The archdiocesan territory covers Seoul, an area of 605 square kilometers, and Hwanghae province, an area of 16,744 square kilometers in North Korea. The ecclesiastical region of Seoul comprises the Metropolitan Seoul archdiocese with suffragan dioceses of Chunchon, Daejeon, Incheon, Suwon, Uijeongbu and Wonju. Pyongyang and Hamhung dioceses and the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon, all in North Korea, are its suffragans.
In 1992, Seoul archdiocese introduced the Small Christian Community (SCC) movement by Cardinal Stephen Kim, then Archbishop of Seoul. At that time, then Auxiliary Bishop Peter Kang Woo-il said each of Seoul's parishes had about 7,000 Catholics but about 90 percent lacked strong parish ties and felt alienated. To deal with the matter, the archdiocese chose the SCC model as the core of its evangelization in the new millennium. The archdiocese fit the SCC concept into its parish district system, in which every parishioner belongs to one SCC in principle. Through SCCs, laypeople can play a more active role and meet regularly to reflect on the Gospel, and Church and social concerns.
Located in the center of the Korean peninsula, Seoul has been the capital city of Korea since the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) moved its capital to Seoul in 1394. The name "Seoul" comes from the ancient word "Seorabeol" or "Seobeol," meaning "capital."
Seoul is a hub of the national economy, playing a key role in the free flow of national resources and capital. The vast majority of head and branch offices of large business groups and multinational corporations are all concentrated in Seoul.
In Seoul, radios and many national and local TV stations are available. Most families are also equipped with telephone and ultra high-speed Internet. Most individuals have mobile phones.
Seoul's transportation infrastructure is well equipped. The railway system transports people all over the nation and express train lines (KTX) carry people to Busan and Gwangju within three hours. Also, eight lines of subway cover all of the city and Seoul's public bus system is well known for its convenience. There is a domestic airport in Gimpo, which occasionally operates as an international airport.
In Seoul, the population is 9,930,616 at the end of 2017. (Some 20.4 percent of the population of the whole country is 51 million live in the territory.) Most residents are ethnic Koreans, with approximate 279,000 foreigners.
Standard Korean is in use. English, a mandatory subject in schools, is spoken and understood in business and tourist areas. All traffic signs are in English, Chinese and Korean.
Seoul falls within the temperate zone and has the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The yearly average temperature of Seoul is 12.2 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation averages 1,344.2 millimeters. Most of the rainfall is concentrated in the rainy months (monsoon period) of June through September.
Seoul is surrounded by mountains such as the Bukhan Mountain in the north, Gwanak Mountain in the South and Namsan (South Mountain) in the center of the city. The Han River crosses the city, dividing it into two.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.