Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - All the Catholic communities in South Korea, parishes, associations and movements, will gather in a solemn prayer vigil to experience the special "Day of prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary", with the intention of entrusting the Mother of God the synodal path and the XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in Rome from October 4 to 29, 2023. As announced by the Korean Bishops, who concluded their assembly today, March 16, the Day will be celebrated on May 31, 2023 in each diocese, with initiatives, liturgies and meetings at the discretion of each diocesan community.
The initiative was taken by accepting the request received from the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, which asked Churches around the world to celebrate a moment of prayer on May 31, 2023, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the last day of the Marian month. The Bishops' Conference of South Korea also identified the person of Msgr. Peter Chung Sun-taek, Archbishop of Seoul, as the Korean representative to participate in the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1st session October 4-29, 2023, 2nd session in October 2024).
In their assembly, the South Korean Bishops also reviewed the "Pastoral Guidelines for the Catholic Church in Korea", published for the first time in 1995. Noting the many changes that have taken place in the reality of the Church - such as those on the side of social communications – the need arose to review and update the "Pastoral Handbook", which remains a point of reference for parishes, religious congregations, church movements, in their pastoral service and evangelizing mission. The updating work carried out by a special commission, underlines "the synodal face" of the Korean Church, ready to walk together and to share joys and sufferings with the men and women of the third millennium.
In this perspective, Korean Catholics - bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful - will participate in two separate "field experiences" in 2023, which are intended to be opportunities for evangelical witness and mission: the first initiative, promoted by the Bishops' Commission for the Care of Creation, is a visit, announced on May 16, 2023, to the Gangwon-do site, near the city of Samcheok, where in recent years the construction of a coal-fired power plant has been underway, with significant negative impact on the surrounding environment and local fishing populations. Furthermore, a major pilgrimage was announced, organized by the National Commission for Reconciliation on June 6, to the Catholic Church in Paju, on the border with North Korea, where a solemn mass for peace and reconciliation will be held. The "common path" for the Korean faithful, the Bishops say, starts from recognizing and loving the Koreans in the North, members of the same people, as "brothers and sisters". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/3/2023)
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