On the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent, each diocesan bishop issued his 2015 pastoral letter. The bishops urged the faithful to take the initiative in the realization of the “poor Church for the poor”, sharing a common awareness on our social reality which shows an extreme division. They also invited the faithful to go forth to the poor, reaffirming the preferential choice for the poor as the most important criterion of the Church’s mission.
They said, “The concern and support for the marginalized are not just meant to be a generous helping hand for them, but an action of faith to serve the Lord who is present within them. …… We must accompany the poor so that they can become the protagonists in the life of the Church and society.” In other words, they stressed that the faithful must find and serve the Lord who is in the midst of the marginalized.
In this regard, the bishops put emphasis on the education of social doctrines as the teachings of the Church for the reform of the social order which has been the structural cause of poverty. They also asked the faithful to take the initiative in implementing the social teachings of the Catholic Church inside and outside the Church. Especially the bishops call on the lay persons, who have many opportunities to practice evangelical poverty and love in their home and workplace, to “form an actual habit of practicing love which is truly a welcoming the Lord into our home.”
As his pastoral guidelines, each bishop suggested ways for the evangelization of society based on the social doctrine of the Church.
In his pastoral letter, H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, put stress on the “prayerful life.” He said, “Prayer is the essential element for the sanctification of humanity as well as for the evangelization of the world.” Then he added, “We must pray for the Church and the world, and, most of all, for those who are groaning under poverty and suffering, as we go beyond the enclosure of ego and our family.”
In his pastoral letter, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, urged the faithful to build “a parish which experiences the Trinitarian communion as well as that of a world overflowing with peace.” He also asked the faithful to participate in the evangelization of the world through the image of the Church in the service of the faithful.
Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, issued a pastoral letter entitled, “The Church Accompanying the Marginalized.” He asked the faithful to become a seed of evangelization by living the poverty in their respective Sitz im Leben, reminding them of the meaning of evangelical poverty on which no other than Pope Francis placed emphasis.
Other bishops also urged the faithful to come nearer to the Lord through inner renewal and do their best to invite their neighbours to God.