2020 Pastoral Letters of the Diocesan Bishops (Summary)
On the occasion of the new liturgical year which commenced with the first Sunday of Advent, the diocesan bishops each issued pastoral letters for 2020, giving directions to their diocesan communities for the year.
The dioceses of Seoul, Cheongju, Incheon and Suwon and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, emphasized the importance of ‘the Gospel and its proclamation’ which is the fundamental mission of the Church.
H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, said that in order to fulfill our missionary calling, we must transform our Church community into a missionary community. Cardinal Yeom urged the faithful to build up a missionary Church community within their families, parishes, and society, by experiencing and proclaiming the Gospel.
The Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, set the goal for 2020 as becoming the ‘Year for the missionary community that preaches the Gospel to the whole world.’ In addition, Bishop Chang proposed five mottos to guide diocesan pastoral action: overseas mission, evangelization of North Korea, mission to youth, and the Church’s missionary roles in working with and for multicultural families and North Korean defectors.
The Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul, Bishop of Incheon, declared the new year as the second ‘Year of the Bible’ so as to build on last year and bear fruit more abundantly. Bishop Jung stated, “Only through the Bible, can we have a personal encounter with Christ, and for this to happen, prayer must accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture.” He urged the faithful to “be missionaries, proclaiming the Word.”
The Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon, referred to Jesus Christ as “the prototype of the kerygma,” and said, “In this time, when human dignity is threatened by technological revolutions, confusion about values, and amid difficulties in transmitting the Christian faith, it is urgent to proclaim the Gospel.”
The Most Rev. Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate, chose as a motto for the 2020 pastoral, ‘Following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Bishop Yu explained that “the earthly life of Christ, the life of proclaiming the Gospel, is build on three foundations: obedience to our Heavenly Father; proclamation of God’s Word that brings salvation to all humankind; meeting with the suffering and healing them.”
The dioceses of Daegu, Busan and Masan highlighted the values of love, forgiveness and healing.
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said: “We are going to spend 2020 as a year of healing. I, as the Diocesan Ordinary, feel responsible for a series of unfortunate incidents over the past few years and ask forgiveness to all parishioners.”
The Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok, Bishop of Busan, declared 2020 as the ‘Year of Love’, defining love as a ‘response to the grace of God.’ Bishop Son emphasized how the “human vocation is to live a life, reflecting the image of God while refuting secularism, misuse of media and digital culture, and extreme capitalism.”
The Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki-Hyen, Bishop of Masan, said, “Love is the driving force enabling us to walk the path of peace to the end, and its embodiment is forgiveness.” In addition, Bishop Bae made an appeal that “the faithful of the Diocese of Masan should no longer point their fingers at others but become forgivers.”
In 2020, the dioceses of Jeonju and Chunchon are to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the dioceses. And on the occasion of its 50th anniversary of establishment, the Diocese of Andong will spend 2020 as a year to open new horizons.
The Most Rev. John Kim Son-Tae, Bishop of Jeonju, announced a plan to continue the ‘new evangelization in preparation for the 100th celebration of the establishment of the diocese.’ In particular, he decided to seek a path for the renewal of faith and new evangelization by promoting catechetical formation that leads the faithful to God, the Trinity.
The Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, Bishop of Chunchon, recommended that “Preparation for the 100th anniversary of the diocese begins with a return to the basics of faith.”
The Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, Bishop of Andong, set forth 2020 as the ‘year to practice our resolution for the 50th anniversary of the diocese’ and invited each priest, religious and lay person to make a ‘resolution for life’ and practice it on their own initiative.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, stated that he will continue to pay attention to parish evangelization in 2020, as he dedicated the years 2018-2020 as the ‘Years of Parish II.’
The Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, affirmed 2020 as the ‘Year of communication and communion’ in which the diocesan synodal spirit will take root. To this end, Bishop You urged the faithful to examine and practice the detailed outcomes so as to realize the synodal spirit of dialogue through listening, communal discernment, and synodality. He also stated that a ‘Synod Pastoral Research Institute’ and an ‘Office for the Clergy’ will be established in the diocese.
The Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Bishop of Wonju, asked the faithful to be people of God and children of God because 2020 has been designated as the ‘Year of Prayer.’
The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of Uijeongbu, urged that pastoral care for the elderly should be the preferred initiative for 2020. In this regard, Bishop Lee stated that a ‘Study Group for Pastoral Care of Seniors’ under the ‘Diocesan Department for Mission & Pastoral Care’ will be organized.