25 June 2020 will mark the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. For the occasion, South Korea’s Catholic bishops will hold a national prayer campaign for peace. All the dioceses of the country are invited to celebrate Mass for a year starting 1st December. For the bishop of Daejeon, peace in Korea needs “dialogue, exchange, mutual listening and a common path.”
Seoul (AsiaNews) – Tensions on the Korean Peninsula "are a cross to bear, but prayer and penitence help sustain its weight," said Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik (pictured), Bishop of Daejeon and president of the Social Affairs Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK).
As the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War approaches (25 June 2020), South Korean bishops have announced a national prayer campaign for peace to start on 1st December until 28 November 2020. During this period, all the dioceses of the country are asked to recite at 9 pm every day the prayers Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father to end the conflict.
Korea’s Catholic bishops, who met from 14 to 17 October for their annual assembly, also announced plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon (21 August 1821), the first Catholic Korean to be ordained priest. Martyred in 1846, he is one of the 103 Korean martyrs canonised on 6 May 1984 by Saint John Paul II.
“The situation on the peninsula is very delicate,” notes Mgr You. “The problems do not concern us Koreans, but relations between Washington and Pyongyang. As a condition for talks, the US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes.”
“For reasons of national security, the North Korean government will not. It is not clear what will happen, but talks are increasingly necessary. Small steps can be taken together to build mutual trust, so that an agreement can be reached.” What is more, “Washington wants South Korea to buy more US weapons.”
Looking at the present, we Korean bishops are very worried. In such circumstances, prayer is important. For this reason, all South Korean Catholics are invited to participate in Masses, which will be held at 9 pm every day, and pray for peace on the peninsula.”
"Our strength comes from above and via prayer: through the latter we can encourage détente. Not only Korean and US Catholics, but also all over the world and people of good will are invited to participate in this initiative. Peace in Korea cannot come through weapons, but through dialogue, exchange, mutual listening and a common path.”