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_ Message for the 8th Week for Catholic Education
_ The Church in Korea Welcomes New Apostolic Administrator
_ Message for the 2013 Youth Day
_ Message for the 2013 Day for the Environment
_ Message for 2013 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People
_ News from the Church in Korea
_ The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
Setting the Pace of Peace
Though it has been already 60 years since the conclusion of the agreement concerning a military armistice in Korea to stop the Korean War, we are still witnessing the escalating conflicts between South and North Korea. In such a situation I would like to ponder upon our action to be of service to peace in Korea, taking advice from the poem entitled "The Pace of Peace" written by Professor Ra Hee-duk:
It was late summer of 1950.
In a little village near Jirisan
gunfights broke out at dawn at the outskirts.
The only way to get out of the village
seemed to pass through a single path,
the narrow path between both sides of the mountain
surrounded by the gun-points of confronting soldiers
of the South Korean army and the North Korean army.
Holding their breaths, the villagers went across the ford of gunshots.
A mother cautioned her young son:
'Don't run, my boy. You must never run no matter what!'
'Slow and steady, you should walk!'
The boy walked slowly under the shield of her caution.
A young man, seized with a panic, began to run past the boy,
And then guns went bang and the young man fell down.
To take a walk holding his breath
seemed to be the hardest thing for the boy to do.
The Pace of Peace
is just like holding one's breath to go across the ford of gunshots.
It is walking at a pace in motion different from the bullet speed,
not because of fear, but fighting against the fear of himself.
It is a persuasion into laying down guns aimed at hearts,
by appeasing and soothing.
It is an invitation for the soldiers to walk down from either hills
to hold their hands with each other.
It is wiping out the bloody dust on this land with our own knees
until the day comes.
("The Pace of Peace," from Why Makes the Ocean Blue: A Collection of Mendicant Poems and Essays for Peace and Life)
We must keep peace all together. It is an imperative for us to build peace. The pace of peace means "walking at a pace in motion different from the bullet speed, not because of fear, but fighting against the fear of himself." It is a persuasion into "laying down guns aimed at hearts, by appeasing and soothing." Maybe it is fear that makes us run in haste at a stride, instead of walking at a slow pace. When we want to wipe out the bloody dust gathered throughout our sad history in this land, we may need to have time to walk on our knees with much more patience and a wide-open vision as well. I hope that peace comes in this land at such a humble pace, as both South Korea and North Korea come together to wipe out mutually the bloody dust with their knees, reciting and remembering this passage: "Don't run, my boy. You must never run no matter what!"
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
Message for the 8th Week for Catholic Education (Summary)
Encounter with Christ in Educational Area, Joy of Faithful Life
We are now observing the Year of Faith (from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013) announced by Pope Benedict XVI. Let us reflect on whether we live according to his advice on the occasion of the Year of Faith: to meet Jesus Christ; to remember His teachings; to revive the joy of faithful life abiding with Him (cf. Porta Fidei n. 6).
The unparalleled development of information and communication technologies has made our lives much more convenient, fast, and affluent. However, we should ask ourselves whether we are mature enough in our relationship with Jesus Christ and in the witness of our faith, while we enjoy more affluence in the material life.
As Jesus our true Teacher said, what profit is there for one to gain the whole world and lose one's spirit, real goal, and orientation of life (cf. Mk 8,36)? The faithful are those who believe that God will judge them on the last day and they must render an account of their deeds during their life. Therefore, we must overcome foolishness which leads us to cling to secular and temporary things and prevents us from preparing for eternal life. While we use worldly things wisely, we should joyfully go through the way to eternal life by learning and understanding wisdom from Jesus Christ in order to prepare ourselves for eternal life. To do so, we have to meet Christ, who is "the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14,6), learn His teachings and live abiding with Him.
First of all, we can meet Jesus Christ in the Bible. As it talks about Him and records His words, you can meet Him when you read the Bible. I hope that you can spare time to read the Bible as often as possible.
Christ also exists in the hearts of all people of good will. God's presence can be perceived in love. We can experience His presence in acts of love such as good deeds, helping others, kindness, and solicitude. You will be delighted by this experience.
If you want to strengthen your belief through 'the door of faith', you need to read books on Catholic doctrine such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and YouCat, the catechism for young people. Such books can help you find answers to your questions on faith.
Dear young friends, I hope that you can feel the joy of being with Jesus Christ who is a strong companion through your life, keeping your mind and body healthy while you study hard.
Dear parents and educators, I would like to ask you to pray for your lovely young children and students full of hope so that they can have the chance to encounter Jesus Christ in school where they spend the precious moments of their life. In addition, they need to be taught, taken care of, and led by you to meet Him so that they can make a world with "warm-hearted" people filled with trust, hope, and love. May God bless you and your families.
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Incheon President
CBCK Committee on Education
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples announced that the Rt. Rev. Abbot Blasio Park Hyun-dong, OSB, has been appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon as of May 7, 2013.
Born in 1970 in Ulreungdo, Abbot Park was admitted to the Order of St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey in 1992. He professed his perpetual vows and was ordained a priest in 2001. He studied Ecclesiology at the Pontifical Lateran University from 2006 to 2011. Since 2011 he has served as president of the committee for novice formation under the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, and coordinator of the Committee for the Beatification and Canonization of Religious under the OSB Congregation of St. Ottilien.
On May 7, 2013, he was elected as the fifth Abbot of the OSB Waegwan Abbey.
Message for the 2013 Youth Day (Summary)
"Young man, I tell you, arise!" (Lk 7,14)
Dear young friends, I pray to God that He will love you all forever and that the blessings of the Holy Spirit may be always with you in every step that you take. In this world we are involved in conflicts of very complicated interests, and everybody asserts the values favoring his or her own advantage. However, every single value in our society has its own limits. Sometimes, some people hurt their neighbours though they have no malicious intent, and furthermore, they even drive the world into confusion. Just as some adults regard money and fame as the only criterion of supreme value, quite a few young people tend to regard good results on the college entrance examination as their best value.
You belong to the innocent generation who can face the challenge of this age through sheer energy. Therefore, you have to cherish the best value in your heart, that is, God's teachings which surpass all other values. It is the supreme value for us to "love God and our neighbours" regardless of their age and situation. A young man or a young woman who cherishes the supreme value in his or her heart can be on the right way. Though you may be in temporary troubles in the face of tumultuous situations, you can overcome such troubles when you live your life adopting God's teachings as your best ideal. "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (Jn 16,33).
Young people must be proud and confident of the presence of God who abides with them, as much as they cherish their dreams and hopes. You can think in a creative way when you cultivate your dreams with self-respect. You have to develop the ability to make judgments and to discern things with your own criterion.
Surely you may face a temptation to compromise with what you have in your habitual life. However, you may find a future throbbing with hope when you do your best with faith in divine love all through your life. My dear young friends, rise to your feet in full vigor and have the courage to face a new challenge boldly! Show yourselves as vigorous youth to this world and cultivate your dreams with courage! God will realize His great loving plans for each one of you.
Jesus entrusted his disciples with a mission to dedicate themselves to the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the world, as he said, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (Mk 16,15). In the 2000-year history of the Church, Christians have never been afraid of all challenges including the voyage to the New World to fulfill the mission to proclaim the Gospel to all people. They might have felt fear and trembled as they practiced this mission, but they dared to do it with a new challenging spirit, convincing themselves that they had the help of the Holy Spirit. As a result, nowadays we can hear hymns of praise to God resounding throughout all continents. I think I can hear the heartbeats of the Christians who eagerly crossed the ocean towards the New World for their missionary work.
Dear young friends! Pope Benedict XVI talked about the evangelization of the "digital continent" in his message for World Youth Day. Now we as Christians have arrived at the new continent called a digitial world. I would like to remind you that Pope Benedict XVI talked about it, sharing his mind especially with the youth in Korea. Korea has been constructing the most advanced Internet infrastructure. As you are Koreans, nobody can compare with you in knowing what the "digital continent" should mean. You belong to the generation who adapts itself very well with the topology of the digital continent.
Therefore, I have confidence that the evangelization of the digital continent is a mission which Jesus entrusted especially to you. It is quite easy to lose a moral sense in the world of the Internet where people communicate with one another hiding behind their anonymity. In such a world there also lurk potential dangers of inflicting a wound and pain on other people for self-interests and selfish desires. Therefore, we urgently need the evangelization of this new "digital" terrain. You must remember that you as young people have to take the initiative for this evangelization.
I cannot but feel my heart beating fast with excitement when I just imagine the society where the youth in their good spirit take the initiative in promoting a sound culture and good ideas and where we can hear them singing and laughing on all the corners of the street where people are strolling. I pray to God that He may help you find a fresh life and a new hope in your faith.
Dear young friends, you can find true life in Jesus Christ. You must listen to God and find a new life as you answer His voice. Be a generation who can inspire our society with the true life that our Lord has given you. You must cultivate the ability to be in personal communion with God in any time and any place. Open your heart to Jesus who is Immanuel. Communicate with God not just when you want to pray, but also when you feel happy, sad, or even angry. Especially, I want you to listen carefully to God with wide open minds.
I pray to God that He will bestow abundant favors on each of you and strengthen you in the firm conviction that He loves you just the way you are.
May 26, 2013
+ Lazzro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
President CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry
Message for the 2013 Day for the Environment
"I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth"
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the beginning, God created man, saying "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over … all creatures" (Gn 1,26). It was the Providence of God that all creatures should be put under a human hand. Dominion over all creatures refers to the sublime task of cultivating and taking care of them according to God's will. This dominion, however, is an authority that God has entrusted to us just for a while. Jesus Himself warned us that we will be punished in the end if we oppress and exploit nature, mistaking our authority for a permanent one (Cf. Mt 24,45-51). This warning still stands today.
The way of life that searches for more possessions and conveniences requires at the same time more sacrifices from our contemporaries. Our society is already in severe difficulties because exploitation has yielded profits for a handful of capitalists while most people must suffer from exploiting. This situation serves as a paradoxical reminder of the truth that we need to keep our society heading in a right direction.
Because of the construction of golf courses, residents have been driven out from scenic mountain villages where they had the basis for their livelihood. They are still in this difficult situation. The Four Major Rivers Project, as many concerned people have pointed out, has destroyed ecosystems irreversibly and requires unimaginably huge amounts of money for its maintenance. As we are still witnessing the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that began on March 11, 2011, we cannot help but be greatly upset by the extended operation of the nuclear power plants in Gori and Weolseong which have already surpassed their life expectancy. I am afraid that we may face the same disaster as happened in Japan. The high voltage transmission lines and towers, criss-crossing the beautiful land of Korea, cause enormous damage and difficulty to local residents. In fact, they were mostly built to supply the demands for more electric power in the metropolitan areas which consume most of the electricity. The construction of a dam in Yeongyang -gun is being pushed unilaterally by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, despite the opposition from the Ministry of Environment. Many similar plans are carried out recklessly under the pretext of national policy projects, which have in fact no practical benefits at the local or national level.
Our society faces such threatening situations. The nuclear power plants especially lead us to take a gloomy view of our own future. Frequent breakdowns, accidents, corruption, and cover-ups of treacherous and problematic operations escalate the danger of a possible nuclear disaster. Nevertheless, the authorities, including Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, press on with the construction of more nuclear power plants. The situation appears to be like that of a speeding train without breaks.
We can find such attitudes in the wicked servant who wasted the things entrusted to him as if they were his own, saying to himself, "My master is long delayed" (Mt 24,48). Giving thanks to God for granting us His grace through all creatures, we have a duty to protect ourselves and all creatures until the end of the age when the Kingdom of God is ultimately consummated. This is the very attitude of the faithful servant, to take part in the glory of God. This is also a sure way to our salvation. Therefore, it is urgent that we remove or reduce possibly dangerous actions and elements which can threaten human life at the present and in the future as well.
We must stop the plans for indiscreet construction of unnecessary golf courses and dams. The Four Major Rivers Project should be scrutinized and totally revised. Such plans and projects foster conflicts among the local residents, impoverish communities, and burden the nation with heavy budgets. The energy policy centered on nuclear power plants should be changed, because it leads to a waste of energy indifferent to the proper demand, supply, and management of energy. I hope that 'the Second Basic Plan for National Energy' which is to be established later this year adopts an overall safe energy policy relying on more renewable energy and the direct participation of the people. This is needed, instead of policies that aggravate the waste of energy and lead us to rely on more nuclear power plants and thermal power stations. The government must shut down not only the nuclear power plants which have already exceeded their life expectancy but also the five new ones under construction. It also must scrap or revise the plans for six more nuclear power plants, so that we can build a new nuclear-free society. In this way, we can march into a healthy society.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Let us remember that our efforts for the preservation of our environment are sacred actions as we obey and participate in the divine Providence for the consummation of the Kingdom of God. Let us not forget that we practice great actions which lead us to salvation when, like the faithful servants, we protect the God-given environment in obedience to the divine will. We can be companions of God only when we love all creatures in a responsible way.
June 5, 2013
+ Peter Kang U-il
Bishop of Suwon
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for 2013 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. The Korean War left the Korean people with some bitterness, such as hatred and enmity among them. Korea is the only divided country in the world, where Korean people have lived in discord and hostility toward each other for over 60 years, even though they have the same ancestors. Without mutual dialogue, exchange, and cooperation in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, the two Koreas cannot avoid the prevailing mutual distrust, insecurities, and even crises on the Korean Peninsula. Their relationship has often gone through severe difficulties and dangers because of many unexpected incidents. However, as we are dealing with a matter of our future as a nation, we as Korean people must resolve this crucial issue together with patience.
In this regard, the role of the Church in Korea seems to be very important. God entrusted her with the mission of reconciliation so that North and South Korea can restore their fraternal ties as one nation. We Korean faithful have offered prayers and sacrifices for this mission. Looking back, however, we cannot but confess that most of us have not paid enough attention to the division of the country and the suffering of North Koreans.
I hope that the new South Korean government with its policies toward North Korea such as 'the Korean Peninsula Trust Process' will be the first to extend a hand to North Korea by offering a bond of trust. In this way, the government can contribute to opening a new path for the South-North Korean relationship and to finding a wise way to connect a peace treaty with the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Promotion of gradual exchange and economic cooperation between South and North Korea can contribute to the pursuit of inter-Korean reconciliation and peace. The government of the former West Germany strove for the reunification of Germany in actions, not just in words. It is said that the West German government had promoted social overhead capital and logistics system, and moreover, it had built four expressways, national highways, cross-border railways, inland canals, and had opened three air routes. These continuous efforts of the West German government for economic cooperation and east-west exchange were crucial for the unification of Germany.
I hope that the North Korean government solves problems through talks, putting a stop to its disapproval of the South Korean regime as well as its war threats. It should not be overlooked that North Korea's nuclear program has brought about a boomerang effect resulting in the reenforcement of the U.S. military presence in North-East Asia. On top of that, it is used as a pretext for Japan's rearmament. Inter-Korean cooperation for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, including the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, should be resumed as soon as possible. Inter-Korean family meetings must be resumed in order to console the deep sorrow of separated families in South and North Korea.
The strongest weapon for us as believers is prayer in such a difficult situation where inter-Korean relations are getting worse. The Lord said that nothing can come true without prayer (cf. Mk 9,29). Our efforts for peace and unification on the Korean peninsula should be rooted in prayers. I think that on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, we, the Church in Korea, should repent our negligence of prayer for the reconciliation of the Korean people and especially for the North Korean people. The unification of Korea is a fruit of our ongoing journey towards unity. Let us pray that God, the Lord of peace, may bless us and all brothers and sisters in South and North Korea, so that we can communicate with each other with an open mind.
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
Bishop of Uijeongbu
President CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
The Church of Penitence and Expiation dedicated for the peace and reunification of the Korean people in Paju,
on June 25, 2013
The mosaic depicting 'Christ the King and Eight Saints of North and South Korea'
made by the hands of North Korean artists
● News from the Church in Korea
● Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2012
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2012 on May 3, 2013.
According to the Statistics as of December 31, 2012, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,361,369, an increase of 1.6% (84,959) over the last year. This accounts for 10.3% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased at a yearly average of 2-3% during the past 11 years.
Of the 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with 27.1% of the total Catholics in Korea, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (15.1%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (8.7%). The combined number of the faithful in the metropolitan area (Seoul, Suwon, Incheon and Uijeongbu) accounted for 55.9% of all the Catholics in Korea.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2012 was 132,076, a decrease of 1.8% from the previous year. The number of infants baptized amounted to 25,141, a decrease of 2.2% from the previous year.
The Statistics also indicates that the number of clergy in Korea in 2012 amounted to 4,788, with 34 bishops, including one Cardinal. There were 4,578 Korean priests and 176 foreign priests. 131 priests were newly ordained in 2012, a decrease of 7.6% from the previous year. The number of the faithful per priest was 1,149. The number of seminarians was 1,540, a decrease of 3.0% from the previous year .
The number of parishes in 2012 was 1,664, an increase of 17 over the previous year, while the number of mission stations was 796, an increase of 3 over the previous year.
With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,569 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual professions as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,167 women religious.
The number of marriages celebrated in the Church amounted to 20,712 in 2012. Of this number 12,506 cases were marriages between a baptized and a non-baptized person. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession was 4,894,960, a decrease of 4.6% from the previous year. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 22.7% of the total Catholic population in Korea, a decrease of 0.5% from the previous year.
● On the controversial construction of transmission towers in Miryang City
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) announced on May 24, 2013 its position on the physical confrontation around the construction sites of transmission towers in Miryang City.
Bishop Ri, President of the Committee, in his message on this matter, urged that the construction of transmission towers be stopped and that dialogue between the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the residents of Miryang City be encouraged.
The KEPCO restarted the controversial construction of the transmission towers for extra-high voltage. As the KEPCO mobilized equipment, manpower and policemen for the construction of 765 kV transmission towers in Miryang City, large and small conflicts have continued to erupt between the KEPCO and the residents of Miryang City.
Bishop Ri said that the Committee for Justice & Peace, if necessary, could step in to mediate for the suspension of the construction and for the resumption of dialogue between concerned parties.
● Symposium on "Faith and Spirituality of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong"
The Special Episcopal Commission of the CBCK to Promote Beatification and Canonization held a symposium on "Faith and Spirituality of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong" at the auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea in Seoul on June 1, 2013.
Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong (1775-1801), an early Korean Catholic leader and a martyr wrote his Silk Letter (Baek-seo) to the Most Rev. Alexandre de Gouvea, Bishop of Beijing at that time, right after the great persecution of 1801. In this letter, Mr. Hwang reported the serious situation of the Catholics in Korea to Bishop de Gouvea and asked him for help from the West. But it was never delivered because of the betrayal of Mr. Ok Cheon-hi, the messenger. As the result of this incident, Mr. Hwang and his fellow faithful were arrested, tortured, and executed.
The symposium was opened with a congratulatory address by the Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Chairman of the Special Episcopal Commission of the CBCK to Promote Beatification and Canonization. Then the symposium continued with the keynote address by the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, and with the following presentations: 'Faith and sanctity of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong in light of spiritual theology' by Fr. Lawrence Choi Hyeon-sik, Clerical Congregation of the Blessed Korean Martyrs; 'Moral-theological considerations on the activities and death of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong' by Fr. Timothy Yoo Gyeong-chon, Director of the Integral Pastoral Institute of the Archdiocese of Seoul; 'Review of the life and death of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong' by Dr. Andrew Kim Su-tae, Professor of Korean History at Chungnam National University; 'Religious nature and social criticism of Hwang Sa-yeong Baek-seo' by Dr. Park Gwang-yong, Professor of Korean History at the Catholic University of Korea; 'Martyrdom of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong and canonical norms for the causes for beatification and canonization' by Fr. Donatus Park Dong-kyoon, Pastor of Banpo-4-dong Parish of Seoul.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Hyginus Kim said, "Many people within the Church have respected Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong as a great martyr. … However it is true that there were also other observations about selecting him as a candidate for the cause of beatification. … Today's symposium will not look at the promotion of the beatification of Alexius Hwang from a biased point of view, but will take a step forward to examine his faith and death from a spiritual aspect and to objectively interpret his intention to write the Baek-seo." Thus, Archbishop Kim recognized that evaluations of Mr. Hwang and his Baek-seo have been controversial in national sentiment. Then he asked the faithful to recall the faith and spirituality of Alexisus Hwang Sa-yeong without any prejudice.
● Priests' Workshop for Developing SCCs of Korea
The Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea (CPIK, Director: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) held "Priests' workshop for developing SCCs of Korea" at the auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea in Seoul from June 17 to 19, 2013.
The CPIK prepared this workshop as one of its efforts to present a concrete model for SCCs (Small Christian Communities) of the Church in Korea, pointing out the facts that the movement of SCCs has not been well accepted in the pastoral fields and that the revitalization of SCCs is in desperate need on the diocesan level.
This workshop was an occasion to objectively look at the problems and limitations of the pastoral care of SCCs in the Catholic Church in Korea, with discussion on its concrete possibilities and visions. Especially, for this workshop, the CPIK invited the diocesan priests who have studied and practiced the pastoral care of SCCs in their dioceses. 23 priests from 9 dioceses participated in this workshop, exchanged their opinions and discussed the pastoral care of SCCs more profoundly, with themes, such as 'Pastoral vision, challenges, and SCCs', 'What is SCCs-centered Pastoral Care?', and 'Is it possible to realize the pastoral care of SCCs in the Church in Korea?'.
Rev. Francis Kang Sin-mo (Director of Mission Ministry Department in the Diocese of Uijeongbu), in his keynote presentation regarding pastoral vision and challenges, said that "In order to fully promote the movement of the SCCs in the Church in Korea, there should be first a deep reflection on the necessity for pastoral vision, with the sharing of opinions" and "first of all it is necessary for diocesan priests to prepare meetings with the diocesan Bishop for reflecting on the pastoral vision".
Rev. Bartholomew Jun Won (Pastor of Jeki-dong Parish, Seoul) said in his presentation that "the question of 'Is it possible to realize the pastoral care of SCCs in the Church in Korea?' sounds like an appeal for changing the paradigm of the Church in Korea, turning away from long-established clericalism and secularism." He stressed that "we should consider the SCCs not as a solution that brings us some pastoral effectiveness, but as a pastoral vision for the local Church which realizes the spirit of the Second Vatican Council" and "when the Church has a clear awareness of a pastoral vision for the way to go, the pastors can share the same direction and go forward with it together, although their respective capacity and approaches are different from each other."
News in Brief
There was a national event called 'March for Life' at Yeouido, Seoul on June 8, 2013 to promote the cause of protecting the life of unborn children and mothers.
The theme of March for Life was 'Life Speaks, Life Listens, and Life Walks!', encouraging people to appeal for the abolishment of the Mother and Child Health Law including abortion and to put the sanctity of life into action.
This event drew around three thousand participants regardless of religion, age and origin. They marched 3.7 km around Yeouido to manifest the intention to take part in the protection of life.
Before marching, the participants and Federation of Pro-Life issued 'Principle of Life' and 'Our Requests' to urge the government and legislators to act in concrete ways.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of Uijeongbu) announced and has carried out its special plans for the months of June, July, and August, 2013, and urged the faithful to pray for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people.
The committee first of all initiated a chain of prayer throughout the whole month of June, 2013. The chain of prayer was to invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for peace on the Korean peninsula.
On June 25, 2013, on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the committee celebrated a Mass for the peace of the Korean peninsula and held a symposium with the theme "Peace on the Korean Peninsula, How should we build it?", on June 28. The committee also initiates an event to march through the "DMZ Peace Route" from July 26 to August 1, 2013.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Kim Im-i Theresa (1811-1846)
Kim Theresa was one of the pious women who were arrested on July 10, 1846 at the home of Hyŏn Charles. Theresa was born in 1811 in Seoul of a Catholic family. From the time she was young, she loved to read the lives of saints and imitate their virtues. When she was 17, she decided to remain a virgin. She thought of nothing else but loving God and serving her neighbors, particularly those in mourning. She also used to take care of dying people.
Theresa's relatives and friends suspected why she would not get married. In order to avoid the suspicion of others, she went into the princess' palace as a seamstress and spent three years there. Later she lived at the homes of her relatives or her friends, especially the home of Yi Mun-u John's foster mother.
Theresa was very happy to work as a housekeeper for Father Kim Tae-gŏn Andrew in 1845. She seemed to expect another persecution and to welcome it. She once told her sister that if Father Kim were arrested she would follow him even unto death. She told her sister not to expect to live long in the world.
The day before she was arrested, she went to her sister's home. Her sister asked Theresa to stay with her overnight. Theresa said that she had to go to Hyŏn Charles' new home to discuss important matters with the Catholic leaders. She left, and that was it. She was arrested on July 10, 1846.
Kim Theresa, U Susanna, Yi Agatha and Chŏng Catherine were arrested together, and they spent more than two months in prison. They all showed good examples of patience, love and humility while they were in prison. Of the four, Kim Theresa was by far the most courageous and encouraged the others to be steadfast in their faith. The document of the government (Sŭngjŏngwŏn Diary) stated that they would not deny their faith despite severe interrogations and tortures. On September 20, 1846, all four women and three others were either beaten or strangled to death, becoming glorious martyrs. Theresa was 36 years old when she was martyred.
Ch'oe Hyŏng Peter (1809-1866)
Ch'oe Hyŏng Peter was born in Kongju in 1809. His father, who was baptized at the age of 20, had three sons. The whole family was dedicated to God. Peter, who had studied Chinese literature since boyhood, had to support his poor family by farming.
After Father Maubant came into the country in 1836, Peter became his assistant. He helped Father Maubant devotedly until the priest was martyred in 1839. Peter and his father were arrested and tortured in 1840, but they bribed their captors and were released from prison.
Peter was one of those Catholics who crossed the Yellow Sea in a wooden boat with Deacon Kim Tae-gŏn Andrew, and took part in Andrew's ordination in Shanghai. They returned to Korea in the same wooden boat with Father Kim Andrew and also with Bishop Ferréol and Father Daveluy who had been waiting in China.
After his return to Korea, Peter used to help Father Kim Andrew. He married at the age of 36, and lived in a southern suburb of Seoul, translating religious books and making rosary beads. As he was known to be very devout, even many non-Catholics, catechumens and new Catholics used to come to him to seek his advice. Although Peter was not a catechist, Bishop Berneux gave him authority to baptize. The Bishop also put him in charge of a printing shop. Peter worked hard in the position for four years and published many Catholic books.
When Bishop Berneux was arrested, the captors tried to arrest Peter also. But Peter, with his daughter and son-in-law, escaped. He was arrested later and severely tortured. He courageously professed his faith. He was beaten so hard that his leg bones could be seen. On March 9, 1866, a few days after Bishop Berneux was martyred, Peter was beheaded outside the Small West Gate together with Chŏn Chang-un John. It is to be noted that Ch'oe Hyŏng Peter received much more severe tortures than other martyrs. Peter was 53 years old when he was martyred.