CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter




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_ The 19th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium
_ The Church in Korea Welcomes New Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Seoul
_ Message for 2013 Biblical Week
_ Message for the 30th Caritas Sunday
_ Message for the 32nd Human Rights Sunday and the 3rd Social Doctrine Week
_ Message for the 13th Week for the Sanctification of the Family
_ News from the Church in Korea
_ The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea





From the Editor:


Dilige et quod vis fac!

    "The Church with a warm heart" is the motto of the CBCK/CCK in 2014, the Year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac. I hope that we all can build up a heartfelt community where we practice communion, service, and sharing with one another in love, according to the invitation of St. Augustine: "Love and do whatever you want!" (Dilige et quod vis fac!) The Church with a warm heart as a community of joy and hope can be possible when we make our humble efforts for communication, sympathy, and consideration with one other.


    Pope Francis stressed that the Church must never worry about her own well-being, but, instead, open her door and go out to the street to abide with the wounded and the dishonored, covering herself with dirt on her hands and feet, and he asked the priests to be shepherds who take on the "smell of the sheep."


    The Church never exists alone. The Church can grow in sanctification, as long as she continues to heal the society with her inexhaustible vitality walking in stride with others in human history. Therefore, the Church must find a way to carry on communication with society in the face of the challenging realities of our times. The Church also must ascertain and suggest a way of prudent communication with the government as well as with the mass media. Indeed, the government is now in a very difficult situation because it cannot find a way for proper communication. On the other hand, the mass media have made a habit of reporting everything lopsidedly, intentionally turning their face away from true communication with the nation and the whole society.


    At the threshold of the new year, I would like to invite you to think about the way to promote harmony based on communication. We can see very clearly that only communication for mutual understanding can result in harmony and true peace.


    Evangelii Gaudium, the first apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, shows the Church the way she has to go.


    I hope that the joy of encountering the Good News, Jesus Christ, may flow into our hearts and lives, so that we can have a new year of enthusiasm.



Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK





The 19th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium


    The 19th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium was held with the theme 'Encyclical Pacem in Terris' in Nagoya City in Japan, from November 12 to 14, 2013. Along with the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK and Bishop of Cheju, and the Most Rev. Peter Takeo Okada, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) and Archbishop of Tokyo, 49 bishops and priests participated in this colloquium.
    The first session was held at a conference room of Kanajawa New Grand Hotel on November 12, 2013. Fr. Juan Masiá SJ, Professor emeritus at Sophia University in Tokyo, gave a lecture on the background of the promulgation of Pacem in Terris. According to Fr. Masiá the decisive reason for the promulgation of Pacem in Terris was the confrontation between the USA and the former USSR, which was escalated by the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Fr. Masiá said that Pope John XXIII, by sending a peace message to the two world leaders at that time, tried to act as a peacemaker between them. He reiterated especially the need for the formation of priests who can read the signs of the times through the study of the history of the world and the Church, as we are witnessing many unprecedented threats to peace, even though we now have enough resources to realize the peace of the world.
    In the second session on November 13, 2013, Most Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo, Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon, gave a lecture with the theme "Pacem in Terris - an actual advice up to now". Bishop Lee said that Pacem in Terris presupposed the cooperation between Christians and non-Christians through the goodwill of individuals, as well as the openness of the Church for all the desires of the modern world which is called the 'signs of the times'. Bishop Lee said that the actual viability of Pacem in Terris rests on the fact that it suggests dialogue, negotiation, and solidarity to solve the many conflicts and disputes which are still challenging us. 
    In the afternoon, the bishops visited the historical site on Mr. Takayama Ukon, whose beatification is now in process by the CBCJ. The bishops also paid a visit to the Nodayama Cemetery where Mr. Youn Bong-gil, a Korean patriot in the era of Japanese colonial rule, was secretly buried by the Japanese authorities. The bishops offered flowers to the soul of Mr. Youn.
    In the evening the bishops celebrated Mass at Kanajawa church, which was presided over by Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, Apostolic Nuncio in Japan, Bishop Kang U-il, President of the CBCK, and Bishop Augustine Nomura Junich, Bishop of Nagoya.
    In the morning of November 14, 2013, the bishops had time for group discussion on Pacem in Terris and on the theme of the next colloquium. The bishops voiced with one accord that the Church should take the initiative in the reconciliation of Korea, Japan, and China, in the midst of escalating conflict caused by territorial disputes and unsettled historical enmity. 
    Before the closing of the colloquium, the bishops issued a joint statement and agreed upon the special prayer and collection campaign for the Catholic Church in the Philippines which suffered great damage from the recent typhoon. 
    The next colloquium will be held in Korea in November, 2014.






The Church in Korea Welcomes


New Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Seoul


    Pope Francis appointed Fr. Timothy You Gyoung-chon and Fr. Peter Chung Soon-taek, OCD, as the new Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Seoul on December 30, 2013.
    , born in Seoul on September 4, 1962, was ordained a priest on January 30, 1992 in Seoul. He studied at the Catholic University of Korea from 1981 to 1984. He then continued his study in Germany from 1988 to 1998. After obtaining his doctorate in 1998, he served as pastor at Mokdong Parish and Myeongildong Parish, professor at Catholic University of Korea, and director of the Research Center for Integral Pastoral Ministry of Seoul. 
    Fr. Chung, born in Daegu on August 5, 1961, was ordained a priest on July 16, 1992 in Seoul. He studied theology at the Catholic University of Korea from 1984 to 1992. He also studied in Rome and earned his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 2004. He entered the novitiate of the Korean Province of the Order of Discalced Carmelite Fathers (OCD) in 1987. On January 25, 1992, he made his perpetual vows. Since 1993 he has served the OCD in many ministries including master of novices and a member of the First Chapter of the Korean Province of the OCD, the VI General Definitor of the OCD, and he has also been in charge of Asia and East Oceania.


 Fr. You                                            







Message for 2013 Biblical Week (November 24-30, 2013)


God's Word Working in Our Life
"In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17,28)


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    On the occasion of the 2013 Biblical Week, I would like to express my hope that the word of God may abide with you all in fruitfulness. The theme of this year "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17,28) is a part of the preaching of St. Paul the Apostle, which he made to the gentiles in Athens, a city full of idols. In his preaching St. Paul put emphasis on the fact that we are "the offspring of God …… like an image fashioned from gold" (Acts 17,29).


    According to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, the Bible is a guidebook for us to live as the children of God in this world. "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life" (Dei Verbum, n. 21).


    In Seonggyeong-jikhae-gwangik(聖經直解廣益), the first ever Korean Bible, it was said that the Bible is "a light for our soul, a torch, the nourishment and a bountiful feast for our soul." Our ancestors kept their faith taking nourishment from this first Korean Bible which enjoyed wide circulation through devout hand transcription, even though they had to undergo severe persecution. Fr. Charles Dallet from France who wrote Histoire de l'Eglise de Coree (History of the Church in Korea), had personally witnessed the Korean martyrs who died because of severe torture and interrogation in the Joseon Dynasty, and he said that "the word of omnipotent God, who is the way and the life, leads to the total transformation of the hearts of those who have received it. The word has changed the faint-hearted into brave people."


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    If we find that our faith has become weak and sterile, it is because we do not enjoy reading the Bible as the nourishment for our soul. Taking advantage of our wavering faith, pseudo-religions have become a menace to our faith and have led us astray. With their exclusive emphasis on the Bible and with their perverse interpretation of its true meaning, those pseudo-religions in the disguise of Christianity have found their way to the Catholics in Korea without much trouble. They know very well that many Catholics do not read the Bible with enthusiasm. Many regrettable things have occurred because many Catholics seem to be somewhat ignorant about whom they believe in and they do not understand the truth of their faith very well. Consequently, they cannot draw full strength from their faith.


    What is more important, the word of God is given us not just for 'understanding' with our mind, but for 'living' with all our heart and body. As food provides nourishment and strength for us to live, the word of God must be personally received and put into practice in a concrete way, so that it can bear the fruit of salvation.


    The sprouting seeds sown in the earth invites us to meditate on the mystery of life which must first perish before it can live. "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12,24). We can nurture the seed of life which God has planted in our heart only when we practice kenosis and get over our desires. We have to conform ourselves to Jesus Christ and his words, ridding ourselves of all weakness, selfishness, and desires. In this way when we answer God in trust, obedience, and love to His call through his words, we can be "the children of God without blemish and shine like lights in the world" (Phil 2,15).


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, the day when we begin to celebrate the 29th Biblical Week, coincides with the closing of the Year of Faith which we have faithfully observed since its beginning on October 11, 2012 in accordance with the Motu Proprio Porta Fidei announced by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.


    At this moment as we confess that Jesus Christ is the King of all, let us reflect on our conduct during the past year, asking ourselves if our life has  been centered around Jesus Christ and his words. We have to be faithful witnesses who are "rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as we were taught" (Col 2,7), "so that we can boast ourselves in the day of Christ " (cf. Phil 2,16).


    I truly hope that you have a life full of vigor in Jesus Christ and His words with the help of the Holy Spirit of truth who abides in you in His fullness.

November 24, 2013
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King


+ Joseph Son Sam-seok
President CBCK Biblical Committee





Message for the 30th Caritas Sunday

"As to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you" (Lk 11,41)


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    Today I would like to invite you to pray with the psalmist who praised God with the people of Israel in Psalm 146 (145). He praised God, singing, "[He] made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. He keeps faith for ever, gives justice to the oppressed, gives food to the hungry; Yahweh sets prisoners free. Yahweh gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down. Yahweh protects the stranger, he sustains the orphan and the widow. Yahweh loves the upright" (Ps 146[145], 6-9).


    The people of the Old Testament chanted this song appealing to God, and it is reflected in the passage of the Prophet Isaiah as Jesus read the scroll in the synagogue on the sabbath day (cf. Lk 4,18-19; Is 61,1). Jesus Christ proclaimed, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4,21). He also said, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you" (Lk 14,12-14). Then He asserted, "As to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you" (Lk 11,41). Those words of Jesus Christ in the Bible concerning charity have become the foundation of Christian life in the tradition of the Church and now they take spiritual root deep in our life.


    The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about charity. "The Church's love for the poor …… is a part of her constant tradition. This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus. …… The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God" (nn. 2444.2447).


    This teaching tells us that the significance of charity, transmitted in the Gospel, has taken its deep roots in the life of our Catholic Church.


    Nowadays, we can often witness those people who stop extending help to the poor as they think that our poor neighbours have just disappeared because of dazzling economic development or that the State alone must take care of the poor through welfare policies. The Church has always made a preferential choice for the poor in conformity with the teachings of the Gospel and the tradition of the Church. She has never hesitated to accompany the poor who need our helping hand. Nowadays, there are still many people who need our helping hand in our society. If the Church turns her face away from them or even neglects them, she will never find those men and women who conform themselves to the love of God.


    The Church teaches that "while it [the Church] rejoices in the undertakings of others, it claims works of charity as its own inalienable duty and right. For this reason, pity for the needy and the sick and works of charity and mutual aid intended to relieve human needs of every kind are held in highest honor by the Church" (Apostolicam Actuositatem, n. 8).


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    Let us pay our attention once more to our poor neighbours and remember that there are still many more neighbours who are out of our reach. Jesus tells us that "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25,40). He also proclaimed that "today this scripture passage is fulfilled" (Lk 4,21).


    Let us prepare ourselves joyfully like a humble stable for the coming Baby Jesus, as the Lord enters into our poor hearts. Let us prepare ourselves for the coming of the Baby Jesus, stretching our helping hands to our poor neighbours in the love of Baby Jesus, wherever and whenever they need our help.


    "As to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you" (Lk 11,41)

December 15, 2013

+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Bishop of Chunchon and Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung
President CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana"








Message for the 32nd Human Rights Sunday and the 3rd Social Doctrine Week

"God's dwelling is with the human race" (Rv 21,3)
It is the redemptive mission of the Church and the core of social teaching
to advocate the dignity of the human person in the concrete course of history


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    According to the liturgical calendar of the Church we are now observing the advent season to prepare ourselves well for the nativity of the Lord, in deep contemplation on the mystery of the incarnation, as "the Word became flesh" (Jn 1,14). Especially the Catholic Church in Korea invites the faithful to reflect upon their mission in this world and the dignity of the human person, as she designated the 2nd week of Advent as Human Rights Sunday and Social Doctrine Week. Indeed, the dignity and mission of the human person come in close contact with the mystery of the Lord's incarnation.


    The Church teaches incessantly the dignity of the human person created in the image of God. It is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission to advocate the dignity of the human person in the concrete historical situation (cf. Centesimus Annus, n. 53). This is also the essence of Catholic thought and the basic principle of the social teachings of the Church (cf. Mater et Magistra, n. 219). Therefore, the Church has stood up against all challenges which infringe upon the dignity and rights of human beings and, at the same time, she has denounced such situations.


    In this regard, the faithful must ponder much more sincerely over the present situation which defies the divine plan of creation. Most of all, the illegal meddling and cover-up in the last presidential election by government authorities are nothing but an infringement upon the dignity and socio-political rights of the human person. Furthermore, we cannot but deeply grieve over many cases of excessive and unjust exercise of public authorities, including the controversial construction of the 762kv high-tension electric power transmission towers in Milyang, the many oppressive measures on workers, and the scandalous construction of a naval base in Gangjeong Village.


    Putting limitations on public authorities to guarantee civic freedom is the essential element for the socio-political rights of individuals articulated in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the principle of subsidiarity in Catholic teachings. It is the basic character of democracy that the instruments of state authority, especially intelligence service agents, police, and military, should be put under the control of citizens. If the state authority goes beyond the boundary of laws and its limitation set by civic agreement, the authority is in itself illegal and an infringement upon the basic rights and freedom of the citizens.


    Secondly, we must also ponder upon human rights in socio-economic areas. According to the definition of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the teachings of the Catholic Church, every human person has a right to enjoy social security, rest and leisure, and proper medical service. He or she also has a right to have a desirable job and secure means for making a livelihood based on decent incomes. In other words, the State and society have a co-responsibility to provide each member of the society with proper socio-economic welfare through law, social system, and policy. However, the reality is quite different from our wishes. Korean society shows the worst case of income disparity and the gap between the wealthy and the poor among the OECD member countries, although Korea belongs to the top 15 big economies of the world. Such a situation has resulted from the lack of fair competition as well as from the monopoly of wealth by a small number of people. Social polarization and massive poverty are prevalent not because we do not have enough resources, but because we do not have a just and humane distributive system. Such a monopoly of wealth not only infringes upon the dignity of the poor but also poses a threat to a sound market economy itself, and, consequently, it will victimize all the members of society.


    Lastly, we have to consider discrimination. It is a great obstacle for social integration that workers should be classified into regular workers and irregular workers, though they do the same work in the same workplace. On top of that, there is great social prejudice and discrimination against foreigners who have a different culture and language, as well as against many other social minorities. Such diverse discrimination not only distorts the dignity and rights of the human person, but also becomes an obstacle to the construction of a society of harmony and peace.


    Dear brothers and sisters,


    A human person is a dignified being because he or she is created in the image of God, and the Son lived as a man in the midst of human beings, a fact we can witness in the Bible. In conformity with our Lord, we also have to make efforts for the advancement of our society into a community where the dignity of human beings is protected and promoted more vigorously, in accompaniment and solidarity with our poor neighbours (cf. Mt 25). We have to celebrate Christmas practicing deep meditation on the true meaning of the incarnation of God. I pray that the peace of the Lord may be with you all.


December 8, 2013

 + Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace




Message for the 13th Week for the Sanctification of the Family

Life of the Christian Family and Prayer


    The Family is the primary and most precious way for the growth and development of human beings as it embodies the unity of soul and body, mind and flesh. Such a family cannot be sustained by itself, but it should face the influence of culture, custom, and the trends of the times.


    In modern and urbanized society, the way of the family is influenced by many inner and external elements, including individualism, a culture of sensual entertainment, an environment of all-out commercialization, consumerism of visual and sensual values, economism, along with the disintegration of the town community.


    Nowadays, families show deep interest in the awareness on the quality of mutual relationship in marriage, the promotion of the dignity of women, responsible procreation, and the education of children. While the awareness on such matters has increased, there still remain many negative factors for the family, as we are keenly aware of them.


    Many phenomena in our present society warn us of the red signs on the path of families, including school violence, diverse conjugal conflicts, and family disintegration after divorce. We cannot ignore such matters simply by saying that they are the result of economic difficulties. We can find the fundamental reasons for such red signs in the life of the family which cannot purify the harmful environment and influence by itself. All the more, we cannot but appreciate the significance of family life based on faith when we see the difficulties and shadows of the family in our society.


    A Christian family must always realize that the way towards happy family life can never be realized only with material satisfaction, but it needs openness to the much more profound will and plan of God. A Christian family must be founded on the love of Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself unto His death on the cross for our salvation. The profound essence of the Christian family can be found in love which is meant to be a sacrifice for others, rather than a selfish manipulation of others. In such a life of self-giving we may simply find the most beautiful way of the family, the happiest way of the family. As Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us, husband and wife are meant to practice self-sacrifice for each other, so that they can find the way to solve the many problems of the family.


    However, because of human weakness and temporal temptation, there are too many obstacles in the way of such love, when the Christian family tries to conform itself to the loving and sacrificing life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Christian family must go forward in incessant prayer to God asking the Lord's help and the Holy Spirit's favor.


    The prayer of the Christian family is a space where the promise of the Lord can be realized in a concrete way: "If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt 18,19-20).


    The prayer of the Christian family is intended for the whole family life itself. In this way, the Christian family can go forward entrusting itself to God's providence with firm belief that the Lord is always present in the midst of its whole life, that is to say, in joy and sorrow, in hope and despair, in encountering and separation, and in birth and death.


    Especially, the firm faith and constant prayer of the parents in the Christian family leave their indelible traces on the hearts of their children, as an example for their life. In this regard, when family members come together to pray, it will be a precious moment to receive and experience the things that the modern culture of technology can never afford.


    I would like to meditate on Pope Paul VI's appeal to parents, together with you all. "Do you encourage them when they are sick to think of Christ suffering to invoke the aid of the Blessed Virgin and the saints? Do you say the family rosary together? Do you pray with your children, with the whole domestic community, at least sometimes? Your example of honesty in thought and action, joined to some common prayer, is a lesson for life, an act of worship of singular value. In this way you bring peace to your homes. Remember, it is thus that you build up the Church" (cf. Address at a general audience [August 11, 1976], Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIV [1976] 640).

December 29, 2013
On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph


+ Paul Hwang Chul-soo
Bishop of Busan
President CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry






● News from the Church in Korea

● 2014 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Bishops

    On the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent, each diocesan bishop issued his 2014 pastoral letter. The bishops urged the faithful to find the joy of life in faith and do their best in the practice of charity, getting a taste for the words of the Bible. They also asked the faithful to continue the spirit and teachings of the Year of Faith in the new year, so that they can contribute to the new evangelization all the more.


    In the pastoral letters many bishops stressed the locus of the family as a community of prayer and dialogue, suggesting the rehabilitation of 'family church' as one of their priorities.


    In his pastoral letter entitled "The word of God is the driving force for the new evangelization", the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, urged the faithful to put emphasis on the words of the Bible in their life in the new year. Archbishop Yeom asked the faithful to practice Bible reading under the motto "faith beginning with the Word", as an effort for the realization of 5 mottos which were suggested on the occasion of the Year of Faith in 2013.


    In his pastoral letter, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, expressed his intention to give impetus to the prayerful family church, the proclamation of the Gospel, and service for the world, in continuation of the spirit of the Year of Faith proclaimed in 2013.


    Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said, "New evangelization is meant to be an answer to the gift of faith given by God, with more profound acceptance and firmer conviction of the faithful." He also stressed that "the new evangelization must begin with the revitalization of liturgy."


    Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho, Bishop of Jeonju, said, "You will see the true image of the Church when you take the family as an example." He continued, "Society can overcome many modern chronic diseases including lack of love, loneliness, and depression, when the family recovers its primordial shape as a community of love."


    Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of Uijeongbu, said, "Let us renew our efforts still more for the practice of love for God and our neighbours." He counted the Small Christian Communities as the way for the invigoration of the new ardor, and he regarded youth as the first target of the new evangelization.


    Other bishops also refered to the continuation of the spirit of the Year of Faith and the new evangelization, as well as the importance of the family as a place of first proclamation of the faith.


● The 2013 Christmas Messages of Diocesan Bishops


    Each diocesan bishop issued his Christmas Message celebrating the nativity of Baby Jesus on December 25, 2013, and urged the faithful to do their best to promote harmony, dialogue, and coexistence in the midst of a vortex of disintegration and conflict.


    In his message, the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "We should not rely soley on human and secular ways to solve the problems of the world." he continued, "We can take a step forward into the direction of harmony and communication, when we try to respect the thought and mind of others, in conformity with the words of the Lord."


    In his message, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, said, "Our society is threatened by the dark power of violence." He then said, "In such a situation, we cherish and value all the more the life of the Holy Family founded on the sublime love of Jesus Christ who sacrificed even His own life for the whole humanity."


    Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said, "In Christmas the Lord teaches us that happiness and peace, which all people ardently yearn for, can be achieved through kenosis and sharing, not possession." He also said, "We have to pay more attention to God and our neighbours than 'me', 'mine', and 'my thought'".


    Other bishops also urged the faithful to have more concern for their neighbours, especially in this Christmas season. They said that preferential love and concern for poor neighbours are the way to abide with the Lord. They also reiterated the importance of the renewal of faith and the new evangelization on the occasion of Christmas as the starting point of the journey towards faith.

● Church's Concern for the Current Social Issues in Korea


    The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) held its plenary meeting at the conference room of the CCK on December 11, 2013. After the meeting the committee expressed its concern for the current social issues in Korea.


    The committee stressed the preferential choice for the marginalized in our society. In concrete, the committee expressed its solidarity with the dismissed workers of the SSangyong Motors as well as the villagers of Milyang protesting the construction of high-tension transmission towers. In this regard, the committee decided to spend 57,227,506 KRW (ca. 55,000 USD) for the needy including the dismissed workers of the SSangyong Motors. The committee also decided to ask the government to reconsider its energy policy heavily based on nuclear power generation. The committee decided that it will promote activities to inform the faithful on the facts about the nuclear power generation.


    The committee confirmed the close connection between evangelization and the true development of human society in the light of Evangelii Gaudium. In this regard the committee did not hesitate to point out the wrongdoing of the government in regard to the 2012 presidential election.




The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea


Chang Chu-gi Joseph (1802-1866)


    Catechist Chang Chu-gi Joseph was born in 1802 of a rich family in Suwon. Chang, learned in Chinese literature, was instructed by his sister-in-law. When he was ill in Yangji at the age of 26, he was baptized by Father Yu Pang-ji Pacificus, a Chinese and the second priest to come into Korea. He also had his wife and children baptized.
    Father Maubant, martyred in 1839, acknowledged Joseph's devotion and faithfulness and named him a catechist. Joseph performed his catechist duties faithfully until his death.
    He lived in Paeron in Chech'ŏn away from persecutions for 12 years. When Father Ambroise Maistre opened the first seminary in Paeron in 1855, Joseph gladly offered his house for the seminary. When Father Charles Antonine Pourthi?took over the seminary a year later, Joseph worked as a caretaker. Joseph rendered outstanding service to the seminary and to the Catholic community for 11 years. He worked hard and received no reward.
    When the police rushed into Paeron on March 1, 1866, he didn't hide himself. He was arrested with the missionaries. Father Pourthié tried to bribe the prosecutors to have Joseph released, but Joseph didn't want to leave the priests. When the prisoners were about to be sent to Seoul, Father Pourthié insisted on having Joseph released, and Joseph returned to Paeron weeping. Five days later Joseph was trying to buy rice in Norukol, and the police arrested him and sent him to the governor of Chech'ŏn. Joseph admitted that he was the owner of the seminary building in Paeron.
    The governor wanted to save his life and tried to persuade him to deny his faith. But Joseph didn't give in to the temptation. The governor finally sent him to Seoul. After severe tortures, Joseph was sentenced to death on March 24, 1866. He was beheaded at Kalmaemot (a naval base in Ch'ung-ch'ŏng Province) on Good Friday, March 30, 1866. Thus the seminary in Paeron (1855-1866) came to an end. Joseph was 64 years old when he was martyred.


Hwang Sŏk-tu Luke (1811-1866)


    Catechist Hwang Sŏk-tu Luke was born at Yŏnp'ung in Ch'ungch'ŏng North Province in 1811, the only son of a wealthy noble family. His father let him study to pass the government examination for the glory of the whole family.
    At the age of 20 he left for Seoul for the examination. He met a learned Catholic in an inn on his way to Seoul. Luke heard from him about the wonderful Catholic religion and he was deeply moved. He received some Catholic books. He returned home three days after he left. He told his astonished father that he had already passed the examination. What he meant was that he had passed the heavenly examination. Luke was severely beaten by his father but he continued studying the Catholic faith.
    Luke converted his wife to the Catholic Church. His father threatened to kill him. In response to this threat Luke pretended to be a mute for more than two years. The whole family tried to heal his dumbness but failed. His father and the rest of the family were worn down and were finally persuaded by Luke to study the catechism and become Catholic.
    Even non-Catholics admired Luke's devotion and faithfulness as well as his wonderful personality. When Bishop Ferr럒l came to Korea, Luke made up his mind to serve the Church for the rest of his life. He received the bishop's permission to live separated from his wife. The bishop decided to make Luke a priest. However, the Holy See did not approve the bishop's plan because there was no convent for Luke's wife to enter.
    After his father passed away, Luke's relatives took all his properties from him. Father F럕on made him a teacher of Chinese literature and also a catechist. Luke performed his duties as a catechist admirably. He finally became an assistant to Bishop Berneux and Bishop Daveluy. He wrote many books with Bishop Berneux.
    When Bishop Daveluy was arrested, he asked his captors not to arrest Luke. Luke insisted on being arrested with the bishop. They were all sent to Seoul.
    In prison Catechist Luke preached the Catholic religion to his prosecutors, who admired his knowledge and eloquence. On March 30, 1866, Luke was sentenced to death and was beheaded at Kalmaemot (a naval base in Ch'ung-ch'ŏng Province) following Bishop Daveluy and two other missionaries. He was 54 years old.

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