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South Korea

Homeless get a helping hand from Korean Catholics

Seoul Archdiocese teams up with SK Group to provide 1,400 packed lunches to homeless people each week

UCA News reporter, Seoul

UCA News reporter, Seoul

Published: January 25, 2021 02:20 AM GMT

Updated: January 25, 2021 11:02 AM GMT

Homeless get a helping hand from Korean Catholics

Cardinal Andrew Yeom (center) and Father Francis Kim (left) pour soup into a container at the soup kitchen in Myeongdong Cathedral. (Photo: Seoul Archdiocese)

Seoul Archdiocese in South Korea is helping homeless people with its Myeongdong Babjib (soup kitchen) project.

It is serving packed lunches to homeless people every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday after opening a soup kitchen in Myeongdong Cathedral.

The Energy and Chemicals Division of SK Group, the third-largest conglomerate in South Korea, is sponsoring the program by supporting 1,400 packed lunches each week.

“When Pope Francis visited Myeongdong Cathedral in 2014, he blessed us to be the yeast of the Gospel. I hope that the soup kitchen will be a small yeast that changes the Church and the world into a world of warm love beyond Myeongdong and the archdiocese,” said Father Francis Kim Jeong-hwan, executive director of the archdiocese’s One Body One Spirit (OBOS) movement.

OBOS is a faith-based organization that believes in hope, life and love. Inspired by the 44th International Eucharistic Congress in Seoul in 1989 and Catholic social teaching, it works to make a peaceful world according to the spirit of the Eucharistic sacrament.

Since the establishment of the organization by the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan in 1988, OBOS, as part of Caritas Seoul, has been working in many fields such as international development cooperation, domestic social welfare and life-sharing movements.

Quoting Pope Francis’ fourth World Day of the Poor message last November, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung urged all Korean faithful to “stretch forth your hand to the poor.”

He added: “It is a call for all of us to commit ourselves to the care of the poor as one human family. The soup kitchen is the right place to reach out to those who live in the lowest places in the world and share our food so that no one is left hungry. I hope that the house will become a place that offers real help and service to those in need.”

Father Matthias Hur Young-yup, spokesman of Seoul Archdiocese, said Cardinal Yeom, the archbishop of Seoul, hopes that the soup kitchen will not only distribute meals to the homeless but also provide an opportunity for them to become active agents of their lives and members of society.

“It could  give homeless people access to safe places to wash and do laundry while offering them employment opportunities with the aim of reintegrating them back into society,” he said.

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“Cardinal Yeom has a particular pastoral interest in the Myeongdong Babjib project since he had first-hand experience of setting up a soup kitchen for the poor while he was a parish priest, and it has been successfully operated for over 30 years.”

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