ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - A total of 1,413 masses for peace and reconciliation: "We need new hope"

Monday, 24 June 2024 peace   reconciliation   wars  

Seoul (Fides Agency ) - It is a message of peace and reconciliation that the Archbishop of Seoul, Peter Soon-taick Chung, is launching in view of the anniversary of the Korean War. It is a message of hope and unity that confirms the ongoing commitment by the Committee for Reconciliation of the Korean People of the Archdiocese of Seoul and the corresponding "National Committee for Reconciliation" within the Korean Bishops' Conference: a commitment of a spiritual nature (there are 1,413 masses for reconciliation celebrated to date) and material nature, to act as peacemakers," according to the logic of the Gospel.
On the eve of the anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War - on June 25, 1950 and the beginning of a conflict that lasted from 1950 to 1953 and ended with an armistice that is technically still in force - and on the eve of the "Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People" established by the Korean Bishop in 1965, the Archbishop of Seoul, Peter Soon-taick Chung, calls for a renewed commitment to peace and reconciliation and emphasizes "that it is crucial not to pass on the legacy of hatred to future generations".
In the homily of the Mass celebrated today, June 24, at Myeongdong Cathedral to mark this special day, Bishop Chung said, "Although the situation between the two parts of Korea may seem bleak, we Christians must not remain in despair. Instead, in this time of growing hostility, our prayers can illuminate this time with a greater light."
The Archbishop recalled the teachings of the Gospel and said: "Jesus himself showed that peace cannot be achieved by acting according to the 'eye-for-an-eye' principle. Peace can only be achieved through dialogue". He called on the faithful not to pray for the transformation of others, but for everyone to "imitate God's boundless mercy and patience and choose the path of peace".
Referring to the resilience of the Korean people, the Archbishop said: "Our people had the hope that we could overcome poverty, which led to our economic development; they had the hope that we could overcome dictatorship, which led to the attainment of democracy. Now we must hold on to a new hope, that of overcoming division. This hope will surely bring true peace to the Korean peninsula. At the end of his sermon, Bishop Chung called on all people on the Korean peninsula to "choose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and not the path of hatred and bitterness".
Since 1965, the Korean Bishops' Conference has celebrated June 25 as the "Day of Prayer for the Church in Silence". In 1992, the name was changed to "Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People".
In 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul founded the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People to renew a commitment that is seen as crucial for the future.
The committee organizes spiritual moments as well as material and humanitarian initiatives. Every Tuesday at 7 pm in Myeongdong Cathedral, a mass and a prayer for peace are held. To date, a total of 1,413 services have been celebrated, underlining the Committee's tireless commitment to promoting peace and unity through prayer, reflection, culture and action. The committee carries out various educational and research projects, supports aid programs for North Korean refugees and organizes trips to the border areas as part of the "Winds of Peace" program.
This commitment is also shared by the "National Committee for Reconciliation" within the Korean Bishops' Conference. Bishop Simon Kim Ju-young, chairman of the episcopal committee, said on the occasion of June 25: "We must look into our hearts and see whether we really treat the people in the North as brothers and sisters. We must embark on a new path with a humble heart and firmly believe in the ministry of reconciliation: those who believe in the peace given by Christ never lose hope. Lord, graciously hear our prayers and grant us peace in this time".
(PA) (Fides Agency 24/6/2024)