- image click! - E-BOOK -
_ 2013 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
_ Message for the Month of Mission 2013
_ Message of the President of the CBCK
_ Message for the 18th Farmers' Sunday
_ Message for the 46th Military Mission Sunday
_ News from the Church in Korea
_ The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations
between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See
Vatican City State is located within Rome, the capital city of Italy, and it is an independent state as distinct from the member states of the European Union. In December 1963 when the Second Vatican Council was in session, formal diplomatic relations were established between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. On the occasion of this Jubilee of the diplomatic relations in the grace of God, I would like to look back on the providential time which the Korean society and the Catholic Church in Korea have shared with the Holy See.
Before the official establishment of diplomatic relations, there had already been the presence of resident pontifical representatives in Korea, starting with the appointment of the Most Rev. Patrick James Byrne, MM, as the first Apostolic Delegate to Korea (1949). They rendered great help to the Republic of Korea in its recognition as a sovereign state in international society. We cannot overlook the fact that they made great efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula, one of iconic symbols of the Cold War era when the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) took the lead in international order.
In fact, the Catholic Church in Korea has developed under the special care of the Universal Church. She overcame the cruelty and severity of four persecutions at the end of the Joseon Dynasty. Then she had to go through hardships under the Japanese colonial rule over Korea, the division of the Korean peninsula, the Korean War, and the military dictatorship. In the course of history, she has played a role as the salt and the light in this land. Now, she has grown up as a faith community with over 5,300,000 Catholics.
"The Pope? How many army divisions does he have?" This is the famous question which Joseph Stalin asked when he was asked his opinion about the political influence of the Holy See. As Pope Pius XII heard this question from others, he gave a famous answer: "Tell my son Joseph he will meet my divisions in heaven." This is an answer expressing very clearly the influence of the Vatican City in Rome, the eternal city, as the spiritual home of the faithful. It was Blessed Pope John Paul II who exerted a direct and indirect influence on the collapse of the USSR and the Communist Bloc.
The small Pontifical Swiss Guard carrying halberds serves as the de facto military of Vatican City. However, the Vatican City is secured not by the latest nuclear-tipped missile but by the innumerable divisions of the faithful armed with arrow prayers.
The vast organizations and diplomatic bodies that the Vatican holds all over the world are valuable properties for the peace of humanity surpassing diverse national interests. Today the Vatican exerts a deep influence on humanity's journey to salvation. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Holy See, I hope that this will be an opportunity for both countries to continue their efforts to promote peace for humanity and the common good and to contribute to building the Kingdom of God.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2013 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2013 Autumn General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from October 14 to 16, 2013 and covered the following matters:
1. The bishops examined and approved the publication of the draft booklet Nuclear Technology and Teachings of the Church - Episcopal Reflections on Nuclear Power Generation presented by the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace. This booklet was prepared as the bishops agreed on the necessity to provide public episcopal teachings on nuclear power generation in the form of a white paper at the 2012 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK.
2. The bishops decided that the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization should prepare for the establishment of the preparation committee for the Beatification of the Servants of God "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions." The bishops listened to a report that the Positio super Martyrio of the Servants of God "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions" was examined positively at the meeting of the Historical Consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 12, 2013.
3. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho, Bishop of Jeonju, as the Korean Bishop delegate to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (Cebu, Philippines, from January 25 to 31, 2016).
4. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok as the president of the CBCK Biblical Committee, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B., who resigned from his office.
5. The bishops approved the revised drafts 'Rules of the CBCK Committee for Bioehthics' and 'Rules of the CBCK Committee for Education'
6. The bishops approved the establishment of 'Korea Catholic Scouts' as a national organization.
7. The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, made a report on the march through the "DMZ Peace Route" from July 26 to August 1, 2013.
8. The bishops listened to a report on the participation of the Korean faithful in the 28th World Youth Day (WYD), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 23 to 28, 2013.
9. The bishops listened to a report on the activities of Caritas Korea International such as implementing CI-DPRK Programme and supporting overseas aid projects. They were also told about the activities of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Korea.
10. The bishops heard a report that at its September 9, 2013 meeting, the CBCK Permanent Council had appointed Rev. Michael Sin Jeong-hun (Archdiocese of Seoul, ordained a priest in 2001) as Secretary of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue.
Message for the Month of Mission 2013
Are You Happy?
1. "Are you happy?" "Are you satisfied with your life?" "Is your mind full of joy?" According to an opinion poll only about 10% of Koreans answered "yes" to these questions, while over 70% of the people in Latin America reacted positively to the same questions, although they live mostly in much poorer conditions than Koreans. Although South Korea is now one of the rich countries in the world, its suicide rate ranks the highest among the OECD member countries. This clearly witnesses to the dark shadow cast on the heart of Koreans today. Just as mold grows wild in a closed room during a hot and humid summer, the number of people addicted to drugs, gambling, alcohol, sex, internet, and games grows dramatically in a hopeless atmosphere where there seems to be no future. Even in religious circles, rampant pseudo-religions like poisonous mushrooms delude many people into false belief. In addition, economic disparity in our society has been increasing day by day as the saying goes, '99% poor vs 1% rich'. In a word, many people lead a life without any joy and love, and they are even driven to such a life. However, if you cherish a hope even in the midst of this dark and painful reality, you can keep joy deep in your heart, and thus you can overcome all difficulties courageously. On the contrary, as soon as you lose your hope, your life becomes a heavy burden.
Where can we find such a light of hope? "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Mt 11,28-30), Jesus said. All who have experienced a true encounter with Him can go over to hope from despair, to light from darkness, to life from death, and to joy from depression. Consequently, they can taste peace which is "not as the world gives" (Jn 14,27). The Gospel bears witness to it. The 2000-year history of the Church also bears the same witness to it. Even now "we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12,1).
2. Jesus Christ brought hope to human beings by defeating death and rising from the dead. We Christians have no right to keep hope just for ourselves. St. Paul considered all his most cherished possessions so much rubbish (Cf. Phil 3,8) after he met Jesus Christ. He also cried out, "in hope we were saved" (Rm 8,24).
St. John was one of the closest followers of Jesus who loved him so much. As he personally witnessed Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he bore testimony to the authentic way of life as well as joy and happiness for which people are thirsty, and cried out to all human beings: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life ─ for the life was made visible: we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us ─ what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete" (1Jn 1,1-4).
3. A witness to the Gospel is someone who leads people not just to listen to the Gospel, but also to see and touch it. In these days the whole Church makes her commitment to a new evangelization, new in its ardour, methods and expression. In such a moment, Pope Francis with his simple and evangelical words and deeds has made a deep impression on many people including leaders not only in the Catholic Church, but also in every area of our society.
Following his example we must receive 'the word of God, which is now at work in us who believe' (Cf. 1Thess 2,13). We will be the salt of this groaning earth and the light of the gloomy world as we can bear witness to the Gospel not only with our words, but also with our attitude and life style. Only when we do this we can accomplish the last command of our Lord as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28,18-20).
+ Vincent Ri Pyung-ho
Bishop of Jeonju
CBCK Committee for Evangelization
Message for the President of the CBCK
We have to make a preferential choice for life
On the occasion of the publication of
Nuclear Technology and Teachings of the Church - Episcopal Reflections on Nuclear Power Generation
Expressing their deep sympathy with the public apprehension after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011 that nuclear power generation is a menace to the security of Korea and the whole world, causing disaster especially to future generations, the bishops of the Catholic Church in Korea prepared a booklet entitled Nuclear Technology and Teachings of the Church - Episcopal Reflections on Nuclear Power Generation. The booklet is meant to help the faithful reflect on this matter according to the teachings of the Church and to guide Korean society and the nation as a whole to find a way for the future.
This booklet contains the opinions of those consenting to nuclear technology as well as the opinions of those opposing nuclear power generation because of various issues, namely safety, economy, society, peace, and alternative options. Readers can gain personal insight on the technical and practical problems. Furthermore, the booklet is meant to be a vademecum for the faithful to ponder upon fundamental values which the Church and the world must search for as it suggests the ecclesiastical viewpoint on problems about nuclear technology based on the social teaching of the Church which advocates the protection of the dignity of human persons and the common good.
The CBCK issued this booklet instead of an initially planned statement, because it is our firm belief that the problem of nuclear power generation can be solved not by calculated political compromise or coerced sacrifice but by individual determination which may demand moderation and even voluntary sacrifice made on the basis of deep reflection of the whole nation regarding our own and future generations.
Moreover we would like to ask the civil authorities who are in charge of the present and the future of our nation to establish positive policies for a post-nuclear society based on the reflection and determination of every individual. We would like them to do their best to realize true sustainable development that favors the protection of the dignity of human persons as well as life in general.
The challenging situation that we are facing now is not a matter of alternative options or opportune moments contingent on individual interests, but a matter of immediate determination for ourselves and all humanity, present and future. We should not repeat the blunder of the rich man who was satisfied with the treasure he stored up for himself but did not know that his life would be demanded of him that very night (Cf. Lk 12,20).
October 17, 2013
+ Peter Kang U-il
President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Message for the 18th Farmers' Sunday
Taking after God, the Farmer is a Good 'Eco-Apostle'
"… the land is mine, and you are but aliens who have become my tenants" (Lv 25,23)
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we celebrate the 18th Farmers' Sunday. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea established it in 1995 in order to promote prayer for our farmers in difficult situations due to the opening of the domestic market to foreign agricultural products. It is also meant to encourage the faithful to have consistent interest in the farmers and to render practical help to them as well.
Nowadays farmers are suffering from worsening climate change and abnormal temperatures. The reckless imports of cheap foreign agricultural products since the enactment of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have aggravated the life of farmers. The government has been carrying out its plan to conclude the FTA with as many as 84 countries. In this crisis, the severest blow is suffered by farmers and our agriculture, and by ourselves in the end. Although the farmers have expected a just reward for their honest work, they are suffering from a sense of relative deprivation and poor life when they compare themselves to their counterparts in urban areas. It really makes us feel bad.
So far, the Korean government has adopted a policy bolstering unconditional importing of cheap foreign agricultural products on the pretence of the comparative advantage theory. The consumers in urban areas also have acted as if their minds are not troubled much about the policy. As a result, South Korea's grain self-sufficiency rate marked only 24.3 % as of 2011. This means that it has become difficult for us to have one meal a day with the crops which are locally produced. Therefore, we cannot but worry over our food security in the age of global food crises resulting from abnormal weather, including global warming. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI pointed out this crisis in his Message for World Day of Peace in 2013. He said that the Church should try more than ever to enable "farmers, especially in small rural holdings, to carry out their activity in a dignified and sustainable way from the social, environmental and economic points of view."
Farmers are good 'Eco-Apostles' who take after our God the Farmer (Cf. Jn 15,1). While material things have become the criterion of all values today, farmers' honesty and sincerity in their work still serve as a great lesson to us. Living a simple and honest life, farmers spare no effort to cultivate the fields in all sincerity, just like God the Father who created the heaven and the earth in the beginning. They give a good example to the faithful and become a precious property for the Church. They are precious all the more because their work has to do with the life of plants and animals, a life that is "rich in allusions to God the Creator and Provider" (Mater et Magistra, n. 144). I hope that there will be more farmers who cultivate the fields respecting life and natural cycles (of the earth), having a dream about honest fruits even though they are in a difficult situation.
Not only the farmers, but the faithful in urban areas need to become good eco-apostles. They can start to become such eco-apostles when they consume more local agricultural products rather than the imported ones which might be inexpensive and attractive. The local products are the fruits of our farmers' hard work. Eventually, this "ecological consumption" will revitalize our rural areas, promote the safety of our families, and protect the value of life given by God. From now on we should cherish the agricultural products of our farmers in this land, not only with interest in their price and quality, but also with concern for mutual confidence and the value of life which deserves our protection. In this regard, we need to pay attention once again to the "Save Our Rural Community Movement", on which the Catholic Church in Korea has put great emphasis for a long time.
The government on its part should stop the reckless conclusion of the FTA, and carry out a policy to promote food self-sufficiency with thorough management of "basic agricultural products". This new policy will not only keep our society stable by reducing the gap between the rich urban areas and the poor rural areas, but also be a way to prepare ourselves well for any future food crisis.
On the occasion of Farmers' Sunday, I would like to extend my warm encouragement to our brothers and sisters in rural areas. They are good eco-apostles who care for creation in this land, as they work for the protection of life. At the same time, I would like to give thanks to our faithful who practice "sharing and serving" both in urban and rural areas as they share the local agricultural products.
May the abundant blessing of God be always with all of you, our farmers and the faithful as well.
July 21, 2013
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 46th Military Mission Sunday
Towards Jesus Christ in Hope
Dear brothers and sisters,
On the occasion of the 46th Military Mission Sunday I would like to greet you all in peace, together with the military chaplains who commit themselves for the evangelization of the military. I also would like to express my deep appreciation for your prayer and concern for soldiers, their officers, and the military chaplains.
This year we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Korean armistice agreement. In remembrance of all those patriotic martyrs and deceased patriots who defended our motherland, as well as the foreign soldiers on the part of the United Nations who sacrificed generously their lives for the peace of Korea which might have been indeed a very strange land for them, I yearn for the peaceful reunification of Korea in the near future which will manifest that their commitment and sacrifice were worthwhile in the end.
Towards Jesus Christ in Hope
His Holiness Pope Francis also said, "Its [faith's] light does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope" (Lumen Fidei, n. 51).
Though it has been 60 years since the conclusion of the armistice agreement, Korea still remains as the only divided nation in the world yearning for reunification. North Korea still escalates the tension of the Korean Peninsula and aggravates the uncertainty of the international society with many provocative initiatives including nuclear tests, allusion to the abolishment of the armistice agreement, and closure of the Joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex. In this regard, the Military Ordinariate in Korea set "Towards Jesus Christ in Hope" as its pastoral motto in this year, and has carried out its ecclesiastical mission as the sacrament of salvation through many activities on the field of pastoral care for the military, so that all the soldiers who are dedicating themselves to justice and peace in our nation can be united in Jesus Christ, as they fulfill their present role and duty.
The Meaning of the Military Mission Sunday
Military Mission Sunday is meant to be a day when we pray and show special concern for our young soldiers and their officers who dedicate themselves to the justice and peace of our nation, as well as for the priests, religious, and volunteers who are engaged in the pastoral care for soldiers. It is a pity that the Military Mission Sunday seems to have become more a day of routine ritual rather than a day for all the faithful of the Church to celebrate with their utmost sincerity, though we have a long history of the military mission.
For a long time they have said that the military is one of the best places for missionary work. In fact many dioceses are searching for methods of mission as missionary work is the center of their pastoral ministry. It is proper and important for us to turn our missionary attention to the young people during their military service, because the main object of the military mission is none other than the youth who are the future of the Church as well as all humanity. The Good News of Jesus Christ serves as a hope for many young people who have to face a crisis because of modern materialism, egoism, and doubt about traditional values. We have much work to do for this mission. In this regard, Military Mission Sunday is meant to be a day of prayer for the soldiers to render help to the pastoral care for soldiers. It is also a special Sunday for our families, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, especially for the young people who are very precious for our society.
Pastoral Care for Soldiers as a Special Form of Pastoral Ministry
In many cases Catholic soldiers cannot enjoy the benefits of the sacraments, nor can they participate in Mass as much as they would like, because they are under special circumstance with their identity and job. As Pope John Paul II said in his Pontifical Constitution Spirituali Militum Curae, soldiers need concrete and special forms of pastoral care on the part of the Church because of their special condition (Cf. Spirituali Militum Curae, Preface).
The Military Ordinariate in Korea is a special ordinariate with priests dispatched by each diocese. In intimate bond and mutual cooperation with the local Church, it has grown into a part of one body of Jesus Christ. All military chaplains live together with soldiers as their priests and fellow soldiers and communicate the light of faith to soldiers who are in a special situation, so that they can live as mature Christians who cherish the proper values of life. The military chaplains experience great courage and hope when they witness the steadily growing number of baptized soldiers and their sanctification in faith, even though they are not in very favorable circumstances. The Military Ordinariate has grown into an ordinariate which can communicate divine love to soldiers thanks to the commitment and sacrifice of many religious and volunteers who work in close cooperation with military chaplains for the pastoral care of the soldiers. It is also indebted to supporters who render generous help to pastoral care of the soldiers with their activities and prayers in a humble and inconspicuous way.
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your warmhearted concern for the pastoral care of soldiers. I would like to invite you all to show more concern and to pray for many soldiers and officers, so that they can come nearer to Jesus Christ in faith, hope and love. I pray that the true peace may be realized in our nation. I also hope that God's blessing may be with you and your families in abundance.
October 6, 2013
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il
Bishop of Military Ordinariate
● News from the Church in Korea
● Korean Bishops' Pilgrimage on Foot in the Year of Faith
On September 10, 2013, 21 Korean bishops made a pilgrimage on foot to martyrs' shrines in downtown Seoul. This pilgrimage was prepared as a part of celebrating the Year of Faith according to the decision at the 2013 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK. It was the first time that the bishops made a pilgrimage to martyrs' shrines together.
The pilgrimage began with an opening prayer in the Chapel at the Songsin Theological Campus, the Catholic University of Korea, in which some pieces of the remains of Saint Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the first Korean priest and martyr, are preserved.
Then they made a pilgrimage to martyrs' shrines in Seoul, following this itinerary: site of the Left Podo-cheong (police headquarters located on the left of Kyeongbok-palace in the Joseon Dynasty; execution site of Korean martyrs); Supyo-gyo (a bridge near the ancient housing site of Yi Byeok); Myeongdong Cathedral Church (in the Crypt there are the relics of 9 martyrs); Seosomun Martyrs' Shrine (place of martyrdom, where 44 out of 103 Korean Martyr Saints, many Servants of God and other Catholic martyrs in the earlier Church in Korea sacrificed their lives); Danggogae Martyrs' Shrine (place of martyrdom, where 10 Korean Catholics were martyred on this hill 'Danggogae'); Saenamteo Martyrs' Shrine (place of martyrdom, where 11 priests in the earlier Church in Korea were killed in Saenamteo); Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine (place of martyrdom during the Byeong-in persecution in 1866, and now a church with an underground sepulchre containing the relics of 28 Martyr Saints, a museum and a large outdoor statue of Saint Andrew Kim Dae-geon).
Walking along the pilgrimage routes recently paved by the Archdiocese of Seoul, the bishops, accompanied by some 300 priests, religious and lay persons, had an opportunity to reflect upon the spirit of martyrdom of our Korean ancestors in faith.
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK and Bishop of Cheju, said, "Our life seems to be less satisfactory in comparison with the martyrs' life. So we, bishops, came to walk to share in the martyrs' sufferings."
The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, highlighted that the Church in Korea configured to Our Lord Jesus Christ should walk on her journey of faith towards God with the Korean martyrs.
● General Directory on the Catholic Church in Korea (2004~2012) published
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published General Directory on the Catholic Church in Korea (2004~2012) on September 15, 2013.
Bishop Kang said in the foreword celebrating the publication: "With this General Directory, the Catholic Church in Korea has come to have a vast volume of useful documents to utilize in diverse initiatives of pastoral ministries in the future."
The Catholic Church in Korea, feeling keenly the importance and necessity of recording historical documents, has compiled the related materials, such as yearbook and statistics since 1956. For this purpose, the CBCK published Yearbook of the Catholic Church in Korea in 1994 and then General Directory on the Catholic Church in Korea (1995~2003) in 2004.
This General Directory presents a comprehensive overview of the main activities and events relevant to the Catholic Church both in Korea and in the world from 2004 to 2012. This book contains the comprehensive documents compiled and chronicled from 2004 to 2012 and the text is composed of three parts. The contents of this book is as follows :
Part One : 'The Catholic Church in the World' shows how the Universal Church has responded to the rapidly changing modern world in the era of the New Evangelization.
Part Two : 'The Catholic Church in Korea' shows the main activities and fields of the Catholic Church in Korea, according to the Statistics from January 2004 to December 2012.
Part Three: 'Documents' contains diverse documents, such as documents concerning the history of the Catholic Church in Korea, the diaries of the Catholic Church in Korea, the statistics of the Catholic Church in the world from 2002 to 2011 (excerpts from the Statistical Yearbook of the Church) and statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea from 2003 to 2012, documents concerning the General Assemblies of the CBCK and National Committees, etc.
● A Statement of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace on the Construction of High-tension Electric Power Transmission Towers
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) issued a statement as of September 30, 2013 on the controversial construction of 762kv high-tension electric power transmission towers in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province. Now there is a conflict between the government and the villagers because of the construction of the tower despite the strong protest of the villagers. There seems to be a lack of communication between the government and the villagers. In this regard, the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace has asked both parties to find the best way to solve the problem.
In this statement, the committee asserted again that both parties should solve the problem with dialogue. As most of the villagers are elderly, there is a possibility that they will be in a very serious situation both physically and mentally. However, the government is trying to continue construction with the help of a police force of 3,000 policemen. Some villagers are trying to obstruct the construction even at the risk of their lives. In its statement the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace promised the villagers it would do its best to protect them.
● The 8th Catholic Ecological Awards
The Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun) held a ceremony for the 8th Catholic Ecological Award at the auditorium of the CCK on October 8, 2013.
The Grand Prix was awarded to the "Investigation Committee on the Affairs of the Four Rivers Project." The Subcommittee for Environment said that the Investigation Committee played a great role in uncovering the irregularity of the Four Major Rivers Project. It also has made a contribution to the preservation of the divine order of creation through the publication of the results of its scientific research for restoration of the environment.
The Special Prize was given to "Bakmun Kindergarten" in the Incheon Doicese and "Gomnaedeul Co-Op" in the Daegu Archdiocese. The Bakmun Kindergarten has actively carried out education on ecology and environment. It has given 'Special Lectures for Ecology' in cooperation with parents in order to arouse public awareness for the preservation of the divine order of creation. The Gomnaedeul Co-Op has grown up as a grass-roots movement. Regarded as the first ecological community in the Catholic Church in Korea, it was established by the initiative of women who cherish ecological values. It runs the 'Green School' in cooperation with the Daegu archdiocesan committee for justice and peace. It has also been actively engaged in social issues including nuclear power generation and high-tension electric power transmission towers.
● The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches
The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was held in Busan from October 30 to November 8, 2013 with the theme, "God of life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace".
During the assembly, all the participants resolved that all Christians around the world would actively work to promote the dignity of life and realize a just society, two conspicuous issues.
The WCC issued a statement of new missionary polices that accentuates the importance of life. The participants agreed that they would cooperate on rendering justice and peace, not just taking care of their own matters.
H.E. Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Chrisitian Unity, and other delegates including prelates and the clergy from the Holy See and the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, participating in the assembly as Catholic observers, said that they would strive harder to pray and work for the common good in cooperation with the WCC. They had opportunities to talk with Christians from other Churches and ecclesial communities as participants in various discussions and meetings during the assembly.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, President of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, said in his homily that participants should pay more attention to what they have in common rather than their differences in order to enhance christian unity. He also said that the true beatitudes could be realized by sharing in the life of the poor and marginalized neighbors.
Cardinal Kurt Koch & leaders of other Churches and ecclesial communities at the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea
on October 29, 2013
News in Brief
The CBCK Committee for Evangelization held a "2013 Word Concert" in Bangbae-dong Parish of Seoul on November 11, 2013. The Concert with the theme "I have come to set the earth on fire" (Lk12,49) was organized as a new form of Bible seminar in company with classical music performances. The Committee prepared this Word Concert as one of ecclesiastical efforts to seek new ardor, new expression and new methods for evangelization. The panel discussions consisted of three parts: 'Part I. New Ardor: Has my love been oriented to God all the time? - Conversion', 'Part II. New Expression: For me, who is Jesus Christ? What does eternal life mean to me?', and 'Part III. New Methods: How do I follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaim Him in my life?'. The panelists, Rev. Francis Kang Sin-mo (Director of Mission Ministry Department in the Diocese of Uijeongbu), Sr. Emma Min Nam-hyeon (Daughters of St. Paul), and Mr. Peter Park Jong-tae (lay missionary), representing respectively clergy, religious, and the laity, discussed authentic conversion and a proper attitude to the Bible. After the panel discussions the Catholic Soloist Ensemble performed a variety of musical numbers.
The Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea (Director: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) held the 4th Seminar on the New Evangelization at the auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea in Seoul on November 8, 2013. The theme of the seminar was "Active participation in Sunday liturgy: what shall we do?" Rev. Pius Shin Ho-cheol (Professor of Busan Catholic University) made a presentation entitled "Principles and Suggestions for Active participation in Sunday liturgy". Then Rev. Timothy Yun Jong-sik (Professor of the Catholic University of Korea), Sr. Son Jeong-myeong (Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd), and Mr. Kim Mun-tae (Professor of the Catholic University of Korea) participated in a panel discussion.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Chŏng Ŭi-bae Mark (1794-1866)
Catechist Chŏng Ŭi-bae Mark was born in 1794 in Gyeonggi Province of a noble family who despised Catholics. Mark finished studying for the government examination and was teaching children. He married, but his wife soon died, and Mark lived for many years as a widower with no children. In 1839, he happened to see Bishop Imbert and Fathers Maubant and Chastan being martyred. Mark, who had thought that the Catholic religion was a heresy, was surprised to see the missionaries dying with such great joy. He began to read some Catholic books, and became convinced that being a Catholic would help him be a better man. He went to Seoul to be baptized. Bishop Ferreol, who came into Korea in 1845, made him a catechist. Catechist Mark performed his duties so faithfully until his death that Bishop Daveluy declared that he was a living saint, and Bishop Berneux said that he would be happy to be in Heaven together with Catechist Mark. Mark used to lead the Catholics and catechumens well and take care of sick people and orphans. He led a poor life intentionally with his second wife P'i Catherine. Since they had no children, they adopted their nephew P'i Paul, who taught Korean to Father Breteni뢳es, while he was staying in their house.
Catechist Mark always practiced his religion faithfully and his will was very strong. Everyone around him loved and respected him. He always preferred being martyred to dying at home. Father De Breteni뢳es used to praise his devout attitude at Mass in front of the people.
When the persecution broke out, Mark helped others escape but he himself did not escape. When he was arrested on February 25, 1866, he showed great joy. He was then 72 years old. He spent a few days in prison with four French missionaries. After severe tortures, he was beheaded at Saenamteo on March 11, 1866.
U Se-yŏng Alexius (1845-1866)
U Se-yŏng Alexius was born in 1845 at Seoheung in Hwanghae Province. He was the third son in a wealthy noble family. He received a systematic education with his brothers. Alexius was very intelligent and was ready for the government examination at the age of 16. By that time he heard about the Catholic religion from Catechist Kim John. He asked his father for permission to be baptized, but his father strongly disapproved. Alexius secretly ran away to meet Bishop Berneux in a remote Catholic village. The bishop sent young Alexius to Catechist Chŏng Mark for spiritual guidance before baptism. Bishop Berneux finally baptized U Se-yŏng personally in 1863 and gave him the name Alexius. When he returned home after baptism, he was treated very harshly by his family but he endured all difficulties patiently.
Alexius asked his father for permission to live independently of the family. His father said that it would be better that way, and Alexius went to Seoul and stayed with Catechist Chŏng Mark, praying for the conversion of his family. He also translated catechism books and edited the 12 Important Prayers.
Meanwhile, Alexius' father wanted to know about the Catholic religion. Alexius went back home to give instructions to his family. Twenty people, including Alexius' whole family and neighbors, were baptized. Since the family's religion became well known in the region, they had to move to Nonjae in Pyŏngyang.
On lunar New Year's Day of 1866, Alexius went to Catechist Chŏng Mark for the traditional greeting. The police attacked the village and arrested all male Catholics including Alexius. He was forced to deny his religion and was released from prison but he immediately repented and began fasting for penance. He burnt all his possessions and went to Bishop Berneux in prison to confess his sins of denying God in Pyŏngyang, beating Catechist Yu Chŏng-nyul Peter to death and throwing his body into the Taedong River. After absolution, Alexius was arrested and endured torture courageously. This time he did not deny his faith.
On March 11, 1866, Alexius was beheaded in Saenamteo. Until the last moment, he was tempted by the persecutors to deny his religion but he refused to deny God. Alexius was 22 years old, when he was martyred.