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2021-12-01 17:17
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Message for the 54th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)

Message for the 54th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16,15)

Dear brothers and sisters,

On the occasion of the 54th Military Mission Sunday, may the blessings of the Lord be with all military personnel. I also appreciate all brothers and sisters who devote themselves to evangelization across the Military Ordinariate of Korea.

I was appointed as the Bishop of the Military Ordinate on February 2, this year. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Woe is me”(Is 6,5). It is with an anxiety and a trembling heart I continue to take up my new responsibilities. Invoking the help of Our Lady, I will attempt to boldly take the lead so that the beloved faithful of the Ordinariate keep moving towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

Challenges for the Pastoral Care of the Military during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although having served in the Military Ordinariate for a long time, I believe that the pastoral care of the military has never faced a more challenging time than now. Due to the unique conditions of Military Service, the defense of the country, preventative measures against COVID-19 are more strictly applied to military camps than to civil society at large. Mass is celebrated online; visitation from religious sisters and missionaries is restricted; even military chaplains cannot meet soldiers in quarantine. Therefore, it is challenging to teach the catechism and to confer baptism on recruits.

“Proclaim the word; Be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient” (2Tm 4,2)

Invaluable Military Evangelization

According to the Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2020, the number of newly baptized males in their early twenties was 2,616: 2,404 of whom were baptized in the Military Ordinariate. This number highlights the indispensable role of the military mission towards youth in Korea, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the Military Ordinariate has initiated new military pastoral ministries with a newly organized media team in its public relations department. With the support of this team, the whole Military Ordinariate has tried to employ more diverse ways to encourage soldiers to remain in contact with God and the Church through smartphones and television during these difficult times.

Support for the Mission to the Military is Important

Most of our annual budget is raised through nationwide collections on Military Mission Sunday. Military chaplains are sent to parishes throughout the country to invite people to join the Korean Catholic Chaplain Support Association. however, COVID-19 stopped people from travelling. This caused difficulties for us. I am well aware that the prolonged COVID-19 situation has caused suffering, financially and emotionally, for all of us. Therefore, it is with heavy heart that I ask for your generosity towards collections at Mass and for your cooperation in joining the Korean Catholic Chaplain Support Association. It is a shared duty that we care and share the faith with our soldiers.

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mk 6,50)

Entrust Everything to the Holy Mother of God

The Military Ordinariate is fearful in the same way the disciples were when they were faced with rough seas. However, hope arises through the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who walked on the sea and encouraged his disciples, saying “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”

We must endure this challenging time until we, the military chaplains, consecrated religious and missionaries, can once again gather together to meet our soldiers in person so as to live out our mission to console them and share communion with them. I ask you to unite in prayer requesting the intercession of Our Lady Mother of God, to help overcome COVID-19 so that God’s will may be fulfilled in the Military Ordinariate. Thank you.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother,

teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you.

Show us the way to his Kingdom!

Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!

(Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, n.50)

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2021

The 54th Military Mission Sunday

 

+ Titus Seo Sang-Bum

Bishop

of the Military Ordinariate of Korea