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From the Editor
2011 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
Message for the Week for the Sanctification of the Family
The Church in Korea Welcomes New Bishop
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor :
"Viva lectio est vita bonorum" (St. Gregory the Great, Pope)
The Catholic Church in Korea gave joyous thanks to God as it celebrated the publication of The Bible with Annotations on the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. With this publication, the fruit of long efforts, it was as if the divine Word itself became incarnated in this land.
The Catholic Church in Korea had looked forward to the publication of The Bible with Annotations for a long time. In accordance with the decision of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) in 1988, the CBCK Biblical Committee started translating the Holy Scriptures into Korean and published the Korean Bible, Seong-Gyeong in 2005. Then five years later in 2010 the CBCK finally published The Bible with Annotations so that the faithful could more readily understand the Bible. The Bible with Annotations has been recognized by many biblical scholars for its balance and objectivity especially because its introduction and annotations are based on La Traduction Oecum럑ique de la Bible (TOB), which pays due regard to the opinions of Eastern Orthodox churches and Protestant churches and because its adaptation and supplements take into consideration the situation of Korea.
The Bible is the Word of God, and at the same time the voice of the pilgrim People of God. Long ago St. Gregory the Great said, "The divine words grow together with the one who reads them." St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" and he added, "We can never read Scripture simply on our own. We come up against too many closed doors and we slip too easily into error." Therefore, the faithful need a pastoral guide so that they can understand the Bible correctly according to Catholic tradition and doctrine. Pope Benedict XVI has said, "An authentic interpretation of the Bible must always be in harmony with the faith of the Catholic Church" (Verbum Domini, n.30).
In order to live the divine words in concrete ways, the Catholic Church in Korea should seek practical interpretation of the words in The Bible with Annotations and use the book as a basis for a deeper study and application of the words. In the words of St. Gregory the Great, Pope, "Viva lectio est vita bonorum.", we must also keep in mind that "The most profound interpretation of Scripture comes precisely from those who let themselves be shaped by the Word of God through listening, reading and assiduous meditation" (Ibid, n.48).
As I mentioned in the last issue of the CBCK Newsletter (Vol.73, 2010), 'new evangelization' was the main theme of the 2011 pastoral letters of almost all of the diocesan bishops in Korea. With the publication of The Bible with Annotations with its objectivity and reliability, we can say that the Catholic Church in Korea is well equipped with a manual or encyclopedia to further promote new evangelization. I hope that all the faithful may grow into a community where they listen to the Word of God with attention and so devote themselves to a communal life in faith. Keeping in mind that a life following the footsteps of Christ is "a living 'exegesis' of God's word" (cf. Ibid, n.83), I pray that the help of the Holy Spirit working in the Word will enlighten the hearts of all the faithful of the Catholic Church in Korea.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
2011 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2011 Spring General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from March 28 to 31, 2011 and decided as follows:
1. The bishops approved the publication of "Loving God, Loving Your Neighbor", Vol. 7 of the Catechism for Youth, presented by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis. With this volume, the series of seven volumes of the Catechism for Youth reached its completion. The already published volumes of the series of the Catechism for Youth are: "Faith is the First Step of Life" (vol. 1, April 3, 2008); "My Life, My Salvation" (vol. 2, January 23, 2009); "Pilgrim People of God" (vol. 3, April 30, 2009); "The Way of Grace to Encounter God" (vol. 4, November 15, 2009); "Mystery of Salvation in Signs" (vol. 5, April 12, 2010); "True Christian Life" (vol. 6, November 25, 2010).
2. The bishops unanimously approved the revised Korean version of Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum (Editio typica, 1972) presented by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy, and submitted it to the Apostolic See for its confirmation.
3. The bishops approved the revised draft "Ordinance on Catholic Universities and Other Institutes of Higher Studies in Korea" prepared by the CBCK Committee on Education. After approving it, the bishops decided to submit it to the Apostolic See for its recognition.
4. The bishops approved the draft "Directory for Catholic School Education in Korea" and the draft "Directory for Catholic Kindergarten Education in Korea", presented by the CBCK Committee on Education.
5. The bishops decided that the competent diocesan ordinary may grant permission or approval to publish the Bible with commentaries including more content than mere annotations, according to the general norm of CIC can. 824 1. Accordingly, the bishops revised the "Norms on the Approval for the Publication of Works on Faith and Morals through Various Media" and the "Bylaws on Permission to Publish the Bible" The bishops also decided that the competent diocesan ordinary may seek the counsel of the CBCK Biblical Committee in this matter.
6. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho as delegate and the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man as alternative delegate for the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will be held in Rome, Italy, from October 7 to 28, 2012. The theme of the meeting is "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."
7. Regarding the 'Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea (CPIK)' established with the approval of the 2010 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK, the bishops
- approved the draft "Rules of the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea";
- elected the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju, as Director of the CPIK;
- listened to a report that Fr. Joseph Park Sun-yong (of the Archdiocese of Seoul, ordained a priest in 1990) was nominated as the Assistant Director of the CPIK.
The CPIK is a research institute under the CBCK established to conduct research on pastoral matters at the request of the CBCK, to gather and make analysis of pastoral information and materials for submission to the CBCK, and to contribute to the promotion of pastoral activities.
For that purpose, the CPIK concretely plans to: conduct research on pastoral challenges; study modern methods of pastoral care; search for the best ways to carry out the ongoing formation of priests; organize seminars or lectures in line with the purpose of the institute; digitalize information and materials related to its initiatives.
8. The bishops listened to a report that 'Caritas Korea International' had completed the registration of juridical foundation as of January 3, 2011, and that at the ordinary meeting of the Board of Directors of 'Caritas Korea International' on January 18, 2011, Fr. Simeon Lee Jong-keon (of the Archdiocese of Daegu, ordained a priest in 1989) was appointed as Executive Director of 'Caritas Korea International'.
'Caritas Korea Internationa' is a public association for social welfare established by the CBCK. Consequently, the Board of Directors of 'Caritas Korea International' are to be reported its main agenda including its statement of accounts and budgets to the Permanent Council of the CBCK through the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs.
9. The bishops examined and approved the revised draft "Rules of the 'Caritas Committee of the CBCK'", and agreed to rename the Committee in English as the 'Caritas Committee of the CBCK'.
10. The bishops approved the draft "Rules of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics" presented by the Committee.
11. The bishops approved the proposal of the Pro-life Activities under the CBCK Committee for Bioethics to transfer the "Day for Life" from the last Sunday of May to the first Sunday of May with its new name the "Sunday for Life".
12. The bishops approved the establishment of the "Christian Workers Movement of Korea" as a national association for the apostolate and the revised draft of its statutes.
13. The bishops approved the draft statutes of 'Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne of Korea', the 'National Catholic Charismatic Service Association of Korea', the 'National Association of Catholic Drivers Apostolate of Korea', 'M.B.W. Community Animation Service of Korea', and the 'Council of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Organizations of Korea'. They were all presented after consultation with the Conference of Diocesan Vicars General.
14. The bishops approved the plan for the celebration of the "Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsular", presented by the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People. The purpose of the "Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsular" to be held on the 2011 Prayer Day for Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People is to promote sincere forgiveness and reconciliation between South and North Korea and to provide an opportunity for the faithful to recognize their role as apostles of peace. The Mass is to be celebrated at the Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri Park in mid-June.
15. The bishops were informed that Rev. John Kim Jong-su of the Archdiocese of Seoul was reappointed as the Rector of the Pontifical Korean College with a new 5-year term of office to January 16, 2016. Father Kim also serves concurrently as the CBCK Procurator Generalis in Rome ex offcio.
16. It was announced that His Eminence Jean-Louis Pierre Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, will visit Korea from May 23 to 27, 2011. Cardinal Tauran plans to meet bishops, priests, seminarians and the faithful of the Catholic Church in Korea. He will also meet the President and ministers of the Republic of Korea as well as the representatives of other religions in Korea. He will give a lecture on "Interreligious Dialogue for the Peace of Northeast Asia" at the Catholic University of Korea.
17. It was reported that the Online Directory of the Catholic Church in Korea will be in service starting from Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. The General Secretariate of the CBCK has prepared the On-line Directory in cooperation with the Catholic Internet Center of the Archdiocese of Seoul.
18. The bishops listened to a report on the relief money raised by 16 dioceses and the Catholic Health Association of Korea to render aid for the damage caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami in the northeastern area of Japan. The relief money will be sent to the Diocese of Sendai, Japan.
Message for the 10th Week for the Sanctification of the Family
Renew the Sacramental Love of Husband and Wife
+ The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
1. On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we open up the Week for the Sanctification of the Family recalling the meaning of love and family among all family members. On this occasion of the Week for the Sanctification of the Family, we have to remember the true meaning of conjugal love which God granted us to realize true interpersonal communion. Husbands and wives must not only remember their conjugal promise recited in the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony, but they must do their best to bring about the fullest realization of the promise at every moment in their lives.
2. Husbands and wives are called to renew their conjugal life day by day, but unfortunately, many couples in our time seem to be stuck in a rut and even unfaithful to each other, becoming selfish in their love. Some couples grieve over the loss of the love they had when they first met and grieve for loss of the love that they once thought would last forever. For such couples conjugal life means neither a loving journey of mutual satisfaction in personal communication, nor the continuation of the sign of sacramental love. These couples must entrust themselves to the love of Christ, when they want to renew their conjugal promise and retrieve unconditional love, consistent fidelity, and true personal communion.
3. In his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II said that "The Spirit which the Lord pours forth gives a new heart, and renders man and woman capable of loving one another as Christ has loved us" (n.13) and he told couples who are suffering from mutual disappointment that only the Holy Spirit can heal their wounds since He is the first promotor of their conjugal love. Now is the time for us to invite the Holy Spirit to be in the midst of conjugal life and the family community. Husbands and wives should make constant efforts to recover their mutual trust through constant reaffirmation of love, leaving behind behaviors that have caused their mutual disappointment. Finally, they have to put their hope in each other again, because only such a hope can lead them to renew their conjugal vows and fulfill their dreams. Invoke the Holy Spirit and then He will bring you to the moment of conjugal vows!
4. The Church imparts blessings and support to all couples in their efforts to be perpetually faithful to their conjugal vows. Husbands and wives must open themselves up to each other without reservation, so that they can recognize the love of the Lord who abides within their conjugal love. Invoke the Holy Spirit in the hope of renewing yourself and your spouse, so that He can lead you to be open with each other and to renew your conjugal vows! In this blessed week, rediscover and renew your conjugal love. May God's abundant blessings be with you in your efforts.
26 December, 2010
On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
+ Paul Hwang Cheol-soo
Bishop of Pusan
CBCK Committee for
Family Pastoral Ministry
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon, The Apostolic See announced on February 7, 2011 that Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo was appointed as the new Auxiliary of Suwon. The bishop-elect was born in Jinju, Gyeongnam, Korea in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1992. After obtaining his doctoral degree in the patristics from the Catholic University of Paris in 2000, he has served the church as a pastor at Osan parish from 2001 to 2003, a professor, director of pastoral cares, director of the spiritual centre, director of the academic research centre and Dean of the Suwon Catholic University since 2003.
the Most Rev. Lucas Lee Seong-hyo
His ordination ceremony was held at Jeongjadong Cathedral of Suwon on March 25, 2011. The Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon, said in his homily, "Bishop Lee was called to sincerely devote himself to prayer and celebration of Mass for the people entrusted to him and, with his priests, to communicate generous and charitable love of God to the faithful and to manifest the face, heart, and work of Jesus Christ."
Bishop Lee said that he invoked the Lord to give the answer to "how to live?", "what to do?" during the 40 days' retreat with meditation and reflection right after his appointment as Auxiliuary Bishop of Suwon. He continued to say that he could finally find the answer in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini. And he pledged: "I will do my best to carry out my ministry, in communion with the Bishop and priests of the Diocese of Suwon, listening modestly and humbly to all the opinions after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with 'obedient attitude' for the future of the diocese."
New Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon,
The Apostolic See announced on February 7, 2011 that Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo was appointed as the new Auxiliary of Suwon. The bishop-elect was born in Jinju, Gyeongnam, Korea in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1992. After obtaining his doctoral degree in the patristics from the Catholic University of Paris in 2000, he has served the church as a pastor at Osan parish from 2001 to 2003, a professor, director of pastoral cares, director of the spiritual centre, director of the academic research centre and Dean of the Suwon Catholic University since 2003.
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011
"True Unity Begins with Communion and Prayer"
Dear brothers and sisters,
In January, at the beginning of a new year, the Church renews her commitment to sharing in genuine unity and communion with our separated brethren, conforming ourselves to Jesus who prayed that all Christians "may be one" (Jn 17,21). In this Week for the Promotion of Christian Unity, I would like to stress that a genuine ecumenism can be experienced in communion and prayer.
The Acts of Apostles show us the image of the Church in genuine unity. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayers" (Acts 2,42). The first Christians experienced the event of the Risen Jesus passing from death into eternal life. They understood that through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost they were in unity with Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and became members of 'the body of Christ'. While they suffered from the injustice and inequality of the world, and sometimes even painful divisions of the Christian communities, they manifested faithful perseverance and wider unity among Christians. Namely, the early believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship (koinonia), to the celebration of the Eucharist (the breaking of the bread) in the memory of the New Covenant which Jesus has enacted, and to the offering of constant prayer.
While confessing the same faith in Christ, Christian communities today are divided "as though Christ Himself were divided" (Unitatis Redintegratio, n.1). Thus they have to be fully aware of the reality of the divided Church. For true unity we should not blame others for our divisions. The responsibility for our divisions lies with us as the result of our own deeds. Sometimes we have to reflect on ourselves to see if we are the obstacles to unity disturbing the works of the Holy Spirit. We also need to ask ourselves if prayer for unity is becoming an excuse for doing nothing practical for unity.
The Mother Church in Jerusalem, in spite of the scars of its own divisions, manifested the importance of koinonia and prayer for the unity of the Body of Christ. The early Christians taught us that ecumenism should begin with communion among Christians sharing in true Christian values in accordance with the Apostles' passion for a life of martyrdom. Their experience of unity meant that they found in prayer the true meaning of the breaking of bread instituted by Jesus: to learn from Jesus Christ who loves human beings so much that he sacrifices himself for them; to form communion in the Eucharist of the Church; to share what we have with our neighbors.
We cannot ignore the practical difficulties inside and outside the Church that seem to be insurmountable. It might not be easy for us to commit ourselves to an itinerary for unity with our Protestant brethren in Korea. However, in overcoming structural differences and practical prejudice and mutual misunderstanding, we as the same Christians can share in an exemplary life of conversion and passion for Christ and pray together for Christian unity. Then we can say that our unity is already begun in the Holy Spirit.
On the occasion of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I pray that our separated brethren and the whole world may cope with the challenges they are facing now. When we take the initiative in reconciliation and unity, we can be truly the light of the world and the salt of the earth to realize the peace of the Christ in this land. Let us make time for common prayer when we meet our Protestant brethren in our homes, workplaces and society. The Holy Spirit of unity will make us one in prayer and communion.
January 18, 2011
+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Archbishop of Kwangju
CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity &
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2011
God ordered man to cultivate and care for the world (cf. Gen 2,15)
- Coping with hunger, disaster and climate change -
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year the Catholic Church in Korea is celebrating the 19th Overseas Aid Sunday which began in 1993 to promote love for our poor neighbours throughout the world. I would like to express my sincere thanks to those who in many different ways have made sacrifices to contribute to this practice of love for God and neighbour.
Nowadays, it is said that the development of humanity is closely connected to the responsibility human beings have for the natural environment. The natural environment is a gift of God to humanity. We have to make good use of this gift with a sense of responsibility towards the poor, future generations and humanity as a whole. The faithful especially must satisfy their legitimate needs while recognizing and using the wonderful results of God's creative activities in nature (cf. Caritas in Veritate, n. 48). God created nature, took man and placed him in nature. God the Creator instructed man to 'cultivate and care for' (Gn 2,15) nature.
Human beings, however, have exploited and plundered nature indiscriminately, disregarding the responsibility which God placed on them. Consequently, nature is losing its primordial balance and because of climate change and frequent natural disasters death, pain and starvation have been aggravated. Therefore, "all creation is groaning in labor pains" (Rm 8,22). Climate change deals a severe blow to all humanity on a global scale. The social cost resulting from climate change is an unbearable burden especially for the poor. Climate change always poses the direst threat to the poor.
Because the natural disasters that have occurred recently have been more destructive in their scale and number and have been more frequent in underdeveloped countries, the suffering of the poor is getting worse. As of 2010 the death toll resulting from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or typhoons, and volcanic eruptions has surpassed 230,000. On top of that, more than 256 million people have suffered either direct or indirect damage from the disasters. At the threshold of the new millenium the United Nations set "the eradication of absolute poverty and hunger" as the first of its Millennium Development Goals. However, efforts to eradicate absolute poverty and hunger have suffered a setback in most parts of the world because of frequent natural disasters and food and economic crises. Such a setback forces many people to lose their basic rights as human beings created in the "image of God."
Poverty is closely related to the natural environment. When the blessings of nature given by God cannot be equally shared, the pace of indiscriminate destruction of nature accelerates. As underdevelopment is closely related to environmental destruction, we cannot expect proper human development without a solution to the ecological crisis. We have to reflect sincerely on the systematic contradiction of humanity and on our own way of life if we want to curb ecological destruction and escape from poverty (cf. CBCK Guideline for the Restoration of the Divine Order of Creation, n. 36).
Jesus showed his solidarity with the poor in a spirit of love and compassion. He urges us incessantly to love our neighbours, not just ourselves. Therefore, with faith in God we also have to take the initiative to help and care for our neighbours who in many ways are in need and suffer from poverty. The spirit of Christianity can be summed up in a word: love. Remembering that everything is possible for God, even if this is not so for human beings, we have to strengthen our conviction that we can solve all the problems we now face if we live according to the divine word. As Christians who try to live a life in conformity with the teaching of Jesus, we cannot evade our responsibility to be with our poor and marginalized neighbours in their pain and suffering. I pray for the happiness of all of you in divine love, keeping in mind that ultimately we all can live together happily when we help the poor of the world make their lives better, so that they can live well and nature can be preserved.
January 31, 2011
On Overseas Aid Sunday
+ Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
Bishop of Masan
Caritas Committee of the CBCK
● News from the Church in Korea
● 20th Catholic Mass Communications Awards Ceremony
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil) held the 20th Catholic Mass Communications Awards Ceremony at Coste Hall of Myeongdong Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seoul with about 200 participants on November 30, 2010. The Grand Prix was given to Mr. Ku Su-hwan, producer of the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), for his documentary film, "Don't Cry for Me, Sudan" on the dedicated life of the late Rev. John Lee Tae-suk, S.D.B., who has been called "the Schweitzer of Sudan." In his congratulatory remarks, Archbishop Cho said, "We are here to show our appreciation to the workers in Mass Communication who have been contributing to the promotion of universal values according to the Catholic spirit, and to remember the history of Catholic Mass Communications Awards during the past twenty years and its contribution to evangelization through the mass media."
● The Bible with Annotations Published
On December 25, 2010, the CBCK published The Bible with Annotations after receiving the approval of the bishops at the 2010 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK. The Biblical Committee of the CBCK (President: Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.) prepared it for 5 years following the publication of the new Korean Bible in 2005 and includes abundant introductions, annotations and references in the margins to help people achieve more easily a proper understanding of the Bible. Because it is very difficult to understand the Bible properly just by reading the text, the words of God are interpreted more clearly through the sacred tradition and the magisterium of the Church rather than personal thoughts. Based on La Traduction Oecum럑ique de la Bible in French which takes into consideration the traditions of the Oriental churches and Protestant churches, the introductions and annotations included in The Bible with Annotations have a balance and objectivity recognized by almost all Christians. The Bible with Annotations will be helpful not only for homilies and catechesis but also for study by all the faithful to enrich their faith.
● Korean Catholic Glossary for Those Who Are Engaged in Mass Communications Published
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil) published Korean Catholic Glossary for Those Who Are Engaged in Mass Communications on January 10, 2010 (pdf file available at http://masscom. cbck.or.kr). The Glossary contains 570 key terms (in Korean, Latin, and English) used frequently in the area of Catholic mass communications, including their definitions and usage. Its appendix includes basic useful information about the Catholic Church, such as "the order of Mass", "orders of rite of the ordination of a bishop, a bishop-elect's taking possession of the diocese, and rite of religious profession", "requisites for celebrating Mass and furnishings of churches", "feasts and special days in the liturgical year", "titles and abbreviations of the books of the Bible", "about the Catholic Church in Korea", and "Catholic shrines and historical sites in Korea". Rev. Ignatius Kim Min-su, Secretary of the Committee, said, "Korean journalists have often written articles about Catholicism without fully understanding it, because there has been no authentic Korean Catholic glossary until now. I hope that this Catholic glossary can be useful for media agents to readily understand and communicate correct Catholic information."
● Establishment of 'Caritas Korea International'
The Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myeong-ok, Chairperson of the Caritas Korea International, announced at a press conference on January 18, 2011 that 'Caritas Korea International' has been established as a juridical foundation to work on international cooperation development, including humanitarian aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) program. Bishop Ahn said that the establishment of 'Caritas Korea International' promotes enthusiastic engagement in helping people in difficulty and hunger all over the world. He also added that 'Caritas Korea International' is intended to actively cooperate with other agencies and institutes that are working for people suffering from poverty throughout the world regardless of nationality, race, religion or ideology.
Until now the Caritas Committee of the CBCK has worked for emergency relief, cooperation of development and DPRK program. From now on 'Caritas Korea International' is going to take charge of international affairs and pave the way for humanitarian aid for North Korea which is currently deadlocked.
● The "New Life Project" for the Single Mother Families and the Prevention of Abortion
The Pro-Life Activities under the CBCK Committe for Bioethics (President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) celebrated a 'Mass for life' and held an inauguration ceremony for the 'New Life Project' at Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul on February 7, 2011. This project was proposed in the course of preparing for the '2010 National Congress for Life' (July 9-10, 2010, Kkotdongnae in Umseong, Chungcheongbukdo), and has been promoted under the joint auspices of the Pro-Life Activities and Committee for Life of Seoul Archdiocese, as one of the preferential options of the Catholic Church in Korea. For this project, the "New Life Project Conference" and a working-level committee were organized with the approval of the Permanent Council of the CBCK. The "New Life Project" is promoted in the areas of prayer, education, publicity and participation. Detailed plans are as follows: prayer for single mother families, education for personal development of single mothers and formation of mentors for single mothers, publicity of the facilities available to single mother families, pro-life education at the level of Sunday school in all parishes as well as all Catholic schools, development and distribution of pro-life educational materials for youth.
● Ceremony for the 16th Catholic Art Award
The CBCK Committee for Culture (President: Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok, Auxiliary Bishop of Pusan) held the ceremony for of the 16th Catholic Art Award at the Grand Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) on February 18, 2011. Especially this year two artists were posthumously awarded the Special Award for their contribution to the advancement of the arts in Korea: the late Mr. Paul Kim Su-keun (1931-1986) and the late Mr. Michael Song Yeong-su (1930-1970). Mr. Leontio Won Seung-deok, a sculptor in his 70's, was awarded the Grad Prix of the Catholic Art Award.
● 5th Mystery of Life Award Ceremony
The Seoul Archdiocesan Committee for Life held the fifth Mystery of Life Award Ceremony at the Seoul Royal Hotel in Myeongdong, Seoul on February 15, 2011. The awardee in the Life Science category was Prof. Kang Chang-yeol for his contribution to developing a new immunocyte treatment for allergic asthma. The special award in the Humanistics & Social Sciences category went to Prof. Gu In-hoe for her medical research in accordance with the Catholic Church's teachings on life. For the Pro-life Activity category, Ms. Christine de Marcellus Vollmer was given the award in recognition of her commitment to protecting human life and the family and especially for developing a new pedagogy to effectively teach children and young people to have correct values and personal character. In the same category, a special award went to Mr. Yun Gyeong-joong for his distinguished service to the pro-life movement.
● Statistics of Overseas Korean Catholics 2010
Statistics of Overseas Korean Catholics 2010 was published by the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad (President: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul) on February 17, 2011.
According to the statistics, as of December 2010, the number of overseas Korean Catholics was 161,390, an increase of 2% (3,365) over last year.
The statistics indicate that the number of priests sent to third world countries showed a dramatic increase over last year. In 2010, 330 priests were sent abroad, an increase of 80 over the previous year. While pastoral care of overseas Koreans has traditionally been the main reason of sending priests abroad, the statistics show that the number of priests sent for missionary work in third world countries is growing these days.
Another noticeable phenomenon is the growth of Korean Catholic communities in Asia. The rate of increase in the past 3 years of overseas Korean Catholics in Asia is 15.4%, the highest number among all 6 continents. The number of overseas parishes for Koreans is 44, an increase of 4 over the previous year. In 2010, the number of Korean Catholics in Chinese underground churches was excluded. If they were counted, the rate of increase would be about 20%.
The diocese which sent the highest numbers of priests is the Diocese of Pusan (26 priests in 9 countries), followed by the Diocese of Daejeon (24 priests in 6 countries) and the Diocese of Daegu (21 priests in 8 countries). Among the religious communities, Sisters of the Blessed Korean Martyrs sent abroad the largest number of Korean pastoral workers (38 sisters in 6 countries), followed by Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (35 sisters in 6 countries) and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (33 sisters in 17 countries).
There are 116,211 Catholics in North America accounting for 72% of the total overseas Korean Catholics. Then, there are 18,892 in Oceania, 10,725 in Asia, 8,479 in South America, 6,604 in Europe and 380 in Africa. Most overseas Korean Catholics are in the United States of America (91,141), followed by Canada (24,707), and Australia (13,922). Overseas Korean Catholics in Asia are mainly in three countries: Indonesia (2,126), the Philippines (1,395) and Vietnam (1,097).
According to the statistics of overseas Koreans published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, the overseas Korean Catholics are presumed to be 2.4% of the total number of overseas Koreans (6,822,606).
News in Brief
'The Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea' (Chairman: Mr. Fabianus Choi Hong-jun; Spiritual Diretor: Rev. Pius Min Byong-deok) was renamed 'The Council of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Organizations of Korea', according to a decision by the 2010 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK. The representatives of diocesan lay apostolate organizations reached consensus on the name at the 44th Ordinary General Meeting of the Council which was held at the Catholic Center in Myeongdong, Seoul on February 19, 2011.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, was elected as the new president of the Korean Conference of Religion and Peace (KCRP).
The 27th Meeting of the Diocesan Directors and Overseas Representatives of the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea was held at the Conference Room of the Diocesan Office of Daejeon on February 10, 2011. It was also decided that the first course of the "Exodus Step II" programs for the formation of agents for the pastoral care of migrants would be opened at St. J. Hasang Education Center in Daejeon from March 21 to 24, 2011.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Han Yŏng-i Magdalene (1783-1839)
Han Yŏng-i Magdalene was the mother of Kwŏn Chin-i Agatha. When Magdalene was young, she married Kwŏn Chin-sa, a scholarly government official belonging to a noble family. Kwŏn became a Catholic when he reached middle age, and he also had his wife Magdalene become a Catholic. He was baptized on his deathbed and asked his wife Magdalene to live as a Catholic forever. After that, Magdalene lived a very poor but very devout life. Although she was very poor, she did not complain but thanked God for her poor life.
Magdalene's daughter, Kwŏn Chin-i Agatha, came with her friend, Yi Kyŏng-i Agatha, to live with her mother. The three women lived together fervently, practicing their faith and doing many acts of mortification.
Magdalene was accused by an apostate and was arrested on July 17, 1839, together with her daughter Agatha and the daughter's friend. Magdalene was put in prison, but her daughter Agatha and two other women were put in a neighboring house under guard. The traitor, Kim Yŏ-sang, tempted Kwŏn Agatha to be his mistress, but she would not listen to him. She was released by the police who had pity on her youth and beauty. The policemen, who helped Kim Yŏ-sang, were punished by the government. Later Agatha and two other women were arrested again.
Meanwhile, Magdalene was being severely tortured. She was twisted and beaten, but her faith and courage persevered. She was calmly and peacefully waiting for the glorious crown of martyrdom.
She was finally beheaded on December 29, 1839, outside the Small West Gate with six other Catholics. She was 56 years old.
Hyŏn Kyŏng-nyŏn Benedicta (1794-1839)
Hyŏn Kyŏng-nyŏn Benedicta was a daughter of Hyŏn Kye-hŭm, martyred in 1801, a daughter-in-law of Ch'oe Ch'ang-hyŏn, martyred in 1801, and a sister of Hyŏn Sŏng-mun Charles, martyred in 1846.
Benedicta married a son of the glorious martyr Ch'oe Ch'ang-hyŏn in 1811, but her husband died three years later. Since she had no children, she returned to her mother and made her living by sewing, thanking God for her peaceful life.
The people around her admired her for her pious and peaceful life, dedicated to prayer, meditation and spiritual reading. Benedicta made some money from sewing, but she gave the money away. She also made great efforts for other people's sanctification, teaching illiterate catechumens, encouraging lukewarm Catholics, consoling sad people, taking care of the sick and baptizing pagan children in danger of death. During visits of the missionaries, she gathered the Catholics in her home to prepare them for the sacraments.
At an early stage of the persecution, Benedicta, who had become a catechist, was in hiding, but she was arrested in June or July. As the government officials knew that Benedicta was a sister of Hyŏn Sŏng-mun Charles, who played an important role for the missionaries, they tortured her more severely in order to find out where her brother was hiding. She was interrogated eight times. The police tortured her very severely to get information about the missionaries, because they wanted to get the reward set for arresting the missionaries. But their greedy efforts were in vain due to the strong will of Benedicta. After she was moved to a higher court, she was beaten so severely that she could hardly move her legs. The wounds on her body were so deep that blood and pus oozed out ceaselessly. She also suffered from cholera in prison.
Benedicta sent a letter to her brother Charles. The letter is not preserved today, but many Catholics, who read the letter, were deeply impressed. A few hours before her execution she had a sound sleep. She was happy to be taken outside the Small West Gate to be beheaded with six other Catholics on December 29, 1839. Benedicta was 46 years old when she was martyred.