Events for the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Priests
On the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Priests, each diocese held many events and had time to think over the priestly identity and mission on May 30, 2008.
Along with His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, and the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and Episcopal Vicar of Middle Seoul, many priests of Seoul Archdiocese held an event at the Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine. In his homily Cardinal Cheong said, "On this occasion of the day, I hope that we have a moment of the reflection on the divine grace of the Lord who called us to the priesthood."
The Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and Episcopal Vicar of East Seoul, participated in an event held at the Kwangjangdong Parish of Seoul. Bishop Kim said, "I have had a time to reflect on myself, when I found my inclination to indolence forgetting the resolution which I bore in my mind as I was ordained a priest 35 years ago." Then he said, "I hope many priests also have an opportunity to renew the resolution of their priestly ordination on this occasion."
Other dioceses also held various events for the day.
Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees opposed the Governmental Policies
Some Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees issued statements opposing the governmental policies which are thought to do harm for common goods.
The Seoul Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees issued a statement entitled "The communication with people and restoration of morality have priority over economic growth." In the statement it is said, "Every institution and policy of a nation should take aim at the protection of human dignity and life, consideration for the socially weak, and the achievement of common goods. But the new government poured out policies which bolster the social conflicts, having no sense of correct direction in the midst of search for the materialism and growth-orientedness." Then it pointed out the problematic agreement on the import of the U.S. beef, the unprovable Grand Canal Project, the improper urban development project, unjustly light punishment of the Jaebeol (plutocrats) and political wrongdoers, and wrong revision of the "Bioethics and Safety Law" as the main causes of the recent social turmoil.
At conclusion it proposed demands on five points:
(1) Renegotiation of the agreement on the import of the U.S. beef.
(2) Cancelation of the Grand Canal Project.
(3) Providing a supportive policy for the poor, disadvantaged by the urban development project.
(4) Just jurisdictional judgement on the wrongdoing of the Jaebeol and corrupt politicians.
(5) Revision of the "Bioethics and Safety Law"
Rev. Hugh Park Jeong-woo, Director of the Seoul Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees, said, "The government and public servants should listen to the demand of common goods, respect the human life and basic human rights, and carry out just policies based on morality, relinquishing the ghostly drive for economism."
Besides, the Kwangju Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees held a news conference with the motto "Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live." (Dt 30,19) at the Kwangju Catholic Center on June 2, 2008. At this news conference, the Committee issued a statement on current situation, asserting that "we decided to participate in the boycott movement against the import of U.S. beef to affirm anew the mission of the Church to protect the dignity of life and natural law."
The Most Rev. John Choi Jae-seon, the First Bishop of Pusan, Passed Away
The Most Rev. John Choi Jae-seon, the first Bishop of Pusan, passed away at the age of 96 on June 3, 2008. He was the oldest bishop of Korea.
Born in 1912, he was ordained a priest in 1938 and served many parishes as a good pastor in the southern area of Korea. He was installed as the first bishop of Pusan in 1957. Even after his retirement in 1973, he served the Church actively as the president of many Church institutions, including the Korean Missionary Society which he established.
In an interview with the Peace Times Weekly last year, commemorating the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, he especially stressed the life of simplicity and prayer, saying that priests and religious should not waste precious money which the lay faithful offered for the Church. He himself lived such a life, earning a high regard from the people around him.
His Requiem Mass was celebrated at the Namcheon Cathedral of Pusan on June 5, 2008.