2019 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) held its 2019 Autumn General Assembly at the CBCK Conference Hall from October 14 to 17, 2019. At the assembly the following decisions were made:
1. The bishops decided that each diocese may voluntarily practice the following suggestions to develop a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula:
1) The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. To mark this occasion all members of the diocese are encouraged to join in reciting the following prayers, ‘Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for peace on the Korean Peninsula every evening at 9 p.m.’ from the first day of Advent, December 1, 2019, until November 28, 2020. Notice will be given every month through diocesan bulletins and other publications. It is desirable that this prayer campaign continues even after the mentioned dates.
2) On June 25, 2020, the Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of Korean People, at 10:30 a.m. each parish will simultaneously celebrate Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsula in a place arranged by the diocese.
2. The bishops listened to an explanation as to why Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, Aperuit Illis, instituting Sunday of the Word of God on September 30, 2019. The bishops designated the Sunday as ‘하느님의 말씀 주일’ (Haneunim-ui Malsseum Juil) in Korean.
Pope Francis, through this Motu Proprio, aimed to help the faithful pray and meditate on the Word of God, and, furthermore, embody and bear witness to its teachings. He emphasized that pastors are primarily responsible for explaining sacred Scripture and helping others to understand it. The Holy Father, in particular, urged pastors to take sufficient time to prepare homilies, for they possess “a quasi-sacramental character.”
3. The bishops discussed appropriate ways to celebrate ‘The Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and Companions’ (May 29) and ‘St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Patron of Korean Priests’ (July 5) in the Liturgical Calendar of Korea. Currently, in accordance with the General Instruction of Missale Romanum (editio typica tertia, emendata 2008), the Catholic Church in Korea celebrates the Memorial of ‘The Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and Companions’ (May 29) and the Votive Mass for ‘St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Patron of Korean Priests’ (July 5). In this regard, the bishops decided as follows:
1) The Votive Mass for ‘St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Patron of Korean Priests’ (July 5) is to be solemnly celebrated as determined by the CBCK as a ‘first grade votive Mass (or as a Mass for various needs and occasions). This means that as a Mass for Various Needs and Occasions or as a Votive Mass if a graver need or pastoral advantage should arise, that Mass may be celebrated under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop or with his permission.
2) The Memorial of ‘The Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and Companions’ (May 29) is to be solemnly celebrated as a commemoration of the Blessed Korean Martyrs. However, this memorial falls on the same day as the ‘Optional Memorial of Saint Paul VI, Pope’ (May 29) and, moreover, both of these memorials are optional. Thus, each diocese, at the discretion of its diocesan bishop, may choose which of these optional memorials to celebrate.
4. The bishops approved the revised draft of the Common Faculties of Diocesan Priests in Korea. This draft had already been modified by the CBCK Committee for Canonical Affairs and the CBCK General Secretariate in line with the contents of the new Korean version of Missale Romanum published in 2017, the revised Korean ritual books of Rituale Romanum, and the revised ‘matrimonial document forms.’
5. The bishops deliberated on the following suggestions put forward by the CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment, and decided to recommend dioceses to practice:
- an action plan for environmental protection on diocesan, parish and individual levels;
- a diocesan plan to animate the parish based ecological lay apostolate, entitled ‘Friends of Heaven, Earth and Water’;
- a plan for better use of catechetical material on the environment entitled the “Act” for the earth at Sunday Schools.
6. The bishops listened to a report stating that the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea will host a symposium at the St. J. Ha-sang Education Centre, Diocese of Daejeon, from March 25 to 27, 2020. The theme of the symposium will be “Who are Refugees?” and it will be led by the national committees under the direction of the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs.
7. The bishops approved the revised drafts “Rules of the CBCK Committee on Education” and the “Rules of the CBCK Caritas Committee.” They also approved the revised drafts of both “Regulations of the Catholic Professors Association of Korea,” “Regulations of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea,” “Regulations of the Work of Mary (Focolare),” “Regulations of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Council of Korea,” and “Regulations of the Legion of Mary of Korea (Gwangju, Daegu and Seoul).”