CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter


CBCK Newsletter No.60 (Fall 2007)

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From the Editor

Harvest Season

Autumn, the harvest season, has come again this year as it always does. It is time for us to pause for a moment amid our busy life and see what we have done so far. Some people may rejoice because they have accomplished what they planned and sought for; while others may feel regret for the results which seem so poor compared to the energy and time they expended. What kind of fruits did you bear this harvest season?
This autumn I am thinking of the parable of the barren fig tree in the vineyard (Cf. Lk 13:6). This fig tree in the vineyard must have stood out because of its special characteristics. Many people probably gazed at the fig tree standing high among the other vines. Perhaps the fig tree was thinking that the entire vineyard existed for itself. I think this is very similar to our own human situation. Every human being is unique. Therefore, it is natural for each person to have pride in his or her uniqueness. However, if we only consider ourselves as the center of the world but do not assume the role proper to such uniqueness, our situation is ridiculous.
The real reason why the fig tree attracted attention was that it was not bearing fruit. It became the object of attention because it had many leaves but no fruit. It was the symbol of the people of Israel who spoke many words but produced nothing with them. This kind of tree is also the symbol of human existence, including each of us who are living at this present time. Maybe we had high ambitions in our youth or maybe we drew up special plans at the beginning of the year. We expected to bear abundant fruit at this harvest time of our lives, but in reality this has not happened. We may feel uneasy knowing that we have grown old and that some of the titles attributed to us are nothing but external accessories. We find ourselves in a state of internal emptiness. All the various titles and certificates that belong to us are nothing more than leaves which will drop when the time comes. At this point, we pause to see what we have accomplished and what has been meaningful to us, but we only fall into a deep emptiness. We see ourselves like the fig tree which is about to be cut down and discarded.
To dream of a more fruitful tomorrow, we have to fertilize once more the soil around us. How do we fertilize this soil? Of course time carries out its own task as it wears away at mountains and turns them into dust. This is the destructive work of time, but the most powerful and appropriate response is self-giving love. When we do not boast or stand proud in our accomplishments but instead give generously of ourselves, time gives way. True love naturally involves the seed of immortality whose name is "eternity." Through love, eternity which lies hidden behind time can rise up from the depths of today. For those who meet the sublime and love it to the extent of giving themselves, time stops its destructive work and becomes a friend and a gift. Yes, those who desire their love to last forever realize that time is a valuable gift. For them, this harvest season will be a time for bearing unexpected fruit.

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




Message for the 12th Farmers' Sunday

Let us Enliven Our Rural Community!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the 12th Farmers' Sunday, I would like to deliver this message of consolation and hope to our farmers who are in a desperate situation and to all those who have the same concern in solidarity with the farmers.

Since the Catholic Church in Korea started the Save Our Rural Community Movement in 1994 and established Farmers' Sunday in 1995, we have paid special attention to the increasingly difficult reality of the rural community and of farmers. Unfortunately, despite the suffering and urgent need of farmers, we have had to witness their agony aggravated due to the government policy which is oriented by neo-liberalism and globalization. This can be seen in the recent Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. In the first place, we called on the government to make every effort to protect the right of farmers to live, sympathizing with their despair and distress caused by the Korea-U.S. FTA and taking into consideration the damage which they may incur in the future.

In fact, Korea is not the only nation which suffers because farmers are vulnerable to the modern waves of globalization and neo-liberalism. In his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America in 1999, His Holiness Pope John Paul II warned against the negative results of economic globalization and the system of neo-liberalism and urged us to care for the poor and build solidarity with them for peace and justice. In the same year, the Pope in another Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia acknowledged "many positive effects" of globalization but noted that "globalization has also worked to the detriment of the poor" and that a cultural globalization is quickly drawing Asian societies into a global consumer culture that is both secularist and materialistic, the result of which is "an eroding of traditional family and social values" (Ecclesia in Asia, n.39).

As the Pope pointed out, the agricultural industry in Korea has continuously shrunk and the rural community has been rapidly collapsing. In addition, the rural population is rapidly aging. As of December 1, 2006, only 3,304,000 or 6.8% of the total population are engaged in the agricultural industry and 59% of the farm householders are in their 60s. In addition, the government's policy to open markets to foreign farm products has increased the economic burden of farmers.

Agriculture, moreover, implies enormous values which cannot be measured simply in the logic of the market. "Rice is the life of people and the sovereignty of the nation." This claim of our farmers is well-grounded. Rice is not only an economic commodity but it has many functions for common benefits, such as the protection of the environment, the preservation of underground water, the prevention of floods, the prevention of soil erosion, and climate control. Furthermore, given that the culture of Korea is closely connected with rice farming, we should listen to the cry of farmers that "rice farming is something we must protect with the soul of our people."

To overcome the problems of globalization, the Catholic Church has urged "globalization without marginalization" (John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1998, n.3) and "globalization that is focused upon the true good of mankind" (Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2006) and has recommended the preferential option for the poor and solidarity for justice and peace.

Recalling these recommendations, we encourage the Save Our Rural Community Movement which began in 1994 as a rural-urban community movement. We hope this movement will realize its true goal and purpose in the love of God. This movement aims to develop life-oriented farming methods, preserving the order of creation. It aims to educate farmers and to unite brothers and sisters in rural and urban communities in familial solidarity. If rural and urban communities share the agricultural products with gratitude to each other, it will be a way to protect nature, to animate the farm villages and to share the life and grace of God. Therefore, we expect many members, schools, associations, institutes and hospitals in the Church as well as the rural and urban parish communities to actively participate in this movement and to develop various educational programs and practices which will inspire a spirit of life and of community.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my gratitude to farmers who despite many difficulties take part in the work of God's creation through their precious work of farming. I hope the Catholics in cities will recognize that their efforts to give life to the rural community is a true profession of faith on the part of the children of the God of life. I pray that this effort may continue so that our rural community can preserve the beauty of nature, a gift of God, and the warm hearts of rural people.

July 15, 2007

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




Message for the Month of Mission 2007

"Go and Teach Them to Observe
All That I Have Commanded You" (Cf. Mt 28:19-20)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, I wish the abundance of the grace of our good Lord upon your family. In particular, on this World Mission Day I invoke a special blessing of Our Lord on all those devoted to the proclamation of the Gospel.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI said, "Unless mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity" (Message for the World Mission Day 2006, n.1). God's love for every person constitutes the heart of the experience and proclamation of the Gospel. In this sense, mission is to share the love and life of God with the world and all people and to convey the blessings of the Lord.

We are all missionaries and everything in the world is the object of evangelization. However, on this World Mission Day, I especially want to draw your attention to mission to the aged.

1. Korea Is in an Era of Population Aging

As of 2006, those aged 65 or over in Korea was 4,590,000 or 9.5% of the total population. This implies that Korea has already turned into an aging society. The aged have devoted their lives to supporting their families through the dark period of Japanese colonial rule and through the Korean War. However, with the trend toward materialism and advanced technology their position in our society is being threatened and they are becoming marginalized.
Aging is not only connected with a prolonged average life span due to  advances in of medicine; but with a change of values and the socio-economic environment there has been a rise in the average age for marriages and a preference for the single life. Therefore, the problems related to the aging population and the aged cannot be confined to taking care of the aged but they must be resolved by the efforts of all family members and all of society. Now we must help the aged take part in social, ecclesial and economical activities as valuable human resources with experience and wisdom.

2. Care and Respect for the Aged

Although the problem of the aged is an important task for the future of the world and the Church, the Catholic Church in Korea has not in the past paid sufficient attention to the aged. Pastoral care for the aged to enable them to participate dynamically in the life of the Church is very useful for the aged as well as for all the faithful. In particular, there is an urgent need to make the aged the subject of pastoral ministry since people live to an advanced age with various needs. The Church should first understand the needs of the aged in our time and establish a pastoral policy for the aged so that they can contribute to the evangelization of humanity through their faith life. The pastoral care for the aged should exceed the dimension of social welfare activities by the Church. The aged should be regarded as subjects of pastoral ministry, not as mere beneficiaries. We should open channels for them to contribute to society and hand on their wisdom of experience.

3. It Is Urgent to Prepare Pastoral Measures for Mission to the Aged

Inside the Church, concrete pastoral methods should be prepared, for example, Masses for the aged, a seniors choir, meetings with the youth, and Bible groups for the aged in which the aged can be agents of pastoral ministry. Outside the Church, efforts should be made to evangelize the aged, for example, to run catechetical classes for the aged, to take care of the aged living alone and to care for the poorest elderly so that they do not lose their dignity and identity.
What is most important in pastoral ministry for the aged is not a specific policy but respect for them both in society and in the Church. The Church should help them live a new life without being marginalized because of their age or difficulty to function. Therefore, pastoral ministry for the aged should aim at enriching their lives and helping them realize that old age is the time to perfect their lives according to the will of God.
The saying goes, "all is well that ends well.'' We should bear in mind that the aged are an important part of pastoral ministry. If this is so, then the Holy Spirit will help the Church bear abundant fruit.
The proclamation of the Gospel implies shouldering the poverty of our neighbors together, that is, practicing fraternal love. By defending the rights and dignity of the aged, we show consideration for their evangelization. In conclusion, we must always evangelize our neighbors and be evangelized ourselves. On the occasion of this World Day of Mission, I once more urge you to pay special attention and care for mission to the aged.

"As members of the living Christ, incorporated into Him and made like unto Him through baptism and through confirmation and the Eucharist, all the faithful are duty-bound to cooperate in the expansion and spreading out of His Body, to bring it to fullness as soon as may be. Therefore, all sons of the Church should have a lively awareness of their responsibility to the world; they should foster in themselves a truly catholic spirit; they should spend their forces in the work of evangelization" (Vatican Council II, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church Ad gentes, n.36).

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




First Korea Youth Day

First Korea Youth Day Held 
in Jeju

The first Korea Youth Day (KYD) was held in Jeju, from August 18 to 21, 2007 with the theme "I Pray That They May All Be One" (Jn 17:21). This nationwide event of Korean Catholic youth took place under the joint auspices of the CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry (President: the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man) and the Diocese of Cheju, for the purpose of promoting unity among the youth and animating their faith.

Some 4,000 participants included Korean Catholic youth, overseas Koreans, migrant young people in Korea, and youth from the Catholic Diocese of Kyoto in Japan. Some 200 young Catholics of the Diocese of Cheju served as volunteers, acting as event assistants, tour guides, performers of songs or dances. Besides the youth, some adult Catholics of the Diocese of Cheju also served as volunteers.

Programs for the four days included the opening Mass, a Liturgical Festival, cultural activities and visits to local shrines and sites of interests, a Festive Mass, and the closing ceremony. Each day had its own theme: "Youth in Praise," "Youth in Prayer", "Youth in the Word," and "Youth in Practice."

At the opening Mass at the St. Isidore Center on August 18, the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man said in his homily, "The theme of this Korea Youth Day is unity. Everyone wants to be one.... The mystery of the triune God shows us why we should be one.... The mystery of the Trinity is the mystery of love. Love cannot be understood with mathematics nor science nor human knowledge. It can be felt only in belief. God, who is Love, can be understood only in love. That's why we should be one to understand the Trinity of God."

On August 20, the Festive Mass in the main courtyard of the House of Youth of St. Isidore Center was presided over by the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju and President of the organizing committee for the KYD, with bishops and priests from every diocese in Korea concelebrating. In his homily, Bishop Kang said, "We did not know each other before we came to Jeju Island. By meeting each other, praising God, and glorifying our Father we became brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who wishes us to be one." He added, "I also sincerely wish and pray that as brothers and sisters of one Father you will become forerunners who open a new era of peace, overcoming all kinds of barriers and breaking the yoke of violence on this Korean peninsula, in East Asia, and throughout the world."

In a farewell address after the Mass, His Eminence Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "The Lord is always with you. During the KYD, you were able to feel and experience this in your hearts." He invited the participants to pray to God who accompanied them for the KYD and urged them not to forget the presence of our Lord even in their difficulties.

Through the KYD, Korean Catholic youth were able to share their experience in the faith, develop unity and mutual-understanding, and pledge themselves to be apostles of Jesus in the world. The organizing committee for the KYD proposed that the KYD be held every three years so that young people can confirm and strengthen their faith.




Pro-Life Day

"Resolutions to Defend Life" 
on the Pro-Life Day

The Catholic Church in Korea held the "Pro-Life Day" on September 2, 2007 at Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul and urged the Korean people and the government to build a culture of life and to respect human life as the basis for true development of society.

Some 4,000 Catholic and non-Catholic participants included bishops, priests, religious, the laity, representatives from other religions, politicians and government officials. This nationwide event was co-sponsored by the Headquarters of the Life 31 Movement under the CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry (President: the Most Rev. Jacobus Kim Ji-Seok) and the Life Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul (President: the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung). The Day featured a Mass for Life, "Resolutions to Defend Life," and the praying of the rosary in candlelight.

H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, who presided over the day's Mass, said in his homily, "This pro-life Mass and prayer was planned out of our deep concern because we cannot be silent before the serious crisis of life in our society. We cannot loosen our commitment to transform the prevailing culture of death to a culture of life. It is time for each of us to seek for what we can do to make our society respect life and to practice it in our daily life. We should have concern about and speak against whatever opposes life."

After the Mass, the participants manifested their commitment to defend the dignity of human life and proclaim the Gospel of life and called for the government to abandon policies or laws which provoke an anti-life culture.

Our Resolutions to Defend Life

˚ We always proclaim the Gospel of life.
˚ We oppose capital punishment, wars and every form of terrorism and violence.
˚ We oppose research on the cloning of human embryos because it compromises the dignity of human life.
˚ We positively commit ourselves to defending the dignity of life.

Our Requests to the Government

˚ Do not make use of human life for industrial purposes.
˚ Abolish immediately the Mother and Child Health Law which encourages abortion.
˚ Prohibit research on the cloning of human embryos which compromises the dignity of human life.
˚ Abolish immediately capital punishment.
˚ Promote policies to encourage natural childbirth rather than artificial childbirth.




News from the Church in Korea

The First Korean Deaf Priest Ordained in Seoul Archdiocese

The Rev. Benedict Park Min-seo, the first deaf priest in Korea and also in all of Asia, was among the 39 new priests ordained for the Archdiocese of Seoul at the Jamsil Stadium on July 6, 2007.
Although Father Park lost his hearing at the age of two, he began to develop a vocation to the priesthood in 1985 when he was attending a Sunday school for the hearing impaired and met the Rev. Michael Jeong Sun-oh, now pastor of Beon-dong Parish but who at that time was a seminarian teaching in the Sunday school. Because there was no course for the hearing-impaired candidates for the priesthood in Korea, he went to the U.S.A. in 1994 to study and obtained a master's degree in theology from St. John's University in New York in 2004. He then returned to Korea and continued his studies at the Seoul Seminary where he was ordained a deacon last year.
Using sign language, Father Park concelebrated his first Mass on July 8 at Beon-dong Parish along with the Rev. Gabriel Jang Won-seok, also newly ordained two days before. Some 1,500 Catholics attended the Mass, including the Rev. Thomas Coughlin, the first American deaf priest and teacher of Father Park in the U.S.A., and many other deaf Catholics from all over the country.
In sign language Father Park said, "It took me 22 years to fulfill my dream of becoming a priest. I would like to thank all the people who have helped and prayed for me so that I could complete the arduous way." Father Jeong said in his homily, "It is by the grace of God that Father Park despite many difficulties was able to become a priest. I hope that he will be salt and light serving the Catholics with hearing impairment." 

Chunchon and Hamhung Dioceses to Launch the Process for the Beatification and Canonization of 20th Century Witnesses of the Faith

The Diocese of Chunchon and the Diocese of Hamhung are set to investigate the witnesses of the faith who died around the time of the Korean War.
The Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chunchon and Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung, announced that the two dioceses would start the process for the beatification and canonization of the witnesses of the faith who died in the 1940-50s while carrying out missionary work in the area of Gangwon-do and Hamgyeong-do. Bishop Chang has appointed the Rev. Thomas Shin Ho-cheol as the postulator of the process.
The Diocese of Chunchon selected as candidates five parish priests who were arrested by the communist regime of North Korea and who then gave their lives to protect their faithful and parishes: the Rev. Timothy Lee Gwang-jae (1909-1950, Yangyang Parish), the Rev. Damasus Baek Eungman (1919-1950, Pyeonggang Parish), and three Irish missionaries, the Rev. Anthony Collier (Soyangro Parish), the Rev. James Magin (Samcheok Parish), and the Rev. Patrick Reilly (Mukho Parish). The Diocese of Hamhung will present candidates from Hamgyeong area, excepting those included on the list of the Order of St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey.
Father Shin, the postulator, said, "The promotion of beatification and canonization of 20th century witnesses of the faith should become a journey for us to give recognition to the life and faith of those who in our time sacrificed their lives for the faith." He called for the prayers and active cooperation of the faithful.

Summer Family Camp for North Korean Escapees

The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe) arranged a summer family camp for North Korean escapees (called "Saeteomin" or newly-settled people) from July 16 to 18 at a summer resort in the area of Chungcheongnam-do.
More than ten people from five different families participated in the camp. The camp did not have any special programs. Just gathering and enjoying time together with family members was a refreshing experience for these people who had not had a "vacation" and especially a "family vacation." The camp was in fact the first vacation in their life.
During the camp, even though Mass and prayer time were not obligatory, they voluntarily attended Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. One of the Saeteomin named Kim, 44, who participated in the camp with his children, said, "I am pleased to discover some new aspects of the Catholic Church through participating in this camp."
Sister Romana Lee Seon-jung of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People said, "When we consider Saeteomin as our brothers and sisters and our companions, rather than as people needing our special help, we can discover new ways of living with each other. We need to make more positive efforts to develop fitting programs like this camp."

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 on August 15, 2007, Bishops issued Messages and called on the faithful to be faithful to their proper roles as instruments of peace, following the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang,  in his Message entitled "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace," said, "Recently 23 Koreans were kidnapped and held hostage in Afghanistan, and two among them were killed. The incident which plunged all Korean people into deep sorrow is the most typical example of disvaluing human life." He requested the faithful to pray together for the victims in Afghanistan, their families and loved ones, and all those involved in this incident.
Cardinal Cheong asserted, "In no case is it acceptable to use human lives as hostages for one's own interests. When human beings are blinded by selfish avarice and immerse themselves in a self-centered way of living, the peace of the world is endangered."
The Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, also issued a Message entitled "In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace." In the Message, he urged, "With the presidential election to be held at the end of this year, I hope that the person who is elected president is honest and transparent, respects life, gives special concern to the poor, and works most of all to promote the common good. We Christians should actively participate in the presidential election so that it will be a celebration for the common good."
The Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, Bishop of Andong, also issued a Message entitled "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven." In the Message, he said, "Today the world does not seek 'heavenly' values but focuses on secular and material ones. May Holy Mary accompany and lead us who have lost our way in the darkness so that we can be the light of the world."

Effort to Aid the Flood Victims in North Korea

It is reported that North Korea has been hit by a recent flood disaster, the worst in 40 years. The Church in South Korea is making every possible effort to aid the flood victims in North Korea.
The Permanent Council of the CBCK on August 21, 2007 approved the plan of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik) to establish a relief fund at the national level for helping the North Korean flood victims.
Caritas Corea, as the steering group for the North Korea programme of Caritas Internationalis, sent an official letter to pastoral directors of each diocesan Caritas and requested them to talk with their Diocesan Ordinary about prayers and a fund-raising campaign for the North Koreans who are suffering from the extreme flooding. Caritas Corea tries to inform Caritas member organizations throughout the world of the present situation of the flood disaster in North Korea and it plans together with them to provide humanitarian aid. It also seeks to grasp the situation and organize a support plan through practical contacts with groups in the North such as the National Economic Cooperation Federation of North Korea.
Every diocese in South Korea has supported the flood victims in the North by having special collections for them during Sunday Mass.
The Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, in a letter to the diocesan priests dated August 19, issued a special statement entitled "On the occasion of collecting special offerings for the flood victims of North Korea." In this statement, he said, "To love Jesus in those in difficulty is a task of the Church which is pleasing and desirable to the Lord. Therefore, I invite you to offer a special prayer and to have a special collection for the flood victims on August 26 or September 2, 2007."

Korea to Enter the Ranks of 'Abolitionist in Practice' Countries

Korea will be abolitionist in practice provided no one is executed by the end of this year.
Although countries retain the capital punishment for ordinary crimes such as murder, they can be considered abolitionist in practice if they have not executed anyone over the past 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions.
The CBCK Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, under the direction of Mr. John Kim Hyeong-tae, chairperson of its Executive Committee, held its regular meeting at the CBCK building on August 21, 2007 and decided to organize various events and campaigns to mark the tenth anniversary of the last execution of the death sentence in Korea on December 30, 1997.
On the occasion of 'the World Day against the Capital Punishment' on October 10, the Committee plans to hold 'a ceremony for declaring Korea as Abolitionist' (provisional name) with various people who have been involved in the movement to abolish the death penalty.
Many distinguished national and international guests will be invited, including Sr. Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking, a book about the capital punishment, and a devout activist for the abolition of the death penalty. 
The Committee will also hold a seminar with the theme "Press Releases on the Capital Punishment and Their Effect on Public Opinion" at the Jeongdong Franciscan Center, in downtown Seoul on November 7.

Prayers for the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Thomas Choe Yang-eop

In observing September as the Month of Martyrs in Korea, the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, issued an extraordinary message and called for the diocesan faithful to pray for the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Thomas Choe Yang-eop (1821-1861), the second native priest in Korea.
He said in the message, "There is historic significance in promoting the cause of the beatification of a confessor who devoted his life to serving God and His People and not just martyrs who witnessed to God by shedding their blood."
After explaining the procedures for promoting the cause of beatification and canonization of Father Choe as a confessor, Bishop Chang stressed, "Since 1976, the Diocese of Cheongju has fostered Baithi, the locus of Father Choe's pastoral ministry, as a sacred place. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese in 2008, I wish to ask your prayers for God's grace that Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop, known as the 'Martyr by Sweat' because of his enthusiastic and arduous pastoral ministry, may be enrolled in the ranks of the saints. It is my expressed wish that his beatification be solemnly proclaimed in 2011, the 150th anniversary of his death."
With this message, the Diocese of Cheongju is distributing to parishes the text of a prayer for the beatification and canonization of Thomas Choe Yang-eop so as to make widely known his faith and spirit of mission and also to request people to report any miracles through his intercession as a proof of his virtues.

News in Brief

The Headquarters of the Life 31 Movement (President: Most Rev. James Kim Ji-Seok) has published The Catholic Church's Position regarding Life, a book containing the Church's total vision of life, and has distributed it inside and outside the Church. The documents contained in this book are Episcopal letters, pastoral letters, messages and statements issued by the CBCK committees: the Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry & the Headquarters of the Life 31 Movement, the Committee for Justice & Peace, and the Bioethics Committee. This book totals 430 pages and is not for sale.


On September 3, 2007, the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" sent an aid shipment to North Korea, the first time since it was designated by Caritas Internationalis last November as the official channel for the North Korean aid program. The aid shipment included medical and agricultural equipment valued at 180,000,000 won. It will be delivered to a general hospital and an agricultural science academy in Pyongyang. Caritas bodies in various countries participated in this aid program, including Korea, the U.S.A. and Belgium.


The Permanent Council of the CBCK has decided to actively support the Christian life of some 2,000 blind Catholics in Korea. To promote more active participation of blind Catholics in the liturgy and the Mass, the CBCK will supply 50,700,000 won to produce braille Catholic liturgical books, such as The Catholic Prayer Book and Catholic Hymns, and to make available special software for Catholics who are blind. Similarly, the CBCK will supply 10,000,000 won to 50 blind Catholics every year for the purchase of the Korean Bible Syeonggyeong in braille.


Catholic social welfare workers met for the second annual nationwide Catholic Social Welfare Congress. Some 240 participants from the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" and Caritas bodies in 15 dioceses gathered at St. J. Hasang Education Center in the Diocese of Daejeon from September 4 to 6, 2007, and openly exchanged their opinions on the identity of Catholic social welfare workers. This year the participants focused particularly on "the development of evaluation tools appropriate for Catholic social welfare facilities" and held a seminar around this theme.


The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea

St. Charles Cho Shin-chol 

Charles Cho Shin-chol was born in Hoeyang, Gangwon-do, and his family was pagan. He lost his mother at the age of five and his father squandered all the family's properties. For several years at one time Charles in his poverty went to a Buddhist temple for a meager living. One day he was asked to work as a servant for one of the envoys traveling to Peking. Charles accepted the offer. He was 23 years old. He was honest, unselfish and brave, so he was respected by his comrades and was regarded as one of the most outstanding servants of the envoys. With some of the money he earned on the Peking trips, he helped his father and his brothers.
In the meantime, Augustine Yu Chin-gil and Paul Chong Ha-sang noticed him and decided to ask him to be a Catholic. At first Charles hesitated, but later he became a fervent Catholic. While Charles was in Peking, he went to visit the bishop of Peking and other missionaries with Augustine and Paul. He was baptized and confirmed by the missionaries in Peking and received the Holy Eucharist from them.
According to the Vatican records, Charles, after his return to Korea, worked very hard for the Church. He was humble, kind and charitable, and he gave good example to others, and converted many. He brought at least ten to the Church. The most difficult one to convert was his wife. Charles never ceased to persuade her, and she finally became an excellent Catholic. She died happily as a Catholic. Charles then married another Catholic woman and continued his work going to and from Peking. After the missionaries came to Korea, Charles helped them, particularly Father Maubant, accompanying him on his mission visits as an assistant and sometimes as an interpreter.
Charles used to say that he wanted to follow the Way of the Cross. On his way back from Peking, in the spring of 1839, he had a dream in which he saw Jesus between the Apostles Peter and Paul on Mount Tabor. He heard Jesus promising him the crown of martyrdom. Charles had another similar dream. When he was back home, he realized that the dream was a hint from the Lord, and he made up his mind to become a martyr.
While he was out, policemen arrested his family and all the people living in his house, including children. Upon his return home, he went to the police station and told the police that he was the owner of the house where the people had just been arrested. Thus Charles was also arrested and put in prison.
In his home the police found many Catholic books, rosaries, medals and other religious articles, which Charles had brought from Peking. The police chief asked Charles where he got all the religious articles. Charles said that the articles were purchased when he was in Peking. But Charles refused to reveal from whom he got the articles, so the police chief twisted his arms and legs, hung him in the air and beat him.
When Bishop Imbert was arrested, Charles was more severely tortured and commanded to reveal the whereabouts of the other two missionaries, Fathers Maubant and Chastan. The police chief also brought in Bishop Imbert and questioned them together. Charles was twisted, sawed with ropes, and his shins were beaten with sharp-angled clubs. But Charles kept silence. The police chief said: "His body is just like a piece of wood or iron." After Fathers Maubant and Chastan were arrested, he was sent to the higher court with the missionaries. He was beaten there on three more occasions.
Just before Charles was taken to the site of execution, he asked one of the prison guards to relay his last message, telling his family to follow him to Heaven.
Charles was taken outside the Small West Gate and was beheaded on September 26, 1839, with eight other Catholics. He was 45 years old when he received the crown of martyrdom.

List of Articles
No. Subject Date
65 CBCK Newsletter No.65 (Winter 2008) Aug 27, 2009
64 CBCK Newsletter No.64 (Fall 2008) Aug 27, 2009
63 CBCK Newsletter No.63 (Summer 2008) Aug 27, 2009
62 CBCK Newsletter No.62 (Spring 2008) Aug 27, 2009
61 CBCK Newsletter No.61 (Winter 2007) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.60 (Fall 2007) Aug 27, 2009
59 CBCK Newsletter No.59 (Summer 2007) Aug 27, 2009
58 CBCK Newsletter No.58 (Spring 2007) Aug 27, 2009
57 CBCK Newsletter No.57 (Winter 2006) Aug 27, 2009
56 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

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