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Korean bishops to mark war anniversary with prayers

Bishops' conference has asked all dioceses and parishes to join a year-long campaign for peace

ucanews reporter, Seoul

ucanews reporter, Seoul

Published: October 28, 2019 07:53 AM GMT

Updated: October 29, 2019 12:35 PM GMT

Korean bishops to mark war anniversary with prayers

The Korean Martyrs were the victims of religious persecution against Catholic Christians during the 19th century in Korea. Between 8,000 and 10,000 Korean Christians were killed during this period. (Image: Wikipedia)

As tension continues on the Korean Peninsula, Catholic bishops in Korea have decided to pray every day for 12 months for peace, marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.

The Korean Catholic Bishops' Conference during its annual meeting decided to pray for peace daily in every diocese.

They have also decided to dedicate the third week of next year as "the Lord's Word Sunday," said bishops' conference chairman Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jong of Gwangju, as reported by The Catholic Times of Korea.

The Oct. 14-17 meeting of bishops wanted all parishes to be part of the campaign named "Joining for the Peace of the Korean Peninsula." Parishes can carry out campaign programs according to their discretion, bishops agreed.

The prayer campaign will run from Dec. 1, 2019, to Nov. 28, 2020. The bishops' conference plans to issue special prayers for Masses through diocesan bulletins.

The war between South and North Korea began when North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950.

Special prayers will be held on June 25 for national reconciliation and unity. Dioceses can select the place of Mass for the war anniversary day.

The campaign is "not a matter of formality but indeed a heartfelt prayer," said Archbishop Kim.

The campaign comes as relations continue to be strained as Washington pressurizes North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic programs.

North Korea has already warned this month of serious repercussions if Washington, aided by South Korea, does not end hostile policies.
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The strained relations were put to the test on Oct. 23 when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asked for the removal of South Korean facilities at the Mount Kumgang resort, calling them "shabby." The construction is considered a rare example of inter-Korean cooperation.

Other programs in dioceses

The bishops' conference also decided to elevate the liturgical rank of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean-born Catholic priest and the patron saint of Korea, to help Catholics celebrate his feast prominently.Parishes and dioceses are free to design their programs for marking the birth anniversary year, bishops said.

They also decided to celebrate the May 29 feast of Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 other martyrs in a grand way.

The bishops' conference plans to organize a symposium next March on the theme of "Who are refugees?" The National Migrant Pastoral Committee will coordinate the programs.

Each diocese and its parishes are also asked to design programs and activities to prepare Catholics to work for environmental protection.

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