Card Yeom says Korea’s liberation was a gift from Mary, urges prayer for North-South reconciliation
by Card. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
The prelate issues a message for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the beginning of Korea’s division. “It is a painful reality that a people that speaks the same language should turn against itself for 70, long years.” In the message, the cardinal calls for prayers and acts of reconciliation, urges the governments of the two Koreas to pursue the same goal.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – As World War II was ending, Korea was liberated from Japanese rule on 15 August 1945. The date is also the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. For this reason, the Korean Church sees liberation as a gift from the Blessed Virgin. Hence, each year, the feast day of the Assumption is celebrated across the country with Masses of thanksgiving.

This year, Card Yeom Soo-jung will lead a solemn celebration in the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Myeongdong Cathedral) in Seoul. The altar will be adorned with Korea’s national flags. However, liberation day also marks the beginning of Korea’s division.

In a message for the occasion, Cardinal Yeom calls on everyone to pray to Mary and take more action in favour of reconciliation between North and South, so as to overcome mistrust, hatred, policies of closure and threats. Here is Cardinal Yeom’s message:

My dearest brothers and sisters!

May God's blessings and peace be upon you all.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, Our Lady Queen of Peace. We remember the fact that "By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home" (Lumen Gentium, 62).

The assumption of Mary granted us the hope that as Christians, we are allowed to participate in the resurrection of Christ. Since the early Church, the Virgin Mary is regarded as "Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith." We pay respect and great admiration to the Virgin Mary because she is specially blessed by the Lord for her deep faith.

All her life, Mary faithfully listened to and believed in the Lord. "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). With such proclamation of faith, she took great part in the history of the Lord's salvation. Mary lived a life of difficulties and pain, but she remained a life of devotion to the Lord's calling.

For our country, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation and the division of North and South Korea. It is a painful reality that a people that speaks the same language should turn against itself for 70, long years. There have been many complications, but we never stopped our effort for reconciliation and peace. The conflict and enmity between North and South Korea still remains.

Conflict, division, hatred are rampant throughout our society. That is why we should put in more effort into the peaceful unification between North and South Korea; we should continue to work on the communication and social integration in the Korean society. As the example of Mary, we should believe strongly in the Lord and never lose our hope even in the darkest of times – for nothing will be impossible for God (Luke 1:37).

As Christians, one of the most important things for us to do is to pray. In this time of division, we should pray continuously for the reconciliation and peace in the Korean peninsula, peace in Asia, and world peace. It is through prayers that our country will be able to make a fresh start of peace and reconciliation, putting all division and hatred behind.

We should also put our prayers into real actions. By providing aids and support to our North Koreans brothers and sisters, we are sowing the seeds of peace and unification. It is time for both governments to begin the dialogue of collaboration, peace policy, denuclearization, and even future prosperity. To fulfil the peace of God, we need the determination and courage to fulfil a common good instead of thinking about our own interest; and "there will be glory, honour, and peace for everyone who does good" (Romans 2:10).

On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, we pray that the Lord's blessings will bestow upon us to heal the wound and pain of division. May the Lord grant us courage and strength to fulfil peace and unification of our country.

We pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the wisdom to overcome our problems and difficulties so that "a better hope is introduced through which we draw near to God" (Hebrews 7:19).

Virgin Mary, Mother of Peace! Pray for our country. Pray for the genuine reconciliation and peace in the Korean peninsula. Amen.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung

Archbishop of Seoul

2015 Feast of Assumption of Mary