives for foreign mission.

   As a first step, the Mission plans to send three missionaries to the Archdiocese of Panama this year. To carry out their missionary work they will first learn the language and culture and then enter into the seminary there.

   With the establishment of the Mission, the Archdiocese of Seoul gains momentum in its foreign mission work and contributes to raising the status of the Catholic Church in Korea from being a receiving Church to being a sending Church.

   * Korean and Japanese Youth Confirm Their Friendship and Make a Commitment to Love

   Some 50 Korean and Japanese youths gathered together in Suwon and Uiwang, Korea from February 12 to 18 for the annual Korea-Japan Youth Exchange Meeting, the 11th since its inception.

   Held with the theme "Live in Love," this year's Exchange Meeting offered young participants an opportunity to broaden mutual understanding and build fraternal love and to reflect on the true meaning of love.

   For the first two days, Japanese youth were able to experience Korean culture and family life through home-stays in Catholic families. After that, they met Korean youth and spent five days together, under sub-themes of "Say Love," "Share Love," "Keep Love Alive," and "Live in Love." They undertook various programs, including watching the movie "Passion of Christ," visiting seniors' home and serving them, performing plays based on Korean and Japanese traditional tales and playing Korean traditional games.

   The Rev. Stephen Han Seung-ju, Secretary of the CBCK Committee on Education, said, "We prepared this Exchange Meeting hoping to offer a good occasion for the youth, on whom the future of our two churches depend, to appreciate and learn the importance of sharing love with neighbors and living out a life of serving." He also added, "I hope that the Exchange Meeting will expand so that it can lay the groundwork for the unity and harmony of our two countries and build solidarity between the two churches as well."

   * Archbishop of Seoul Issues Message for Lent

   On the occasion of 2005 Lent, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued a message, inviting the faithful to a life of reflection and conversion to God.

   In the message, titled "Life of Forgiveness and Reconciliation," he explained that conversion can be embodied through prayer, fasting and charitable acts and stressed that sharing what we have with needy neighbors is a good way to follow the Lenten journey.

   Recalling that this year marks the 60th year of National Liberation, he particularly wished for a peaceful reconciliation of the two Koreas, which would enable many separated families to meet each other and reunite.

   "During Lent, conversion is required both in person and in community. Given the realities of the today's society, Christians, who believe and follow the Lord, should first give an example of conversion." He also hoped that not only Christians but all the people, families, society and the entire national community would be reborn through sincere conversion.

   * Committee for the Lay Apostolate Organizes Its Structure

   For the first time since its establishment, the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate organized its structure and appointed 13 members to activate its operation.

   On March 2, 2005, the Committee held the first general assembly and appointed 13 members for a three-year term, including priests, women religious and laypersons.

   Reaching a consensus on the need to present the lay Catholics an identity and right direction for the lay apostolate, the members will have an in-house seminar on April 23-24, and a joint seminar with Pastoral Directors of each diocese on June 23-24, to set up concrete plans.

   At the first meeting, the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, President of the Committee, asked the newly appointed members "to support the lay Catholics to fulfill their roles and mission in the Church and to discern the right direction of the lay apostolate to guide them."

   The Committee was established by the decision of the 1994 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK as a national body of the episcopal conference but has not been able to develop positive activities. Thus, the Committee set up an ad-hoc committee in May 2004 to prepare its statutes and organize the structure.

News in Brief

   - On January 12, 2005, at the premier of the biographical movie of Mother Teresa starring British actress Olivia Hussey, Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and Bishops praised the life of Mother Teresa which was marked by charity. Cardinal Kim said, "This is a film which shows us what a holy life is. It also gives us a message to live out charity anywhere and anytime by seeking for and following the Will of God."

   - The episcopal council of the Archdiocese of Seoul announced that Benedict Park Min-seo, a 36-year deaf-mute candidate for the priesthood, would be accepted in the graduate school of the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul and take the course for the diaconate. He is the first deaf-mute seminarian in Korea. Park, after losing his hearing at the age of three, developed his the vocation to priesthood from a young age. He received the lectorate in the U.S.A. At present, there are 18 deaf priests all over the world, including seven in the U.S.A. and three in the U.K. However, there is no deaf priest in Asia.

   - On March 5, 2005, the Catholic Health Association of Korea was launched and held its first general assembly. Placed under the wings of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana," the Association is composed of some 30,000 Catholic doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical administrative staff. It will carry out various projects in the Catholic spirit, including a pro-life campaign, an overseas medical mission, a home-based nursing service provided on the parochial level and formation of its members.

   - The Rev. Thomas Aquinas Kwak Sang-hun, professor at the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul, obtained a doctorate in Buddhism, with a thesis titled "Comparison between 'Mercy' in Early Buddhist Scriptures and 'Agape' in the Synoptic Gospels," at Buddhist-run Dongguk University in Korea. He compared the two notions in the perspectives of "self-interest and altruism," "wisdom and mercy," and "justice and mercy."

 

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea

     * Quake-Tsunami Relief of the Catholic Church in Korea

   For the victims of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami, the Catholic Church in Korea coordinated her relief efforts from the national level down to the individual level.

   The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju) sent on December 28, 2004 $50,000 to the worst-hit countries, such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, and on the same day The One Body One Heart Movement also sent $30,000 to Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Movement sent its staff members and a medical team to the afflicted area. The Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Coadjutor Bishop of Daejeon) also raised donations, in which many religious and lay Catholics actively participated.

   Relief efforts were also made on the diocesan or parochial level. The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued on December 28, 2004 a special message appealing for positive support for the victims and directed parishes to make an additional offering during Sunday Mass on January 2, 2005. Other dioceses, including Pusan, Cheongju, Uijongbu, Kwangju, Suwon, and the Military Ordinariate, also had a second offering. The Dioceses of Incheon and Wonju raised contributions on the level of the parish. On December 30, 2004, the Archdiocese of Daegu delivered $10,000 to the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana."

   * Religions United in Social Welfare Sector with "Charity and Mercy"

   The Conference of Religious Social Welfare Agencies was founded on December 29, 2004 as a corporation to mobilize the resources of religions and to represent the position of religious circles in the social welfare sector.

   At the inaugural meeting, Mr. Jeong In-deok, a Won Buddhist minister, was elected as the first president and the Rev. Joseph Kim Yong-tae, Chairman of Caritas Seoul, was elected as vice president.

   The Conference, composed of eleven religious bodies from the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church, the Chentae Buddhist Order, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, Won Buddhism and the Jingak Buddhist Order will promote diverse activities, including collaboration among religions in the area of social welfare, academic work, cooperation with public social agencies, study, publication and publicity.

   This year, the Conference will arrange a workshop of working personnel in April and hold social policy conferences in May and September and will have meetings with the Minister of Health and Welfare four times in order to discuss pending issues of the social welfare area.

   * Catholic University of Korea Wishes for Religious Freedom
              in North Korea at Its 150th Anniversary

   The Catholic University of Korea (President: Rev. Simon Oh Chang-seon) celebrated Mass on January 10, 2005 marking its 150th anniversary, with the intention of religious freedom in North Korea.

   Some 400 faithful attended the Mass, including the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, the Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, Bishop of Pusan, and the Rev. Peter Ryu Jang-seon, President of the Jesuit-run Sogang University.

   Archbishop Cheong said in his homily, "In our present society where materialism and selfishness prevail, I hope the Catholic University can contribute to human education and life-respecting education as well as to the formation of talented students."

   Father Oh said, "The 150-year history is a history of efforts for respecting human persons and life in the spirit of the Gospel. On this occasion, we confirm our identity anew and make a new resolution to pursue our educational goals of truth, love and service with all our energy and ability."

   The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, who has served as the 11th and 16th President of the University, read a congratulatory message and invoked blessings on the future of the University.

   Before the Mass, a ceremony blessing a statue of the Rev. Andrew Kim Tae-gon took place. This year coincides with the 160th anniversary of his ordination of priesthood.

   * Newly Established "Catholic Seoul Mission" to Strive for the Mission to America

   The Archdiocese of Seoul approved on January 26, 2005 the "Catholic Seoul Mission" (Director: Rev. Louis Kim Taek-gu) as an official body of the Archdiocese to foster the mission to America.

   Along with the existing Korean Foreign Mission Society (established by the CBCK in 1975) and the Korean Foreign Mission Sisters (established by the Diocese of Pusan in 1986), the Mission will involve a wide range of the faithful, from clergy and religious to the laity.

   Unlike the Korean Foreign Mission Society's focusing on mission to Asia, the Mission will concentrate its energy on the mission to America. It will form clergy, religious and lay missionaries to be sent to foreign countries and develop programs and initiatives for foreign mission.

   As a first step, the Mission plans to send three missionaries to the Archdiocese of Panama this year. To carry out their missionary work they will first learn the language and culture and then enter into the seminary there.

   With the establishment of the Mission, the Archdiocese of Seoul gains momentum in its foreign mission work and contributes to raising the status of the Catholic Church in Korea from being a receiving Church to being a sending Church.

   * Korean and Japanese Youth Confirm Their Friendship and Make a Commitment to Love

   Some 50 Korean and Japanese youths gathered together in Suwon and Uiwang, Korea from February 12 to 18 for the annual Korea-Japan Youth Exchange Meeting, the 11th since its inception.

   Held with the theme "Live in Love," this year's Exchange Meeting offered young participants an opportunity to broaden mutual understanding and build fraternal love and to reflect on the true meaning of love.

   For the first two days, Japanese youth were able to experience Korean culture and family life through home-stays in Catholic families. After that, they met Korean youth and spent five days together, under sub-themes of "Say Love," "Share Love," "Keep Love Alive," and "Live in Love." They undertook various programs, including watching the movie "Passion of Christ," visiting seniors' home and serving them, performing plays based on Korean and Japanese traditional tales and playing Korean traditional games.

   The Rev. Stephen Han Seung-ju, Secretary of the CBCK Committee on Education, said, "We prepared this Exchange Meeting hoping to offer a good occasion for the youth, on whom the future of our two churches depend, to appreciate and learn the importance of sharing love with neighbors and living out a life of serving." He also added, "I hope that the Exchange Meeting will expand so that it can lay the groundwork for the unity and harmony of our two countries and build solidarity between the two churches as well."

   * Archbishop of Seoul Issues Message for Lent

   On the occasion of 2005 Lent, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued a message, inviting the faithful to a life of reflection and conversion to God.

   In the message, titled "Life of Forgiveness and Reconciliation," he explained that conversion can be embodied through prayer, fasting and charitable acts and stressed that sharing what we have with needy neighbors is a good way to follow the Lenten journey.

   Recalling that this year marks the 60th year of National Liberation, he particularly wished for a peaceful reconciliation of the two Koreas, which would enable many separated families to meet each other and reunite.

   "During Lent, conversion is required both in person and in community. Given the realities of the today's society, Christians, who believe and follow the Lord, should first give an example of conversion." He also hoped that not only Christians but all the people, families, society and the entire national community would be reborn through sincere conversion.

   * Committee for the Lay Apostolate Organizes Its Structure

   For the first time since its establishment, the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate organized its structure and appointed 13 members to activate its operation.

   On March 2, 2005, the Committee held the first general assembly and appointed 13 members for a three-year term, including priests, women religious and laypersons.

   Reaching a consensus on the need to present the lay Catholics an identity and right direction for the lay apostolate, the members will have an in-house seminar on April 23-24, and a joint seminar with Pastoral Directors of each diocese on June 23-24, to set up concrete plans.

   At the first meeting, the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, President of the Committee, asked the newly appointed members "to support the lay Catholics to fulfill their roles and mission in the Church and to discern the right direction of the lay apostolate to guide them."

   The Committee was established by the decision of the 1994 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK as a national body of the episcopal conference but has not been able to develop positive activities. Thus, the Committee set up an ad-hoc committee in May 2004 to prepare its statutes and organize the structure.

News in Brief

   - On January 12, 2005, at the premier of the biographical movie of Mother Teresa starring British actress Olivia Hussey, Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and Bishops praised the life of Mother Teresa which was marked by charity. Cardinal Kim said, "This is a film which shows us what a holy life is. It also gives us a message to live out charity anywhere and anytime by seeking for and following the Will of God."

   - The episcopal council of the Archdiocese of Seoul announced that Benedict Park Min-seo, a 36-year deaf-mute candidate for the priesthood, would be accepted in the graduate school of the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul and take the course for the diaconate. He is the first deaf-mute seminarian in Korea. Park, after losing his hearing at the age of three, developed his the vocation to priesthood from a young age. He received the lectorate in the U.S.A. At present, there are 18 deaf priests all over the world, including seven in the U.S.A. and three in the U.K. However, there is no deaf priest in Asia.

   - On March 5, 2005, the Catholic Health Association of Korea was launched and held its first general assembly. Placed under the wings of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana," the Association is composed of some 30,000 Catholic doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical administrative staff. It will carry out various projects in the Catholic spirit, including a pro-life campaign, an overseas medical mission, a home-based nursing service provided on the parochial level and formation of its members.

   - The Rev. Thomas Aquinas Kwak Sang-hun, professor at the Archdiocesan Major Seminary of Seoul, obtained a doctorate in Buddhism, with a thesis titled "Comparison between 'Mercy' in Early Buddhist Scriptures and 'Agape' in the Synoptic Gospels," at Buddhist-run Dongguk University in Korea. He compared the two notions in the perspectives of "self-interest and altruism," "wisdom and mercy," and "justice and mercy."

 

 

 

The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints

The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea 

35. Saint Pierre Philibert Maubant, Priest(1803-1839)

    Father Maubant was born in 1803 in Vassy, France. After being ordained a priest, he entered the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1831. He was sent to China where he volunteered to go to Korea.

   He became the first French missionary to enter Korea. In 1836, disguised as a mourner, he crossed the Uiju border through a ditch and safely arrived at Seoul 15 days later .

   He always traveled in a mourning costume which covered his whole body. He heard confessions of the Catholics in Chinese writing or through interpreters. He and Fr. Chastan, who came to Korea after him, had to endure the difficult and unfamiliar environment of the country, staying in tiny mud huts and eating poor food. He finally fell seriously ill and received the last rites from Fr. Chastan. His illness was miraculously cured three months later.

   Fr. Maubant and Fr. Chastan calculated the number of the Catholics to be about 6,000. The two missionaries established mission stations, mostly in remote places in the mountains, and visited them frequently. In each mission station a catechist was named. In 1837 alone, they baptized 1,237, heard 2,087 confessions, and distributed Holy Communion to 1,950.

   Fr. Maubant felt it necessary to have native priests, so at the end of 1836 he selected three young boys - Francis Xavier Choe Pangje, Andrew Kim Taegon, Thomas Choe Yangeop - as seminarians. He taught them Latin, and then sent them to Macao. The young seminarians arrived at Macao after eight months' travel through Manchuria, Mongolia and China. They studied at the Procure of the Paris Foreign Mission Society in Macao.

   Foreign missionaries' presence became known to many people and government officials. The Korean government arrested and tortured many Catholics to find out where the missionaries were staying. Bishop Imbert thought it would be better for the missionaries to give themselves up to minimize trouble for the Catholics. He ordered Fr. Maubant and Fr. Chastan to give themselves up.

   Fr. Maubant and Fr. Chastan made a final report to the Holy See: Catholics: 10,000; Baptisms: 1,200; Confirmations: 2,500; Confessions: 4,500; Holy Communions: 4,000; Marriages: 150; Extreme Unctions: 60; Catechumens: 600. Then they surrendered themselves to the government officials in Hongju. All three French missionaries were sentenced to death and were beheaded at Saenamteo by the Han River on September 21, 1839. Fr. Maubant was 35 years old. Their bodies were buried in Samsongsan Mountain and later transferred to the grotto of Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul.

36. Saint Damian Nam Myong-hyok (1802-1839)

   Damian Nam Myong-hyok was born in 1802 to a noble family. He led a prodigal life with bad companions when he was young. When he was about 30, he learned of the Catholic religion and began to practice it. When the Chinese priest Father Pacificus Yu Pang-je came to Korea, Damian

List of Articles
No. Subject Date

CBCK Newsletter No.62 (Spring 2008)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.61 (Winter 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.60 (Fall 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.59 (Summer 2007)

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CBCK Newsletter No.58 (Spring 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.57 (Winter 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.56 (Fall 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.55 (Summer 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.54 (Spring 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.53 (Winter 2005)

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CBCK Newsletter No.52 (Fall 2005)

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CBCK Newsletter No.51 (Summer 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.50 (Spring 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.49 (Winter 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.48 (Fall 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

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