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Charnel house opens in South Korea for those without family

Center can house the remains of some 6,500 people

Charnel house opens in South Korea for those without family

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk during the opening Mass for a charnel house in Kkottongnae Village cemetery. (Photo by The Catholic Times)

October 31, 2017

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Kkottongnae Village, the largest church-run social welfare facility in South Korea, is offering a resting place for people who died without family at a newly opened charnel house.

The Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk Center was opened recently in its Kkottongnae Paradise, a cemetery for those who stayed at the Kkottongnae community village that looks after the welfare of disabled people.

The center will serve as charnel house for those who died without any family or friends and a daily Mass will be said for their souls.

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, retired archbishop of Seoul, himself presided over the center's opening Mass with Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju. Some 3,000 sponsors joined the Mass.

"Burying the dead is one of the physical acts of mercy and charity," said Cardinal Cheong during his Mass homily. "Especially, helping the poor and those without family for their funeral will be the act of love which pleases our God," he said.

South Korean President Timothy Moon Jae-in sent a congratulatory message.

"With the Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk Center, I wish that the practice of love shown by the Catholic Church towards the poor and the alienated spreads further," said the president's message.

The two-story center can house the remains of some 6,500 people. When stone ash boxes outside the center are included, the remains of a total of 58,986 people can rest at the cemetery.

The cemetery is also a resting place for Kkottongnae monks and nuns and the village's sponsors.

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