From the Editor
To Remember Our Origin
The age we are living is obviously moving so fast that we cannot catch up with it unless we are running full speed. As the year comes to a close we look back on the past year reflecting on whether we missed or lost something important despite our breathless running. We feel that perhaps we spent much of our energy and strength on just a few things we have been obsessed with.
We should realize that if we turn on a searchlight we can see things more carefully while we miss those things which were dimly visible without the light. It is a human limitation that we cannot stare at a single point and look at things on the periphery at the same time. The tendency to regard only what is visible as "everything" and only "it" as "being" brings about problems. Indeed, we often witness irrational realities that rationalism has generated. Some say that environmental pollution or ecological destruction are one of rebellions of the invisible "nothing" and its shock waves.
We Christians also find ourselves being addicted to the conveniences of rationalism. That is to say, we sometimes fall into the folly of acknowledging as reality only what is visible, what can be conceptualized, what is defined or what is measurable. We are also apt to reduce reality to numbers. We tend to recognize only what is mensurable or computable and to describe everything numerically. To perceive and interpret something has come to mean that we measure and weigh it in scales. People even describe or make an evaluation of a person with figures such as one's height, weight, IQ or EQ. Such a way of thinking leads people even to attempt to reduce values, ideology and morality into numerics and monetary units. In our age, values are turned upside down; the original seems to give way to the strange. For this reason, humanity cannot but confess that we are the very wanderers who departed from our original home and now have lost the memory of it.
We should return to the origin. Fortunately, we have prophets who have realized this. In our time there are also prophets who tell us that the way toward the origin, which we have forgotten, is the true way. We have the so-called "shepherds of being" or "messengers of the origin" who bring back to us the forgotten or the lost origin, the home of our being. Fortunately for our happiness, we can hear the message of these "good shepherds" of modern times. We can call prophets or good shepherds those who in our time tell us - wanderers in a strange land - to return to the origin. In this sense, Jesus definitely remains as the Good Shepherd in this age as well. At the start of the new year of 2007, we should remember the origin to which we shall return sooner or later.
Fr. Peter Pai Young-ho
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
2006 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
2006 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK Held
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held its 2006 Autumn General Assembly from October 9 to 12 and made the following decisions:
1. The Bishops approved the publication of the Korean translation of the Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica Compendio which was officially published by the Apostolic See. The Korean translation was prepared by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis.
2. To promote systematic study and cooperation in youth ministry on the level of the episcopal conference, the Bishops established a new CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry and elected the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man as President of the Committee.
3. The Bishops approved the "Charter of Catholic Education in Korea" which was presented by the CBCK Committee on Education to provide a basis for the realization of the Catholic spirit of education.
4. The Bishops elected the Most Rev. John Chang Yik as the successor to the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myeong-cho who resigned the post of President of the CBCK for reason of health.
Bishop Chang Elected as the New President of the CBCK
The Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chunchon and Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung, was elected as the new President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. Succeeding the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myeong-cho who resigned for reasons of health, Bishop Chang will carry out the remaining time of the presidency as the representative of the Catholic Church in Korea. Born in Seoul in 1933, Bishop Chang graduated from Maryknoll College in the U.S.A. in 1956 and completed the doctorate course of philosophy at Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium in 1959. Ordained a priest in 1963, he served as parish pastor, taught at Catholic universities and worked for the Archdiocesan curia of Seoul in various posts. He was appointed as the third Bishop of Chunchon in 1994 and consecrated as a bishop that same year.
Message for the 25th Human Rights Sunday
Message for the 25th Human Rights Sunday (summary)
"Only Love Can Completely Transform the Human Person"
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has been 25 years since the Catholic Church in Korea instituted Human Rights Sunday with the earnest desire to build a society which respects the dignity and value of the human person created in the image of God. While we must thank God for the promotion of human rights along with national development and democratization in Korea, we nevertheless witness the sorrowful tension, conflicts and distrust that are still rampant in our society.
The Catholic Church in Korea promotes the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people in the two Koreas and renders humanitarian aid to our needy brethren in the North. However, the recent nuclear experiments on the part of North Korea have increased tension in the Korean Peninsula and are threatening our future. We should sincerely pray that God may grant us wisdom and intelligence to overcome this crisis peacefully. We also should pay continuous attention and pray for the situation of human rights in North Korea.
Our reality still includes acute confrontations with regard to basic human and social rights: there is conflict between development and the protection of the natural environment; there are protests by villagers over the expansion of a U.S. Army base in the village of Daechu-ri; there are furious demonstrations by farmers against the Free Trade Agreements with the U.S.A.; there are the collective actions of some union members to push their interests; and there are issues related to migrant workers. It is by no means easy to find solutions for the complex and disparate demands made by all sides. Certainly a proper solution will demand efforts to understand with good will the different positions of the various parties and to suggest agreeable alternatives.
The government must not yield to unilateralism or bureaucratic expediency. Public officials should keep in mind that national decisions, whatever they are, must not demand the unilateral sacrifice of citizens' basic right to life and other human rights. Citizens, workers and farmers, in their turn, must be aware of our rapidly changing world that is characterized by globalization and they must find solutions that allow for co-existence and avoid extreme confrontation.
Since the financial crisis of Korea in 1997, the continuing collapse of the middle class has caused two out of every ten people to slip into miserable poverty. Three people a day commit suicide because of the difficulties of living, making the rate of suicide in Korea the highest among the OECD countries. Suicide never can be accepted, for the master of life is our God and Creator.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The needy and marginalized exist in every society. It is the duty of Christians to encourage and pray for them and to urge politicians to change their attitudes and to respect the dignity and value of human persons. We also play our role as salt and light in our society and practice Christian charity. It is most important to empower the needy and marginalized so that they can live by their own efforts.
"Only love can completely transform the human person." The commandment of love that "You shall love your neighbors as yourself." (Lk 10:27) requires us to respect the rights of others and to practice justice (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n.583). May the Spirit of the Truth guide us to embody the justice of God in this land. May the peace of our Lord be with us all.
December 10, 2006
On the 25th Human Rights Sunday
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK
Message for Peace and Reconciliation
Message for Peace and Reconciliation
"Peace I Leave with You" (Jn 14:27)
The recent announcement of North Korea's nuclear experiment has given great shock and concern to the Korean people and to all those who love peace. Peace is the gift the Risen Lord gave to our humanity. We cannot but feel deep sorrow for the choice of our North Korean brethren whose cooperation with us is essential to maintain peace. Even if nuclear weapons are meant for self-defence, they cannot be justified in any way. In this regard, the Catholic Church in Korea has already made clear her position by issuing a statement entitled "We Want Peace, Not War!" in which we bishops explicitly opposed the attack to Iraq conducted by the U.S.A. under the pretense of eliminating weapons of mass destruction (issued on February 14, 2003 by the CBCK).
For the last few years the South and the North have maintained peaceful exchanges through which the two Koreas came to recognize each other not as an enemy but as one people, brothers and sisters. No one, therefore, should block the way of reconciliation which the South and the North have paved with great efforts, nor should anyone turn back the streams of peace and unity running through the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, no one should make use of this situation to provoke hatred and confrontation.
For peace to take root in Korea, the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which was adopted in 1991, must be effectively practiced. This can be achieved only through dialogue and with patience. Hate begets hate and violence begets violence. Therefore, the Catholic Church in Korea firmly refuses any form of violence. The international society must walk the difficult way toward reconciliation and peace with patience, not through wars or confrontation but through dialogue and negotiation. Peace can be achieved only through incessant forgiveness and reconciliation.
Though the Korean Peninsular is shocked at the nuclear experiment by North Korea, we put our trust in "Christ, our peace" (cf. Eph 2:14) without restlessness of mind. We heartily wish to bring real peace to this nation with all the people working together for this peace.
O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony.
October 13, 2006
+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People of the CBCK
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK
Message for 2006 Biblical Week
Message for 2006 Biblical Week (summary)
Into the Depths of the Word:
"Were Not Our Hearts Burning?" (Lk 24:32)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has been 20 years since the Catholic Church in Korea instituted the Biblical Week to promote the biblical apostolate on the national level and to let the faithful taste the joy of reading the Bible unceasingly and properly. Thanks to the grace of God, we can dedicate our life to God in delving into the Bible. In particular, the movements to transcribe or read the entire Bible are very commendable. St. Jerome said that "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ," and so we should read the Bible if we want to encounter Christ more closely. We should take the Word of God into our heart and go into the depths of the Word. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is central to the biblical apostolate.
Last year we encountered the Word under the theme "Newness of the Word," especially celebrating the publication of new Korean translation of the Bible Syeonggyeong. This year I suggest as our theme "Into the Depths of the Word" and invite the faithful to be immersed in the joy of reading the Word.
The Word of God has power and strength. Not a single line in the Bible is empty of meaning. The Word is alive among every creature and always calls us to the way of truth. Knowing God starts from listening to the Word. We can gain knowledge by memorizing and studying; but we cannot learn God by simply memorizing the Scriptures, the way we obtain knowledge of science. The Bible, as the guidepost of our life, has a meaning that goes beyond ethical teaching; it contains the Word of Life.
It is the task of the biblical apostolate to suggest the way to encounter the Word of Life and take it as the food of life. At present, the biblical apostolate in the Catholic Church in Korea is very dynamic and diversified. The presence of many priests, religious and lay faithful who proclaim the Word of Life is definitely a hope for our Church. If we, following the Word who was made man and lives among us, joyously live with the Bible as servants of the Word, then people will be able to follow our example and become immersed in the depths of the Word.
Every believer should take the Bible as the guide of life and make diverse responses to it. First, we should listen to the Word of God. We say "Hearing is believing," and so we should receive the Word of God with our ears, eyes, lips and hearts. Next, we should bear witness to the Word by faithfully practicing what we have received. Jesus spoke of love and bore the cross as a sign of this love. Jesus gave us this example of putting into action what He taught us.
From now on, we should live as Mary who conceived the Word as the fulfillment of the Word of God. Her conception of Christ was an event of fundamental and integral change; it was a physical, social and psychological change of a human person. With the reception of Jesus, Mary came to live a totally different life. Before her awaited the life of the Mother of the Lord who would suffer, die on the cross and rise again. From the moment of the Annunciation when Mary showed total obedience and accepted the Word, she came to live a life centered on God. When we receive the Word we begin to live as Mary.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During this biblical week, let us go into the depths of the Word. Like Mary who conceived Jesus, let us build a totally different life. Let us change ourselves as true Christians so that our neighbors can find in us the life of Jesus Christ. This is the very grace of the Word.
"Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (Lk 24:32)
November 26, 2006
On the Solemnity of Christ the King
+ John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju
Biblical Committee of the CBCK
Message for the 23rd Caritas Sunday
Peace Be with You All in This Land!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Everyone in the world hopes to be happy. People pursue happiness in their own ways though. Some hope to reach happiness easily without paying the price of suffering and difficulties. The true meaning of happiness, however, cannot be realized without pain and hardship. So it is that many people live in "false" happiness and our society faces the structural evil of distancing itself from God.
Christians have the right and duty to live happily. After Jesus rose from death, He came and stood in the midst of disciples and said to them, "Peace be with you" (Jn 20:19). Peace was the first message the Risen Jesus gave us. Thus, it is clear that all Christians who follow Him have the right and duty to live in peace and happiness.
Nevertheless, we should not forget that Jesus underwent the suffering of his Crucifixion and Death before He gave his disciples the message of peace. The happiness of Christians can be attained only through the cross. Not to embrace the cross but simply to hope to be happy is as absurd as to hope for an abundant harvest without the sweat of toil.
2. To enjoy the true happiness that comes from God, we should live our lives in the way He wills. Only then can we enjoy happiness in this life and eternal happiness in the life that is to come. The beatitudes can be understood only with the wisdom of Heaven, not with the eyes of this world (cf. Mt 5:3-12). When in love we willingly share what we have, when we sympathize with our neighbors' suffering, when we discern the will of God in our life and practice it, then we can live in the peace of God as His children.
The peace of Jesus is the supreme kind of harmony a community can attain. In particular, when we love and help the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick, and the lonely, we can find such harmony. When we open our minds and our hearts, we can discover many neighbors in need of our concern, help and charity. If we understand the difficulties of others and offer concrete help according to our own circumstances, we can be peacemakers and true Christians generating happiness.
3. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in his first encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est wrote: "For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being. The Church is God's family in the world. In this family no one ought to go without the necessities of life" (n.25). The Pope also said, "Christian charity is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in prison" (n.31). Every Christian is called to help his or her needy neighbors in a concrete manner. "The Church as God's family must be a place where help is given and received, and at the same time, a place where people are also prepared to serve those outside her confines who are in need of help" (n.32).
If we pool our love and strength on this Caritas Sunday, the Church can help the needy and marginalized in a more systemic and ordered way. In this way let us participate in the practice of sharing more positively.
4. We are living in the season of Advent when we are ardently longing for Jesus Christ who will come to give true peace to everyone in the world. Today many people are living in loneliness, hardship and suffering. We are not exceptions. Therefore, we need the touch and love of Jesus Christ more than ever. Advent is the time when we await our Lord's coming, when our Lord calls us, and when we respond to his call of love. To respond to Him properly, we must live a life of expiation and conversion. With gratitude for all the graces which God has bestowed on us this year, let us practice concrete love toward our neighbors.
"It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Act 20:35).
December 17, 2006
On the 23rd Caritas Sunday
+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Committee for "Caritas Corea" of the CBCK
News from the Church in Korea
● Message for the 39th Military Mission Sunday
The Most Rev. Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate, issued a Message for the 39th Military Mission Sunday on October 1, 2006. He said, "The military is a very precious place to build a Church of hope and a new society." He made it clear that special prayers and support from the faithful and all the people are needed to renew the military. He also said, "It is natural that young soldiers of this new generation are desperately searching for the Church amid the hardships of military life.... The military is a school and a training center for the younger generation to have an experience of life and faith." He expressed his hope that "God may bless all soldiers, especially the Catholic soldiers on this Military Mission Sunday." He added, "It is a very hopeful and visionary mission to make the young soldiers aware of the true meaning of life and to share with them the word of life which Jesus preached to us in Gospel."
At the Korean Army Training Center in Nonsan, Catholic priests administer baptism to 1,000-1,500 trainees every month. The Rev. Augustine Hong Sung-hak of Trinity Parish in the Military Ordinariate of Korea said, "It seems to be a unique thing in the whole world that in one year Catholic baptism is administered to more than 10,000 trainees at a single parish." At the moment the church building is too small to accommodate all this abundant religious fever. So the Military Ordinariate has decided to build a new church building and an education center next year, with the support of the faithful and all people of good will.
● Publication of The Braille Bible
The Catholic Church in Korea published the Bible in Braille for the first time in her history. The CBCK approved the publication of The Braille Bible at the 2005 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK and provided the Catholic Blind Mission in Korea (CBMK) that is engaged in this project with 100 million won (approximately $100,000). The Braille Bible consists of 18 volumes of the Old Testament and 5 volumes of the New Testament and totals more than 6,000 pages.
A Mass and a congratulatory party were celebrated on September 28, 2006 at the grand hall of CBCK to mark the publication of The Braille Bible. In his congratulatory address, Bishop Kwon Hyeok-ju, President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, said, "We may touch the words of the Bible more lively with our finger tips than with our eyes." Referring to the pericope of the man blind from birth (John 9:1-12), he said that we all might be considered partially disabled from birth in that we can live only with the help of others and only with this help from others can we do the work of the Lord.
In replying to the bishop, Mr. John Bosco Kang Seong-ryeong, President of the CBMK, said, "I hope that everybody sees in the Bible, which can be read only by the finger tips, a chance to live in a world where there is no discrimination between 'disabled' and 'non-disabled' people." He expressed his hope that the Prayer book and the Hymnbook also would soon be published in Braille.
There are over 2,000 members of the CBMK. This Bible in Braille is a gift of the Church to the blind who have been alienated by publishers. It will help them to practice a more active faith life.
● Catechism for the Aged Published
The Catechism for the Aged (and the Catechists' Guide) was published by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis (President: the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) for those who have difficulty receiving regular catechesis because of their advanced age.
The idea to publish this kind of specific catechism was first suggested at the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK in order to cope effectively with the aging Catholic population in Korea. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in his message of blessing to the Korean bishops participating in their 2006 Spring General Assembly showed special interest in the publication of the catechism for the aged, saying, "May this catechism help the aged to better understand the heart of the Christian message."
As a first step for preparing and publishing this specialized catechism, the Committee for Catechesis carried out a survey among the clergy, religious and the laity. According to the survey, 90% of the respondents acknowledged the need for a catechism adapted to aged catechumens.
Based on the result of this survey, the Committee tried to arouse interest in learning doctrine by avoiding mere rote memorization, for example, by suggesting group activities. Composed of 22 units from "Encounter" to "Preparation for the Baptismal Rite", this Catechism includes many pictures or illustrations and encourages the learners to participate in various activities.
● Cardinal Barragán Asks Cooperation of the Korean Government for the Celebration of the XV World Day of the Sick
His Eminence Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, made a five-day visit to Korea from October 9, to check on the preparation for the 15th World Day of the Sick which is to be held in February 2007 in Korea.
On the first day of his visit, Cardinal Barragán met with Mr. Rhyu Simin, Minister of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea. The Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, and the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, President of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" accompanied him.
During the meeting, Cardinal Barragán called for the solidarity and collaboration of the Korean government for the international event. Briefing the minister on the purpose and the detailed schedule of the event, Cardinal Barragán invited him to attend the opening ceremony and deliver a congratulatory message to the representatives from various countries.
Cardinal Barragán stressed, "The Catholic Church has made efforts to make a world where the value of life can be fully respected. As a part of this effort, we hold conferences to deal with issues which have worldwide relevance in the field of health care. I hope that the 15th World Day of the Sick which will have as its theme 'The Spiritual and Pastoral Care of Patients with Incurable Illnesses' can suggest solutions for those suffering from incurable illnesses."
The minister responded, "We know very well and appreciate that the Catholic Church for a long time has devoted herself to helping the sick and the poor and has played an important role in the various fields of health care ministry. We will not spare our support and will help so that this event can be successfully prepared and celebrated in Korea." He also promised to attend the opening ceremony to give a congratulatory address.
● Research Foundation of Korean Church History Awarded for Its Publication of Korean Catholic Encyclopedia
On October 12, 2006, the Committee for Catholic Academic Awards under the Catholic Times held the 10th Catholic Academic Awards ceremony and bestowed this year's award to the Research Foundation of Korean Church History in recognition of its publication of the Korean Catholic Encyclopedia. The Committee praised it as an excellent work "boosting the academic and cultural level of the Catholic Church in Korea."
Receiving the award, the Rev. Joseph Kim Seong-tae, Director of the Research Foundation, expressed his feelings, "The encyclopedia was produced after 13 years of commitment by many people. Now the Korean Catholic Encyclopedia not only belongs to the Research Foundation of Korean Church History, but it is the asset of the Catholic Church in Korea and of all Korean Catholics."
The Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul who won the award last year for his book The Kingdom of God, gave a congratulatory address in which he said, "The Korean Catholic Encyclopedia is a great work which surely will have significant influence on the faith of the Catholic Church in Korea. Faith matures with reason. Pope John Paul II said, 'Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth'. I think this encyclopedia can significantly contribute to reason, which is a wing for us to approach God."
The Catholic Academic Awards was instituted by the Catholic Times in 1997 to commemorate the lay theologian Yang Han-mo of blessed memory.
● The 12th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting
The 12th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting took place under the theme "The Formation of Priests" at the Hanti Retreat House in the Archdiocese of Daegu, from November 14 to 16, 2006.
Twenty Korean bishops, including the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chunchon, new President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, and sixteen Japanese bishops, including the Most Rev. Augustinus Jun-ichi Nomura, Bishop of Nagoya, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, participated in the meeting.
During this meeting, the bishops shared their pastoral experiences through the presentation of the local situation in the formation of priests. The Most Rev. John Tong Hon, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, spoke on the "Formation of Priests in China" and the "Formation of Sisters in China"; the Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho, Bishop of Jeonju, spoke on "General Principles of the Course of the Formation of Priests at the Gwangju Catholic University". The Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Daegu, presented a paper "Introduction to the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Daegu". The Most Rev. Rafael Umemura Masahiro, Bishop of Yokohama, presented the "Annual Report of Tokyo Catholic Seminary 2005-2006" and the "Annual Report of Fukuoka St. Sulpice Major Seminary".
● 2007 Pastoral Letters Focus on the Practice of Evangelization
At the beginning of the Advent season on December 3, 2006, each diocesan bishop issued a 2007 pastoral letter emphasizing various practices for spiritual development as the foundation of life and family, and proposed major pastoral plans of the diocese for the coming year.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, stressed, "Life is the most precious value which the contemporary Church should protect from threat and hardship," in his pastoral letter entitled "The Church Proclaiming Life". Cardinal Cheong said, "With the image of Jesus, who healed the poor and the afflicted, and the image of His Mother, who respected life and healed and embraced the poor and the afflicted, let us proclaim life."
The Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Daegu, where the year 2007 is being observed as the year of evangelization for the elderly, stressed the special meaning of senescent life with this word: "Old age is not just for retirement but for living that part of the beautiful journey of life which brings the future hope." The Archbishop underlined, "First of all, it is necessary to provide pastoral care for the active participation of the elderly in church life."
The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, remarked in his pastoral letter entitled "In the Light" that "It is important for the faithful to achieve inner renewal in the ecclesial community. We, who are called to carry out our mission to be a witness toward the world, should realize that the effort to practice our mission toward the local community is the most effective activity for proclaiming evangelization."
Other diocesan bishops also reaffirmed the inner renewal of the Church and service outside the Church.
News in Brief
The Diocese of Masan celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment on October 29. This ceremony with the theme "With Jesus Christ" included Eucharistic concelebration by the Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Bishop of Masan, and the diocesan priests; a commemorative event; and a congratulatory party. In his homily Bishop Ahn said, "The last 40 years were truly filled with the blessings and love of God."
On December 5, 2006, the ceremony of the 16th Catholic Mass Communications Awards was held under the auspices of the CBCK Committee for Social Communications at Coste Hall in Myeong-dong Cathedral of Seoul. Mr. Song Hae-seong, director of the film "Our Happy Time", was awarded the Grand Prix. The jury said that the film, describing the encounter between a desperate condemned prisoner and a woman who attempted to commit suicide three times, showed us the power of forgiveness and the precious value of true love. In addition, the film has aroused social concerns about the capital punishment and has provided a good opportunity to think of the dignity of human persons.
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Committee on Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul (Chairman: the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul), which fosters the protection of life, the committee celebrated the "Life Mass" on December 3, 2006 and reflected on its history. The day featured various events, including "Life Mass," an awards ceremony, and congratulatory speeches from various circles. In particular, five scholars and activists were awarded "The Mystery of Life" prize for their devotion to life.
A symposium entitled "The Preservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage of the Church," was sponsored by the CBCK Committee for Culture of the on November 24, 2006 as a step toward finding alternative ways to preserve and manage the cultural heritage of the Church. The symposium was a very significant moment for the Church in Korea as it considers a general plan for the preservation and management of the cultural heritage of the Church in Korea.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea 44, 45
Saint Lucy Kim Nusia (1818~1839)
Lucy Kim was a charming young woman with talent, courage and gracefulness. When her parents died, she had to sell all her property to pay for their funeral expenses. After that she lived with a Catholic family, and she made a vow of virginity.
When the persecution broke out, Lucy and three other pious women decided to give themselves up to the government authorities to profess their faith. Lucy was the youngest but was the leader of the group. Lucy did not lose her composure during the interrogations and tortures.
"Can you, such a beautiful woman, believe the Catholic religion?"
"Yes, I truly believe the religion."
"Deny your God, and you will save your life."
"My God is the Father of all creatures. How can I deny my King and my Father? I cannot do that even if I have to die ten thousand times."
"Why are you not married?"
"I am still only about 20 years old. It is not strange that a girl of my age is not yet married. It is not proper for a young woman to talk about her own marriage."
"Are you not afraid to die?"
"Yes, I am afraid to die. But I would rather die than deny my Lord."
"Where is the soul you are talking about?"
"It is in a human body. It is spiritual and invisible."
"Did you see God?"
"No, I did not. Can't a country man, who has never seen the king, believe that there is a king? When I see all the creatures on earth, I know that there is a Creator."
The police chief tried many kinds of persuasion and torture for a long period of time, but he could not make her weaken. On the contrary, he was embarrassed. The executioners, who saw her composure, thought that she might have been possessed by a ghost.
Lucy and other women had to suffer hunger, thrist and other hardships in prison for several weeks even after they were sentenced to death. Lucy had beautiful hair. She had it cut and sold it. With the money she bought some food that she shared with her fellow inmates. Lucy wrote a letter to one of her friends, in which she said: "I thank God for being sentenced to death after severe tortures and pains. I don't know when the Lord will call me. Please pray for us, and follow us to Heaven. We are waiting to be called by the Lord."
Lucy was beheaded outside the Small West Gate with seven other Catholics on July 20, 1839. She was 22 years old when her heavenly spouse took her to Heaven.
St. John Pak Hu-jae (1799 ~ 1839)
John Pak Hu-jae was a son of the martyr Laurence Pak. John was born in Youngin in 1798 or 1799. Later he came up to Seoul with his family, and made his living by making straw shoes.
His wife testified about his outstanding virtues. John was very faithful in practicing his religion and was a very hard working man. He used to say: "I must die as a martyr in order to save my soul." As a mortification for love of God, he used to hit his shins with a club used for making straw shoes. John used to tell his wife to endure any pains for the sake of salvation. He used to say: "An old saint saw a worm crawling out of his wound, and put it back to the wound, saying 'your food is here.' We must suffer our pains." In March of 1839, when the persecution broke out, he was not frightened. There was no money at home. John sold a large earthenware pot and divided the money into two, keeping one half for himself and giving the other half to his wife for emergency use. He told his wife to spend the night at the home of his aunt. Next day she learned that her husband had been arrested.
He was interrogated by the judge.
"Are your parents still living?"
"My mother passed away a few years ago. My father was beheaded for his faith in 1801. There are no other relatives."
"Do you know that you are violating the king's law?"
"God is my Creator. I owe greater loyalty to God than to the king."
"Reveal your accomplices."
"I can do no harm to others."
"Deny your faith, if you want to live."
"My religion is more important than my life."
John was beaten with a cudgel 40 times. His flesh was torn off and blood spurted out. The noise of the cudgel crushing his bones frightened others in prison. But John was steadfast in his faith.
John was finally beheaded outside the Small West Gate on September 3, 1839, with five other Catholics. He was 41 years old when he was beheaded.
The Rt. Rev. Abbot Placid Ri Dong-ho, the Second Abbot of the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) and Emeritus Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung and Tokwon, passed away on November 18, 2006 at the age of 71. The funeral Mass was offered at the church of the OSB Waegwan Abbey on November 20, 2006. Born in Manchuria in 1935, the late Abbot entered the monastery of the Waegwan Abbey in 1957, made his final vows in 1961, and was ordained a priest in 1962. He was appointed as the second Abbot of the Waegwan Abbey in April, 1971, and later as the Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung and Tokwon in 1981. He devoted himself to the evangelization of North Korea for 24 years.