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    » 09/06/2010, 00.00

    ASIA - VATICAN

    Church of Korea, protagonist of the Congress of Catholic Laity

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Former managers, editors, employees have sacrificed their holidays to the Congress and to be of service to participants. Card. Cheong stresses the value of the Korean Church, a highly respected minority in the country. The cult of the martyrs and evangelization the characteristics of mission in the Third Millennium in Asia.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) - The witness of the laity in Korea has emerged powerfully from the Congress of lay Catholics in Asia, which ended yesterday. Not only the great testimony of Prof. Thomas Han, who has just been appointed the new ambassador of his country to the Holy See, who pushed for this Congress with all of his strength and who expertly guided each encounter. The days were held and were a success thanks to the free and tireless efforts of dozens of lay volunteers who managed the event organization with professionalism and devotion.

    Kim, a former manager in the iron industry, now retired, dedicated his entire week to arranging travel for the 400 representatives; from visits to the shrine of the martyrs, tours, travel to and from the airport; the director of "Peace", one of Catholic newspapers, took charge of organizing the press centre, not only dealing with journalists, but also cleaning the room, collecting the waste and taking care of the operation of air conditioning to alleviate the almost tropical heat and humidity.

    In order to work at the Congress, many of them sacrificed their holidays, which in Korea are only three or four days a year. Focolari and Neocatechumenal members provided the simultaneous translation of speeches in Italian, English and Korean; Stella, Stefano and Philomenus, along with other journalists covered the events with photo and reporting services. Young people from parishes throughout Seoul in turn offered their service as choirs to enrich the liturgy in the cathedral and in the Congress hall.

    And then there was the army of ladies, mothers, housewives or clerks, who with a dedication that is uniquely eastern offered lent themselves to whatever task was at hand - coffee, cleaning, decorations, .. - Arousing the gratitude of all participants.

    At yesterday's concluding mass in the Cathedral of Myongdong, filled to capacity, attended by many Korean faithful alongside Congress participants. Card. Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, who presided at the celebration, spoke of the Catholic, universal atmosphere experienced in these days. "You can say – he noted in his homily - that the whole Church in Asia is gathered here today, in effective and affective communion with our Holy Father, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity."

    Card. Cheong highlighted the pillars on which the life of Korean Church rests, a church that has grown by 66% in the last 30 years reaching about 6 million faithful (10% of the population). It is above all the tireless "service of charity to people in need and a clear and strong affirmation of the Church in the fields of justice, defending workers' rights under authoritarian regimes" that has propelled the Christian community "to the centre of national life."

    This commitment draws from the cult of the martyrs, on which the Korean Church was founded. Over a period of 100 years, at least 10,000 Korean Catholics were killed for their faith. The devotion to them is such that the month of September is dedicated to the memory of all martyrs. An important issue that should be noted: among the Korean martyrs, there are also French missionaries. Without hesitation or inferiority complexes of colonialism or dependence, the Korean Catholics exalt the sacrifice of their compatriots and foreign missionaries who brought the faith to them. To confirm this unity of national and universal aspects (a sign of true Catholicism) there is another fact: the Korean liturgies include sacred music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and songs of local tradition: all have a place in their hearts.

    For the Korean Church, being a minority - as for all the Churches of Asia - is not something that discourages, rather it makes their communities similar to those of early Christianity: "Being a minority - said the Cardinal. Cheong - is a characteristic of the prophets "and must not lead to being" pessimistic or inactive".

    "The evangelization of Asia - he concluded - is not a 'mission impossible'. The Church in Asia has profound need for new apostles, well educated on the Church's social doctrine, able to express their mission in dialogue and evangelization. A new millennium, a great springtime for evangelization has dawned in Asia. It is time for new apostles to act as witnesses of Christ, without fear, consecrating Asia as a continent of hope for the world. "

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    See also

    03/09/2010 ASIA - VATICAN
    Lay movements in Asia, a gift of Providence in the midst of secularization
    Asia is teeming with groups and movements for the evangelization of the blind, AIDS patients, etc. .. All helping to discover Christ, without inhibitions, and passionate about the mission ad gentes. The commitment to cooperate with bishops and parishes, according to the instructions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

    03/09/2010 ASIA - VATICAN
    Christians in Asia, courageous witnesses of faith until martyrdom
    A day dedicated to martyrdom and persecution of the Churches of Asia in present times. The vitality of the community is precisely a result of this testimony to the spilling of blood. Violations of religious freedom are an attempt to oppress not only faith, but society. An "overdevelopment" without God leads to a "moral underdevelopment," which is the enemy of true human development. The cases of China, India, Vietnam. Support for the persecuted communities.

    02/09/2010 ASIA - VATICAN
    Lay Catholics in Asia: a "sleeping giant" that is waking up
    Investing in church structures must not stifle the testimony in work, family, politics. The specific mission of the laity is to be in contact with the world and with non-Christians. The teaching of Ratzinger. The testimony of Mgr. Dao and Jess Estanislao, a former member of the Philippine government.

    01/09/2010 ASIA - VATICAN
    Lay Catholics, a "creative minority" for Asia
    The intervention of the card. Rilko, Fr Felipe Gomes of Manila and Cardinal. Toppo. Rediscovering baptism for the challenges of Asia: globalization, poverty, violation of human rights, relativism and fundamentalism. The continent has seen many waves of evangelization, but also many persecutions. The history of successful conversion of tribals. The song in the light and dark.

    24/08/2010 VATICAN - SOUTH KOREA
    Congress of the Laity: Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today
    The value of Christian faith for the continent that is the undisputed protagonist of the economic and political world. The problem of religious freedom and the gift of martyrdom. The conclusions entrusted to the Card. Rilko. AsiaNews to bring daily reports on progress.



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