ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Peace and reconciliation invoked for the 1,400th time

Wednesday, 3 January 2024 prayer   peace   eucharist  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - It was March 7, 1995, when Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan (1922 - 2009), then Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, launched the initiative to celebrate a special "Mass for peace and reconciliation of the Korean people". Since then, this initiative, which entrusts the fate of the peninsula to God through the highest form of prayer, the Eucharist, has continued to be pursued, both in times when relations between North and South seemed to be improving and in times of tension and distance between governments. The Reconciliation Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul has tirelessly continued this tradition. Every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., priests, religious and believers from all parishes gather in Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul to pray together for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The committee announced that on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 29 years after the first Mass, the 1,400th celebration of the Eucharist will take place at 7 p.m., quoting in the invitation from the letters of Saint Paul: "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20). "We ask God to bring true peace and reconciliation to the Korean peninsula, where tensions are increasing", the committee emphasizes, recalling the motto that refers to the presence of the Catholic faithful in North Korea, past and present: "As long as we remember them , they are alive. As long as we pray for them, our prayer will be answered." This is the first, important spiritual initiative of reconciliation promoted by the Korean Catholic community in the new year 2024, which Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick, current Archbishop of Seoul, wishes in his message to the faithful, hoping that "grace and the blessings of God, who has granted us the gift of a new year, abundantly fill everyone's life".
The Archbishop notes in this context that "the world has recently been marked by an unprecedented wave of conflict and violence": "In such times we sincerely ask God to intervene to bring harmony to our world, while at the same time commit to striving for peace in our own areas," he emphasizes. For all those seeking peace, one can start from the motto proposed at the recent synod, which speaks of "community, participation and mission". To pursue and promote peace, one must "cultivate communion with the Lord, with our neighbors and with ourselves; embody the mission by living the logic of the Gospel in contrast to the logic of the world; raise participation to a level "where all the inhabitants of the globe come together as protagonists in a common coexistence". The approach of the Korean Catholic Church, which stands alongside churches of other denominations in its commitment, is to promote peace "with a bottom-up movement." For this reason, the "Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula" was founded, which has a counterpart in North Korea, the "Korean Christian Federation", and a body in South Korea, the "National Council of Churches in Korea", which organizes every year a "Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace", both in South Korea and, when the political situation allows, in the North, to forge spiritual bonds and promote moments of solidarity and humanitarian action. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/1/2024)