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CBCK Newsletter No.56 (Fall 2006)

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From the Editor

Dialogue, A Law of Our Earthly Pilgrimage

In Korea last July, we hosted the Seminar on Ecumenism for Asian Bishops' Conferences and, coinciding with this seminar, the Common Official Affirmation on the Doctrine of Justification was signed by the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Lutheran Federation and the World Methodist Council who also met in this country. It was a grace just to attend and witness this event which can be considered a turning point in the history of world religions. On this occasion, it would be helpful for us to reflect anew on the meaning of dialogue. What is dialogue? And how can we dialogue?

Dialogue implies an exchange of opinions between two parties with different spiritual backgrounds in order to embody a freer life through deeper awareness of the truth. Life goes with dialogue, and in dialogue. Dialogue enables us to return to ourselves with fresh eyes. This fresh gaze leads us to see what used to be fossilized inside us and inspires new vitality into closed languages and institutions.

There are presuppositions for good dialogue. Above all, dialogue requires confidence in one's standpoint and esteem for the other in seeking the truth.

First, each party should have his or her clear position and confidence and be able to manifest them. Without one's own position, the dialogue cannot be called open; it is nothing but relativism. For example, if religious pluralists insist on religious generalization to reach a dialogue, forsaking the essence and values proper to a religion, it is at best simply avoidance based on so-called humanistic tolerance. Second, dialogue is maintained and advanced by a common confidence in the ultimate triumph of truth and its essential unity. For this reason, the parties must not pursue the conversion or destruction of the other party. Neither should they attempt to tame the other. Both parties should be aware that they are not truth-possessors but truth-seekers. In this way, a friendly environment can be fostered. In dialogue, there is no winner or loser. After dialogue, participants find themselves changed and placed in a new relationship. If a dialogue is followed by conversion, the conversion is an act of self-discovery, not an act of self-denial.

Dialogue is a virtue necessary for contemporary people. For Korean people who value community spirituality, dialogue, be it interpersonal, interreligious or international, is an essential way of existence and "a law of our earthly pilgrimage" (Pope Paul VI, encyclical Ecclesiam suam, n.117). Futhermore, we can say that dialogue itself is an act of pilgrimage towards the integral catholicity Jesus Christ willed for his Church. The closer we come to Christ, the closer we are with each other. Certainly, dialogue is not a heavy burden but a gate of grace that our Lord gives to His Church.

Fr. Peter Pai Young-ho
Executive Secretary
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea

 

 

 

Message for the 11th Farmers' Sunday

For the Protection of Farmers' Rights

1. Dear brothers and sisters, this year we celebrate the 11th Farmers' Sunday. Farmers' Sunday was established by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea to make the Korean people, including Catholics, realize the importance of farming and farmers and to foster the preservation of the order of creation. For the last ten years, we have witnessed the effort bearing fruits. The Church has been an advocate for farmers and agriculture and has encouraged them by contributing to building an urban-rural community through the direct trade of farming products in an environmentally friendly way.

2. However, the situation in which our farmers are placed today still seems urgent. Even though the government has invested much to revive the rural community, it has failed to solve fundamental problems. In other words, the government has been content with stopgap measures; it should, however, be teaching how to fish or should be giving a fishing net rather than distributing a few fish to farmers.

Since the Catholic Church in Korea started the Save Our Rural Community Movement in 1994 and established Farmers' Sunday in 1995, it has focused its concern on the situation of the rural community and of farmers. However, the prevailing trends of globalization and neo-liberalism in our economy, especially the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which the government has already entered into with Chile and will soon conclude with the U.S.A. and other countries, have brought the rural community and agriculture of Korea to the brink of collapsing. Although the government promised to invest 119 trillion won in ten years to make national agriculture competitive, it is still uncertain whether most farmers will be able to benefit from the plan and when the promise can be realized. Facing this reality, the Church is seeking ways to help farmers who are groaning under uncertainty and heavy debts.

3. It might be a way of survival for the government to foster the development of agriculture with a huge investment to renew it and make it competitive. However, the government must first recognize the serious reality that agriculture is gradually shrinking, the rural population is aging, and the economic burdens and difficulties of farmers are worsening.

Agriculture is the industry of life. It holds enormous value which cannot be measured by the logic of the market. The appeal of farmers that "rice is the life of the people and sovereignty of the nation" is legitimate because rice is not only an economic good but it also promotes various public goods; rice farming helps preserve the environment and especially the underground water supply, prevents soil erosion, and controls the climate.

4. On the occasion of the 11th Farmers' Sunday, the Catholic Church in Korea urges the government to set up an institutional device to prevent agriculture and farmers from becoming unilateral victims under the pretence of the "common good."

The Church has repeatedly asserted the need for "globalization without marginalization" (Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 1998). His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI also emphasized "the way to achieve a globalization that is focused upon the true good of mankind and, hence, the path towards authentic peace" (Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2006). Structural improvement is urgently required for this globalization without marginalization.

At the same time, the Catholic Church in Korea encourages the "Life Community" campaign which the Save Our Rural Community Movement has promoted since 1994. I hope this campaign can embody its true intent in the love of God. Many members in the Church, schools, associations and hospitals, as well as rural communities and parishes in cities should participate in this campaign to develop various educational programs and practical ways to share the spirit of the campaign.

Through this movement to strengthen the rural community and all life we should make a living place where nature and all living beings can coexist.

To this end, we should implement educational programs giving priority to the value of community and the ecological system in both rural and urban areas and we should develop ways to practice this spirit, including direct trade or mutual exchange between the rural and urban communities. This will be a way to restore the ecological system and life, just as a new sprout budding from a withering tree is fostered.

5. Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to farmers who participate in the work of God's creation through farming despite various difficulties. I also ask them to carry out their work with the sense of responsibility that they, as children of the God of Life, are playing an important role in the eyes of God.

On the 11th Farmers' Sunday
July 16, 2006

+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
President Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK

 

 

Message for the Month of Mission

Let Us Endeavor to Evangelize the Family!

Dear brothers and sisters,
In this Month of Mission, let us concentrate our thoughts on the evangelization of the family, the small church and the basic cell of society. To evangelize the family means to transform our family with the Word of Jesus and thereby create a new order.

Unfortunately today families are confronted with various difficulties.
First of all, from the social perspective, the family has difficulty in performing its educational function. The main cause of this difficulty lies in the fact that parents and children have to live apart from each other because of diversification and globalization of jobs. Some parents decide to send their children to big cities or foreign countries for a better education. Moreover, parents and children, even though they live together in the same house, cannot meet face to face because they are so busy.

Another difficulty for the family is caused by the rapid development of culture and the widening gap between generations. In modern society, a new culture is formed in a few decades, not in a few centuries. While in the past parents taught their children what they had learnt and experienced, today parents have to learn from their children.

Next, the family has difficulty in practicing the faith. According to the 2005 statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea, more than 70% of the baptized do not attend Sunday Mass and receive the sacraments. From this, we can surmise that many parents themselves sometimes miss Sunday Mass and explicitly or tacitly permit their children to do so.

These problems reveal how important the evangelization of the family is.
Then how can we evangelize families in our time? We can find the answer in the Vatican II Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem: "It [the family] will fulfill this mission if it appears as the domestic sanctuary of the Church by reason of the mutual affection of its members and the prayer that they offer to God in common, if the whole family makes itself a part of the liturgical worship of the Church, and if it provides active hospitality and promotes justice and other good works for the service of all the brethren in need" (n.11). This passage comprehensively suggests what we can do for the evangelization of the family. Based on this, I propose some practical ways:

First, let us have families with members loving each other. When father and mother are on bad terms, the education of the children cannot go well. Therefore, for the evangelization of the family all the members should be in a loving relationship. How can we make a loving family? I propose a "day of dialogue in the Lord," for example, on birthdays, feasts, or holidays. If family members share their innermost thoughts and feelings around the Gospel, they can have personal encounters and make a loving family.

Second, let us have families praying together. How can Christian parents recover their parental responsibility in our time? It is by educating their children in the faith. How beautiful will the family be if the father studies catechism with the children and the mother leads the family prayer and meditation? How happy will the family be if parents pray for their children and children for their parents? When the family rejoice, love and trust each other like this, the evangelization of the family can be advanced.

Third, let us have families actively participating in the sacramental life.

Some parents do not seek infant baptism for their children on the grounds that they want to let their children choose their religion for themselves when they are grown up. However, eternal life is not an object of choice. It is the most precious heritage parents must hand down to their children. Their decision might lead children to live without the grace of God. It is such a dangerous thought. Why do parents refuse the grace which God offers to their children? Rather, shouldn't they help children live in His grace? Parents must create an environment where all family members abundantly receive the graces flowing from the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and Marriage.

Fourth, let us have families reading the Bible together. By reading the Bible together family members can assimilate faith-filled views and values based on the Gospel and find a good occasion for dialogue. Therefore, it is desirable for the family to read the Bible as frequently and regularly as possible. It is also helpful to include Bible reading in family prayer. If family members practice it regularly, the Bible will be the spiritual food for the daily life of the family. To have children read the Bible from a young age is very helpful for their Christian education.

Dear brothers and sisters,
Now is the time to evangelize the family by recovering the responsibility of parenting. It is the time for parents to play the role of evangelists. It is the time to start the evanglization of the family through Christian family education. The evangelization of the family is a value which we cannot abandon. Today, parents are called on to proclaim the words of eternal life to their children and to nurture in them well-balanced personalities. Let us evangelize the family so that it can be the first school where children can learn the social virtues. "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1Cor 9:16)

September 15, 2006

+ John Choi Young-soo
President Committee for Evangelization of the CBCK

 

 

Walter Cardinal Kasper's Visit to Korea for Christian Unity

Ecumenism, an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church

Walter Cardinal Kasper's Visit to Korea for Christian Unity

His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, made a visit to Korea from July 16 to 24, 2006.

During the visit, he presided at the Seminar on Ecumenism for Asian Bishops' Conferences, which was held at Aaron Retreat House in Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do from July 17 to 21 with some 40 participants from 11 countries. With the theme "The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today", the seminar aimed at providing "an opportunity for Asian bishops and others working in the field to reflect on the realities of ecumenical relations in Asian countries, and to develop effective pastoral approaches."

The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, chaired the opening ceremony and said, "Christian unity is an important, essential mission of the Church and a calling for all Christians. I hope we can lay a stepping stone for Christian unity through this seminar, resting all our hope on the prayer of Christ for the Church, on our Father's love for us, and on the power of the Holy Spirit."

In the seminar, Cardinal Kasper gave two lectures titled "Ut Unum Sint and Catholic Principles of Ecumenism" and "The Ecumenical Movement: Changing Situation and New Challenges." Also the Most Rev. Capalla Fernando, President of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, and the Very Rev. Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity spoke on ecumenical dialogue from the experience of the Bishops-Ulama Conference and on some theological ideas of Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, respectively.

Following this seminar, on July 23, Cardinal Kasper attended the 19th World Methodist Conference which was held in Seoul from July 20 to 24. At the Conference, the World Methodist Council adopted the Joint Declaration on Justification agreed upon between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999. A solemn celebration of the Word of God marked this extended agreement, which was signed in the presence of Cardinal Kasper and Rev. Ismael Noko, secretary general of the Lutheran World Federation. With this agreement, the Catholics and the Methodists also took a historic ecumenical step, resolving one of the main theological controversies.

Besides, on July 21, Cardinal Kasper had personal meetings with the leaders of the divided Churches in Korea, including the Korean Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Anglican Church of Korea, and the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea.

Also on July 22 he delivered an address at the 6th Forum for Christian Unity in Korea which was jointly organized by the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue and the National Council of Churches in Korea under the theme "Healing for Christians and Community - A Christological Approach about Healing for the Community." In the forum, the Very Rev. Msgr. Shim Sang-tai, Director of the Korean Christian Thought Institute, made a presentation on forgiveness and reconciliation, focusing on sacramentalism and reconciliation.

In addition, he called at the CBCK. On this occasion, he had an interview with the Pastoral Institute of Korea concerning some important pastoral issues relevant to Christian unity in Korea, such as communion-unity, unity within diversity within the Korean context, conditional baptism, mixed marriages, and the role of the Catholic Church in Korea for the evangelization of Asia and for the ecumenical movement. The interview proceeded in Italian with the Rev. Vincent Choe, Undersecretary of the CBCK and Secretary of the Institute, as the interviewer.

Finally, Cardinal Kasper met with President Roh Moo-hyun on July 24 before leaving Seoul for Rome.

 

Cardinal Kasper Welcomed

 
Cardinal Kasper, on arriving in Seoul, was welcomed by the Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, and the Rev. Peter Pai Young-ho, Executive Secretary of the CBCK, and Rev. Vincent Choe Wono, Undersecretary of the CBCK.

Seminar on Ecumenism for the Asian Bishops

  
Presentation by Walter Cardinal Kasper
Archbishop Capalla Fernando
Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez
(from left to right)

 
(left) Group discussion
(right)
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk presided over the closing Mass at the Seminar on Ecumenism with Cardinal Kasper and Bishop Hyginus Kim concelebrating.

Signing Ceremony for the Official Common Affirmation on the Doctrine of Justification

At the Conference of the World Methodist Council, Cardinal Kasper on behalf of the Catholic Church and in the presence of Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, signed the Official Common Affirmation on the Doctrine of Justification. 

    

Cardinal Kim, Cardinal Kasper, His Eminence Sunday Mbang and Rev. George Freeman (Chairperson and General Secretary of the World Methodist Council), the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko (General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation) (from right to left)

Meeting with Other Christian Leaders

   

Cardinal Kasper met with other Christian leaders: (from left to right) with Minister Ahn Young-ro of the Presbyterian Church of Korea; with Bishop Francis Park Kyung-jo of the Anglican Church of Korea; and with Metropolitan Sotirios Trambas of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea.

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

The First Patristics Seminar for Seminarians

The Korean Patristics Society (President: Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, OSB) held the first Patristics Seminar for seminarians, with the theme "De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio by St. Augustinus" at Aaron Retreat House in Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do on June 26, 2006. 

It was an opportunity for seminarians to become more aware of the lives and teachings of the Church Fathers. In this seminar, 30 seminarians from the Catholic Universities of Kwangju, Daejeon, Pusan and Suwon and around 20 members of the Korean Patristics Society participated and shared their knowledge and faith with one another.

Mr. Lee Bong-chun, a deacon of the Suwon Catholic University, made a presentation entitled "Consideration of the Doctrine of Grace based on De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio of St. Augustinus: Focusing on the Significance of 'New Creature'." He said, "The harmony between God's grace and man's free will is nothing but a 'new creation of human nature'. The only way for this harmony is through Jesus Christ, true God and true man."

The Rev. Vincent Choe Wono, Undersecretary of the CBCK and a member of the Korean Patristics Society, commented, "This first Patristics Seminar for seminarians is an epoch-making event which shows the development of patristics in Korea." He added, "I hope that many seminarians can become good pastors inspired by the spirit and intelligence of the Church Fathers."

The Korean Patristics Society has decided to hold patristic seminars for seminarians every year. The next seminar is going to be held at St. J. Hasang Education Center in the Diocese of Daejeon, on June 25, 2007.


First National Congress of Catholic Social Welfare Workers

The first national congress of Catholic social welfare workers was held under the theme, "We are Caritas workers!" at St. J. Hasang Education Center in the Diocese of Daejeon from July 4 to 7, 2006. Around 250 participants, priests, religious and lay people, from the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" and 15 diocesan Caritas centers, gathered for the first time and witnessed their identity as workers of charity who are "in the service of the poor and Christ."

In his keynote address, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, President of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea", emphasized the sense of vocation for the participants as he commented on the first Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est. In particular he underlined, "The Church is 'Caritas', love. Therefore, workers of charity should realize their own identity in love and manifest themselves as the light of the world."

In the congress, two main presentations were made: "Christian Social Welfare" by Mr. Do Geon-chang, a researcher of the Caritas Academy of Caritas Corea; and "Social Welfare in the Church and in general Society" by Mr. Park Seok-don, a professor emeritus of the social welfare department of Gyeongbuk University. Through workshops and case studies, the participants had an opportunity to seek ways to preserve and develop the spirit of Caritas as well as to strengthen inter-diocesan solidarity and their expertise in the social welfare field.


Decree Issued on the Episcopal Vicariate of the Diocese of Suwon

On July 14, at Jeongja-dong Cathedral of Suwon, the Most Rev. Paul Choi Deok-ki, Bishop of Suwon, issued a diocesan decree enforcing the episcopal vicariate and gave written appointments to six episcopal vicars already named last May: the Rev. Choi Jae-yong of Suwon, the Rev. Kim Yeong-ok of Seongnam, the Rev. Han Sang-ho of Anyang, the Rev. James Jo Won-kyu of Pyeongtaek, the Rev. Ko Geon-seon of Yongin, and the Rev. Kim Han-cheol of Ansan.

The Mass for the appointment of episcopal vicars was preceded by the ceremony of professio fidei and the solemn oath of loyalty to the Diocesan Bishop at the chapel in the Diocesan curia. Here these first episcopal vicars took their oath to dedicate themselves to evangelizing and enlivening the Diocese in accord with the Diocesan Bishop's will.

This promulgation of the diocesan decree on the organization of vicariates corresponds to the decision of the diocesan synod "to animate basic ecclesial communities" (at present) and "to vivify the Christian life of the youth" (in the future). It is expected to be an opportunity to enhance cooperation among the clergy based on the sanctification of priests and to promote the participation of the laity in ecclesial activities.


The 4th Catholic International Stem Cell Symposium

The 4th Catholic International Stem Cell Symposium was held at the Catholic Research Institute of Medical Science of the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul on July 14. The aim of this symposium was to examine the recent trends of stem cell research here and abroad and to search for ways to apply adult stem cells for the treatment of incurable diseases.

This year the event was jointly organized by the Catholic Institute of Cell Therapy in the Committee for Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul (Director: Prof. Cheon Myeong-hoon) and the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology. About 20 adult stem cell experts from Korea, Japan, and the United States gathered to present their papers.

His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, attended this symposium and reaffirmed the Catholic Church's support for adult stem cell research, saying "I believe that this International Symposium is a significant occasion for the strategic and systematic development of adult cell therapy research, reinforcing cooperation with domestic and overseas organizations."


Bishops Issue Messages for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and National Liberation Day of Korea on August 15, His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, and the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, Bishop of Andong, issued messages.

Cardinal Cheong, in his message entitled "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of the Faith" said "On the 61st anniversary of National Liberation Day of Korea, we desire to see the day when all Korean people who now endure the pain of national division can praise God and accomplish national reconciliation and unification by the special grace of God." He stressed, "Only when the faithful take the lead in sharing love with the poor and the needy can we deliver to the world the hopeful message which God gave to human beings through the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

Bishop You also issued a message entitled "In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Martyrs." In the message, he said, "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary reminds us to stay in divine love just as Mary did and to remember that it is the nature of our existence to return to God." He also urged the faithful to be like Mary and the martyrs advancing toward God. "Following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the martyrs, we should give priority to God in our life."

In his message entitled "The Faith and the Salvation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Kwon said, "I would like to supplicate Holy Mary, a principal patroness of the Church in Korea, to pray for authentic peace and the unification of Korea, embracing the sorrow and wound of our times." He also invoked Holy Mary to lead us to the way of faith and salvation.


The Seoul Youth Day 2006 Celebrated in Seoul Archdiocese

Marking the 160th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the Archdiocese of Seoul celebrated the "Seoul Youth Day (SYD) 2006" from August 12 to 14, 2006 at the Catholic University of Korea, at the Catholic Catechetical Institute, and at Seoul Dongsung High School.

Cardinal Cheong, Archbishop of Seoul, presided at the closing Mass and said in his homily, "It is a blessing for the youth to come together to give thanks and praise to God." He added, "It is great that the youth are united in the love of Jesus."

As the youth gathered in one place, they shared their life and experience with one another. Under the theme "Get up, let us go" (Mt 26:46), the SYD had three subjects for each day, namely, Martyrdom, Freedom, and the Future.

About 1,000 participants from over 60 parishes took part in the following programs: experiencing Liturgy, the youth concert, a street festival. There also were seminars with the themes "The History of the Church in Korea" and "My vision and Jesus."

The Rev. Paul Bae Sang-yeop, in charge of the department for the youth in the Archdiocese of Seoul, stated, "It is very significant that the Catholic youth gathered in one mind to imitate and follow the example of Jesus." He continued, "I believe that the SYD provided all participants with an opportunity to go forward to Our Lord."


The 14th ASEACCU Annual Conference

The 14th annual conference of the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) was held from August 24 to 26, 2006 at the Catholic University of Daegu. This was the second time the conference was held in Korea, the first time being the 5th conference in 1997.

The aim of the ASEACCU is to find new opportunities for the development of its members through international exchange among them. In this conference, the participants discussed many challenges with which Catholic universities and colleges are confronted now and they sought to find solutions together. They tried to consolidate the international exchange system and benchmark good examples of colleges and universities that have conformed themselves to the age of globalization in the midst of intensifying competition.

Mr. John Bosco Sohn Byung-du, President of Sogang University, said, "We have to overcome the cure-all myth of scientific rationalism alleged to be the only way to the truth. Furthermore, we have to try to strike a balance between technical progress and humanistic education." He added, "We have to teach students the proper rationality of ethical and religious values, not just that of natural science, so that they can have a balanced point of view."


A Working-Level Meeting Held between Caritas Corea and North Korea

For the Aid Project for North Korea of Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Corea had a working-level meeting with North Korea representatives at the Consultation Office for Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation in Gaeseong, North Korea, on September 6, 2006.

This meeting was held to prepare the Aid Project for North Korea of Caritas Internationalis which will start next year. Caritas Corea will take over the project in 2007.

At this meeting Caritas Corea asked North Korea to show its blueprint for the cooperative project. The representatives of Caritas Corea and its counterpart in North Korea discussed details for effective cooperation in the future project.

The North Korean representatives issued no official comment about the flood disaster of last summer in North Korea. They just confirmed that they would accept only humanitarian aids as before and that nationwide relief work is still in progress.

The Rev. Paul Jeremiah Hwang Yong-yeon, National Director of Caritas Corea, and three other members of Caritas Internationalis took part in this meeting.

At the second and third meetings, to be held in late September and early October respectively, matters will be discussed in detail. From the next meeting on, other foreign staff members from Caritas Internationalis will also join the discussion.


News in Brief

♦ The Korean Council of Religious Leaders issued a statement addressed to the Korean people on July 27, 2006, calling for the resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas. The statement entitled "For Peace in the Korean Peninsula and Reunification of the Nation" said, "The problem of the Korean Peninsula should be treated with a win-win method through peaceful dialogue." The Council urged North Korea to participate immediately in the dialogue with a clear understanding of international situation.

♦ The Hasang Christian School opened its second course this September. Under the title of "Encounter with bishops and the laity", the school provides eight lectures altogether, six of which are given by bishops. The curriculum includes: the ultimate question of life; the faith of martyrs; the cooperative relationship between the laity and the clergy; Catholic and critical journalism; the life of grace and the doctrine of Justification; the culture of life; the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est; the vocation and the social responsibility of the laity.

♦ The Association Fraternelle Internationale (AFI) on September 2, 2006 marked the 50th anniversary of its entering Korea with a celebration at Coste Hall next to Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul Archdiocese. The AFI is a lay missionary institute established in 1937 by Andre Boland and Yvonne Poncelet. In 1952 it became the Society of Lay Auxiliaries of the Missions and it is now known as the Missionary Society of International Catholic Auxiliaries (ICA).

♦ On September 4, the Rev. Joseph Chong Seung-hyon and the Rev. Peter Bang Sang-man took their office as the fifth president of Gwangju Catholic University and the eighth president of Suwon Catholic University, respectively. Fr. Joseph Chong said, "I found that I have to live and grow just like you, as a seminarian, planted in this seminarium. For me, this seminary is nothing but Jesus Christ. I am planted in Him, and living here means growing up like Jesus Christ."

 

 

 

The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea

Saint John Baptist Yi Kwang-nyol (1795~1839)

John Yi Kwang-nyol was a younger brother of the martyr Augustine Yi Kwang-hon. John became a Catholic with his elder brother. John was outstanding in honesty, enthusiasm and faith. Soon after he decided to become a Catholic, he was listed among the important Catholics who used to travel to Peking. John was baptized while he was in Peking. After his return home, he abstained every day, and he decided to lead a celibate life. His spiritual life was so outstanding that everybody admired him. John always wanted to be one with God.

John was arrested on April 8, 1839. He was twisted and beaten with sticks. It was customary that for each interrogation an executor had to hit a criminal with the stick 30 times until each stick was broken. Therefore, for each interrogation 30 such sticks had to be ready. Whipping was done with flexible branches tied together and these could take the criminal's flesh off if he was hit hard enough.

John endured all the pains and was determined to witness to his faith. He was supposed to be killed with his brother Augustine, but according to the old Korean law, two brothers could not be killed on the same day. So Augustine was killed first and John had to wait in prison. His words and deeds in prison impressed so many people.

According to the government document Sungjungwon Diary, John was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on July 20, 1839, with seven other Catholics. He was 45 years old when he was crowned with martyrdom.


Saint Barbara Kwon Hui (1794~1839)

Barbara Kwon Hui came from a family of martyrs. She was the wife of Augustine Yi Kwan-hon, mother of Agatha Yi and a sister-in-law of John Yi Kwang-nyol.

Barbara was born to a pagan family, but later she became a Catholic with her husband. She risked danger by providing room and board for Bishop Imbert and the missionaries. She also permitted the people to use her house as a gathering place for Mass and catechism classes.

After Barbara was arrested in 1839, she was tortured a number of times. What caused her greatest pain was to see her 16-year old daughter, Agatha Yi, who was arrested with her mother, suffer cruel tortures, hunger, thirst and cold.

Barbara was taken outside the Small West Gate on September 3, 1839. She was beheaded there with five other Catholics. She was 46 years old when she received the crown of martyrdom.


Saint Mary Yi Yon-hui (1804~1839)

Mary Yi Yon-hui was the wife of the martyr Damian Nam. Mary had a strong will and was a very intelligent woman. Like Barbara Kwon, she used to welcome Bishop Imbert and the missionaries into her home, a very dangerous act at that time, and provide them with accommodation. When the people gathered in her home, she used to take care of them, teaching them and preparing them to receive the sacraments. Her gracefulness and modesty pleased everyone around her.

Mary was 36 years old when she was arrested in 1839. She was tormented by the policemen in prison. When she scolded them for their ungentlemanly conduct, her husband Damian advised her that a Catholic should die like a tame lamb. After that she endured all abuse and cruelty with no complaints.

Her 12-year old son was in a separate prison cell. The prison guards used to torture him so that Mary could hear her son's screams. The prison guards used to tell Mary how the boy was tortured. She was afraid that her son might be overcome by the tortures and give up his faith. She tried to calm herself down, reassuring herself that all the trials were for the greater glory for God. One of the witnesses testified that she loved God from the bottom of her heart and that the only thing she wanted was Heaven. She was severely beaten and twisted.

Mary was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on September 3, 1839, with five other Catholics. She was 36 years old when she died for the faith.

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No. Subject Date
57 CBCK Newsletter No.57 (Winter 2006) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.56 (Fall 2006) Aug 27, 2009
55 CBCK Newsletter No.55 (Summer 2006) Aug 27, 2009
54 CBCK Newsletter No.54 (Spring 2006) Aug 27, 2009
53 CBCK Newsletter No.53 (Winter 2005) Aug 27, 2009
52 CBCK Newsletter No.52 (Fall 2005) Aug 27, 2009
51 CBCK Newsletter No.51 (Summer 2005) Aug 27, 2009
50 CBCK Newsletter No.50 (Spring 2005) Aug 27, 2009
49 CBCK Newsletter No.49 (Winter 2004) Aug 27, 2009
48 CBCK Newsletter No.48 (Fall 2004) Aug 27, 2009
47 CBCK Newsletter No.47 (Summer 2004) Aug 27, 2009
46 CBCK Newsletter No.46 (Spring 2004) Aug 27, 2009
45 CBCK Newsletter No.45 (Winter 2003) Aug 27, 2009
44 CBCK Newsletter No.44 (Fall 2003) Aug 27, 2009
43 CBCK Newsletter No.43 (Summer 2003) Aug 27, 2009

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