CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter



_ From the Editor:
_ 2019 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
_ Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2019
_ Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019
_ Message of World Day for Consecrated Life 2019(Summary)
_ Homily of the President of the CBCK (Summary)
_ Message on the Centenary of the March 1st Independence Movement
_ The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea

From the Editor:

Rejoice Always

Today, Korean society appears to be in turmoil. It faces political, economic, social, and environmental challenges. On top of these challenges, Korea still has a long way to go before it builds a stable peace on the peninsula through communication and cooperation. However, even in the midst of theses difficulties, spring has arrived. This spring, I hope and pray that the frozen hearts of our people are melted and filled with peace and joy.

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5,16-18). All of Christ’s faithful, whatever the circumstances of their lives, are obliged to live lives filled with joy as they spread the Good News.

There is a Korean proverb: “the interpretation of one’s dream is more important than the dream itself.” This means that one’s understanding of a dream is what makes it either good or bad. Whatever our situations may be, it is important to maintain a positive attitude towards them. In fact, reading the reality in which we find ourselves is more important than interpreting one’s wishful dreams. It is crucial to read and understand the signs of the times with clarity.

A life of faith, starting with the Sacrament of Baptism, does not guarantee protection from life’s adversities and difficulties such as incurable illnesses. Regardless of our faith, it often seems that the reality of our lives remains the same. Life remains tough and our desires continue unfulfilled. Most people wish to change the circumstances of their lives; however, we, the faithful, need to seek insight into our own reality.

St. Paul confessed that he felt an excruciating pain like a thorn in his flesh. Yet he later realized that his thorny pain was indeed a channel for divine grace. It was this very suffering which kept him from being overly elated, so making him humble (cf. 2Cor 12,7-10). Transformation took place not in St. Paul’s physical condition but in his mental attitude. Although there was no improvement in the reality of his physical pain, his outlook on that pain was transformed. Consequently, such a new perception allowed him to see things in a positive manner.

Therefore, our point of view rather than reality itself demands change first. With such a new vision, eventually a new reality may also emerge. That is the power of faith. In this way, we are able to rejoice and appreciate every moment of our lives: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4,4).

Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Secretary General of the CBCK

2019 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK

“Invite the poor” (Lk 14,13)

Beloved brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ,

“Fathers and mothers in their 80’s are taking care of their sons and daughters over 40 years old. …… Poverty of the elderly is closely linked with that of the young.” This was the recent headline of a newspaper article in South Korea which highlights the difficulties faced by those living in today’s society. We face the challenges posed by the vicious cycle of poverty: elderly poverty, an emerging social issue, is accelerated by poverty among young people who fail to find jobs and who are still financially dependent on their parents. It is difficult to believe that Korea ranks top for elderly poverty rates amongst all OECD member countries while ranking as the twelfth largest economy in the world! On the occasion of this Caritas Sunday, we should reconsider the meaning of charity.

Pope Francis’ message for the First World Day of the Poor 2017 began with the words of St. John the Apostle: “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1Jn 3,18). Pope Francis always shows special affections for the poor. Furthermore he says, “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs” (Evangelii Gaudium, n.57). The Holy Father’s sayings remind us of Jesus in His infinite mercy. Jesus said, “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Lk 14,13). We should welcome the poor. They cannot reward us for the mercy we show them but we will be rewarded by God. As we do so, we will find the way towards true happiness.

So far, we have considered charity as merely giving goods to the poor. The Church has often provided emergency aid without taking into serious consideration the causes of such poverty and ways to alleviate it. However, Pope Francis asks us to take a further step towards rooting out the social ills (structural evil) that lead to poverty (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n.202). Neo-liberal capitalism has deified and absolutized the market to the extent of causing social exclusion, social imbalance and income inequality, thus causing more poverty (cf. ibid, n.56). As long as we fail to radically resolve the problems of the poor by fighting against the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problem (cf. ibid, n.202).

The first step of charity is ‘sympathy’ and ‘sharing’. Jesus came into this world in human flesh like our own, or rather He allowed Himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus loved us so much that He called us His brothers and sisters. Since all of us serve one God, the heavenly Father, we are all true brothers and sisters. As Jesus identified Himself with the “least” (Mt 25,40), we too should consider the “least” as our brothers and sisters and be with them. Pope Francis sent a donation for Yemeni refugees to the diocese of Cheju in July this year and asked all the faithful to more generously welcome the refugees as our brothers and sisters as we face this new social and geographical reality.

We should make God’s love incarnate in our lives of caritas and move beyond mere helping. The pastoral proposal of the Church prepared, last year, on the occasion of the first World Day of the Poor remains in effect this year. Let us ‘go out to meet the poor and invite and accompany them into our community’. Let us “offer the poor useful tools for a greater involvement in both ecclesial and social life” (cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Pastoral Aid for the World Day of the Poor 2017 Love not in Word but in Deed). Let us practice charity to embody the Gospel!

December 16, 2018
The 35th Caritas Sunday

+ Timothy Yu Gyoung-chon
Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul
President Caritas Committee of the CBCK

Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2019

Share the Journey with Migrants and Refugees
and Build a Stronger Human Family

The number of migrants and refugees has been rapidly increasing. To help them, Pope Francis launched the Caritas ‘Share the Journey’ ca mpaign on September 27, 2017. Inaugurating this movement, Pope Francis reawakened the Church’s responsibility to share hope with migrants and refugees while at the same time protecting their human dignity and rights. He encouraged the faithful to take a lead in welcoming migrants and refugees, saying “the issue of migration is not simply one of numbers, but of persons... Let us not be afraid of sharing hope.”

We often hear via mass media about migrants and refugees whose numbers, according to the statistics, continue to rise. Towards them, however, the majority of people in our society tend to have an attitude of exclusivity and even hostility, failing to consider them as people in need of protection. In the midst of such an unwelcoming atmosphere, the Catholic Church in Korea strives to give a voice to migrants and refugees and defend their lawful rights.

Caritas Korea International is an official organization for overseas aid work, erected by the Catholic Church in Korea. In response to Pope Francis’ appeal, this organization has strenuously carried out the Catholic Church’s obligation to aid migrants and refugees whose population continues to rise around the globe. On the occasion of Overseas Aid Sunday in 2018, we asked Catholics in Korea to demonstrate their care and support for migrants and refugees in a special way. Thanks to the generosity of the faithful, the Catholic Church in Korea was able to execute aid projects such as the Livelihood Support, Child Education Support and Heath Support across fourteen countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Through these initiatives, the Church in Korea was able to accompany migrants and refugees on their journey of seeking peace and liberty at the risk of their lives.

If the lives of migrants and refugees are reduced to being mere statistics, their hope for liberty and peace gradually fades away. We are well aware of the fact that those in desperate situations cannot afford to wait.

Throughout 2018 the faithful of the Catholic Church in Korea joined the campaign, ‘Share the Journey’ through Caritas Korea International. Although no one knows when the journey shall end, we should recall the words of Jesus: “for human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Mt 19,26). Believing in Christ’s promise, we pray for His blessings. This year, 2019, Caritas Korea International reiterates its appeal to the faithful of Korea to continue to ‘share the journey’with migrants and refugees.

January 27, 2019

+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Bishop of Chunchon
President Caritas Korea International

The Church in Korea Welcomes

New Diocesan Bishop of Busan

On April 10, 2019, the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea announced that Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok as Bishop of Busan, Korea. On August 18, 2018, he was appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the same Diocese, sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.

The bishop-elect Joseph Son, born in Busan in 1955, ordained a priest on February 6, 1982. He was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop and Titular Bishop of Fesseë on July 9, 2010. He served as a president of the CBCK Committee for Culture and the CBCK Biblical Committee. He is currently a president of the CBCK Committee for Evangelization & Mission.

Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

“Justice and only justice alone you shall pursue”(Dt 16,20)

Peace be with you!

The traditional period for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is from 18 to 25 January. During this time, Christians around the world pray together so as to become one in Christ, overcoming divisions and conflicts among them.

The preparatory work for this year’s Week of Prayer material was undertaken by a group of representatives of different Christian communities in Indonesia. With a population of 265 million, 86% of Indonesians are Muslim and 10% are Christian. Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups, and more than 740 local languages. Since the foundation of the nation in 1945, Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong, which is to live life beyond diversity and in solidarity through collaboration.

However, economic growth, driven by competition, jeopardizes cooperation among Indonesians. Corruption infects politics and businesses with devastating effects on the environment. Keeping in mind God’s will that “they may all be one” (Jn 17,21), Christians in Indonesia unite to confront injustice; they, in the spirit of unity, extend the hand of solidarity to neighbouring religions.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites