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_ Message for 2012 Biblical Week
_ Message for the 31st Human Rights Sunday
_ Message for the 29th Caritas Sunday
_ Message for the 12th 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:
Principium quidem fides, finis vero caritas!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the very first day of the year 2013 white snow fell in the central areas of South Korea, including Seoul City. It seemed to be a divine blessing for the New Year. Everyone who saw the falling snow on the first day of this year might consider it as an auspicious snow which predicts a prosperous year.
Ven. Seo-san-dae-sa (1520-1604), a great monk of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, left us the following poem:
踏雪野中去 When you walk through snow-covered fields
不須胡亂行 do not miss your step.
今日我行跡 Your footprints of the day
遂作後人程 will become a path for those who come after you.
It was also often quoted by Mr. Kim Gu (1876-1949), President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. This meaningful poem teaches us that we should go along the right way in our earthly journey because our footprints in life become a guidepost for those who follow after us. Greeting the New Year and also welcoming the coming lunar new Year of the Snake based on the oriental zodiac, my wish is that all of us will live up to our divine sonship and in this way become credible witnesses for Christ and authentic peacemakers.
"Principium quidem fides, finis vero caritas!" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistula ad Ephesios).
This is the phrase that the episcopal conference of Korea chose as the motto for the 2013 CBCK Calendar and Gyeonghyang Magazine published by the CBCK, celebrating the Year of Faith together with the Universal Church. I hope that the above-mentioned teachings become guidelines for our life. In the writings of many Church Fathers, an impressive definition of Christian identity appeared: Christians are pilgrims on earth, travelling towards their heavenly homeland and walking in time to eternity. The greek wordpavroi??(paroikos, 'pilgrim') is a compound of parav (para, 'by') and oij~??(oikos, 'house'). We Christians as pilgrims on a journey throughout our life should look to the ultimate goal in the personal encounter with God in the Kingdom of Heaven, after we have stayed in the earthly house momentarily and we should never seek to be a permanent resident in this world.
We may need to develop an attitude so that we can carry out our mission with joy and faithfulness, and above all in happiness, as we are about to begin anew in this new year. This will be a desirable response to the 'Year of Faith' when we should do our best for New Evangelization, new in its ardor, methods and expression.
I hope that our effort and devotion to begin again right now with a fresh mind will be followed by joy and self-esteem. May the blessing of Our Lord and the help of Our Lady be with you and may this new year be an auspicious year in which all of your hopes are accomplished in the Lord.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
* This article is a summary of the homily given by the Rev. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak to his staff members at the Opening Mass of the Year 2013.
Message for 2012 Biblical Week:
Proclaiming the Gospel throughout the World
"Lord, enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness" (Acts 4,29)
1. All Catholics throughout the world are living out the Year of Faith which began on October 11, 2012. With his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, issued on October 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI declared 'the Year of Faith', considering "the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ" (Porta Fidei, n.2). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also issued Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith on January 6, 2012 and underlined that on the occasion of the Year of Faith we need to encounter our Lord: "Founded on the encounter with the Risen Christ, faith can be rediscovered in its wholeness and all its splendor" (Introduction).
2. Where can we encounter Christ? And how does the encounter with Christ change our faith? St. Jerome, known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (Vulgata), said, "He who is ignorant of the Scriptures is also ignorant of the power of God and His wisdom: ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" (Commentarium in Isaiam Prophetam, Prologus). If we want to meet Christ, we have to open up the Bible and read it right now. We can meet Christ in the texts of the Scriptures. St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church as well as the Doctor of Grace, wrote an account of his conversion to Christ. When he was weeping bitterly for what he had done wrong, he heard a voice from a neighbouring house, "Take up and read; Take up and read" (Confessiones, VIII, 12). Then immediately he opened the Bible and read it. Through the text from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Augustine converted himself to Christ with confidence. Thus, in the encounter with Christ we also can take a step forward in our spiritual journey with firm faith.
3. Our journey of faith is never completely finished in this life. Pope Benedict XVI continued, "In every age, Jesus Christ convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith" (Porta Fidei, n.7). The proclamation of the Gospel according to the command of Christ is a clear mission that we should continue to remember and undertake day after day. Some may doubt whether we still need to proclaim the Gospel, as there is hardly any place left in this world where Christ has not been heard. However, the mission cannot be accomplished with only one proclamation. The proclamation of the Gospel is necessary today more than ever to help those people who have heard of Christ one time but need to continue their encounter with Christ. The Holy Father seemed to refer to the new evangelization, in the hope that the faithful continue their encounter with Christ and so confess their true faith.
4. For the encounter with Christ, therefore, we Christians need above all to approach and often read the words of the Scriptures. Fortunately, the Catholic Church in Korea has already prepared several ways for the faithful to meet Christ. From the early days of the Church in Korea, our Korean ancestors in faith could approach the sacred Scriptures in the Korean language, although partially, through Seong-gyeong-jik-hae-gwang-ik, which contains the texts for the Gospel readings for Sundays and feasts with a commentary and meditation on them. Nowadays, through the newly translated Korean Bible: Seonggyeong we can read the whole texts of the Scriptures more correctly and easily. Today more than ever before, we have also an unusual enthusiasm for reading, studying and meditating on the words of the Bible. In response to such enthusiasm, the Church in Korea has organized various apostolic programs for Bible study. This means that if Korean believers want, they can easily read the Bible in Korean. They can also get help from a well-prepared apostolic program for Bible study to grasp the meaning of the divine words. They can set off on a spiritual journey to meet Christ through meditation on the texts of the Bible.
5. Sadly, however, not all nations and peoples have ready access to the words of the Scriptures. We can easily find such difficult situations right within our neighboring Asian countries. Some people have difficulties because they do not have the Bible translated into their native language. There are also some peoples who have their own translated version of the Bible but cannot easily read and meditate on it because, for lack of funds, enough copies of the Bible were not printed. Even where people can approach and read the Bible translated into their native language, many particular Churches face difficulties in understanding more profoundly the texts of scripture because there are neither people to help them nor apostolic programs for Bible study.
6. In these situations, what should the Catholic Church in Korea which seems to be well prepared do? Of course, the Church in Korea has an obligation to help Asian people encounter Christ and support local churches in Asia to carry out their mission of new evangelization. Indeed, God truly wants us to do so. Therefore, we have to prepare many opportunities for Catholics in Asia to approach the words of the Scriptures and properly understand the teachings of Christ, so that they can carry out new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith. This is one way we can practice today to proclaim the Gospel.
7. During 'the Year of Faith', we need above all to meet Christ through reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible. From an encounter with Christ we need to derive profound conviction and real strength to walk along our spiritual journey of faith renewal. In proclaiming the Gospel throughout the world, we should also make concrete efforts to help Catholics in Asia read, study, and meditate on the Bible more than ever, so that they can have opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ in the words of the Scriptures. In this way, we are practicing new evangelization.
November 25, 2012
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.
Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon
President CBCK Biblical Committee
Message for the 31st Human Rights Sunday and the 2nd Social Doctrine Week (Summary)
Both conservative and progressive ideologies should be based on
love for the human person and the human community
Dear brothers and sisters!
May God's blessing and peace be with all of you, on the occasion of Human Rights Sunday and Social Doctrine Week.
Over the decades, our society has experienced confrontations and conflicts between conservatives and progressives in almost every area of life, such as politics, economy, education, and environment. These phenomena are all the more conspicuous in the election campaign these days with the 18th presidential election just around the corner. Generally speaking, while conservatives value order, stability and economic growth, progressives value change, reform and economic distribution. The Church, as bearer of the Gospel of Christ, is not made up of either conservatives or progressives, but only seeks to find a solution to ideological conflicts according to human rights and her social doctrine.
The Church is convinced that both conservative and progressive ideologies have meaning only when they seek evangelical values, such as truth, freedom, justice, and love, serving the dignity of the human person and the common good. The ideologies are only means or instruments to assure human dignity and the happiness of the human community, according to the will of God, complementing each other and seeking a way for coexistence instead of division. We, as believers who confess the one God, may be divided into conservatives and progressives in political and social ideologies, but the difference of views and ideas should be balanced and harmonized in "integral and solidary humanism." The social doctrine of the Catholic Church gives teachings which encompass conservative and progressive ideas, indicating fundamental principles and unchanging criteria. The Church proclaims the social doctrine to the world, following the example of Jesus Christ who proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom of God. He is the very rule of life and unchanging criterion for the Church.
We, as Christians, can also learn concretely the contents of the social doctrine in the section of the Ten Commandments in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We should play a role to shine the light of the Gospel on our society, by growing in awareness of the social doctrine and overcoming ideological conflicts. In particular, we should strive to improve our reality in which many people are in pursuit of materialism and blindly value competitiveness to get money, power and fame. In our society there is more and more widespread disrespect of human dignity and human life and neglect of the sufferings of the weak in society.
In this reality, the Catholic Church in Korea has long been against laws and policies that neglect the dignity of human life, and recently the Church has strongly protested some government policies such as the Four Major Rivers Project, proliferation of nuclear energy, construction of a naval base on Jeju Island. These policies are against human life, justice and peace, and destroy ecosystems and environment. This moral discernment and participation of the Church in social issues is her mission based on God's love for "the human person and the human community" and reveals her efforts and concerns to seek to respond to the signs of the times.
In concluding this message, I ask the faithful to elect a president who will first of all respect human dignity and the value of the common good and who will serve the people humbly. May God bless all the people who devote themselves to realizing the dignity of human life and to preserving the natural environment according to the spirit of social doctrine.
December 9, 2012
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 29th Caritas Sunday
"Never Halt Your Step towards Love"
Dear brothers and sisters,
1. Today we are celebrating Caritas Sunday established to prepare all the faithful to greet Jesus the Savior in an appropriate way by showing God's gratuitous love and mercy for our poor neighbours. Today, as we celebrate the 29th Caritas Sunday, God invites us all to true charity, and, therefore, we have to be delighted to answer Him with a joyful heart.
2. Nowadays, though our society enjoys tremendous wealth with economic development, we are challenged by the widening gap between the rich and the poor, as well as by a deteriorating economic situation resulting from the "Euro zone crisis" triggered by the financial crisis in the USA. In such a situation, our poor neighbours cannot but suffer the most from the crisis. There are still many people around us who in tears and with sighs of grief are troubled about finding their daily bread and housing.
In the midst of such a situation, many people are now engaged in controversy over welfare, especially the so-called 'universal welfare' in every level of our society including the political area. Nowadays, we recognize that welfare is a right to be claimed reasonably by every human person. It cannot be just a merciful favor bestowed by authorities in charge of making and executing policy. Indeed, there is fierce discussion about welfare bursting out in our society. Thus, the Church cannot but reflect upon what and how to distribute in regard to the social issue of universal welfare.
3. Even though the state carries out a welfare policy, the role of the Church regarding the poor is more important than anything else. Blessed John XXIII affirmed, "Most of all, the Church must be a Church for the poor."
Since her establishment, the Catholic Church has continuously made efforts to live together with the poor in conformity to the example and teaching of the Christ. Traditionally, she has constantly encouraged all the faithful to practice charity, and she has also carried out diverse charitable works fitting for the time, place, and situation. In a long-lasting tradition religious charitable works are actions belonging to the faithful and they also manifest the identity of the Church.
It is safe to say that the charitable works of the Church for the poor have played an important role in presenting to the world the social responsibility of the Church beyond the simple recommendation for good deeds, and in showing the world an ideal model of a community to be pursued by an individual and/or a society. At the same time, the Church must continue to make a preferential choice for the poor, in full awareness of the fact that the existence of the socially vulnerable itself is the result of economic, social, political, and even cultural inequality in our society. She also must continue to proclaim that such an inequality can be a severe infringement upon the dignity of human beings.
Dear brothers and sisters,
4. Charity is a Christian lifestyle revealing divine love and indicating the proper duty of all Christians. A charitable work carried out in true love renders the doers life and faith more beautiful and fruitful. It also makes the world cleaner and more fragrant. Charitable work is a way to expiate every sin (cf. Tb 12,9; Lk 3,7-11), a way to receive divine blessings (cf. Dt 15,7-11; Prv 22,9; Lk 14,12-14), and a way towards eternal life (cf. Mt 19,16-21.25,34-40; Rom 2,7; Gal 6,7-10). Charitable work thus is an action for the individual.
God cherishes our charitable works like a signet ring and the apple of his eye (cf. Sir 17,17). Therefore, all Christians should actively practice charitable works "here and now." They have to practice true charitable works out of love welling up from their heart, never showing just superficial sympathy. They have to practice charitable works in a modest way, respecting the freedom and dignity of the poor (cf. Mt 6,3-4).
Our situation calls for many good Samaritans with hearts of gold (cf. Lk 10,29-37). Let us look to the poor through the eyes of Jesus, have sympathy for their suffering with the heart of Jesus, and share generously what we have with them, approaching them with loving steps as if they were our Lord Jesus Himself. Let us never halt in our steps towards love. Let us then be true neighbours for the poor who live in tears and with sighs of grief (cf. Lk 10,36-37).
The Advent season is a blessed time of preparation for welcoming the Child Jesus who comes into this world as one of the poor and feeble among us. We have to realize that one of the important ways to meet our Lord Jesus is through true charitable works for the poor and so prepare ourselves well to welcome Him.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1Cor 1,3).
December 16, 2012
+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Bishop of Chunchon and Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung President CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
Message for the 12th Week for the Sanctification of the Family
Family Renewed in Evangelical Life
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is a really happy day when divine love is revealed through the infant Jesus. Celebrating the sacred nativity of Jesus, our blessed Lord and Saviour, together with all of you, I wish that you and your families may be blessed abundantly.
Today on this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we open up the Week for the Sanctification of the Family recalling the precious meaning of family. During this Week, we are to reflect on the various aspects of family, a community of love, and to make God's blessings permeate our life through families renewed in evangelical values.
In his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II understood the family as the intimate community of life and love willed by God Himself which man and woman accept (Familiaris Consortio, n.11). Something to notice here is the expression of 'the intimate community of love'. We may think that a family naturally comes into being by legitimate marriage between a man and a woman. However, a family is 'a growing community' through a long journey of love over a lifetime.
Family is a community maturing in unconditional love, not just in a legal union. In this regard, it can be said that Christian families are privileged with special blessings. By having faith, they take part in the unconditional love of God as an indispensable guide or compass to indicate correct directions towards growth in their family life full of ups and downs.
Particularly, my wish for the New Year is that the Year of Faith will offer a special occasion for all believers to experience the grace of faith in our everyday life. For this, our Christian families, above all, renew themselves in an 'evangelical' way.
Evangelical life is a question "of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation" (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, nn.18-19). One of today's negative tendencies may be secularization under the pretext of humanism. It is to exclude the transcendental aspect of human beings under the excuse of being faithful to human nature. The current trend of thinking, such as blind belief in positive science and mammonism, alleging that human technology makes everything possible, has seriously threatened ontological values and the religious sense of human beings.
Although the development of science has resulted in enormous benefits for humanity, it cannot replace every aspect of spiritual and mental life. Can human technologies and intellects restore a broken harmony of a family? Can material richness and ability for worldly matters lead human life to proper values and love? Certainly in human life there are more essential and profound dimensions than positive science or material richness. Our Christian families live on the basis of evangelical values, oriented towards a family with its integral meaning, a family which enjoys true happiness.
Our Christian families need to keep attentive to transmit these values of faith to their children. Remaining silent about the treasures of faith in God is like burying the Gospel. A family renewed in evangelical life is a family in which parents keep vigil over the treasures of faith so that their children can also experience the authentic values of life.
Needless to say, it is required for the personal maturity of children in a family that parents should play a role in their children's education, having enough time to talk with their children, pray together, and encourage them. However, that is not the present situation. Most of the problems faced by families today are based on secular values that parents blindly follow, such as material greed or a successful career. One of the fundamental obstacles for children's education is parents' distorted sense of values.
I believe our Christian families are today called to correct such a distorted sense of values and to promote children's personal and religious maturity.
I wish that our Christian families renew themselves in evangelical values so that they can be truly happy and healthy, playing the role of the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
December 30, 2012
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
● The 18th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium
The 18th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium was held with the theme of "Nuclear Power Phase-out" in Gyeongju City of the Daegu Archdiocese in Korea, from November 13 to 15, 2012.
Along with the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK and Bishop of Cheju, and the Most Rev. Leo Jun Ikenaga, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) and Archbishop of Osaka, about 40 bishops and priests participated in this colloquium.
On the first day, Rev. Thomas Seigel Michael (Nanzan University Institute for Social Ethics) gave a lecture on "Theological Consideration concerning the Nuclear Power Plants." He said that we need to develop projects of sustainable energy such as wind and solar energy so as to free ourselves from dependence on nuclear energy.
Rev. Paul Park Hong-pyo (priest of the Diocese of Wonju and representative of the Committee against the Construction of Samcheok Nuclear Power Plant) highlighted that residents want to live in a clean and peaceful environment and thus the nuclear power phase-out is a matter of life itself, not just a political issue.
On October 14, the bishops visited Wolsung Nuclear Power Plant in Gyeongju and heard an explanation about the operation and management of the nuclear power plant. Following the visit, the bishops celebrated Mass at the Yangnam Church. In his homily, the Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said that we should strive for a nuclear power phase-out in order to safeguard the integrity of creation and a peaceful life on the earth which God has given to mankind.
On the last day, the bishops had time to discuss the themes on nuclear power phase-out in groups and then in a plenary session.
The next colloquium is scheduled for November 12 to 14, 2013, in Japan.
● 2013 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Bishops
On the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent, each Diocesan Bishop issued his 2013 pastoral letter in faithful celebration of the Year of Faith and invited the believers to actively ponder the way of new evangelization with new ardour, method and expression.
Each diocesan Bishop stressed that the Church herself must be first evangelized to evangelize the world anew and urged the faithful to renew and confirm themselves as the witnesses of the Gospel. In this regard, each diocese aims at inner renewal to consolidate the foundation of faith. Especially for this aim, each diocese expressed its intention to establish active plans for learning and practicing the spirit and teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church last year.
The diocesan bishops also suggested the invigoration of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and the commitment for the evangelization of society based on pastoral care for the family and youth, as well as on the social teaching of the Church. Actually, the SCCs are becoming an important option for the future pastoral ministry of the Catholic Church in Korea.
In his pastoral letter, the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, said that he will carry out the mission of new evangelization focusing on the Year of Faith. He also suggested five mottos: faith starting with the Word; faith growing up in prayer; faith confirmed with the teachings of the Church; faith united in the celebration of Mass; faith bearing fruits of love.
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, suggested three agenda of his Archdiocese in his pastoral letter: establishment of a follow-up committee for the realization of decisions of the 2nd Archdiocesan Synod; preparation for learning the deposit of faith anew; commitment for reconciliation with the non-practicing faithful. These agenda were set to reaffirm the mission of new evangelization, as well as to carry out the resolution of the 2nd Archdiocesan Synod.
In his pastoral letter, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, invited the faithful to live the year 2013 under the motto "Family Church proclaiming the Gospel" as much as they lived the year 2012 under the motto "Family Church in Prayer." In 2012, the Archdiocese of Gwangju had decided to observe the "Year of Family" for three consecutive years to emphasize pastoral care for the family.
Other dioceses also put emphasis on the opportunities to learn and practice the teachings of the Church. Many dioceses ask the faithful to take frequent opportunities to learn ecclesiastical teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pastoral care for the family and youth is also a matter of great interest of the bishops. Among others, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, stressed that the faithful must also count on the youth who can come up with a new point of view. At the same time he urged the youth themselves to be the protagonists of the pastoral care for youth.
● 22nd Catholic Mass Communications Awards Ceremony
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil) held the 22nd Catholic Mass Communications Awards Ceremony at the Press Center in Seoul, on November 27, 2012.
The Grand Prix was given to Mr. Ryu Ji-yeol, producer of the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), for his documentary "Why Vincent Caun was burned alive?".
The Prix in the sector of Broadcasting was given to Mr. Kim Jin-man, Mr. Kim Jae-yoeong, Mr. Jo Seong-hyeon, producers of the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), for their documentary "The Tears of the Antarctic".
The Prix in the sector of Newspaper was given to Mr. Lee Seo-hwa, Mr. Kim Kyeong-hak, and Mr. Rou Hye-gon, journalists of the Kyunghyang Shinmun, for their serial articles "The Tears of the Workers Laid off from Ssangyong Motors".
The Prix in the sector of Film was given to Mr. Kim Gi-deok, director of the film 'Pieta'.
The Prix in the sector of Publishing was given to Pauline Books & Media for its book Where will the polar bears go?.
A special prize was given to Mr. Lee Seung-jun, director of the film "Star of a Snail", as well as to Ms. Ahn Min-ja, producer of KBS Radio, for her documentary "Now the Time has come for North Korean Escapees".
In his congratulatory remarks, Archbishop Cho said, "This year the awardees gave us a chance to look back on our history and to embrace a hope, as they opened a door to catch a glimpse of our atonement and salvation. They also sent out a stern warning about environmental destruction and neo-liberalism." He added, "The meaning of 'evangelization of culture' through mass media can be manifested in a certain way, when we encourage those people who do their best for the promotion of love, justice and peace through the media which is a precious gift of God."
● The Activities of Caritas International Korea Reflected in Media
In a recent interview with Jungang Daily as of January 21, 2013, the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, President of Caritas Korea International, presented the charitable service of the Catholic Church in Korea, especially as a member organization of the Caritas Internationalis. Since the establishment of the Overseas Aid Sunday in 1993, the Catholic Church in Korea has supported local churches in other countries and foreign aid programs with the help of the faithful who generously made a donation for the good cause of foreign aid.
Bishop Kim said, "I am proud that we can help other countries, as I know very well that we were foreign aid-receiving country just 20 to 30 years ago." He continued, "Caritas Korea International has supported 655 foreign aid programs with the sum of 30 billion KRW for 19 years since 1993. Last year we spent 3.4 billion KRW for foreign aid, this year we are planning to spend about 4.5 billion KRW with the generous donation of 12,000 regular supporters and the special collection of the faithful at Sunday Mass of the last week of January. I guess it ranks among the top 10 contributors of the 164 members of Caritas Internationalis."
Bishop Kim also said, "It stands to reason that we as Christians share what we have with others, as a way of manifesting love. We are going to put emphasis on water in this year." He meant that the Catholic Church in Korea will render help to some countries in Africa suffering from water shortage, like Kenya and Ethiopia. As water shortage often leads to food crisis, the Church is going to help those countries to secure drinking water as well as water for agricultural use.
The Caritas Internationalis was established as an international humanitarian confederation with founding members from 13 countries in December, 1951. Caritas Coreana was established in 1975 as the Human Development Committee. According to the decision made at the 2008 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK, the Caritas Coreana was divided into Caritas Korea International and Caritas Committe of the CBCK in 2010. Since then, the Caritas Korea International has served as the official agency for international aid and development of the Catholic Church in Korea.
News in Brief
The Catholic Academic Award Committee held the 16th Catholic Academic Award Ceremony at the Franciscan Education Center of Jeongdong in Seoul on November 27, 2012. Rev. Sylvester Jeon Heon-ho, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Daegu Catholic University, won the Main Prize in recognition of his work, Possibility and Limitation. Mr. Ju Weon-jun, Senior Researcher of the Hannim Bible Research Institute, won the Research Prize in recognition of his dissertation, The Old Testament and gods. Dr. Lee Jong-han won the Translation Prize for his translation of the book Introduction to the Old Testament.
The Seoul Archdiocesan Committee for Life announced the awardees of the 7th Mystery of Life Award. Dr. Toshio Suda, Professor of the Department of Cell Differentiation, Graduate School of Medicine, Keio University, received the Life Science Prize for his outstanding adult stem cell research. Rev. Casimir Song Yeol-seop won the Pro-life Activity Prize for his distinguished service to the pro-life movement.
The Elders' College Association of the Diocese of Suwon (Assistant: Rev. Benedict Song Young-oh) establish "Catholic Hasang Ongoing Formation Center for the Elderly", the first one for the elderly in Korea in March, 2013. Its objective is to form ministers 'of the elderly, by the elderly, and for the elderly' in preparation for aging society. The whole period of formation spans two years, and one academic year consists of two semesters.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Im Ch'i-baek Joseph (1804-1846)
Im Ch'i-baek Joseph had been a pagan until he was arrested. He was born in a small village near the Han River, not too far from Seoul. When Joseph was young his mother died, and his father loved him very much. Joseph grew up as a good boy.
He attended a traditional Korean school for ten years to study Chinese literature. Then he engaged in trade. He was excellent in sports, music, poetry, art, etc. He had many friends.
His wife and children were baptized, but he himself used to say that he would be baptized later. He always liked the Catholics, and used to help them. He was not afraid to be associated with Catholics.
In 1835, he volunteered to become a policeman in order to help the Catholics when they were arrested. He always protected the Catholic people. In 1846, one of his sons accompanied Father Kim Andrew (the first Korean priest) to the western coast of Hwanghae Province, and was arrested together with Father Kim on June 5, 1846. When Joseph heard the news, he went to the spot where his son was arrested. He arrived there after his son had been sent to the Hwanghae prison. Joseph went to Haeju to ask the governor for his son's release, but the governor put Joseph in prison.
While Joseph was in prison, he had an opportunity to meet Father Kim Andrew. Joseph was very impressed by Father Kim's noble personality, high dignity and deep faith, and also by the fact that the Catholics respected and obeyed him. Joseph decided to become a Catholic. Father Kim told him to thank God for the special grace of God that he was in prison. Joseph took catechetical instructions directly from Father Kim in prison and was baptized by Father Kim and given the name of Joseph. Thus he became the second person to be baptized in prison, preceded by Kim Agatha.
His friends wanted to save his life and urged him to give up his faith. Sometimes they brought Joseph's two sons and two daughters-in-law to prison to persuade him to deny his faith, but Joseph refused to give in. The angry police chief hung Joseph upside down and beat him severely.
When Joseph heard three months after his imprisonment that he would be sentenced to death, he was very happy. He told the other inmates that he would go to Heaven first and welcome them when they arrived. One day the interrogator ridiculed him for being unable to recite the Ten Commandments. Joseph said that even an ignorant son could be loyal to his father.
When Joseph continued to refuse to give up his faith, the police chief used a pricking torture and a leg-screw torture. Joseph moaned with pain. The police chief said that he would take Joseph's moaning noise as a sign of surrender, so Joseph stopped moaning. It was amazing that Joseph, who was not even a Catholic when he was arrested, could endure all these painful tortures and be steadfast in his faith unto death.
According to the government document, Joseph was beaten to death on September 20, 1846. He could have been strangled, because Archbishop Mutel's testimony said that some of the Catholics were originally sentenced to be beaten to death, but those who didn't die, were strangled to death later. According to the Holy See's document, Joseph was actually strangled to death after many tortures. He was 43 years old.
When Joseph's sons wept for their dead father, the police chief consoled them, telling them that had seen a mysterious light shining over their father's body.