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Masses resume on Yeonpyeong-do island

Returning Catholics attend first service since North Korean attack

Masses resume on Yeonpyeong-do island
The old rectory that was partly destroyed after the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong-do (Photo courtesy of Incheon diocese)
John Won, Seoul

February 15, 2011

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Masses have resumed on Yeonpyeong-do, the South Korean island shelled by North Korean artillery in November. About 40-50 Catholics attended a Mass recently according to Father Kim Tae-heon, parish priest of Yunpyung Church, the only Catholic Church on the island. Catholics who fled the island after the North Korean attack are now returning, he told yesterday. Yeonpyeong-do had a population of 1,700 including 450 Catholics. Before the attack around 150 Catholics would regularly attended Mass on Sunday he said. After fleeing the island Catholics attended Mass at a sauna in Incheon on the mainland. The old rectory and a church van were hit by North Korean shells during the attack on November 23. The main church building and a statue of the Virgin Mary were not harmed. The rectory, which was partly destroyed, is slated to be repaired with the local government paying for the restoration work. However, “the local government has deferred a February 11 meeting to discuss repair work on the island,” said Father Kim who is staying at a layperson’s home. “I have no idea when the repair work will be done,” he lamented. Related report North Korea artillery attack damages church KO13293.1641
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