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Benedictine abbey in Korea sends missionary to Cuba

Father Aaron Jang Gyeong-uk will work in the first religious monastery since Cuba became communist

Benedictine abbey in Korea sends missionary to Cuba

Father Aaron Jang Gyeong-uk has been learning the Spanish language to help him with his future missionary work in Cuba. (Photo supplied)

April 20, 2017

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A South Korean priest is in communist-led Cuba to assist with missionary work and focus on promoting vocations among the country's young people.

St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey sent Father Aaron Jang Gyeong-uk to the Epiphany of the Lord Priory in Havana. In preparation, Father Jang had been learning Spanish at El Rosal Priory in Bogota, Colombia since 2015, three years after his ordination. He arrived in Havana March 30.

"We fully support courageous monks who pioneer into unknown territory," said Abbot Blasio Park Hyun-dong.

The Epiphany of the Lord Priory was established in 2008. It is the first religious monastery in Cuba since the country became communist in 1959.

St. Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998 and made a request to establish a monastery. Ten years later the request was granted but construction was suspended due to lack of administrative support and construction materials in the country.

Currently, the Epiphany of the Lord Priory is renting a former Carmelite church from the government for what is a community of three monks.

Epiphany of the Lord Priory plans to construct a church, a retreat house and a farm. It will devote itself to promoting vocations among young Cubans.

Abbots of Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien visited the priory and set up a three-meter cross on the land where the church is to be built. In addition, Pope Francis blessed a cornerstone for the priory building during his 2015 visit to Cuba.

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