05/31/2011, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Mary, “Mother of Korea and support of the family”

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Mothers have an important place in the life of the Korean people. Since the early days of Catholicism, Korean Christians have shown great devotion to the Virgin. Theresina bears witness and tells her story of helping children.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – Mothers play an important role in the life of the Korean people. Since the arrival of Catholicism, Korean Christians have shown great devotion to Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth. For the Christians of Korea, it is natural to connect filial love towards one’s mother to love for Mary. Their devotion is special and sincere. Hence, the Marian month is the best time of the year for the faithful.

The best flowers bloom in May, especially roses, the flower of the Virgin. It is also the month of other recurrences. In May, Koreans celebrate Parent’s Day, Children’s Day, Workers’ Day and Teachers’ Day. The Bishops’ Conference has also devoted May to the family.

Christians lovingly follow preparations all month long, celebrating from the first to the last day. Marian statues are decorated with stunning flowers. Parishes, youth groups and Legio Mariae organise special events like vigils dedicated to Our Lady. People sing, read poetry and create flower arrangements. The Rosary is recited in the glow of lighted candles.

Parishes organise individual and group pilgrimages to Marian shrines and special grottos dedicated to the worship of Our Lady.

Theresina comes from a rural village in southern Korea. “This month is dedicated to Mary and the family,” she told AsiaNews. “Since I’m not married, I live for God and my fellow human beings”.

To focus her choice, she opted for health care. “I am a nurse and I run a health clinic in Sungdang, a small village near Masan. I describe my home as Nazareth because I want my friends to learn about Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Christian friendship when they come to my home. I would like it to be an oasis for families that suffer from divisions, discord, misunderstandings and hatred.”

On 5 May, Children’s Day, “I invited to 8-year-old twins, brother and sister. They live with their grandparents because they lost their parents two years ago. I prepared a special dinner and I helped them buy a gift for their grandparents, especially their grandmother, since 8 May is Parents’ Day. Above all, I especially prayed for them to Our Lady.”

In light of the month and the situation, Theresina called on Mary “to protect these children with a mother’s tender loving care.” She also “asked her that they may always remember these happy days so that they can overcome any hardship they might face in the future.”

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