_ From the Editor:
_ 2018 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
_ Message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
_ Message for the 51st Military Mission Sunday
_ Message for the Month of Mission 2018 (Summary)
_ Message for the 2018 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
_ News from the Catholic Church in Korea
_ The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
From the Editor:
Preparation for the ‘Extraordinary Missionary Month’
Pope Francis announced to the worldwide Church the ‘Extraordinary Missionary Month’ set for October 2019 with the theme “Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World.” The year 2019 will be all the more meaningful as it will mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s apostolic letter Maximum Illud on missionary activity in the world.
The Catholic Church in Korea should look upon the ‘Extraordinary Missionary Month’ of October 2019 as an opportunity to promote her missionary activities, and from this moment on prepare a selection of action plans which suit the Korean situation. Above all, we must come up with measures to arouse missionary awareness.
It is a fact that the Catholic Church in Korea has conducted active missionary work through many of her pious associations and confraternities, and gained the trust of many by dealing with the social issues of justice and welfare. In addition, we can spread the Gospel to the people around us by means of our personal prayers and by living exemplary lives of faith.
However, it has also been true that at the diocesan level a systematic mission strategy and methodological approach has often been missing. In fact, a number of the faithful are still reluctant to partake in direct missionary activities. Desirable forms of missionary activity are frequently considered as ‘being an example to others’ or ‘practicing social justice and serving the underprivileged and oppressed’. It seems as if only a few of the faithful ‘actually encourage their neighbors to enter the Catholic Church’. Therefore, it is important and urgent to realize the importance and legitimacy of missionary activity for the clergy, religious, and the laity.
It would be helpful if we examined the various missionary situations that we have experienced in different areas. By looking at them from a broad perspective and analyzing them we might be able to develop better methods for mission, and by studying the various causes of succuss and failure we may be able to modify and supplement our planning. Through this process, we will better understand both beneficial models and possible obstacles to missionary activity.
We must strive to understand Korean culture and the Korean people’s religious spirit, and find out why Christianity is necessary in this land. We should also make efforts to promote inculturation and the evangelization of culture. In addition, priests, men and women religious, and lay people should be sent as missionaries to other countries and dioceses, and missionaries from other regions should be welcomed here in Korea. We can enrich each other by actively sending and receiving fidei donum priests and by sharing each other’s experiences and cultures. Through these undertakings the Catholic Church in Korea will be able to conduct effective missionary activity.
Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Secretary General of the CBCK
2018 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
1. The bishops deliberated on the revised draft of the Program for Priestly Formation in Korea, submitted by the ‘Subcommittee for the Revision of the Program for Priestly Formation in Korea’ (President: H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung). This draft was revised in accordance with the Gift of the Priestly Vocation, the revised Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis. The bishops decided to submit the document to the Apostolic See for approval.
The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, published by the Congregation for the Clergy on December 8, 2016, is a document dealing with priestly formation. The document highlights how formation must be grounded in community and be missionary in spirit, while taking into account four central dimensions – human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral – as its foundational principles. The importance of integrating initial formation and ongoing formation is also highlighted in the document.
In Korea, all formators from the seven seminaries nationwide worked together to study the Gift of the Priestly Vocation. This was followed by a revision of Program for Priestly Formation in Korea, which was produced by a subcommittee made up of permanent members and expert members from the seven seminaries. The subcommittee’s revision aimed at improving the document in line with the structure and spirit of the Gift of the Priestly Vocation.
2. The bishops deliberated on and approved the Korean translation of a revised formulation on the death penalty (No. 2267) in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In accordance with Pope Francis’ request, the revised formulation better reflects recent developments concerning doctrine on the death penalty as prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
3. After confirming the ‘Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Migrant Workers Involved in Farming and Fishing’, the bishops decided to give their support for their wider distribution so that pastors, religious and lay people can make good use of them. It was also decided that at diocesan level the Church should show more concern and pay more pastoral attention to migrants involved in farming and fishing. The guidelines were submitted by the Subcommittee for Labor Pastoral Care under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki Hyen); they were prepared in collaboration with the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea (President: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul). This endeavor follows the decision to prioritize ‘migrants involved in farming and fishing’ as a socially disadvantaged group in 2017 in order to encourage their inclusion into society.
4. Focusing on the increased number of cases where the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is administered by priests other than the parish pastor in settings such as nursing homes and convalescent hospitals, the bishops examined and approved the draft form of the Notice of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. This makes possible the recording of reception of the sacrament in other settings and other parishes in the Parochial Registers.
5. The bishops listened to a report stating that the Permanent Council of the CBCK has approved the publication of the Catholic Church in Korea and its Religious Neighbors. The CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) prepared the text to help Catholics living in the religiously plural situation of Korea to better understand their religious neighbors.
6. The bishops approved, in turn, the revised “Rules of the CBCK Committee for Social Communications”, the revised “Regulations of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea”, and the revised “Regulations of the Catholic School Principals’ Association of Korea”.
7. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil as the President of the CBCK Committee for Canonical Affairs.
Message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
We Are in Need of Ecological Conversion and the Virtue of Temperance
This year, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation falls on September 6, the first Thursday of the month when many parishes observe a holy hour.
Pope Francis, in 2015, promulgated his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, on care for our common home. The Holy Father also instituted the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ which is to be celebrated on September 1. It is aimed at calling the faithful of the world to pray for creation which is progressively being devastated and ruined. Subsequently, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development recommended that local Churches celebrate the day by offering specific prayers on an appropriate date during the Time for Creation (between September 1 and October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi) at their own discretion.
Ecological conversion is what is most needed in order to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Conversion is central to our life of faith. The need to undergo personal conversion and repent for our sins against God and neighbors, with a focus on our relationships with God and with our neighbors is unescapable. In addition, we should also repent the harm we have inflicted on the natural world around us. We should recognize our greed and selfish exploitation of and our lack of care for nature as an act of sin. Love for nature is as important as love for God and neighbors.
Pope Francis pointed out our neglect of ecological conversion. He concerned about the tendency that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. There are also the passive who choose not to change their destructive habits and thus become inconsistent (cf. Laudato Si’, n.217). However, it is also the case that many pastoral ministers have still not placed ecological conversion at the center of the life of faith, considering environmental issues as merely optional or of secondary importance. We should recognize the gravity of our sins, which ought to be confessed and repented for. Sins such as our destructive behavior which damages nature and living creatures alike, our excessive consumption, overeating and uncontrolled use and abuse of energy.
Ecological conversion is inseparable from the ‘Virtue of Temperance’, which enables us to learn how to coexist with all of creation, free of wasteful and harmful consumption. At this time in history, temperance is a necessary virtue in a world where extreme poverty exists amidst material affluence. Temperance, when lived consciously, is a way of living life to the full not in a worldly manner but spiritually, which in turn leads us to a happier life with less possessions. We can, for example, find inner peace and fullness in fraternal encounters with others, in service to each other, in developing our gifts, in music and art, in contact with nature, and in prayer (cf. ibid., n.223). When ecological conversion along with the virtue of temperance is realized in us, we will truly be able to practice a harmonious lifestyle content with little and free from the obsession with material possessions. Such a change will lead us to work for the common good, including efforts to protect the ecosystem and strive towards creating a more humane society.
St. Francis of Assisi is the example par excellence of authentically lived ecological conversion and temperance. He showed a special care for God’s creation and for the poor and the discarded, to the extent of committing his whole life to them. His life exemplifies the inseparable connection between ecological conversion and temperance.
The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is an opportunity for us to repent our careless destruction of creation, our neglect of our brothers and sisters, and to renew our resolution to transform our lifestyle so as to better protect all of creation. Praying along with Jesus can help us to develop a proper relationship with creation, our suffering brothers and sisters, and encourage us to practice an ecological lifestyle without getting weary. As believers we have principal task in life to protect creation. Recalling this day celebrating creation, I would like to invite all of you to actively join in and play a part in the ecological movement.
September 1, 2018
World Day of Prayer
for the Care of Creation
+ Peter Kang U-il
Bishop of Cheju
CBCK Committee for
Ecology & Environment
Message for the 51st Military Mission Sunday
An Unwavering Passion for Military Evangelization
Dear brothers and sisters,
On the occasion of the 51st Military Mission Sunday, I would like to send my greetings to all the faithful as well as to the military chaplains, religious, and lay missionaries at the service of evangelization in the military and of all soldiers. In addition, I would like to express my appreciation to all the soldiers, military officers and commanders, who, with a strong love for the nation, work tirelessly to protect the country’s peace and security. I, with all my heart, thank all the members of the Korean Catholic Chaplain Support Association, who do not spare their prayers and support for the evangelization of soldiers and their families.
‘The denuclearization of the North’ is absolutely essential to build peace on the Korean Peninsula. We sincerely hope and pray for the success of the ongoing meetings between North Korea and the United States, and between the South and the North. We pray that God may move the hearts of our political leaders to bring forth the fruit of God’s blessings, that is, ‘true peace.’ With this prayer, I thank our soldiers who serve the nation with a deep sense of patriotism. I also wish that they continue to carry out faithfully their mission to protect the country through their constant vigilance.
The Military Ordinariate of Korea is committed to military evangelization with the pastoral motto, “An Unwavering Passion for Military Evangelization.” Since human passion can, at times, grow cold, it is important to work at keeping passion alive by checking up on one’s state of mind. On this theme, I, in my 2018 pastoral letter, quoted the words of St. Paul the Apostle: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me” (2Tim 4,7-8). In that pastoral letter, I asked you, the faithful, to do your best and act with enthusiasm for the evangelization of yourselves and all people.
I have previously suggested two aspects of military evangelization. One, we should proclaim the Gospel to those soldiers and their families who still do not know God, so that they may come to repentance and belief in the one God, the Holy Trinity, and eventually move towards baptism. Two, military chaplains and religious women serving the pastoral care of the military should attend to the spiritual needs of the faithful, and draw them closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first aspect, ‘to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to soldiers and their families, who do not know God’, especially concerns young soldiers. According to statistics, over the past seven years approximately 24,000 people were baptized every year in the military ordinariate and 95% of them are young soldiers. We, both as military chaplains and as soldiers, have supported and will keep supporting every solider in various ways: by giving encouragement, consolation and advice. To young soldiers especially, we should become like spiritual fathers, friends, companions, and healers. We should also, with a sense of responsibility for the ‘salvation of the soul’, proclaim the Gospel to soldiers and the entire military family with passion and joy. Jesus, just before His ascension into heaven, gave an order to His disciples: “repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Lk 24,47-48).
Concerning the proclamation of the Gospel in the military and the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, there is one big and as yet unsolved problem. 90% of those baptized in the military are soldiers who are participating in basic training. During this period, which commonly lasts for five or six weeks in the army, navy and air-force, catechetical formation is given only four or five times before reception of the Sacrament of Baptism. Some military chaplains even have to deliver catechetical instruction during the baptismal Mass because of a lack of opportunity at other times. It is a great challenge to offer sufficient catechesis in preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism.
Military chaplains and I are well aware of this problem. However, despite the lack of catechesis, we still prefer to give Baptism to military trainees if they desire it. Although criticism of this approach has been voiced, it is too good an opportunity to miss out on. I also have faith in God who makes it possible to bear fruit from the Gospel seeds planted in our soldiers’ hearts, even in difficult circumstances. According to the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ grants salvation of the soul as well as physical healing to the sick who show their faith in Him. Even to those with no teaching whatsoever, Jesus grants the grace of salvation to the sick simply because of their faith. Therefore, taking into consideration the difficult circumstances, our military ordinariate offers a short but intensive catechesis. We have catechism which focuses on the essential Catholic doctrines. We also prepare various audiovisual materials useful for catechesis.
The second aspect of military evangelization – care for the spiritual needs of the faithful – needs to have more attention paid to it. Just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus took aside Peter to appoint him as the Supreme Pastor on earth. Then Jesus questioned Peter three times: “Do you love me?” Whenever Peter the Apostle answered “Yes” in return, Jesus commanded him to “tend my sheep” (cf. Jn 21,15-18). Most of all, clergy and religious, as the Lord's shepherds, should always keep in mind the Lord’s command and put it into practice.
Military chaplains and religious wo- men involved in the military pastoral ministry place ‘spiritual care’ as a priority. We try to help believers in the military to live faithful lives staying close to the Bible, their prayer life, the Eucharist, and fraternity. During my pastoral visit, I have been pleased to notice how soldiers, military officers, commanders and their families make an effort to read the Bible and copy it out. When we place the Bible, the word of salvation and truth, at the centre of our lives we may live in a manner more faithful to Christ.
We, military chaplains, not only take care of the believers but also have to undertake tasks as ordered by the military authorities. In addition, it takes much time for military chaplains to cover the military unit under their care. Hence, it is not easy to take good care of the faithful spiritually. As a direct result of their busy schedules military chaplains can become tired and worn out. Yet they do their best to remain joyful and to take good care of the faithful and their spiritual lives. Because of such dedication I am always grateful to all of our military chaplains.
May God bless our soldiers, military officers, military commanders, their families and all the members of the Korean Catholic Chaplain Support Association.
October 7, 2018
Military Mission Sunday
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il
Bishop of Military Ordinariate
Message for the Month of Mission 2018 (Summary)
Let’s Communicate Divine Life through Missionary Work!
Dear brothers and sisters!
A Christian is a person who thinks, speaks, and behaves like Jesus, no matter what he or she does. Hence all Christians must be witnesses of the Gospel by praying and working as Jesus did. Jesus consistently sought the Father’s will in his prayers and through his proclamation of salvation.
Mission means to make God known to the world so that it may meet Him. Missionary activity is a holy work that manifests to the world the ‘joy of the Gospel’ overflowing in our hearts. Before taking on the challenge of missionary work our lives should be ablaze with the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants the Holy Spirit to burn like a fire within both our hearts and our communities.
The fire of the Holy Spirit is none other than love and communion in Christ. Unless we are united in love, our missionary work will never be able to bear fruits. We have all experienced pain resulting from our failure to carry out God's mission. We can see in the cases of those who reluctantly accepted an invitation into the Church how they can enroll in the catechumenate, receive Baptism, but eventually leave the Church and become inactive Catholics. We should fully recognize that this results from our failure to live as people of the Kingdom of God.
Firstly, we must all possess a vision of mission. We cannot forget that mission is only possible by following the example of Jesus who lived everyday of His earthly life entirely for God. We should also keep in mind that the foundation of mission is nothing less than our daily lifestyles.
In the Bible we read: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient” (2Ti 4,2). St. Pius X gave a grave warning to all lay people against neglecting their apostolate which includes missionary activity, saying that “the greatest obstacle to the apostolate lies in the timorousness, or rather cowardliness, of the good” (Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, Ch.39, n.31). Cardinal Suenens also reminded us of our weaknesses when he pointed out: “It is the sorrowful fact that Catholics do not speak about religion to those outside the Church. …… It is said that those outside the Church will not listen. But the real truth is that the Catholics will not speak” (ibid., Ch.38). This recalls the fact that there is no excuse for Christians not to practice mission in their various apostolates and in their lives.
The purpose of mission is not to ‘strengthen the power of the Church’ but to cover the world with divine vitality. Mission is the task of graciously illuminating the Gospel for all peoples in their historical journey towards God. Mission is to love our neighbors, who are not yet aware of the Lord’s love and grace. It is also a sacred and precious work which strives to fulfil the biblical word in Revelations: “The nations will walk by its light, and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure” (Rv 21,24).
Dear brothers and sisters!
Do not forget that the mission which we Christians pursue is to proclaim God’s truth. First of all, let us ask for the divine grace to be fully incorporated into Christ. Let us try, as members of the body of Christ, to fill our lives with joy and happiness, the most powerful instruments for the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. In this way, let us try to make our thoughts, words, and deeds into a proclamation of the Gospel to our neighbors.
Month of Mission
+ Joseph Son Sam-seok
Apostolic Administrator of Busan
CBCK Committee for
Evangelization & Mission
Message for the 2018 Prayer Day
for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
A Step towards Peace
The month of June is the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus during which we remember the great love of Jesus. This month aims to remind us of our obligation to respond to Jesus’ loving invitation, and it makes our celebration of the Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People even more meaningful. Only six months ago, tensions on the Korean Peninsula brought North and South to the brink of war. With the coming of the New Year, however, a peaceful breeze could be felt blowing across the Korean Peninsula. Recently, we witnessed the unfolding of a series of incredible and historical events, which attracted attention from people all around the world. These events were the Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjeom, followed by the very first Summit between North Korea and the United States. As the Panmumjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula on April 27, 2018 underlines, it is urgent to end the sixty-five years of armistice which has been marked by fear and anxiety, leading to conflicts and confrontations. We, hoping to end the war, should prepare ourselves to welcome a new era of peace.
Division as a Result of Sin
Division, from a Christian faith perspective, is a broken relationship caused by sin. For the past seventy-three years, we were unable to free ourselves from the yoke of sin and have lived as if it was normal. Just as sin generates sin, we, living in this period of national division, have been hostile to each other and demonized each other in the process. As a consequence, we have inflicted wounds and pains on others and have brought about suffering within ourselves. Political abuse of ideological differences created regional and generational confrontations, leading to countless casualties. We should reflect as a nation and as individuals on whether or not we have compromised with evil under the pretext of confronting an evil enemy.
Ministry of Reconciliation
St. Paul the Apostle states that Christ came into the world in order to reconcile us with God, restoring the broken relationship caused by our sins (cf. Rom 5,10-11; Eph 2,16). Hence, Saint Paul underlines that the ministry of reconciliation is given to us who are saved through Christ (cf. 2Cor 5,18). Just as we are reconciled to God through Christ, we should be reconciled to one another in this divided world. ‘Unity through reconciliation’ is a path to salvation for the faithful to follow and through following it we should be able to interpret the signs of the times. We should also keep in mind the Lord’s heartfelt prayer upon His approaching death on the cross: “they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us” (Jn 7,21). Undoubtedly, in a divided Korea it is God’s will for the faithful to work for reconciliation and the unity of the entire Korean People.
A New Path
We should pool our strength and act with one accord in the building of peace on the Korean Peninsula, and resolve to eradicate the dangers and anxieties caused by the atmosphere of confrontation. Since the success of the Summit between North Korea and the United States, we have been walking along an uncharted path upon which no step has thus far trodden. After sixty-five years of an armistice, it is our heartfelt wish to end the Korean War and welcome a new era of peaceful coexistence through denuclearization and a peace treaty. However, since this will not be an easy journey, our attention and prayers are ever more urgently required.
“He [Christ] is our peace” (Eph 2,14). And wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there is He in their midst (cf. Mt 18,20). A remarkable change has been brought about through our prayers. So let us continue this difficult but rewarding journey towards peace in prayer.
Dear faithful, I urge you to dedicate the prayers of the ‘Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be’ every evening at 9 pm for the peace and unity of the Korean Peninsula. Bishops and priests will pray with you. God bless you.
“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts” (Col 3,15).
June 5, 2018
for the Reconciliation and Unity
of the Korean People
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
Bishop of Uijeongbu
CBCK Committee for
the Reconciliation of the Korean People
News from the Catholic Church in Korea
● Deep Concern over a Sacrilegious Act against the Most Holy Eucharist
The CBCK addressed to the faithful a message concerning a recent sacrilegious act using a consecrated host on July 11, 2018. The full text is as followed:
“Recently a sacrilegious act using a consecrated host occurred. Several pictures of a desecrated Eucharist were posted on the bulletin board of an online community, afterwards the report went viral. This incident cannot be treated lightly nor solely as an individual’s deviant behaviour. It has caused deep shock not only to Catholics in Korea but also to believers of other religious faiths and to those who cherish religious values.
Catholics venerate the consecrated host, the body of Christ. The Catholic Church has consistently taught the faithful to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in high esteem, to receive the sacrament devoutly and frequently, and to worship it always with great respect (cf. CIC can.898). The Church also makes every effort to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist so that the danger of profanation is avoided as much as possible (cf. CIC can.938 §3). In this regard, the recent incident contravenes the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church and insults all Catholics. Hence, the Catholic Church warns against such sacrilegious acts, in the light of canon law: ‘a person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See’ (CIC can.1367).
Sacrilegious acts, such as the one reported, involving sacred and religious objects carried out in private or public cannot be tolerated, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator believes in the Holy Eucharist. Such an act deserves to be condemned by all religious people who respect religious values regardless of religious affiliation. The Catholic Church believes that people have a right to freely express and assert their own beliefs. However, if such expressions become perverted into social evils and are contrary to the common good, they should be rightly criticized and appropriately punished according to the law.
The Catholic Church in Korea urges that such a sacrilegious act not be repeated in the future. Together with all those who cherish religious values as well as all the Catholic faithful, the Catholic Church in Korea hopes and prays for a society in which all people respect each other’s values.”
Subsequently, the CBCK recommended all diocesan bishops to ask the faithful to practice the following common penance for the above sacrilege:
1. On August 4, 2018, Memorial of St. John Mary Vianney, priest, all the faithful should fast for one meal, abstain from meat, and spend time in private adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Every parish should hold Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and a Holy Hour, emphasizing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
2. The diocesan bishop may designate another date and act of common penance at his discretion.
● Korean-Japanese Joint Pilgrimage for Denuclearization
The Sixth Korean-Japanese Joint Pilgrimage for Denuclearization took place in Seoul; Yeonggwang, Jeollanam-do; Buan, Jeollabuk-do; and Daejeon from September 13 to 16, 2018. Sixty-three Koreans including the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju and nineteen Japanese including the Most Rev. Michael Goro Matsuura, Bishop of Nagoya, participated in this event which was held under the auspices of the CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il), under the title “The World Without Nuclear: May God Encourage Us to Protect Life and the Beauty of the World.” It was a significant opportunity to listen to local residents and to confirm solidarity beyond borders. The pilgrimage was followed by a seminar focusing on denuclearization staged at the Catholic Center, Myeongdong, Seoul on September 16. It concluded with a procession used to inform people of the possible harm caused by nuclear power and to urge them to undertake efforts to build a world free from nuclear energy.
● President Moon Jae-in’s official visit to the Vatican
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a long-time Catholic with the baptismal name of Timothy, attended a votive Mass for peace on the Korean Peninsula at the Basilica of St. Peter, on October 17, 2018. The Mass was celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. In his homily, Cardinal Parolin prayed for “the gift of peace” on Korean Peninsula. At the end of Mass, President Moon, in his speech, expressed his confidence in the achievability of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Next day, October 18, 2018, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience President Moon. During their cordial meeting, they reaffirmed their mutual commitment to build peace.
● Forum Held on the 16th World Day Against Capital Punishment
In South Korea, which has suspended the death penalty for the past twenty years, attention has focused on the need for an alternative form of punishment if the complete abolition of capital punishment takes place. This issue was addressed at the “Forum on the Abolition of the Death Penalty and the Preparation of Alternative Punishment” held in the meeting room of the National Assembly Hall in Seoul on the occasion of ‘The 16th World Day Against the Capital Punishment’ on October 10, 2018. This event was hosted by the Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki Hyen), along with a coalition of civic, human rights and religious groups.
The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
Peter Jo Yong-sam (? -1801)
Peter Jo Yong-sam was born in Yanggeun, Gyeonggi-do. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his father who was poor. Peter Jo was a fragile child, both physically and emotionally. Because of his shabby appearance, people laughed at him, and at the age of thirty he still had not married.
Peter Jo went to live with his father in Im Hui-young's house in Yeoju. It was there that he heard about the Catholic faith for the first time and he subsequently studied the catechism with Augustine Jeong Yak-jong. His teacher, Augustine Jeong, led him to God gradually, all the time encouraging and complimenting him.
On April 15, 1800, when Peter Jo was a catechumen, he went with his father to Jeong Jong-ho's house in Yeoju to celebrate Easter Sunday. There he was arrested along with Martin Yi Jung-bae and John Won Gyeong-do.
Though he was only a catechumen when he was arrested Peter Jo showed strong faith in God and despite severe punishment he continued to profess his faith. The persecutors became very angry with him and beat him even harder, but it was in vain. Finally, they took his father from prison, and threatened Peter Jo, saying, ‘If you do not renounce the Catholic religion, your father shall be killed immediately’. And then they beat his father in front of him.
Peter Jo finally surrendered and was set free. While walking out of the government office, he happened to meet Martin Yi who advised and encouraged him to hold on to his faith in God. Hearing this he repented his mistake immediately and went back to the chief official and once again professed his faith in God.
Peter Jo's faith was never shaken again and remained strong to the end. The persecutors tortured him more severely, thinking that they would be able to force him to recant, as they had before. But this time it was different. As a result he was taken to the governor's office in Gyeonggi-do, and was interrogated and tortured many more times.
In the meantime, the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801 and all over the country many Catholics were arrested. During this period Jo Yong-sam was baptized in prison and given the Christian name Peter. He impressed many Catholics by his good deeds and words.
Peter Jo was again taken to the governor in February 1801. The governor had him tortured in an attempt to force him to renounce the Catholic religion. His fragile body could no longer endure torture and he finally surrendered his life to God some days after he was imprisoned. This happened on March 27, 1801 (February 14, by the Lunar calendar). During the final session of torture, Peter Jo professed his faith in God as follows:
"There are not two Lords in heaven, and there are not two hearts in a human person. What I want to do is to die for the Lord one time. I have nothing more to say."