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Pyongyang twins with diocese in Bosnia

PYONGYANG (UCAN): Pyongyang diocese in North Korea has twinned with Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, from Seoul, the apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, visited several Balkan parishes between January 6 and 16, meeting with his counterpart from Banja Luka. He signed a memorandum of understanding to prepare a joint prayer initiative for reunification and unity.

Bosnia suffered a drastic decrease in population during the civil war from 1992 to 1995 due to ethnic cleansing and religious persecution. The Catholic population fell from 250,000 to 5,000.

“It is based on the situations that both dioceses are suffering,” Father Achilleus Chung Se-teok commented.


Parishioners move their church

SEOUL (UCAN): A historic church in Seoul, which was doomed to be demolished, survived after being moved to a nearby site.

Gusan Church was transported some 220 metres over two months using a technique usually employed for traditional wooden houses, but this time was applied to the 60-year-old concrete church.

The church was lovingly built in 1956, mostly by villagers. It has featured in TV dramas and films.

The original site falls within a redevelopment project. Parishioners reinforced the structure with steel beams, put the building on rails and moved it 12 metres a day.


President of SNAP resigns

CHICAGO (SE): The president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Barbara Blaine, resigned on February 3 just one week after a lawsuit was filed against the group by a former employee, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Her departure followed the resignation of the national director, David Clohessy.

In January, Gretchen Hammond, a former fundraiser, filed a suit against the group, saying that she had been fired after she raised objections to policies she described as callously disregarding the real interests of sex-abuse victims, while soliciting donations from lawyers.


Papal message for Super Bowl

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis issued a video message prior to the Super Bowl which saw New England defeat Atlanta in an amazing comeback 34 to 28.

“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace,” the pope said.

“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest and in a healthy way, we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world,” he said.


China eyes a World Cup

BEIJING (SE): Beijing has announced it will increase the number of soccer schools to 20,000 by 2020 and up to 50,000 by 2025.

Xinhua reported that there are 13,381 special football schools—which are typically attached to public primary and middle schools. The goal is to make China a football powerhouse.

The president, Xi Jinping, is a soccer tragic and has expressed a desire to see China host and win a World Cup.

The plan includes an investment of up to US$900 billion ($6.9 trillion) to expand, update and increase the number of football schools.


Korean Vatican Radio to get revamp

SEOUL (UCAN): A Korean version of Vatican Radio that translates up to 90 per cent of its news content and a video-on-demand service is about to be opened in Seoul.

Seoul is preparing a memorandum of understanding which will be signed in late February.

A Korean version was established in 2015 operating with the support from the Korean embassy to the Vatican, the Korean government, the bishops’ conference and Seoul archdiocese.

“In an era of rapid and mass communication in real time, it is meaningful to offer news from the Vatican in Korea rightly and rapidly,” the new director said.


Pope to India?

DELHI (AsiaNews): When three bishops met with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, on February 8, he informed them that his government favours a visit from Pope Francis to the sub-continent.


The bishops told Modi that it is their hope that the pope will use the visit to celebrate the canonisation of Mother Teresa.

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