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CBCK Newsletter No.28 (Fall 1999)

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From the Editor:

A Miracle(?) Happened in a Small Parish

   On August 29th, I had the opportunity to attend the 30th anniversary celebration of Kong-dok parish in Seoul. Compared to other large parishes of the Seoul archdiocese that has several thousand faithful, Kong-dok parish is a very small parish with only 1,900 members. That day, I witnessed an amazing thing. A miracle! An offering ceremony of as many as 1,036 neophytes was held! Before this I have no other word to express about the event but a miracle. A parish that has only 2.9 percent of Catholics in total local population is unusual in Korea that has 8.1 percent or 3,804,094 of Catholics in the total Korean population of 46,858,463. The Catholics of Seoul archdiocese number over 10 percent of its population. We can explain the situation of Kong-dok parish by its location which is surrounded by four large parishes at the central part of Seoul. However, in the Korean context it is hard to understand a community with such a small number of believers like Kong-dok parish.
    The pastor and the faithful of Kong-duk parish, with one heart and one spirit in prayer, and by mutual decision, have made extraordinary efforts to announce Jesus and Catholic Church to neighbors since January of this year. As result, they welcomed 1,036 new family members. The faithful of Kong-dok who were in a deep sleep for 30 years went out to the streets to proclaim the Good News of Jesus with no exception, old and young, men and women by small groups of two or three. They invited passers by to the Church and wrote their names and addresses in registration book for personal contact. Even the elementary school girls and boys guided their friends to the Church by taking them by hands. I was deeply moved while seeing those innocent little children who came to the Church led by their fellow children. The presence of the Holy Spirit was tangible and I felt my eyes with tears of joy.
    Even the catechumens participated in it with joy. They already seemed to understand their role and responsibility as Christian for those who don't know God yet. I wish this wonderful story of evangelization will be spread out around and serve as an example for other parishes. The Catholic Church in Korea is considered as a young and growing Church, but, its growth rate has been rather slow. In this reality the story of Kong-dok parish can be considered as a sign of the times for Korea. In our society, many people are in search after a true and sure way of life. They want to fulfill their unsatisfied desires in Christ. Where can one find in the world but in Korea a society where people are ready to believe as soon as they hear about God. So, I feel a big responsibility of the Church in Korea. The Church in Korea needs an attentive reflection and study on Korean society and a concrete plan of the new evangelization.

Fr. John Kim Jong-su
Secretary General
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea

 

 

 

Most Rev.G.Chang to Become Third Bishop of Cheongju

Most Rev. Gabriel Chang to Become Third Bishop of Diocese of Cheongju

    The episcopal consecration of Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun and his installation as the third bishop of the diocese of Cheongju took place on August 24th at the Naeduk Cathedral in Cheongju. Most Rev. Chang was appointed as the new bishop of Cheongju by Pope John Paul II on June 24th, 1999.
    The diocese of Cheongju, established as the Vicariate Apostolic in January 23rd, 1958, has an area of 5,770 square kilometers and a population of 1,294,222 of whom 113,290 are Catholics. It has 53 parishes and 70 mission stations served by 105 priests, 299 religious women from 19 religious institutes and 47 religious men from 7 religious institutes. There are 73 seminarians.
    The Mass and ceremony of installation were presided over by Archbishop of Seoul, Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, the former ordinary of Cheongju and Most Rev. Giovanni B. Morandini, the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Cardinal Stephan Kim and member bishops of the CBCK, in the presence of some 1300 participants.
    Most Rev. Chang was welcomed in enthusiasm by the faithful as demonstrated by their spiritual gifts. From June of 1998 to the end of the year, Catholics of the diocese prayed over ten million of rosaries, offered 40 days of special prayers, 228,566 Masses, 225,909 Communions, 83,328 visits to the Blessed Sacrament for their new Bishop. A great number of Korean Catholics from Los Angeles, his former parishioners, came to congratulate the new Bishop.
    Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun was born in Um-seong-gun, Korea, in 1947. He graduated from Kwangju Major Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1976. Starting as parochial vicar at the cathedral he served as pastor at the Chinch
?n and the Poun parishes. Again he served as the pastor of the cathedral before he went to Los Angeles where he was assigned as pastor at St. Thomas Korean Catholic Center. In 1991 he studied the spiritual theology and returned to Korea in August 1992. Since 1993 he has been director of the Shrine of the Blessed Martyrs at Paeti, Chinch'on.

'Social Evangelization Requires Renewal of Church'

Excerpts of Most Rev. Gabriel Chang's Address

    First of all I give thanks to God who has taken initiative in my life and guided me in His merciful love. The diocese of Cheongju has a long history of Christianity. From the beginning many Kyowuch'ons(Christiansvillage in persecution times) were formed on the blood of martyrs as foundation and on that foundation our diocese grew for the last 40 years. Today, I want to express my most sincere thanks to our first ordinary, Most Rev. James Pardy who laid the corner stone of our diocese and all Maryknoll Fathers, especially Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong who developed it into today's diocese over 28 years.
    Relying on teachings of the Holy Father and guidance of my brother bishops, in collaboration and unity with the clergy, I will do my best with all my might to promote priestly vocations, formation of priests and the renewal of priests which are the first steps and foundation of take-off of the diocese. I do believe that without unity with the Holy Father and the episcopal college I am nothing.
    As my pastoral priority, I will be working for the re-education of the faithful for their growth in faith and sanctification by discerning the signs of times with an open mind and in unity and collaboration with the clergy, religious and laity, especially with our youth who are our future leaders. I want to ask all diocesan communities for their sincere interest, participation and help so that our Church can be truly reborn as a Church for the poor and excluded because social evangelization requires renewal of the Church. I also want to dedicate my diocesan community to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary as did Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong who dedicated it to her in October 25th, 1996. I need collaboration of clergy, religious and the faithful to make up for my deficiency.

'A Pastor With Whom Everybody Is Happy'

Excerpt of Congratulatory Address by Cardinal Stephan Kim

    I want to express my heartfelt congratulation on the occasion of the episcopal consecration of Most Rev. Gabriel Chang and his installation as the third bishop of Cheongju. With him the diocese of Cheongju is ready for a new start in local evangelization and expansion of the Kingdom of God.
    I do not personally know the Bishop very well, but since he was nominated to the Bishop of Cheongju I have heard from many people saying that he is a wonderful person. As such good news came to me, I was also very happy to hear that everybody including all the clergy, religious and faithful of the diocese are very happy with their new pastor. Through such feedback I could feel how wonderful person Bishop Chang is.
    In the meantime, I met a Sister who worked with Bishop Chang at St. Thomas Korean Catholic Center in Los Angeles. This Sister's older sister was there too. The older sister asked her younger sister what kind of person Bishop Chang is. She said he is a very good man and gave three reasons for it. First, Bishop Chang prepares his homily well; second, he is honest about money; third, he has no scandal at all.
    Hearing her comments, I said to myself that Bishop Chang must be a person about whom St. Paul portrayed somewhere in his letter ... So, he must be a person who behaves correctly to avoid whatever can provoke scandal and misunderstanding even if he himself is innocent. Many Korean Catholics around LA used to come to hear his homily, they said. I do congratulate the diocese of Cheongju for having such a great pastor for its bishop.

 

 

 

Most Rev.A.Cheong Installed as Third Bishop of Pusan

Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Installed as Third Bishop of Pusan

    Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, the coadjutor bishop of Pusan has become the third bishop of Pusan on August 28th at the Namch'on cathedral in accordance with Can. art, 403. no.1 and Can. 409, no.1 succeeding Most Rev. Gabriel Lee who retires on reaching the age of 75.
    The diocese of Pusan established as the Vicariate Apostolic in January 21st, 1957, has an area of 3,268 square kilometers and a population of 5,436,475 of whom 346,049 are Catholics.There are 91 parishes served by 223 priests, 743 religious women from 27 religous institures, 38 religious men from 10 religous institutes and 44 catechists. The major seminary of Pusan has 154 seminarians.
    The Mass and ceremony of installation of the new Bishop and the retirement of Most Rev. Gabriel Lee who had served the diocese for 25 years was presided over by Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, Most Rev. Giovanni B. Mrandini, the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Cardinal Stephan Kim and all the Bishops in Korea in the presence of over 3000 participants.
    Most Rev. Augustine Cheong was born in Koje Island in southeast of Korea in 1935. He was ordained a priest in 1962 and served as parochial vicar of Chinhae parish and Songdo parish in Pusan, and as pastor of the Koch
?ng parish. He began to serve as military chaplain in September 1965 and promoted to the rank of Captain in 1968 and to the Major in December 1972 and to the Lieutenant Colonel in December 1976. From 1971 to 1972 he attended the Advanced Chaplain Officer's course at the Chaplains
School of the U.S. Army at Ft. Hamilton, N.Y., USA. Returned to Korea he served as Catholic chaplain at the ROK Military Academy for two years and was assigned to a number of military installations and retired from active service in 1985.
    For the next four years he was pastor of Namch'on-dong parish in Pusan and he was appointed by Pope John Paul II to be the first Bishop of the newly-established Korean Military Ordinariate and was consecrated to the bishop on February 13th, 1990. From October 1990 to October 1996 he served as president of the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants of the CBCK and from Oct. 1996 as president of the Caritas Coreana? On November 15th 1998 Pope John Paul II appointed him to the Coadjutor Bishop of Pusan.
    I said 'Yes'
to the call of God to be His servant with help of the Blessed Virgin Mary who said to the angel Gabriel, ?ere am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word? (Lk 1,38). My pastoral symbol is FIAT MIHI SECUNDUM VERBUM TUUM? I will endeavor to make our Church, a Church that is at the service of local society, a Church for the poor and exclued from the society. I will do it in close collaboration with clergy, religious and all my faithful, Bishop Cheong shared his pastoral vision and asked prayers and participation of all.
Bishop Cheong said.
    Having a pastor of integrity with high virtue is truly God's blessing for the diocese of Pusan on this threshold of the third millennium,
Cardinal Stephan Kim said in his congratulatory address.

Be a Church for the Poor and Exclued from the Society

Excerpts of Most Rev. Cheong's Address

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    I don't deserve to stand here today. I am here once again as a poor person who answers to the call of God. Mary said to the angel of God here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. (Lk 1,38)
    With my pastoral symbol here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. (Lk 1,38) let me tell you the pastoral direction that I want to realize with collaboration and advice of clergy, religious and all of you. Above all, let us strive for the evangelization of the region. Let us go to find those who are poor, in difficulty and marginalized. Finally let us advance mission with our Evangelization Movement.
    The population under jurisdiction of our diocese is over 5,400,000 but only 346,049(6.3%) are Catholics. Korean Catholics are 3,804,094 or 8.3% of total Koran population. In comparison to that, the dioces of Pusan is small. As Christians we feel responsible for this situation. Let us commit ourselves to evangelization of our people, especially with youth, for they are the future of the Church.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    In relation to what I just said let me ask laity, religious and clergy some things. To the laity: I want to ask you to be mindful that your life venue is the very place of your witness of faith and evangelization, the place where you have to live out your role as salt and light for our local society. To the religious: you show us God and His kingdom by total consecration of yourself. Your being, your life and your prayer are the most precious treasure that purifies the Church and keeps her healthy and beautiful. To the clergy: I trust in you. Pope John Paul II said that the leaders of evangelization of the new millennium are priest themselves. For the Church, the sanctification of clergy is the only way to survive and give power for growth of our diocese. You are well aware of that. Let us try to be humble and holy priest.
   Finally, I want to express my deep appreciation to all you who came from far and near to encourage me. I trust myself in your prayers and count on your continuing support. I want to express my feeling with words of St. Augustine who is my patron and whose feastday is today. For you I am a bishop and with you I am a Christian. The former involves dangers and the latter involves salvation. Help me by your prayer and obedience so that my joy will be in serving you rather than in governing you.

 

 

 

"God Makes the Grain Grow"

Message on the Fourth Farmers' Sunday:

"God Makes the Grain Grow"

    On the occasion of the Fourth Farmers' Sunday, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong, president of Caritas Coreana, said that, thanks to Farmers' Sunday, Korean Catholics have come to understand the role and the importance of the Urban-farm Solidarity Movementthat the Church has carried out for decades. He asked the faithful to create a culture of life which is a culture of sharing and mutual service.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    Today, we celebrate the fourth Farmers' Sunday just before the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. I am happy that you have become more interested in "Urban-farm Solidarity Movement" through the three Farmers' Sundays in the past. Today we want to invite you to a deeper reflection and understanding about the movement and to bring together your wisdom and efforts in order to reanimate our rural community and open a new horizon for it in the coming millennium. We are living in a transition time of the anxiety of ending a millennium and the hope for a new millennium. In the coming 21st century humanity will be more challenged to face problems of food, energy, life, arms race and environment which will get increasingly critical. Environmental experts and activists have warned us about dreadful disasters that exhaustion of energy resources will provoke. It is said that 30 million people in the world are dying of starvation and one billion people suffer from undernourishment.
    How about our society? Gradually the Korean people are overcoming the IMF controlled economic crisis. However, the basic problems remain unchanged. The most alarming problem is our food security. South Korea's self-sufficiency of food is less than 30 percent. This is our reality. How will we feed people if we face a second economic depression? However, neither our government nor our people has seriously questioned such a fundamental question. Yet this problem is directly related to our very survival. The environment has been destroyed and polluted seriously, but we are unable to change our life style and wrong mentality of materialism and consumerism. We are too inured to producing, spending, eating, wasting, abusing. The Church has to find concrete responses to such problems and act with responsibility.
    In a society of the culture of death ruled by material interests and comfort, we have to create a new culture of life. For this reason, the Church is endeavoring to build up a new community of culture around the urban-farm solidarity movement. Agriculture is the best industry of life to preserve the integrity of creation and to collaborate with God in the work of creation. Indeed, a careful and decent way of eating and using things is an important part of culture.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    On the occasion of the fourth Farmers' Sunday we have to reflect on our life style and find ways how to protect both urban and rural life. Protection of life is possible only when we appreciate and treasure it. What we eat and drink was made by God's caring hands and farmers' sweat in collaboration with all living things of the universe. Therefore, in a bowl of rice and fruit of trees we find the harmony of mysterious divine grace. Thus, the Urban-farm Solidarity Movement has to start from a caring heart for every single thing, small and big, that we encounter in our every day life.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    "Remember the wonderful works He has done" (Ps 104). On this wonderful day of Farmers' Sunday, the farmers and people of the city should thank each other, give thanks to God for creation and share the products of nature. Caring love will move each others' heart and this will resurrect the farm community, nature and life. May God's peace and love be with you all.

July 18th, 1999
Forth Farmers' Sunday
+ Augustine Cheong
President
Caritas Coreana

 

 

 

Columban Missionaries Awarded Patriotic Medal Posthumously

Catholic Missionaries Awarded Patriotic Medal Posthumously

    On August 15th, the National Liberation Day of Korea, three missionaries were posthumously honored for their dedication to helping Korean people win independence from Japan's 35-year colonial rule. Marking the 54th anniversary of national liberation, the Korean government awarded the deceased fathers of the Missionary Society of St. Columban with Patriotic Medals, the Order of Merit of National Foundation. The recipients were the late fathers Patrick Dawson(1905-1989), Thomas D. Ryan(1907-1971) and Austin Sweeney(1909-1980). All of them were imprisoned by the Japanese colonial government in 1942 for advocating the liberation of Korea from the brutal imperialist rule. Koreans who joined them were all sentenced for two years of prison and some of them were honored by award in 1993.
    We did not know if these three Catholic priests
activities were related to their missionary work or they were related to anti-Japanese movement. It took time to explore the facts,
an official of the Patriots and Veterans Affairs Agency(PVAA) explained the delay of honoring them.
    Fr. Dawson and Fr. Ryan, who were both Irish, were assigned for mission in 1934 to Cheju-do, off the nation? south coast, by the St. Columban Society. Fr. Sweeney, of Australian nationality, came to Cheju-do in 1936.
    We have decided to confer posthumous citations on the three missionaries in recognition of their contribution to Korea's national independence,
said an official of the PVAA. The three missionary fathers were arrested in 1942 and convicted of violating Japan's defense security law and dishonoring the Japanese emperor. They were sentenced to two to five years in prison in October 1942 and the colonial government shut down their churches on the island. It was reported that the Columban fathers did not lose their perseverance despite enduring torture from a Japanese police force notorious for its brutality. According to historical documents, trial records and witnesses, the fathers had predicted that Korea would be liberated from Japan as the imperial aggressor showed signs of being defeated in the war against the Allied forces. These missionaries had brought hope to despairing Koreans, insisting that the nation would eventually achieve liberation from Japan. They also encouraged Korean believers and residents not to worship Shintoism,
an indigenous faith dedicated to the emperor of Japan.
    The three priests continued to serve the country as missionaries after Korea's national foundation. Fr. Sweeney left Korea in 1949 after receiving a new mission in Australia and died in 1961 in the small village of Taita, near Lower Hutt in Australia. Fr. Dawson briefly left Korea in 1945 but returned three years later. He served in Cheju-do from then until leaving Korea in 1980. He passed away in 1989. Fr. Ryan continued to work as a missionary in Korea until he died in Kwangju City in Nov. 1971. He was buried in Cheju-do.
    Anti-Japanese movement of our three senior priests came from their love for Korean people and resistance against Japanese imperialism. We are very glad that their efforts to help Korean liberation are recognized by the Korean government. This is a great honor for both the Columban Fathers and the Church in Korea. We hope their spirit continues to live in our time,
Fr. Daniel O'Kiff, the regional superior said.

 

 

Criteria of Right to Pardon and Social Justice

Criteria of Right to Pardon and Social Justice

    On the special amnesty of August 15th that the Korean government granted on the 56th anniversary of the National  Liberation from Japanese colonial rule Most Rev. Ignatius Pak of Andong, president of the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK, criticized President Kim Dae-jung's pardon for Kim Hyon-chol, disgraced son of ex-president Kim Young-sam(1993-1998). The Bishop alleged that the amnesty law has been abused for political reasons. Kim Hyon-chol was convicted in June 1997 of accepting 6.6 billion won (then about US$8 million) during 1993-1996 from six businessmen seeking government favors and of tax evasion. He was sentenced to three years in prison but his prison term was reduced to two years pending a final ruling by the Supreme Court. His conviction and sentence were confirmed by the Seoul appellate court in June 1999. Kim Dae-jung pardoned him from the 18 remaining months of his prison term, even though civic and human rights groups opposed it, and against majority people's opinion.

    The dignity of the human conscience comes from the truth(cf: Veritatis splendor, 63) and it acts always in accordance to objective truth. On the 54th National Liberation Day President Kim Dae-jung offered special pardon to 2,864 criminals or their civic rights restored. It was the fourth of its kind since he took presidential office in February last year. From the national foundation day of 1948 to the present there were 81 special amnesties. However, each time the original goal of the amnesty was marred because of political interests. Our Constitution recognizes the President's right to pardon(Constitution, art. 79, no.1) and the right of amnesty, reduction of prison terms and reinstatement of civic rights belongs to the discretionary authority of the Chief Executive of State. However the right to pardon of a constitutional state should be exercised exclusively on the base of truth and in respect of law and justice on behalf of national interest and people's harmony.
    In this special amnesty five condemned criminals were reduced to life terms. Such action will help elevate the image of Korea that claims to be a nation of human rights and that respects human dignity. We put focus on public peace and workers
amnesty in order to promise a new start through forgiveness and reconciliation as we prepare for the new millennium,an official of the Ministry of Justice said, explaining the meaning of the amnesty. However, unlikely the explanation Kim Hyon-chol, the former president Kim Young-sam's disgraced son who is criticized for corruption and accumulation of wealth by exercising his influence was granted partial amnesty. At this point we can? stay silent but question if the law is really equal for all and if it is rightly exercised. If the amnesty was granted for the sole reason that he is a son of a powerful politician
or because of personal relationship, but not because of his social contribution, not because of his repentance, not because his crime was committed in allegiance to his conscience, then the equity is ignored in this amnesty. Further, it has caused people's criticism and frustration against the special amnesty that has turned into a violation of the right to pardon and damaged the harmony of the people.
    Therefore we urge the government to establish criteria of the right to pardon so that it is rightly exercised and not abused. We appeal to all Korean people to work to root out trends to justify a false attitude in the name of conscience.

August 15th, 1999 Solemn Feast of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
+ Ignatius Pak
President
Committee for Justice & Peace

 

 

 

Criteria of Right to Pardon and Social Justice

Criteria of Right to Pardon and Social Justice

    On the special amnesty of August 15th that the Korean government granted on the 56th anniversary of the National  Liberation from Japanese colonial rule Most Rev. Ignatius Pak of Andong, president of the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK, criticized President Kim Dae-jung's pardon for Kim Hyon-chol, disgraced son of ex-president Kim Young-sam(1993-1998). The Bishop alleged that the amnesty law has been abused for political reasons. Kim Hyon-chol was convicted in June 1997 of accepting 6.6 billion won (then about US$8 million) during 1993-1996 from six businessmen seeking government favors and of tax evasion. He was sentenced to three years in prison but his prison term was reduced to two years pending a final ruling by the Supreme Court. His conviction and sentence were confirmed by the Seoul appellate court in June 1999. Kim Dae-jung pardoned him from the 18 remaining months of his prison term, even though civic and human rights groups opposed it, and against majority people's opinion.

    The dignity of the human conscience comes from the truth(cf: Veritatis splendor, 63) and it acts always in accordance to objective truth. On the 54th National Liberation Day President Kim Dae-jung offered special pardon to 2,864 criminals or their civic rights restored. It was the fourth of its kind since he took presidential office in February last year. From the national foundation day of 1948 to the present there were 81 special amnesties. However, each time the original goal of the amnesty was marred because of political interests. Our Constitution recognizes the President's right to pardon(Constitution, art. 79, no.1) and the right of amnesty, reduction of prison terms and reinstatement of civic rights belongs to the discretionary authority of the Chief Executive of State. However the right to pardon of a constitutional state should be exercised exclusively on the base of truth and in respect of law and justice on behalf of national interest and people's harmony.
    In this special amnesty five condemned criminals were reduced to life terms. Such action will help elevate the image of Korea that claims to be a nation of human rights and that respects human dignity. We put focus on public peace and workers
amnesty in order to promise a new start through forgiveness and reconciliation as we prepare for the new millennium,an official of the Ministry of Justice said, explaining the meaning of the amnesty. However, unlikely the explanation Kim Hyon-chol, the former president Kim Young-sam's disgraced son who is criticized for corruption and accumulation of wealth by exercising his influence was granted partial amnesty. At this point we can? stay silent but question if the law is really equal for all and if it is rightly exercised. If the amnesty was granted for the sole reason that he is a son of a powerful politician
or because of personal relationship, but not because of his social contribution, not because of his repentance, not because his crime was committed in allegiance to his conscience, then the equity is ignored in this amnesty. Further, it has caused people's criticism and frustration against the special amnesty that has turned into a violation of the right to pardon and damaged the harmony of the people.
    Therefore we urge the government to establish criteria of the right to pardon so that it is rightly exercised and not abused. We appeal to all Korean people to work to root out trends to justify a false attitude in the name of conscience.

August 15th, 1999 Solemn Feast of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
+ Ignatius Pak
President
Committee for Justice & Peace

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea

* Beatification and Canonization Petition for Korean Martyrs Submitted

    Following the canonization of the 103 Korean martyr saints in 1984, a petition for beatification and canonization for 22 martyrs of the early Church was submitted to the Apostolic See. Of the 22 martyrs 16 are from the diocese of Suwon and 5 are from the diocese of Chonju. The five martyrs from Chonju are Youn Chi-ch?ng, Kwon Sang-yon, Yoo Hang-gom, Yoo Chung-ch?l and Lee Sooni. The 16 martyrs from Suwon are Youn Yu-il, Choi In-kil, Chu Mun-mo, Kang Wan-suk and others.
    In its first hundred years, the Catholic Church in Korea experienced continuous persecutions during which 10,000 believers and ten priests were killed; 103 of these martyrs were canonized in 1984. Some of the persecutions were local and some national; some did not last long while others continued for a number of years. In particular, four persecutions were noted for their severity and all of the canonized martyrs died during the last three of the persecution outbreaks. The Church in Korea dedicated the month of September for the honor of Korean martyrs to commemorate their faith and pray for their intercession. September is pilgrimage month for Korean Catholics and various events are held to their honor.

* Catholic Philosophical and Moral Outlook Important for New Millennium

    Korean philosophy can do much for Asian people and the world by promoting Catholic philosophical and moral outlook to face the challenges of the new millennium,said Rev. Paul Tjeng, Professor of Jesuit-run Sogang University and who was elected president of the Asian Association of Catholic Philosophers(AACP) at its fourth international conference held Aug. 17-20 at the Seoul Catholic University. In Asia modeled by a diverse cultures of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam the AACP has an important mission to create a common culture which is one and diverse? Out of three Confucian countries Korea, China and Japan, the Church in Korea is most active. Thus, the Korean philosophy is called to play a central role. Furthermore, in a world which has lost its spiritual roots and suffers from emptiness and confusion, and a distorted conception of truth and good, the AACP must present an outlook of universal being, universal truth and concept of good,he stressed importance of Catholic philosophy.
    Scientific progress has made a tremendous contribution to humanity, but by becoming the center of everything it has caused dangers and crises that threaten the economy of God's creation and the dignity of human life,
he pointed out.

* "A Righteous Man Who Will Never Die"

   President Kim Dae-jung praised disgraced former prime minister John Chang Myon(1899-1966), who governed the country in 1960-1961 under the Second Republic, for his democratic spirit and leadership on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, August 27th. At the end of the memorial Mass at Hyehwa-dong parish in central Seoul attended by some 1,000 people, a number of politicians among them, President Kim posthumously awarded Chang the Order of Merit for National Foundation, the second highest government honor. The military leaders who staged the May 16, 1961 coup had wrongly portrayed the Chang Myon administration as incompetent, corrupt, and fragile. This was a fabrication designed to justify toppling the democratically-elected government,the President said, adding that this wrong image was etched in people's minds by more than 30 years of indoctrination by military regimes. It is a great relief for the nation that the conferring of this medal clears Chang of the false charges and allegations against him,President Kim said and praised Chang as a righteous man who will never die.
    During the Mass, the retired Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul eulogized Chang as "a holy Catholic
and a leader with a strong commitment to democracy.The Cardinal noted that South Korea's first Catholic head of government was so well respected that he had as many as 200 godchildren,including incumbent President Thomas More Kim Dae-jung, and called on Catholics to pray for the canonization of John Chang Myon.

* Catholic Priests Petition Against Dam Construction

    On August 12th, the Committee for Justice & Peace of the diocese of Wonju presented official petition to the President Kim Dae-jung opposing the construction of Tonggang dam in Kangwon-do, the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. In the petition the priests urged the President a quick decision to nullify dam construction project and to establish a special law to preserve Tonggang River and compensate the victims already affected. For the campaign over 70,000 people signed the petition. Of them 609 were clergy, 4,562 were religious and 65,430 were lay people. Following the campaign President Kim Dae-jung, in a TV interview, said he personally opposes the construction of dam: ? am seriously considering whether the Tonggang dam is really needed. Personally, I'm not in favor of its construction and I don't think the tap water shortage in the metropolitan area will be solved by constructing the dam. There might be an alternative way.
    This was the first time that the President has revealed his views over the controversial Tonggang Dam project. No scientific evidence was proved that the dam would solve the tap water problem and protect the metropolitan area from heavy flooding.

* Careful Consideration Required for ChurchPublication

   All publications without Church's approval and containing harmful elements for Catholic faith will be strictly controlled according to the Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith(CDF). A June meeting of eight diocesan book censors and 10 members of the CDF reasserted its role in regulating Church publications and extended its censorial jurisdiction to include computer CD-ROMs, Internet publishing, video and audio cassettes by calling on Catholic publishers and editors to be more vigilant. A sound and strict control is required for all non-authorized publication related to doctrine to cope with publications containing harmful elements for a healthy Catholic faith life, they said. "Publications in the Church are supposed to contain orthodox teaching of the Church, however, many of them seem problematic, especially books published by private publishing companies run by lay people, religious institutes or devotional groups. Indeed articles and ads harmful to a healthy faith life are found in numerous periodicals, video tapes and Internet," they pointed out. The meeting participants decided to have a joint meeting twice a year to help Church censors who may have difficulty in carrying out their duties. According to canon law, pastors have the right and the duty to regulate use of social communications media by Catholics in the areas of faith and morals so that there will be no ill effects on the faithful(cf: Can.822-832).

* Pilgrim Missionary Children Group Formed

    Pilgrim Missionary Children Group(PMCG) was formed by the Korean Office of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood(National Dir. Rev. John Kim Jong-su) with Mass on August 29th at the CBCK's chapel.

    The PMCG is the first children's group formed with the aim to announce the Gospel to children by children in and out of the country by friendly visits and by becoming friends with each other. The first group of the PMCG consists of 26 children from age of 11 to 14 coming from various places and classes. Under the banner of the children helping childrenthey will go around the country to announce Jesus to their fellow children in parishes and mission posts and many other places. During the full-moon holiday they visited Osaka, Japan to meet Japanese children. ?n order to announce Jesus to other children who don't know Him you must be transformed first by Gospel values,Rev. Kim told them.

* Imposed Sterilization Operation on Mentally Disturbed People Condemned

   A Catholic Congressman, Kim Hong-shin, Lino, of the opposition Grand National Party, raised the question of fairness of illegally imposed sterilization operation on mentally disturbed people. In a report published on August 22nd, Kim denounced imposed sterilization operation on mentally disturbed people as immoral and inhuman and revealed that from 1983 to the present in seven mentally disturbed people's center across the country over 160 handicapped had been imposed sterilization operation.
    Korean Constitution guarantees social protection for those who are weak, excluded, incapable of expressing their opinion. Thus, it is anti-Constitution to take back the right for procreation and raising children only for the reason that one is handicapped. While investigating the situation, one woman said, crying, that she wants to have a baby. I did not know what to say...
Kim said. Such conduct is performed under tacit approval of the government. Not only that, but the authorities have denied such thing until my investigation. Imposed sterilization operation is a sin against creation's order of God for procreation,Kim said. Family is a nest of love, hope and confidence. Discouraging hope to dream to have a family for only reason that one is physical or mental handicapped and impose on them an illegal sterilization operation is an act to destroy human dignity.Fr. Chong Hong-Kyu said.

* 300,000 North Korean Hungry People Wander in China

   "Number of North Korean escapees wandering in China in search of food exceeds 300,000,the Good Friends Movement(GFM) to Help North Koreans said at the press conference held at Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul on Aug. 30th. The report was based on its six month investigation from last November in 2,479 villages in three provinces on northeast China. The survey made by the GFM with support of the Korean Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese said 75.5 percent of escapees are women and most of them subjected to slave labor, suffer from sexual violence, human trafficking, confinement, and beating. The Buddhist monk Pobryun, the chairperson of the GFM, said the only way to effectively help them is to assist them through international organizations like the United Nations. The GFM petitioned the UN to recognize these North Korean escapees as refugees and urged Chinese government to stop arrests and forced repatriation. Meantime the Chinese Ambassador to Korea, Wu Dawei, dismissed international concerns over the human rights situation for North Korean escapees wandering in China as a ?eo-interventionistapproach on September 2nd. ?ssues regarding North Korean escapees are a matter between China and North Korea,he said, warning against any intervention by South Korea or NOGs.
    Number of religious and civilian organizations including Catholics staged protest rallies in Myongdon, September 8th, against Ambassador Wu's speech on North Korean escapees to China. The campaign headquarters announced that over one million people signed for protection of North Korean escapees who cross the border for their survival. North Korea's first official report on famine situation revealed that 220,000 deaths occurred from famine between 1995 and 1998.

News in Brief

    Church in Korea celebrated the 220th anniversary of its introduction on June 24, at Ch'njinam, Kyonggi Province, the birth place with Mass by Most Rev. Paul Choi, bishop of Suwon, Most Rev. G.B. Morandini, the Apostolic Nuncio and Most Rev. Angelo Kim. 2500 participants remembered the ardent faith of their martyr ancestors and prayed for their intercession.

*

   Cardinal Kim said Mass for condemned criminals in Seoul prison, July 2, while the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK is working hard for abolition of the capital punishment. Cardinal encouraged them not to give up hope in God even whole world reject them and reminded them that Jesus came to save us who are the sinners and he became sinner for the sake of sinners.

*

    According to Caritas Hong Kong 30 countries including South Korea, New Zealand, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, United States, Russia and Poland participated in helping North Korea. Total aid fund that the Caritas International has provided to North Korea from 1995 to 1998 come to US$26,868,485.

*

   Five Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary were sent to four countries of three continents, August 21: Paraguay, Tunisia, Macao and Argentina. Leaving for mission with empty hands mean to trust in God's powerful hands and to become His instrument.Bishop Dupont told them. He asked them to be a sign of Christian hope and work for inter-religiouse reconciliation and unity.

*

   Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry of Archdiocese of Taegu encourages three-children families as part of promotion of the culture of life. The movement was first launched by now retired Bishop Angelo Kim in 1974. This movement is expected to offer a positive alternative to the reality of Korea where more than 1.5 million abortions are practised every year. Church should set up concrete programmes to help families with more than two chidren to provide assistance such as free medical care and education grants.Fr. Song Yong-ho of Suwon said.

 

 

 

The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints

The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints 3

    St. Kim Theresa
    Kim Theresa(1797-1840), born in Myonch'on, Ch'ungch'ong Province, was from a family of martyrs. She was an aunt of the first Korean priest, St. Kim Tae-gon Andrew and a cousin of his father, St. Kim Che-jun Ignatius. Both her grandfather, Kim Chin-hu Pius, and her father, Kim Han-hyon Andrew, witnessed for Jesus Christ by dying for their faith after long-term prison life and severe torture. Theresa's mother died earlier.
    Letters by her father to friends and family members show his spirit of martyrdom and give an idea of Kim Theresa's life and her mother's.
    "Time files. It is already a year since we parted last. I thank God that you have managed to survive this harsh winter without major problems, in spite of the limitations on your freedom. Since they have imprisoned me for my faith, I find prison to be a marvelous environment. Due to my sins it seems I am not worthy of martyrdom yet. I cannot bear any fruit but am like a tree in the forest.

  
"Time is precious, once lost we can never gain it back. If we do not make an effort, what hope of success can we have? If missed opportunities lead to losses in this world, how much greater will be the loss if we miss the opportunity to save our soul?
    "I entered the Church with nothing else in mind than to serve God and save my soul. And, although momentarily I had doubts whether anything good would happen, deep in my heart I have not doubted in the least. However when I read about my poor wife's situation, my heart is filled with sorrow and pain. I refer to the fact that my wife has no one to rely on in this freezing winter. Previously she stayed with relatives or friends, but now no one is willing to help her for fear of being associated with me. They are cautious about getting into trouble. It is indeed a cruel and heartless situation.
    "In coming into the Church to serve God and to save our souls, we were asked to make great sacrifices. We have to leave our homes and move to places far away where we are strangers. I believe, for better or for worse, this is the will of God. If accepting all things, good and bad, from the hands of God is a way of ensuring salvation, then accepting and helping those in need must be another way. I beg you, look after my wife who has nowhere to go. This will contribute to your own salvation. The Church is one body. The universe also is one. How can
    anything survive that does not have its basis in love and unity? Many parts make up the body. But how can one part say it does not love the other parts, or betray them? They must help and support each other. Each person is independent, but God is the head." (From a letter to Yi Saeng-won).
    "In Kyongsang Province over one hundred men and women, young and old, have been arrested. Among them some have died of starvation in prison and some died while being transported here. Some with weaker faith have given in, so there are now only thirteen of us left. With God's grace we are surviving. Indeed we are full of gratitude. However, because I am not physically strong it is difficult for me to endure these things joyfully. (From a letter to his brother)
    "If you suffer willingly for Jesus you will become God's elect.
    Everything depends upon one's choice of good or evil. Therefore, I appeal to you to suffer bravely whatever happens to you.
    I have been in this prison of suffering for over a year, but with special grace I am well. I thank God for this grace and can only hope for the final grace of martyrdom. However, I am afraid that I may not be worthy of this grace. The easy life makes the soul weak and as the soul weakens the power of the flesh grows. I am afraid that if I miss this opportunity it will never come on my way again. ... I earnestly pray that God will soon bring me to my destination." (From the 2nd letter to his brother)
    Kim Theresa was genial and charitable. At the age of 17 she married Son Joseph who later died for his faith in the Haemi prison. She had many children whom she raised to love God. After she became a widow at the age of 32, she led a life of mortification by fasting each Wednesday and Friday to the extent that she can be called as an exemplary Christian wife and widow. From her youth, Kim Theresa possessed strong will that showed in her spirit and appearance.
    When Father Yu Pacificus, a Chinese priest, came to Korea, Theresa was selected to be a housekeeper for him. She was admired by Father Yu and others as an example of Christian life for doing her work so well. After Fr. Yu left Korea, Theresa became one of those women who took care of the housekeeping for Bishop Imbert even though she was in danger of being arrested. She didn't escape and was arrested on July 19, 1839,
    at the age of 44, and didn't stay in prison too long. She was steadfast in her faith and didn't reveal the whereabouts of the missionaries and her fellow Catholics, so she was whipped 300 times. After six months of suffering in prison, Theresa was strangled to death in Seoul on January 9, 1840.
    Kim Theresa was beatified on July 5, 1925 and canonized on May 6,1984 in Yoido, Seoul, by Pope John Paul II.

List of Articles
No. Subject Date
44 CBCK Newsletter No.44 (Fall 2003) Aug 27, 2009
43 CBCK Newsletter No.43 (Summer 2003) Aug 27, 2009
42 CBCK Newsletter No.42 (Spring 2003) Aug 27, 2009
41 CBCK Newsletter No.41 (Winter 2002) Aug 27, 2009
40 CBCK Newsletter No.40 (Fall 2002) Aug 27, 2009
39 CBCK Newsletter No.39 (Summer 2002) Aug 27, 2009
38 CBCK Newsletter No.38 (Spring 2002) Aug 27, 2009
37 CBCK Newsletter No.37 (Winter 2001) Aug 27, 2009
36 CBCK Newsletter No.36 (Fall 2001) Aug 27, 2009
35 CBCK Newsletter No.35 (Summer 2001) Aug 27, 2009
34 CBCK Newsletter No.34 (Spring 2001) Aug 27, 2009
33 CBCK Newsletter No.33 (Winter 2000) Aug 27, 2009
32 CBCK Newsletter No.32 (Fall 2000) Aug 27, 2009
31 CBCK Newsletter No.31 (Summer 2000) Aug 27, 2009
30 CBCK Newsletter No.30 (Spring 2000) Aug 27, 2009

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