Seoul (Fides Service) – The Catholic Church in Korea is striving to build ever closer relations of communion with the Church in the United States and in Japan. New agreements have been reached with regard to the pastoral care of Korean Catholics who emigrated to America. Recently Bishop Peter Kang-il, chairman of the Korean Bishops’ Commission for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant peoples went to the United States to take part in a special meeting of Catholic clergy in charge of pastoral care for immigrants. During the meeting the participants discussed modalities and measures for sending Korean priests to help with the pastoral care of Korean Catholic immigrants.
It was also agreed that this year the Church in America will mark the feast day of the Korean Martyrs on 21 September with a special Mass in that national Marian Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Washington. The Mass will be presided by Cardinal Theodore Mc Carrick, Archbishop of Washington. This is the first time that the Church in America gives nation-wide importance to the annual liturgical commemoration. For the event a new statue of Mary and the Infant Jesus with characteristics of the Korean people’s faith will be installed at the national Shrine also to promote closer relations between American and Korean Catholics.
Closer contact between Catholics in Japan and Korea could help improve relations between the two countries, often tense. Recently Japanese Archbishop Takami Mitsuaki of Nagasaki paid a visit to South Korea to see for himself the activity of Basic Christian Communities BCC. He attended 2-step educational programmes for neighbourhood and territorial BCC leaders and also Legion of Mary meetings. “I found the presence and enthusiasm of many young women very inspiring. There is an atmosphere of great vitality. This is something unimaginable in Japan. The Church in Japan is run by the clergy and the laity is more or less passive. I intend to start Basic Christian Communities in my archdiocese.” The Archbishop praised Korean lay Catholics for their commitment and major role in Christian formation. PA (Fides Service 10/6/2003 EM lines 31 Words: 361)