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Message for 2011 Biblical Week
Message for the 28th Caritas Sunday
Message for the 11th Week for the Sanctification of the Family
Message for the 30th Human Rights Sunday
The 17th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
The Year 2011 in Retrospect
On looking back over the year 2011, we can see that the world has suffered from not only many natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and torrential rains, but also man-made disasters such as the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. On top of that, many people around the world are still troubled with poverty, famine, war and terrorism.
The wave of the so-called "Arab Spring" has spread like wildfire into the Arab world including Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iran, inspired by the Tunisian revolution, alias "Jasmine revolution." The trigger was simply the basic demand for daily bread and democracy, as the protestors became fed up with chronic poverty and a long-lasting dictatorship.
At the so-called "Occupy Wall Street" protest movement, the protesters chanted "We are the 99%!" to express their indignation over the greed and corruption of the wealthiest 1% of the US population prevailing under neo-liberal capitalism. As such protest movements spread far and wide, the slogan has echoed in every corner of the world with more intensity than ever. In 2011 we have witnessed natural disasters and social polarization, which altogether are the indication of the dire reality adding to our terrors, not just fear. That is why all of us have waited for a new year to start over with new hopes.
In 2011, indeed, not a day passed in peace and quiet as the world village had to face many challenges: fundamentalism, extremism and separatism; struggle for survival and democracy in the Arab world; the evil of the neo-liberalism dominating the world for over 30 years; the problems of climate change and water shortage. Korea cannot be exempted from the aftermath and aftereffects of such challenges.
For the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, to open in October, 2012, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI chose "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" as the theme. I think the theme itself implies the sign of the times: rehabilitation of the Christian identity and the transmission of the faith with Christ's love in the face of secularism and relativism which both deny a religious and spiritual foundation.
Fortunately, the Catholic Church in Korea had time for self-examination to make a proper diagnosis of her situation as she invited representatives from each diocese and many experts to draw up her answers to the questions of the Lineamenta of the Synod.
Especially, on the occasion of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in full communion with the universal Church, the Catholic Church in Korea will sincerely ponder upon the ways to face the new challenges and situations as she reads the signs of the times well in the light of the Gospel.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
Message for 2011 Biblical Week (summary)
"Hold on to the Word of Life" (Phil 2,16)
Modern society is going through a radical change more than ever before. Thanks to the great advancement of science and technology, we can enjoy material abundance and convenience in our lives today. However, the more science and technology develop, the more we tend to lose our identity.
This year we have suffered from serious and unprecedented natural disasters. We have come to know well that these disasters resulted partly from excessive environmental destruction on the pretence of development. The Fukushima nuclear disaster following the earthquake and the tsunami in March in Japan shocked the whole world. On the other hand, the so-called "Occupy Wall Street" protest movement at the center of the global economy and finances, reveals the egoistic and absurd characteristics of our economic system. The effect of an economic crisis in one country is spreading out all over the world. In this situation, we need to establish new and solid values and find an absolute criterion.
When Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel, the crowd, especially the people in difficulty, listened to His precious words, to such an extent that they forgot to eat a meal. Even tax collectors and prostitutes listened to His words and got a new hope. Jesus proclaims even now to us, "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1,15) and urges us to change our life and transform our thoughts for the Kingdom of God.
The multitude murmured and left Jesus as they did not understand the true meaning of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, nor the mystery of the establishment of the Eucharist. Then Jesus said to the twelve disciples, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6,67-68).
The ultimate goal of our life is to go forward to the eternal life that Jesus invites us to receive. This good news should come true not only in the next world but also in this world. When a woman who listened to him said, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed", Jesus replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it" (Lk 11,27-28). This proclamation, which says it is more valuable than the prestige reserved only to our Blessed Mother, to hear the word of God and practice it, also urges us to make a new resolution.
Yes it is. When we recite the Lord's Prayer, we pray, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven", right after the phrase, "thy kingdom come." When we practice the will of our Father, that is, when we listen to his word correctly and live it, the Kingdom of God will come to us. When we first read the Bible, the word of God, with all our heart and practice it, we can change the perverse world. Each one of us, children of God, should make efforts to practice the Gospel first.
The words of God are just like a treasure buried in a field. When we read the Bible we have to ruminate over the meaning of the words, listening to them as if God speaks personally to us, or rather to me. In this regard, we have to be acquainted with the words of God in many ways: Bible study, Bible transcription, Bible memorization. We are already well equipped with the Korean Bible: Seonggyeong and the Bible with Annotations, as well as many manuals and reference books in relation to the Bible.
One who has realized the preciousness of the Word and tasted its delight should recommend this good news to others. And this recommendation will be more powerful when it is done with the combined efforts of many rather than with the single effort of one person. Therefore, I would like to invite the faithful including children and teenagers to organize Bible reading groups at the level of the parish to begin with.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Church, with the power of the Holy Spirit, will continue the works of Jesus manifested in the Paschal mystery.
On the occasion of Biblical Week from November 20 to 26 in 2011, I wish that all of you and your communities are filled with the grace and power of the word of God, and I also hope that all of you, as a new creation of God, enter into the communion with God in love.
November 20, 2011
of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro
Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.
of the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon
CBCK Biblical Committee
Message for the 28th Caritas Sunday
Love Wins over Greed!
Dear brothers and sisters in the love of God,
Today we celebrate the 28th Caritas Sunday. On this day we remember the mode of life which Jesus handed over to us, and we also reaffirm our commitment to a life following his example. We also meditate on the love, charity and sharing which Jesus personally practiced during his whole life.
Light and Shadow
We are now enjoying material affluence as the result of dazzling economic development. However, we can see that a shadow has fallen especially over the lower stratum of our society. The ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, increased household debts, and rising consumer prices are laying a heavy weight on the mind of the poor stirring up an acute sense of relative poverty. Many young people are frustrated because they cannot find a workplace. A fiercely competitive social setting drives many people into exhaustion. Most of all, a miserable life deprived of basic human rights bolsters a culture of death, e.g. suicide.
Nowadays, the government has appropriated a big budget for social welfare, and many social welfare organizations and charity foundations are inundated with an astronomical amount of donations. However, the shadow has not disappeared. On top of that, even though it is not so pervasive yet, we cannot but witness the indiscretion of pork barreling and disguised welfare policy on the government side and the wrongdoing of the welfare agents as well who are trapped in unfair group interests. Such a shadow darkens our society even more.
The world village is suffering from the aftermath of the global financial crisis. That is why many people are in greater need now. There are too many people who are driven to despair and frustration as they cannot cope with their situation by themselves. Nevertheless, we know that shadow cannot win over the light. If we want to have the shadow disappear, we should opt to share what we have with others, overcoming greedy monopoly. We have to realize the truth that a life for "you" is for "me" in its nature. We have to set out on a journey leading to mutual benefit and symbiosis. Jesus Christ, our Master, is incessantly urging us to serve our neighbours. Nevertheless, we are still struggling in the greedy swamp of monopoly and exclusiveness.
Love: a power to change the world
We can find the way to change the world as well as the way of life for "you" in the Child Jesus who came into this world as the light. The mystery of the Incarnation is in this way. A great power is coming from the manger in which the Child Jesus once lay. This power arouses the power of love. This is the mysterious power which is also the power to share "what I have" with "you". That is why "God is love" (1Jn 4,16). With this power of love the Child Jesus was born in our midst. Consequently, "whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him" (1Jn 4,16). God can do nothing but love in his nature. It is also true that our Lord Jesus Christ can do nothing but love.
We can perceive the power to change the world in the life and activities of Jesus. A disciple who shared in the intimate life of Jesus confessed, "The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us" (1Jn 3,16).
Our prescription for the change of the world is very simple and clear. "We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1Jn 3,16). A man can change himself when he believes in the power of love. He can devote himself to his neighbours sharing generously what he has with them and never trying to monopolize everything. Monopoly becomes a poison to the society as soon as he or she desires it. The greatest and the most difficult thing in the world is to change yourself. However, if you change yourself, you can change the whole world.
Jesus told us, "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25,40). I hope that you may take initiative in charging the world with high voltage love for neighbours following the footsteps of God who loves man and the world so much. There is a way of life to practice the mystery of the incarnation of the Child Jesus who came to this world as a man. It is a way of selfless devotion to your neighbours in this world where everybody takes care of him-/herself and has exclusive interest in his or her profit. We are now waiting for the coming of the Child Jesus who is to abide with us in His most humble manner. In this Advent season, I pray that the divine blessing may be with you all who make a road to love, and I also hope that full joy may be with you all because of God who is love.
December 11, 2011
On the 28th Caritas Sunday
Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
Bishop of Masan
CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
Message for the 11th Week for the Sanctification of the Family (summary)
Form the Proper Values of a Christian Family
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today on this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we open up the Week for the Sanctification of the Family recalling the precious meaning of family. On this occasion of the Week for the Sanctification of the Family, let us pray that our families may become a community of true love and life.
Nowadays various family problems come about from the absence of proper values which form one's criteria of behavior and lifestyle. Through our own values, we human beings live in relation with the world and in communication with others. Having our own values is essential for us to live as human beings. However, nowadays, the standard for judging values itself is set with material and egotistic orientations. Such a phenomenon leads to appearance-based discrimination and mammonism and finally results in the violation of human dignity. We should remember that if we establish our values on the basis of the finite, sooner or later, we will fall inevitably into frustration and disillusionment.
At a time like this, the Christian family has to be exemplary in all ways, specifically forming proper values which will be everlasting. For values centered on God, it is necessary to recover humanity. Particularly, it is the family that plays a very important role in helping children form their values properly. The parents' exemplary and coherent life of faith has a very positive effect on their children.
The family is the cradle of life. The family is the place where life, in an intrinsic, psychological and spiritual sense as well as in a physical sense, begins and grows. Putting life-giving values into practice among family members will strengthen the vitality of the family. We have to vitalize our family by our words and deeds. Although we have various difficulties in our situation with our human limits, our efforts to encourage one another will bring about great changes in our family life.
As we celebrate the nativity of the Child Jesus who came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (cf. Jn 10,10), I ardently pray that God may lead us to life.
December 30, 2011
On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Paul Hwang Chul-soo
Bishop of Busan
President of the CBCK Committee
for Family Pastoral Ministry
Message for the 30th Human Rights Sunday (summary)
"The Christian Vocation to Learn and Practice
the Teachings of Justice and Charity"
- on the occasion of the establishment of "Social Doctrine Week" -
Dear brothers and sisters!
The Catholic Church in Korea decided to establish "Social Doctrine Week" to invite the faithful to pay more attention to the social doctrine of the Church. It is to be celebrated from 2011 on during the second week of Advent starting with Human Rights Sunday. "Social Doctrine" is the official teaching of the Church for reflecting in the light of the Gospel on the social issues in regard to politics, economy, human rights, work, peace, environment and life. In 2004, the Church published The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church compiling systematically her social doctrine promulgated over the past 100 years beginning with Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII in 1891.
In fact, many Catholics still do not understand very well the social doctrine though the Catechism of the Catholic Church also mentioned it. Sometimes, even the terminology is quite unfamiliar to them. However, the social doctrine will shed the light of the Gospel on chaotic Korean society, so that it can recover moral values and turn towards true human development and completion through justice and the common good.
The Church in Korea has raised her voice against artificial contraception, abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, and embryonal research, the Four Major Rivers Project, and the construction of a naval base in Jeju Island. On the basis of her social teaching, the Church has pointed out the unjust and immoral aspects of those policies, especially the grave errors in violation of human dignity and the value of the common good, aggravated by blind greed.
There are some people who cast a critical eye over the Church's engagement in social issues. However, according to Canon Law "the Church has the right always and everywhere to proclaim moral principles, even in respect of the social order, and to make judgements about any human matter in so far as this is required by fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls" (Can. 747 ¤2). The Church has the right and duty to exercise her due influence upon society and its structure. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI asserted, "How in fact can one proclaim the new commandment without promoting in justice and in peace the true, authentic advancement of man?" (n.31) The Church not only continuously reminds us of the duty to condemn injustice and violence, but also invites us to work for promoting social justice through her social doctrine, discerning and protecting the rights of the people, especially those who are poor and vulnerable.
H.H. Pope Benedict XVI chose "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" as the theme for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2012. It is the practice of social doctrine that can be itself a method of new evangelization. We hope that the social doctrine will be actively taught through the institutes for social doctrine in dioceses as well as through homilies and catechesis in parishes. Particularly, the laity should learn and practice the social doctrine with enthusiasm, as they share in the prophetic ministry to renew the temporal order. May God bless abundantly everyone who works in the spirit of justice and charity.
December 4, 2011
Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
The 17th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting
Thirty seven bishops in all, including the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) and Bishop of Cheju, and the Most Rev. Leo Jun Ikenaga, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) and Archbishop of Osaka, participated in the 17th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting, which was held in the Diocese of Sendai, Japan from November 8 to 10, 2011. The theme of the meeting was "Eco-theology".
On the first day, the bishops visited the Caritas support center established in the Mototerakoji Cathedral in Sendai and listened to a presentation by the support center. Bishop Kang presented a paper on "The Current Environmental Issues in Korea", after the report of Rev. H. Kanda, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Osaka, on "The Situation after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Sendai Diocese - About the Structure of the Church's Relief Activities in Japan."
On the second day, Dr. Goto Masashi, a Japanese expert on nuclear power plants, gave a lecture on the "Issues concerening Nuclear Power Plants", which was followed by a lecture on "Eco-theology" presented by Rev. Baptist John Lee Jai-don, Dean of the Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Graduate School of Life, the Catholic University of Korea. After the lectures, the bishops paid a visit to the site in Ishinomaki devastated by the earthquake which occurred on March 11, 2011, and celebrated Mass for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami at Ishinomaki Church, which was presided over by Archbishop Ikenaga.
On the third and last day, the bishops had time to discuss the themes on ecological theology in groups and then in a plenary session. After the meeting the bishops of Japan issued a statement demanding the shut down of nuclear power plants. The bishops of Korea expressed their support for the cause of their counterpart in Japan.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 13 to 15, 2012, in Korea.
● News from the Church in Korea
● The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace Held a Seminar on "Justice"
On October 26, 2011, a seminar with the theme "What Is Justice in Today's Korean Society?" was held by the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most. Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) at the 7th floor auditorium of the Catholic Hall in Myeongdong, Seoul. It was a good opportunity to discuss social justice in terms of faith. The Church in Korea in accordance with its teaching has expressed concerns about social issues, such as the Four Major Rivers Project, the constructions of a nuclear power plant in Samcheok and a naval base in Jeju. Thus, Korean people have become more interested in the social justice that the Catholic Church teaches.
This seminar began with the presentation of papers for the topics: "Bible, Social Teaching and Justice" (Rev. Park Dong-ho, Director of Justice & Peace Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul); "Justices and Laws in Korean Society" (Professor Kim Do-kyeun, Seoul National University); "How Does Justice Cope with Another Justice" (Professor Lee Jin-kyeong, researcher of study group "Suyunomo N"). Panel discussions by experts on the issues of women, law, environment, and mass media followed the presentations.
Bishop Matthias Ri explained that the purpose of the seminar was "to look at the meaning of justice in philosophy of law and humanities, and to seek a way to realize justice in different sectors of our society in the light of the teaching of the Catholic Church which has illuminated the way toward justice and peace in the world since the promulgation of the social encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891."
● A Responsible Christian Reflection on Post-Nuclear Society
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju, gave an anti-nuclear lecture entitled "A Responsible Christian Reflection on Post-Nuclear Society" at Catholic Centre in Myeongdong on October 31, 2011. This event was held under the joint auspices of the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women, 'Saengmyeong- Pyeonghwa-Majungmul', an NGO for environmental protection, and the Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun).
In his lecture, Bishop Kang said, "the human power to control nature given by Creator is not an absolute power, so the mankind has to draw a line at using the natural environment." He continued to say that this limitation is symbolically implied in the word of God: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad" (Gn 2,17). Then he stressed, "This reveals that we should follow also the moral law in using nature."
He added, "As we saw in the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear power is not a safe and clear energy." Then he pointed out that it is a sin against ourselves and future generations to make a convenience of dangerous materials for the power generation.
● 2012 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Bishops
On the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent, each Diocesan Bishop issued his 2012 pastoral letter and invited the faithful to commit themselves to new evangelization with an ardent faith life.
For the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 2012, each Diocesan Bishop stressed the importance of new evangelization in accordance with the spirit of the Council. They also addressed diocesan pastoral priorities such as the family and the elderly, small Christian communities, missionary works, and the spirituality of martyrdom.
In his pastoral letter entitled 'New Evangelization in a New Era, Recalling the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council', H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said that the Second Vatican Council is one of the most essential compasses to solve the problems of our temporal society. He invited the faithful to take the initiative in new evangelization on the basis of the communal spirit reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council.
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said that the 2011 commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taiku (Daegu) has become a turning point toward the next hundred years of the local Church. He also urged the faithful: to actively participate in the Second Archdiocesan Synod which will be an opportunity for renewal; to continuously pray for and contribute to the construction of the commemorative church of the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taiku; to steadily take part in the life sharing movement in the light of the spirit of the centennial anniversary; and to take the initiative in practicing the resolutions they made as the people of the diocese at the thanksgiving Mass for the centennial anniversary.
In his pastoral letter entitled "Evangelization Starting from the Family", the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, said, "In 2012 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its establishment, taking a fresh step forward to the centennial anniversary, the Archdiocese of Gwangju is to put more effort into evangelization of the family as a solid base for new evangelization." Hence he decided that the Archdiocese of Gwangju is to observe the 'Year for Family' for three years from 2012. He hoped that through the year for family, Christian families would harmoniously bear witness to praying, proclaiming the Gospel, and serving the world.
● Social Doctrine Week
The Catholic Church in Korea celebrated the first Social Doctrine Week from December 4 to 10, 2011. Social Doctrine Week was established at the 2011 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK, as the request of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon). The week is celebrated during the second week of Advent starting with "Human Rights Sunday".
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace distributed instructional materials including the fundamental concepts for social doctrine to each diocese and parish. In addition, the committee released special prayer texts for the week and asked the faithful to pray them.
● Survey on the Faith Life of Youth
The CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry (President: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon) presented the results of the survey on the faith life of youth in its regular meeting, held at a conference room of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) on December 13, 2011. The survey was conducted on students attending Sunday School in all 15 dioceses in Korea.
The survey has an important meaning as it was the first one of its kind conducted on the students of all dioceses of the Catholic Church in Korea. It is expected that the results will play an important role as panel data for future surveys of the same kind. In this regard, we have now a reliable national point of reference for the pastoral care for youth which has been hitherto carried out on the basis of surveys conducted on the level of each diocese.
The survey was conducted in four categories: personal life; family life; school and social life; Church (Sunday School) life. The results say that the youth have a mostly positive attitude toward their faith life and have quite a good understanding of the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. On the other hand, the results suggest that pastoral care for the family must be practiced in a more intensive network with the youth ministry, as the family exerts a great influence on the faith life of the youth. Some respondents said that a faith life interfered with their study, but most of them regarded it as a "natural duty of the faithful" representing a very positive phenomenon. However, most of the students said that Sunday School is "boring." This tells us that we have an urgent task to make Sunday School an animated program adapted to the youth without deviating from its proper object.
The Committee prepared 91,000 copies of questionnaires and in March 2010 sent them to each parish in all dioceses in Korea. On June 18, 2010, the Committee started to make an analysis of the answers they received. The tentative results were first reported to the bishops before the issuance of the final report.
The final analysis of the survey was made by Dr. Moon Yong-lin, Professor of the Department of Education, Seoul National University, Mr. Cho Han-su, member of the Committee, and Dr. Won Hyun-ju, lecturer of the Department of Education, Seoul National University.
● The 5th Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Program for Deacons
From December 15 to 16, 2011, the CBCK held the "5th Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Program for Deacons" to broaden the seminarians' understanding of the teachings and spirit of other religions in Korea.
36 deacons from the three seminaries in Daegu, Daejeon, and Busan visited the Anglican Church of Korea, the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, the Korea Muslim Federation, Sung Kyun Kwan, the Association of Confucianism in Korea, and Jogyesa, the headquarters of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, as well as the CBCK and the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea. These visits gave the Deacons an opportunity to encounter the doctrines and cultures of other religions. Especially, through this program they had the meaningful experience of participating in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Jogyesa, Buddhist Temple.
News in Brief
The Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun) held a ceremony for the Sixth Catholic Ecological Award at the auditorium of the CCK on October 4, 2011. The Grand Prix was awarded to 'The Struggle Committee against Nuclear Power Plants in Samcheok' (standing representative: Fr. Paul Park Hong-pyo of Wonju Diocese), which has developed a movement to revoke a plan to build another nuclear power plant in Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do since the 1990s. The Special Prize was given to 'Saint Paul's Kindergarten in Pohang' (in the Archdiocese of Daegu), Gyeongsangbuk-do, which since 2009 has put its educational goals on the 'protection of the global environment' focusing on environmental education for children.
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil) held the 21st Catholic Mass Communications Awards Ceremony at the Royal Hotel in Seoul, on November 29, 2011. The Prix in the Broadcasting division was given to Mr. Jeong Seong-uk, Mr. Nam Nae-won, and Mr. Pak Yu-joon, producers of the Education Broadcasting System (EBS), for their documentary "What is the school?". The Prix in the Newspaper division was given to Mr. Kim Ki-tae, journalist of Hangyore 21, for his article "Life OTL: a Doble Helix of Poverty and Death". The Prix in the Film division was given to Mr. Oh Seong-yoon, director of an animation film entitled "Hen Comes out of the Yard". The Prix in the Publishing division was given to Mr. Kim Jig-seung, CEO of the publishing company 'Book World'.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Son Cha-soun Thomas (1836-1866)
Son Cha-soun Thomas was born in 1836 at Hongsoung in Ch'ungch'oung Province. He came from a very devout Catholic family of martyrs. When he was 23, the persecution of 1866 broke out. Thomas was very diligent and devout and was known as a man of strong faith. He and his wife never omitted morning and evening prayers. His family life reflected the tradition of his family's deep faith and was in itself a profession of faith.
On March 11, 1866, a few days after Bishop Daveluy was arrested, some police rushed into the village where Thomas lived. They looted the property of the Catholic families. Because of the strong protests of the Catholics, the governor of the district promised to make reparation for the looting. Thomas went to the Touksan district office to present a claim for the looted property. The governor demanded that he renounce God. Thomas refused, saying: "I am afraid to die, but I am more afraid to deny God."
Thomas was arrested on the spot and was severely tortured. He was hung upside down and was severely beaten. A lot of garbage was put in his mouth. All these tortures couldn't force him to deny God.
His wounds were so severe that he almost died. The people in the prison tried to help him, but in vain. Thomas said: "Jesus and Mary will come and heal my wounds." A few days later his wounds were miraculously healed.
The governor of Touksan sent Thomas to the prison in Haemi. There he was tortured again. His legs were twisted and broken. The governor of Haemi forced him to bite flesh from his own hands, but Thomas wouldn't deny his faith. The governor finally sent him to the governor of Kongju to be sentenced to death.
Meanwhile Thomas' uncle, who had denied his faith, tried to persuade Thomas to deny his faith but Thomas was steadfast. He never omitted his prayers and fasted and abstained even in prison. The governor of Kongju beat him until he lost consciousness, but Thomas wouldn't deny God. The governor finally strangled him to death on May 18, 1866. Thomas was 28 years old at that time. Thomas' body was buried ten days after his death but it has been said that his body was not corrupted.
Choung Woun-ji Peter (1845-1866)
Choung Woun-ji Peter was born in 1845 of a very devout Catholic family at Chinjam in Ch'ungch'oung Province. When the persecution of 1866 broke out, he was an orphan. His father had previously been martyred, and his mother had also died. Peter left home, moved to Soungjidong village in Chounju, and lived in a rented room at Cho Peter's house. He was 21 years old and was married when the persecution of 1866 broke out.
When a group of police rushed into his village to capture Catholics, Peter escaped to a mountain and stayed overnight there. The next morning he was finally captured. When he was first captured, he denied that he was a Catholic, but a moment later, encouraged by Cho Peter, he repented and clearly declared that he was a Catholic.
When he was tortured to reveal who taught him religion, he said that his only religion teacher had been his martyred father. The interrogators were surprised that Peter would dare to believe the religion which actually caused his father's death. Peter said that he believed the Catholic religion in order to meet his parents in Heaven. He was tortured but he showed no sign of weakness.
On December 13, 1866, nine days after his arrest, Peter was taken with his fellow Catholics to the execution site at Supjoung-i in Chounju. On their way one of the execution officials, who was drunk, ridiculed Peter and cursed Heaven. Peter responded, "What a fool you are! It is like cursing your own father and mother!"
All the Catholics who were brought to the execution site looked very happy and peaceful and were saying prayers. Peter was beheaded at Supjoung-i in Chounju on December 13, 1866. He was 21.