2010 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
New Bishop of the Military Ordinariate
Message for the 15th Farmers' Sunday
Message for the 43rd Military Mission Sunday
Message for the Month of Mission 2010
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor
"The Church Needs Confessors Even More Than Apologists"
Every September, the holy month of martyrs, the Catholic Church in Korea commemorates the many Korean martyrs who have become the cornerstones of the Church in Korea. The martyrs and the confessors lived their faith to the point of sacrificing their lives. That is why the Church in Korea is regarded as the Church established on the blood of the martyrs and nourished by the 'supporting bodies' of the confessors. Such a story does not belong exclusively to the Church in Korea. In the history of the universal Church, 'witness with blood' has invigorated the throbbing heart of the Church.
The urgently needed spirituality of the Church in the modern world calls for the 'life of confessors,' as echoed in the words of Pius XII: "we need confessors even more than apologists." The Church has addressed the challenges of numerous heresies, participating actively in God's salvific plan for all humanity, with her renewed efforts to open herself to the world. In the course of doing this, the Church has found herself in need of apologetics and has witnessed the martyrdom of many faithful as they tried to practice and fight for the cause of ecclesiastical teachings. It is very clear that martyrdom manifests the perfect love for God as well as for the Church, as the word 'martyr' in Latin implies not only a martyr but also a confessor.
Not all apologists can be confessors, but all confessors without exception must be apologists. The life of a confessor itself can be a kind of apologetics, because he or she bears witness to Christ, practicing a new life with his or her faith and wisdom, even though he or she might not have contributed much to apologetics or to evangelization with academic theories, knowledge or eloquence. In this regard, nowadays we may attribute the title 'martyrdom of sweat' or 'white martyrdom' to those faithful who have lived the life of a confessor in an exceptional way.
Our situation urges us constantly to make a choice or a resolution with the free will given us by God. We come to live the life of a confessor whenever we choose not the untruth but the truth, not hypocrisy but sincerity. However, it is easier said than done, because such a life demands that we overcome various charges, conflicts and enmities. We cannot be a confessor, 'a white martyr', without wounds and scars. We can be a true confessor only if we share the wounds of Christ on the Cross. Following in the footsteps of the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, we had better light a candle with the practice of love rather than curse the darkness.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
2010 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2010 Autumn General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from October 11 to 14, 2010 and decided as follows:
1. The bishops approved the draft Bible with annotations based on La Traduction (Ecuménique de la Bible (in French) presented by the CBCK Biblical Committee (President: Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.). It will be published by the end of 2010.
2. The bishops approved the draft 'True Christian Life', Vol. 6 of the Catechism for Youth presented by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis.
3. The bishops approved the publication of the draft Proper Prayer for the Dead - The Problems of the Family Tree Healing presented by the CBCK Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document details the fundamental errors and problems of the Family Tree Healing and offers proper Christian attitudes confuting it along with the Church's teaching on death.
4. The bishops approved the Korean versions of the Ordo Confirmationis (Editio typica, 1973), the Ordo Benedicendi Oleum Catechumenorum et Infirmorum et Conficiendi Chrisma (Editio typica, 1971), the Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum Eorumque Pastoralis Curae (Editio typica, 1975), De Sacra Communione et De Cultu Mysterii Eucharistici extra Missam (Editio typica, 1973), all presented by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy. They will be submitted to the Apostolic See for their recognition.
5. The bishops approved the Korean version of the Evangeliarium submitted by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy.
6. The bishops approved the draft 'CBCK Guideline for the Pro-Life Movement' presented by the Pro-Life Activities under the CBCK Committee for Bioethics. In 2008 the Pro-Life Activities (formerly called 'Life 31 Movement') started to discuss the preparation of the guideline to promote a culture of life in opposition to a culture of death prevalent throughout the country. In March 2010, a subcommittee for the writing of the guideline was organized and the draft 'CBCK Guideline for Pro-Life Movement', based on the Pastoral Plans for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was prepared after several consultations. The bishops also listened to a report explaining that the Permanent Council of the CBCK approved the 'New Life Project' of the Pro-Life Activities. The 'New Life Project' was proposed in the course of the preparation for the '2010 National Congress for Life'. In collaboration with dioceses, parishes, hospitals, pro-life organizations, the network of shelters for single mothers, the project aims at the prevention of abortion through early pro-life education for teens and the provision of better situations for unmarried women who are about to give birth under difficult circumstances.
7. After deliberation on the draft 'Our Responsibility and Practice for the Restoration of the Divine Order of Creation' presented by the CBCK Committee for Justice and Peace, the bishops approved it and added the subtitle 'A CBCK Guideline on the Environment'. The guideline is a pastoral approach to environmental matters in Korea, as a part of the practical application of the teachings of the universal Church to the local situation. It touches on the social teaching of the Catholic Church considering environmental disruption as an injustice of the times and refers to the teaching of the late Pope John Paul II who regarded 'the problem of the destruction of the ecosystem' as 'a problem of faith'.
8. The bishops approved the establishment of the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea, mandating the Permanent Council and the General Secretariate of the CBCK to prepare and report on a detailed plan.
9. The bishops approved the establishment of 'Caritas Korea International' as a juridical foundation. 'Caritas Korea International' will take over the overseas aid activities of the CBCK Committee for 'Caritas Coreana'.
10. The bishops listened to a report on the digitalization of Samok (a monthly magazine issued from May, 1967 to April, 2007), a work entrusted to the Department of Communications of the CBCK with financial support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea. From the first Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2010, Samok in E-book format will be open to the public free of charge on the CBCK website.
11. The bishops approved the revised draft 'The Regulations of the Catholic Businessmen's Federation of Korea' and 'The Statues of the Catholic Leprosy Work Association of Korea', presented after consultation by the Conference of Vicars General.
12. The bishops appointed Rev. Peter Yoo Han Young, Secretary of the Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization, with the recommendation of the same Commission, as the postulator for the beatification of 'the witnesses to the faith of the Catholic Church in modern and contemporary Korea' and as the postulator for the second beatification and canonization of 'the martyrs and confessors under the Joseon Dynasty'.
13. The bishops elected the following officers of the CBCK:
- Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon (President of CBCK Committee for Justice &Peace)
- President of the Committee for Culture: Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok (member of Episcopal Commission for Mission & Pastoral Care)
- President of the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul (member of Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs)
- Moderator in charge of Health Pastoral Care: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il (member of Episcopal Commission for Mission & Pastoral Care)
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Bishop of the Military Ordinariate
The Apostolic See announced on July 16, 2010 that the Rev. Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il, O.F.M. was appointed as Bishop of the Military Ordinariate in Korea.
The newly elected bishop was born in Nonsan, South Korea in 1945 and he was admitted to the novitiate of Order of Friars Minor, O.F.M. in 1973 after graduating from Seoul National University in South Korea. He professed perpetual vows in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He was vicar in the Franciscan house of formation in Seoul, South Korea. His Episcopal ordination was held at St. Andrew Kim Church in the Korea Army Training Center, Chungnam on September 15, 2010. There were about 3,500 participants in the ceremony including H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, other bishops and priests, members of military related agencies, religious, and the faithful.
Bishop Yu said that he would humbly serve people in the Military Ordinariate in accordance with the words of Jesus, "I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do" (Jn 13,15).
Message for the 15th Farmers' Sunday
"We are agents for the peacebuilding and the preservation of creatures"
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we celebrate the 15th Farmers' Sunday.
The Farmers' Sunday is a day to remember the farmers along with their labor, who cultivate the land and produce crops for life with their own sweat with sunshine, wind and rain, conforming themselves to the will of God the Creator.
From the beginning, God the Creator invited us to be the stewards of his creatures. God entrusted us with the stewardship and responsibility of the creatures as the Book of Genesis said: "God blessed them, saying: 'Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth'" (Gn 1,28). It is the farmers who have lived most faithfully to the entrusted stewardship from the very beginning of human history.
However, the practical life of farmers living with the land upon the call to participate in God's work of creation, seems to be very hard. The depletion of farmland continues as more than 20,000 hectares of farmlands in Korea, converted into industrial or residential areas every year. When the depletion of farmland continues, the food self-sufficiency rate will drop resulting in the possible food crisis. Particularly, the Four Major Rivers Project pushed through by the Korean Government will cause the erosion of farmlands with the area of 260 square kilometer (26 hectares), 31 times wider than the Yeouido Islet near Han River in Seoul.
As the rural population has decreased rapidly every year, only about 3 million people, accounting for 6.4% of the nation's population, resided in rural areas as of December, 2009. Making the bad situation worse, the Four Major Rivers Project may force farmers and their family members (altogether about 56,000) to leave the rural areas, their old home.
At the beginning of this year, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI expressed his concerns about "the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas" (n. 4) in his message for the World Day of Peace. For the purpose of overcoming crises facing agricultural and rural communities, he pointed out more concretely, "Suitable strategies for rural development centred on small farmers and their families should be explored" (n. 10). He added, "There is a need, in effect, to move beyond a purely consumerist mentality in order to promote forms of agricultural and industrial production" (n. 10).
We must make a preferential choice of 'eco-lifestyle' instead of a consumerism-oriented lifestyle to restore our agriculture, rural area and farmers to life, aggravated by the Four Major Rivers Project, in addition to the ecological crisis, rapidly depleting farmland and the food crisis. This is a choice for the simple and humble lifestyle of the Gospel, denying material affluence and development. Urban parish communities must take the initiative to live together with their counterpart in rural areas, receiving the 'food of life' with thankfulness, fruits of the laborious farmers who shared in the benevolent will of God 'the Farmer'. In this way we can take part in the 'Save Our Rural Community Movement', a campaign for sharing and serving which the Catholic Church in Korea has promoted for the last 15 years.
Beloved brothers and sisters,
We Christians are agents for the peacebuilding and the preservation of creatures. Let us remember the farmers who practice an life-giving agriculture even at this very moment by toiling in the fields with their own sweat. Their hard labor makes peace between human beings and all creatures. Let us remember in prayer that God the Creator cultivates life and peace itself with our farmers.
May the blessing of God 'the Farmer' be always with all of you.
July 18, 2010
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK
Message for the 43rd Military Mission Sunday
Dear brothers and sisters!
On the occasion of the 43rd Military Mission Sunday, I would like to extend my deep appreciation and love to all the men and women of the Korean army, navy, and air force who are always giving themselves to the defense of our country in the frontline and in the rear, as well as to the military chaplains and to the faithful for their active prayer and support for the soldiers.
"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts" (Col 3,15)
In this year we remember the Korean War which broke out 60 years ago, just five years after liberation from Japan's colonial occupation from 1910 to 1945.
The boom of guns continued for three years until the war claimed the noble self-sacrifice of about 620,000 Korean soldiers and about 150,000 soldiers under the UN Command. Though the war eventually stopped, it inflicted the pain of separation upon more than ten million Korean people, turning the beautiful mountains and rivers of the Korean peninsula into ruins. However, the truce was never meant to be a true peace.
North Korea has continued to be a menace to the peace on this land in many ways for about 60 years since the armistice on July 27, 1953: 1.21 the surprise attack on Chungwadae (Presidential Mansion) on January 21, 1968; the attack of an armed infiltrator in the Uljin-Samchuk area on October 30, 1968; the axe murder incident near Panmunjeom in the DMZ between North and South Korea on August 18, 1976; the Rangoon bombing on October 9, 1983; the bombing of an airplane, The KAL flight number 585, on November 29, 1987; the infiltration submarine near Gangneung on September 18, 1996; the attempts to dig the four invasion tunnels from November, 1974 to March, 1990; the first Yeonpyung naval battle on June 15, 1999; the second Yeonpyung naval battle on June 29, 2002; the attack on Corvette Cheonan on March 26, 2010.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Mt 5,9)
That is why the Korean soldiers, our sons and daughters, serve their country, trying to accomplish a true peace in this land encouraged by the Lord's word: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5,9).
In spite of their harsh conditions, all the military chaplains and the faithful of the Military Ordinate are united as one in making efforts to communicate true peace and happiness as the Lord's promise to the soldiers, the 'agents of peace'.
"Leap over 60 Years! For the Peace of the World"
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, with the slogan of "Leap over 60 years! For the Peace of the World", the Korean armed forces are also doing their best to make this year the time to leap forward, initiating the reunification and prosperity of the nation, and furthering the peace of the world beyond this generation and era, in remembrance of the painful past of our nation.
Once the Republic of Korea was in dire need of foreign aid from 21 countries during the Korean War, but as of 2007 it ranked 11th in world of trade volume and it is even participating in the UN Peace Keeping Operation in eight regions of seven countries.
"As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1Pt 4,10)
The development of the Republic of Korea owes much to the sacrifice of hundreds of thousand of soldiers, and the military ordinate has contributed much to the noble patriotism of the soldiers.
Starting in April, 1951 with eleven military chaplains who served as commissioned civilians with no pay in the battlefields of the Korean War, the Military Ordinate celebrated the 20th anniversary of its establishment in 2009, and now it prepares for the 60th anniversary of the military mission in 2011. It has lived for the goal of 'the Evangelization of the Military up to 25%', with annual slogans, such as the 'Military Ordinate ready for a new start' (2006), 'a year of growth in the Word' (2007), 'a year for learning and participating in liturgy and catechism' (2009), and 'a year of the life of Sacraments' (2009).
Especially in 2010, the Military Ordinate lives 'a life of prayer and service'.
With in-depth experience of the true peace and unity of the Lord in incessant prayer, the Military Ordinate tries to conform to our mission as "those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2310; Gaudium et Spes, n. 79), living a life of dedicated service in the frontline and in the rear with firm conviction.
"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want" (Psl 23,1)
On the occasion of the 43rd Military Mission Sunday, your prayers, care and financial support will be a great help for the military chaplains, as well as for the soldiers and they will become the foundation for building the Kingdom of Heaven filled with true peace and happiness.
"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever" (Psl 23,1-6).
I invoke the peace and blessing of the Lord for the soldiers who serve the country in their youth on and under the sea, in the sky, on the shore and in the DMZ even at this moment as we mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.
Finally, I would like to invite you all, brothers and sisters, to offer prayers, encouragement and generous support to the soldiers. I hope that the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be always with you and your families.
October 3, 2010
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il
Bishop of the Military Ordinariate
Message for the Month of Mission 2010
Like a Lamp Shining in the Darkness
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28,19-20).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The faithful have been countlessly reading and listening to these words over the past 2000 years. However, we find a need for listening anew to these words when we look around at the circumstances we are facing now. We know well that if we do not practice evangelization always and everywhere we cannot be Christians individually nor can the Church be the Church of Christ, because "the pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature," as the Second Vatican Council proclaimed (Ad Gentes n.2). Therefore, we need to reflect upon the words with a renewed sensibility, not just because we can still find many people around us who are yet to be Catholics through the reception of the sacrament of baptism. We may say that we can be proud of ourselves when we just count the sheer number of newly baptized Koreans in the last 30 years, which testifies to the amazing growth of the Catholic Church in Korea unparalleled in the world.
Although we still have a considerable number of newly baptized, we cannot help pondering upon the task and needs in the field of mission when we witness many Catholics falling into a non-practicing faith life, If a person has found a precious treasure in the Gospel, he or she should not give it up and turn away so easily. Jesus said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field" (Mt 13,44). Therefore, it cannot be but a challenge to all the members of the Church, when many baptized faithful turn their face away from the Church as we have seen. This phenomenon shows that we have made insufficient efforts to have the faithful put deep roots in the Gospel.
In this regard, turn to the words of St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. The Apostle sets apart baptism from proclamation of the Gospel for the moment. He tells us with an impressive tone that it is far from the divine will to administer baptism to those who are not immersed enough in the Gospel and he suggests a countermeasure for such cases: "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.' Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (1Cor 1,17-25).
In the following chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians St. Paul continues in the same tone: "my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God" (2Cor 2,4-5).
All preachers of the gospel, including priests, should follow in St. Paul's footsteps as an example of agents of the words of God. Therefore, we should not try to use "the wisdom of the world" or "human eloquence" with "persuasive words of wisdom", but should proclaim "with a demonstration of spirit and power", so that the faith of listeners may "rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." In this way we should make them taste not the wisdom of this world, but "God's wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory" (1Cor 2,7) and enter into it. The faithful should bear witness to the Kingdom of God to their neighbors, in holding always "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph 6,17), that is, the words of God which are "living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4,12). With this weapon they can overcome bravely any kind of difficulty in their lives. Also we should prepare for Mass with our concerted efforts and celebrate it with all our hearts, so that it might be a feast to which God invites us to give each other His light and power. The Mass must be an opportunity for us to be newly inspired with brotherhood and mission for our neighbors.
Then with a firm confidence in the fact that "What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1Cor 2,9), the faithful will become the light and salt of the world, and the Gospel will shine on all people as "a lamp shining in a dark place" (2Pt 1,19).
+ Vincent Ri Pyong-ho
Bishop of Chonju
CBCK Committee for Evangelization
● News from the Church in Korea
● Congress of Asian Catholic Laity
The Congress of Asian Catholic Laity, held from August 31 to September 5, 2010 in Seoul, closed with a solemn Mass. About 400 laity and representatives of apostolic organizations from eighteen countries participated in the congress.
The message sent to 120 million laity around Asia by the participants of this Congress said that "We, Asians, do not feel any sense of inferiority or fear because of the fact that we are a minority in the world." It also urged the faithful to live a life of courageous witness to the Gospel as Jesus Christ is the best gift for the people of Asia.
During the congress, there were presentations and discussions with the theme "Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia Today".
Especially, the participants tried hard to find ways to overcome the dismal reality of the lack of religious freedom and poverty which is present in 32 out of the 52 Asian nations and which destroys human dignity.
H.E. Staislaw Cardinal Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, emphasized that the hope for Asian Christians is the laity themselves, so they should step forward spreading the hope of Jesus in this continent. He also said in his message, "In union of mind and heart with their pastors, and accompanied at every step of their journey of faith by a sound spiritual and catechetical formation, they need to be encouraged to cooperate actively not only in building up their local Christian communities but also in making new pathways for the Gospel in every sector of society."
H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said in his homily at the closing Mass: "The best way to proclaim Jesus Christ is to bear witness to Him and the effective way to bear witness to Him is to follow Him, taking up his or her cross in everyday life." Cardinal Cheong encouraged the laity to act as witnesses of Christ and to become new apostles.
The participants had an opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine and to attend the 'Soiree of Korea' where they could see the development of Catholic Church in Korea and experience Korean traditional culture. They were impressed by dynamic activities of the Korean laity and also expected the Catholic Church in Korea to take the initiative in proclaiming the Gospel in Asia.
● Second Korean Youth Day
The Second Korean Youth Day (KYD), was held in Uijeongbu Diocese from August 12 to 15, 2010 with the main theme "Hope in God: Lord, We Look to You" (Is 26,8). The KYD has a significant meaning in offering a new vision to the youth pastoral ministry as it gives the young faithful an opportunity to strengthen their inner life and to establish a base of solidarity.
As the youth received grace during the KYD, the Korean bishops and priests indicated the necessity of the faith day for the youth. The KYD became a steping stone for the Asian Youth Day as well as the first step toward holding the World Youth Day in Korea in the future.
It is also deeply meaningful that with the KYD the Church had an opportunity to come to the youth in the first place and to make efforts to share faith with them and listen to them.
The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the KYD, said that "the present difficult situation cannot block the light that the youth found in God or interrupt their hopeful steps."
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said that "the sinful world of hypocrisy and irrationality needs the dreams and hopes of the youth."
The next KYD is going to be held in Daejeon Diocese in 2013 focusing on the spirituality of martyrdom.
● First National Congress for Life
The CBCK Pro-Life Activities under the Committee for Bioethics (President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) and the Committee for Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul (President: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung) held the first National Congress for Life from July 9, 2010 to 11 in Kkottongnae, a christian community which provides the homeless and the abandoned with care and love in the hope that they will realize the love of God and find peace as children of God. The theme for this congress was "Towards the Culture of Life", with the sub-theme "I Will Protect Embryos and Donate Organs." There were a variety of events throughout the Congress.
Almost 150 people, including priests, religious, specialists and activists on life, groups and representatives of each diocese participated in the Forum of Life from July 9 to 10.
150 Korean youth took part in the Camp from July 10 to 11. They themselves organized the Korean Pro-Life Youth, making a resolution to put more effort to lead the culture of Life in Korea.
On July 10 there was an unveiling ceremony of the memorial stone for the National Congress for Life followed by the Night of Life with a liturgy of the word, rosary, and a procession with candles.
The day of life resolution on July 11 was spread through the Internet. Everyone participating in this congress pledged to exert himself or herself to lead the culture towards life.
● Liturgical Music Lyrics Contest
The CBCK Committee for Liturgy held an awards ceremony for the liturgical music lyrics contest at the auditorium of the CBCK on September 30, 2010. A total of 161 lyrics were submitted for the contest and 10 of them were selected. Mr. Luke Youn Yeong-ki received the Grand Prix for his lyrics entitled "Be our guide!" Excellence awards were conferred to Rev. Barnaba Kim Jeong-nam, Mr. Thomas Aquinas Kim In-yong, Ms. Theresa of the Child Jesus Seong Suk-weon, and the late Rev. Peter Jeong In-sang.
In his congratulatory remarks, the Most Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo, President of the CBCK Committee for Liturgy, said, "The selected lyrics will be used for the new Catholic hymn book. I extend my appreciation to the awardees for their beautiful works."
● The 5th Catholic Ecological Award
The Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace held a ceremony for the 5th Catholic Ecological Awards at the auditorium of the CBCK on October 1, 2010.
'The Catholic Alliance against the Four Major Rivers Project' received the Grand Prix. 'Our Agricultural Life Community' of Ilsan parish of Uijeongbu Diocese was awarded the Special Prize.
The Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, President of the Committee, said, "I hope that the awardees will be agents for the protection of life in conformance with the Lord's teaching."
● 'Environmental Festival' without fossil fuel
The 5th 'Festival for the Preservation of Creation' was held at the Convent of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, from October 8 to 10, 2010. This Festival was organized by the Catholic Association for the Preservation of Creation, under the auspices of the Subcommittee for Environment of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace.
With the theme "The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft"(Ps 19,2), this festival provided the faithful a chance to realize that we can live in plenty without causing damage to the earth and nature. According to the divine order of creation, it is also a duty for human beings to take care of all nature and creatures, living together with them. In this regard, this festival was prepared for the understanding of our actual situation in which rivers and creatures are dying due to our misbehavior and for suggesting alternative ways.
To experience two nights of 'pleasant inconveniences' which draw people closer to the divine order of creation, all participants gathered by public transportation, bicycle, or on foot, leaving their cars in garages. They cooked rice over a wood fire, used only candles, and gave up all daily products dependent on fossil fuels such as toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
On the first day of this festival, the Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun, President of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace, said to all the participants: "The candle lights make us calm and bring back the pure heart of our childhood. I feel as if we are making a retreat. Though it is impossible for us to go back to the past, I hope that we will reflect more carefully on our lives through such experiences like this."
Fr. Stephen Yang Ki Sok, Secretary general of the Catholic Association for the Preservation of Creation, said: "The 'Festival for the Preservation of Creation' has been held in different regions over the last five years, and this is the first time that it is taking place in the capital region. As the Four Major Rivers Project has become a big issue in our society, the interest in this festival has increased. The large scale development project such as the Four Major Rivers Project is due to an obsession for using material things not as means but as goals." He went on to explain the object of this festival.
"We hope that you have a chance to experience a life without fossil fuels in this festival and come to understand what you can give up as well as what you have to preserve. Preservation of Creation does not mean doing nothing but taking care of our environment in conformity with the divine will of creation. This environmental festival is a little cry for a true life which God wants us to practice in this world of material things where there is little interest in sharing love."
● Forum on Cooperation between the Government and the Church in the Management of Social Welfare
The CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (President: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Bishop of Masan) held a forum on the theme 'Cooperation between the government and the Church in the management of social welfare facilities' at the Catholic Center in Myeongdong, Seoul on October 22, 2010. The participants discussed the problems caused by misunderstanding on the part of the government, especially with the local government not paying much attention to the religious identity of ecclesiastical entities when the former entrusts the management of social welfare facilities to the latter. They also pondered over the proper measures to be taken by the church. As it is impossible for the government to manage social welfare facilities single-handedly, it usually entrusts private entities with the facilities either partially or wholly. In this regard, there are many parties who experience conflicts of interest because of the diverse demands and needs of the government and the many private social welfare entities including those with strong religious ties.
● The First Joint Retreat of Catholics and Protestants
The CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) held the first joint retreat with the representatives promoting Christian unity of the National Council of Churches in Korea (KNCC) at St. Benedict Meditation Center, Pusan from August 16 to 18, 2010.
The main purpose of this retreat was to give the clergy of the Anglican Church and Protestant Churches a chance to experience a retreat in the Catholic spiritual tradition. This joint retreat was considered to be a very important milestone for promoting Christian unity.
All the participants discussed the movement for promoting Christian unity on the first day. Then they engaged in a variety of activities: attending a lecture by the director of the Center, practicing meditation, walking the Way of the Cross, and experiencing the unfamiliar retreat and religious life. They also visited Oryundae Korean Martyrs Museum and the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters of Busan.
The Protestant clergy said that it was a good opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Catholic spirituality. In addition, they found the silent mental prayer quite impressive compared to the loud vocal prayer practiced by most of the Protestants.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Nam Chong-sam (John Baptist)
Nam Chong-sam John was born in Cheongju in 1812. He was a nephew and an adopted son of Nam Sang-gyo Augustine, a high ranking government official. Nam Augustine refused to continue working for the government because he thought it was not good for his life of faith. Nam John, however, was anxious to be a high official of the government. At the age of 26, he passed the examination of Hongmungwan Kyori, and at the age of 39 he became the governor of the coastal area facing the Japanese coast.
It was difficult for a Catholic to be a government official. Nam John was supposed to take part in or sponsor superstitious ceremonies required by the government. He also had to attend Kisaeng parties. All these things were not good for a life of faith, but John could not leave the government position because he had to support his many relatives. He tried to keep away from superstitious ceremonies and to live according to his faith and conscience as much as possible. He also tried to help poor people. After a few years, however, John resigned from his position as a regional governor, returned to his home and taught foreign missionaries the Korean language.
In 1863, his financial situation became difficult again, and he went to Seoul and became the king's Sungji, the teacher of the Chinese literature for the children of high ranking ministers of the government. Because of this he had frequent occasions to meet the Lord Regent.
In 1866, a Russian ship invaded Hamgyong Province. Everybody in the government was upset and didn't know what to do. The government officials thought that the French or English in Peking might be able to expel the Russians. The Lord Regent's wife, Min-ssi, a great friend of the Catholics, suggested that some French missionaries who were already in the country could be contacted through Sungji Nam Chong-sam. The Lord Regent asked Nam John to bring Bishop Berneux to the royal palace so that he could influence the French people in Peking.
When John was looking for Bishop Berneux, the bishop was in Pyongyang. When the bishop returned to Seoul, the Russians had already left. This incident backfired and created an occasion for a persecution. High government officials who were displeased because Catholic influence infiltrated the royal palace strongly urged the Lord Regent to resume the persecution.
Nam Chong-sam John was arrested on March 1, 1866, and was imprisoned. After suffering much from torture, he was sentenced to death and was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on March 7, 1866. He died calling out the names of Jesus and Mary. John was 50 years old when he was gloriously martyred.
Yi Kan-nan (Agatha)
Yi Agatha was one of the four women arrested at Hyeon Charles' home on July 10, 1846. Agatha was born of pagan parents in 1813. At the age of 18 she married but her husband died two years later.
In 1834, she heard about the Catholic religion. She refused to remarry and asked her mother to have her meet a Catholic. It was not very difficult because there was a Catholic among her relatives. The Catholic relative taught Agatha, her mother and brother. They were all baptized by Father Yu Pacificus (a Chinese priest). Agatha's father was a stubborn pagan. He was angry to learn that his family had been baptized and sent Agatha to her deceased husband's home. He also sent his wife and son to Gyeongsang Province. Agatha obeyed her father and went to her deceased husband's home and was kind to the whole family. The family members were happy that one of their sisters-in-law had became a Catholic.
Agatha saved some money, bought a house and lived there with her friends. She was very devout and frequently fasted. The Catholics admired her and said that she was as clear as a mirror and as pure as snow.
Agatha was arrested with three other women on July 10, 1846. According to the document of the government (Sungjeongwon Diary), they stayed in prison for more than two months and were severely interrogated and tortured; but they wouldn't deny their faith.
Agatha and eight other martyrs were either beaten or strangled to death on September 20, 1846. Agatha was martyred at the age of 33.