Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - "The official visit carried out in North Korea has an important meaning because this time the delegation was composed of a large number of prelates of South Korea.
I pray it may be a starting point for greater communication between the South and the North": says to Agenzia Fides Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, commenting on the recent visit to North Korea by a South Korean Catholic delegation of 17 members, which included four Bishops and 13 priests. Those present celebrated the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Cathedral of Changchung in Pyongyang, with an assembly of 70 North Koreans lay Catholics.
"Our efforts to get in touch with the North Korean Church date back to 2000 when the Episcopal Vicar for Social Ministry at the time visited North Korea. In 2003, North Korean Catholics came to us and celebrated Mass together in Myeongdong Cathedral for the first time in 58 years", recalls the Cardinal, who in May 2014 became the first Archbishop of Seoul to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
Now a breakthrough has been established: from next year, the South Korean Catholic Church in North Korea will send priests to celebrate the Eucharistic liturgies during the major solemnity of the Catholic liturgical calendar. "As Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, I believe that sending clergies to preside over the sacraments in Pyongyang diocese is a priority", says the Cardinal to Fides.
"We have been negotiating with North Korea for over 10 years, hoping to send priests from Seoul to look after the religious life of the North Korean believers. We have been trying our best to reach a consensus on the matter. I hope the visit this time can be a starting point of a new agreement", he concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 09/12/2015)