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Caritas in Korea set to help the poor worldwide

Catholic bishops’ aid agency is now a legal body under a government ministry

Bishop Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok (second left) and Father Gerard Hammond (third left) at the launch Bishop Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok (second left) and Father Gerard Hammond (third left) at the launch
  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • January 20, 2011
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Caritas in South Korea has launched an international aid agency to support the poor worldwide, including in North Korea.

Caritas Korea International is the Korean Catholic bishops’ first official foreign aid agency and is now set up as a legal body under a Korean government ministry.

"We will work with transparency and openness to avoid misunderstanding in financial affairs and be recognized by international governments,” Bishop Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, president of Caritas Corea said in a press conference during the launch of the aid agency on Jan. 18.

Bishop Ahn said the agency will work for poor people around the world to ensure them of the basic dignity a human being is entitled to, he said.

“Though the Korean Church has raised donations by establishing the Foreign Aid Sunday in January, we need more,” he said.

The president of Caritas Corea also said the agency needs to overcome challenges in promoting its foreign donation campaigns among local Catholics especially in soliciting aid to help poor North Koreans.

To deal with that, Bishop Ahn appointed Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond to head aid for North Korea in the new organization. The American priest has visited North Korea many times to deal with the aid for tuberculosis patients and distribute medicines.

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