08/29/2005, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Legion of Mary celebrates 50 years in Korea

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Among other things, members want to "renew the spirit" of the Legion and "become again agents of evangelisation".

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The Legion of Mary (Legio Mariae) celebrated its 50 years in Korea on August 17. Some 13,000 members participated in the organisation's congress, which was held in Seoul, and resolved to "renew the spirit" of the Legion and "become again agents of evangelisation".

In a resolution read out to the congress, the group's Executive Committee announced its "will to proclaim the Good News to the world according to the words of the Lord; to become faithful and humble collaborators of pastors following the model of Mary's holiness; and to faithfully lead the life of prayer and service according to the Gospel and teaching of the Legion of Mary".

Under the banner of "Living the Year of Eucharist along with Mary", the congress featured various events, such as processions, recitation of the Rosary, and mass.

During the thanksgiving mass, Mgr Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, praised Legio Mariae's activities, saying: "Fifty years ago, the evangelisation rate in Korea was no more than 1 per cent, but now it reaches almost 10%. Behind this rapid growth of the Catholic Church in Korea, there has been the generous commitment of the Legion of Mary members."

Mr Gregory Paeng, director of the 'Immaculate Conception' Senatus in Seoul, told the members that "[o]n this joyful occasion, let's take the initiative again to proclaim the Good News to the world not by words but by our behaviour" and witness.

In preparation for the congress, the 61,254 members of the Seoul Senatus recited the Rosary some 350 million times since January with several prayer intentions in mind such as the growth of Eucharistic devotion in the Church in Korea; world peace and reunion of separated families in South and North Korea; the sanctification of the family; and the activation of the spirit of the Legion of Mary.

The Legion of Mary is a laity association devoted to prayer, charity work and evangelisation. It was founded in 1921 by an Irishman, Frank Duff, and was brought to Korea by Francis Ig-chin Kim, who translated the Marian Guidebook into Korean, and Bishop Herold Henry, a Columban missionary and fifth Bishop of Kwangju.

It currently has two Senatus, 11 Regia, 182 Commissions, 1,916 Curia, 30,522 Presidia and 291,144 active members with 267,166 auxiliary members throughout the country.

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