The Good News for Military
“Following the Footsteps of Our Lord, Jesus Christ”
Dear parish priests, and brothers and sisters in the Lord,
I believe that most of you have a great love and respect for the Korean military. Many of your children and grandchildren have served or are serving in the military as conscripted soldiers, sergeants, or officers. We are able to enjoy peaceful lives thanks to our strong national security. Awareness of the importance of national security together with an interest in your children’s military service may encourage your concern for and confidence in our military. This leads me to express my gratitude for your great care, encouragement and generous support for the Military Ordinariate of Korea.
Interestingly, St. Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, considered his beloved and trustworthy Timothy as a soldier, commanding him to commit himself to spreading the Gospel. In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul advised: “Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. To satisfy the one who recruited him, a soldier does not become entangled in the business affairs of life” (2Tim 2,3-4). Thus, St. Paul instructed his followers to announce the Gospel: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching... But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry” (2Tim 4,2-5).
As St. Paul described, military chaplains are soldiers entrusted with the enormous responsibility of evangelizing the military. I am grateful to all military chaplains for their dedication to proclaiming the word of salvation and helping to nurture the spiritual life of the faithful in the military. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is posing many challenges for the evangelical work carried out by our military chaplains, religious sisters, and lay missionaries in the Military Ordinariate of Korea.
Since the Military Ordinariate, more so than other dioceses, is obliged to observe very strict preventive measures, as ordered by military authorities, all religious activities in the military, including Sunday Masses, were suspended from mid February to mid May. Furthermore, all forms of catechesis have been suspended up until early June. However, I am worried that suspension of our pastoral visits might possibly be prolonged until the end of this year. It is also unlikely that we will have an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation before the end of this year. For the past three consecutive years, the number of newly baptized in the military has decreased and, due to the pandemic, this number is expected to decrease even more this year. On top of this, the number of recipients for the Sacrament of Confirmation will be drastically decreased by up to 90%. Not only spiritually, it has also been a difficult year for us financially. In normal times, half of our annual budget is raised through nationwide collections on Military Mission Sunday. However this year , due to COVID-19 we are unable to raise a fund for military mission by visiting other parish churches in person.
On this occasion, the 53rd Military Mission Sunday, I sincerely appeal to all parish priests and the faithful for your continued prayers and support for the evangelization of the military. May your loving sacrifices and cooperation bring forth a miracle through the Lord’s grace. I also pray for your well-being and inner peace.
Dear parish priests, and brothers and sisters in the Lord, I wish you to stay safe and continue to walk the road of holiness during these trying times.
October 4, 2020
The 53rd Military Mission Sunday
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il
Bishop of Military Ordinariate of Korea