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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.
 








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Pope sends funds for Yemeni refugees in South Korea

Jeju (UCAN): Pope Francis lent his support to some 500 Yemeni refugees on the southern tourist island of Jeju, South Korea, sending €10,000 ($92,000) from the papal charities though Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the apostolic nuncio to Korea.
 
The archbishop visited the Diocese of Cheju (Jeju) from July 28 to 29 to show the pope’s solidarity with the Yemeni refugees. He said that that the diocese’s care and efforts coincide with the wishes of Pope Francis. 
 

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Korean deacons on pilgrimage to embrace other religions

SEOUL (UCAN): Over 100 Catholic deacons in South Korea joined an Ecumenical and Interreligious Pilgrimage of Catholic Deacons, a June 20 to 22 pilgrimage to places of worship for other religions in Seoul to promote religious tolerance and understanding organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK).
 

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Chapel of peace for Panmunjom

SEOUL (UCAN): A new chapel will be built in the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, the truce village on the inter-Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that was established when Korean War (1950-53) ended in an armistice.
 
The chapel will replace an older structure built in 1958. Bishop Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il, of the Military Ordinariate of Korea, celebrated a ground-breaking ceremony on June 5.
 

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Only the lowly can confront corruption

GWANGJU (SE): Father Nandana Manatunga thanked the people of South Korea for their continuous support of those struggling against repression and state violence throughout Asia as he was presented with the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights at the Culture Centre in Seogu on May 18 this year.
 

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Concerns over greying Church and fewer baptisms in South Korea

SEOUL (UCAN): According to figures released on April 13 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, a total of 96,794 young Catholics were baptised—representing a drop of 12.9 per cent compared to 2016.
 
It is the slowest rate of growth in the last decade, leaving Church authorities concerned about a continued wind-down as parishioners, in line with Korean society as a whole, are greying at the temples.
 

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South Korean Church campaigns against legalising abortion

Seoul (UCAN): As South Korea continues to modernise and with the number of single mothers on the rise, calls to decriminalise abortion have increased from sectors of society. In response, the Catholic Church launched a signature campaign on 3 December 2017 to keep the country’s anti-abortion law in place and has gathered over a million names to date. 
 

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