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    » 12/09/2004, 00.00

    SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA

    Both North and South consecrated to the Immaculate Virgin, says Bishop of Seoul

    Thomas Han

    During yesterday's solemn ceremony, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong spoke for the first time about the situation in North Korea urging everyone to pray for its people.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) – The 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, announced by Blessed Pius IX in 1854, was celebrated yesterday in a solemn mass in Seoul Cathedral.

    Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul celebrated the Eucharist with Card Stephen Kim, the Apostolic Nuncio Emil Tscherrig and the two auxiliary bishops of Seoul, Mgrs Andrew Yeom and Bishop Luke Kim. A number of priests were also present.

    The Cathedral was crowded with almost two thousand faithful. Many others followed the ceremony from screens in an adjacent hall.

    In his homily, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong said that Pope Gregory XVI dedicated the Korean Catholic Church to the Immaculate Virgin in 1841 before the dogma was proclaimed. The entire nation owes much to Mary. The liberation of Korea from Japanese rule and the founding of the Republic took place on 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption, in 1945 and 1948 respectively.

    Archbishop Cheong emphasized the importance of the celebration of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the Year of the Eucharist. "More than ever before," he said, "we need light at the beginning of a new millennium overwhelmed and humiliated by violence, terrorism and war. We need Her more than ever before our nation, suffering the division between South and North, subjected to a chain of hostility and discord in the midst of the structures of sin which prevail at every corner of the society."

    The Archbishop then invited the faithful to ask the Immaculate Virgin for help "to anticipate as soon as possible the day when our faithful and our people in the North may live a more humane life while their own fundamental human rights are respected and to adequately accomplish our mission to bring the light of Christ to all people of our time."

    It is the first time that a pastor speaks publicly about the situation in North Korea urging everyone to pray for its people.

    The Archbishop ended praying to the Immaculate Virgin that She may intervene for the nation and the Church to help them build a society in which every one respects human rights and promotes a culture of life and help young people who commit themselves ever more to build a better world, keeping hope alive".

    He then invited the faithful to become more aware of the Eucharist and live a greater commitment to brotherhood at the service of the poor.

    South Korea has a population of 53 million people, 4,430,000 Catholic (452,000 in 1960). There are no precise figures about the number of Catholics in North Korea. After the Korean War in 1953, some 300,000 Christians are said to have disappeared. There are no longer any priests and nuns, presumably killed during the persecutions.

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    See also

    18/08/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
    Archbishop of Seoul appeals for religious freedom in North Korea
    Speaking before a congregation of 20,000 people, Mgr Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator for Pyŏngyang, calls for religious freedom in the North, key to the country's social development.

    18/03/2005 SOUTH KOREA
    Giving to others the Christian faith one received
    The South Korean Church's commitments to China, Mongolia, Latin America and North Korea are proof of its spirit of mission. Who better than Thomas Hong-Soon Han, professor at Seoul's Hankuk University and a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to talk about it.

    08/11/2013 NORTH KOREA
    North Korea: New anti-TB sanatoriums for the Eugene Bell Foundation
    The Kim regime has granted a humanitarian organization - which also includes several Catholic priests - permission to run 12 sanatoriums. Fr. Gerard Hammond, who has worked with the North for 20 years: "The government is more awareof the problem and is making some important concessions. For our part, we do not hide our Catholic identity" .

    30/03/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Card. Cheong: "I will do my utmost to host next WYD in Korea"

    The new cardinal has proposed the Korean peninsula as a candidate to host World Youth Day. "It would be very useful for new vocations among youth, who may consider the north as a field for their ministry."



    26/04/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Catholic delegation goes north for first time ever

    This is the first time the group of 61 people, lay and priests, visits the structures it funded over the past 11 years. For many analysts, the visit "raises hopes for an agreement allowing more religious freedom in the country".





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