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Korean bishops light up shrine against death penalty

SEOUL (UCAN): The Jeoldusan Martyrs’ Shrine Justice was illuminated in yellow, blue and green during a lighting ceremony attended by civil and religious groups on November 30. The Justice and Peace Commission of the South Korean Bishops’ Conference spearheaded the push for a martyrs’ shrine at what was once an execution site where scores of Korean Catholics were decapitated to highlight the Catholic community’s opposition to the continued use of the death penalty in the country.
 

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Seoul archdiocese starts YouTube Bible study course

SEOUL (UCAN): The communications department of the Archdiocese of Seoul, South Korea, started an Online Bible Channel on November 24 following the pastoral direction of Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, as more people watch video content through their smartphones.
 
Father Mattias Hur Young-yup, communications director, will address Custom in the Bible; vice-director, Father Peter Hwang Joong-ho will teach the Book of Exodus; and Father Thomas Lee Do-heang, undersecretary of the archdiocesan communications committee, will give talks on the gospel of Mark.

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Pope praises young people following peace pilgrimage

SEOUL (UCAN): In letters sent to Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, South Korea, and to 100 young pilgrims from Laos, Mexico, Malta, the United States, India, China, Pakistan and South Korea, who wrote to Pope Francis expressing their desire to become workers for peace after joining the 2018 Wind of Peace pilgrimage along the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas in August.
 

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Pope praises young people following peace pilgrimage

SEOUL (UCAN): In letters sent to Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, South Korea, and to 100 young pilgrims from Laos, Mexico, Malta, the United States, India, China, Pakistan and South Korea, who wrote to Pope Francis expressing their desire to become workers for peace after joining the 2018 Wind of Peace pilgrimage along the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas in August.
 

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High level Orthodox visit to China and North and South Korea

MOSCOW (AsiaNews):  Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the second most important cleric in the Russian Orthodox Church after Patriarch Kirill, visited Beijing, China, from November 23 to 24 before travelling to North and South Korea. 
 

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South Korea grants Iranian student refugee status

SEOUL (UCAN): An Iranian student, who converted to Catholicism in South Korea, has now obtained refugee status thanks to the efforts of Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul and his classmates.
 
The Ministry of Justice announced on October 19 that the Korea Immigration Service had accepted the application of the student—referred to as Anthony as his name was withheld to protect his identity and safety. 
 

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Korean bishops revise rules for priestly formation

SEOUL (UCAN): At its recent plenary assembly, held from October 15 to 17, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea approved a new set of guidelines which revise the direction of priestly formation, defining it as more of a lifetime journey rather than something just for seminarians in order to train priests to properly serve the demands of the faithful and society.
 

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Pope open to visiting North Korea

VATICAN (CNS): “Welcome! It is nice to see you,” Pope Francis said, greeting visisting South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, at the entrance to the library of the Apostolic Palace on October 18. 
 
“I come here as the (South) Korean head of state but I am also Catholic and my baptismal name is Timothy. And for me it is an honour to meet you,” Moon replied.
 

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Seoul pilgrimage sites receive official recognition

SEOUL (SE): The Vatican held an official celebration in Seoul, South Korea, on September 14 recognising the martyrdom shrines of the country’s capital as official International Pilgrimage Sites, a first for Asia.
 
In his homily, Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, of Seoul, said, “I believe, today’s recognition of Seoul’s Catholic Pilgrimage Routes as an International Pilgrimage Site by Vatican will become a milestone (and) that Churches in Asia and all over the globe can band together in the name of pilgrimage.”

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The spirit of South Korea’s Catholics

by Michael Sainsbury
 
South Korea has been a bit of an outlier in Catholic Asia for decades both in terms of the size of its Catholic demographic—bested only in Asia by the Philippines and Timor-Leste—and the political influence they wield.
 
Remarkably, three out of seven of the country’s presidents have been Catholic since it began democratically electing its leaders in 1981.