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Korean Catholics honor elderly with photo contest

Contest aims to recognize the contributions of grandparents and the elderly to the Church and society
A prize-winning poster from an art contest organized by Seoul Archdiocese to mark the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on July 25, 2021

A prize-winning poster from an art contest organized by Seoul Archdiocese to mark the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on July 25, 2021. (Photo: Seoul Archdiocese)

Published: July 27, 2022 08:29 AM GMT
Updated: July 27, 2022 08:50 AM GMT

Seoul Archdiocese in South Korea's capital has organized a photography competition as part of a program to honor elderly people in the Korean Church and society.

The program is in line with Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly 2022.

The digital photography contest called "Let's do things with grandfather and grandmother," was launched by  Seoul Archdiocese's Secretariat for the Pastoral Care of the Elderly.

It is open to everyone, runs from 1-31 July and features photos taken with grandparents by people spending time with them.

Selected photos will be included in an exhibition at Myeongdong Cathedral in October this year.

"A long life — teaches the Bible — is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be avoided, but living signs of the goodness of God who gives life in abundance," is the motivation behind the contest, the archdiocese said in a press release.

"I hope that many faithful would take advantage of this opportunity to spend quality time with their grandparents and capture those moments by taking photos together," said Father Esteban Na Jong-jin, head of the Pastoral Care for the Elderly in Seoul.

The priest explained that the goal of this contest is "to encourage the faithful to build a culture of love by promoting intergenerational solidarity, in harmony with Grandparents' Day, established by Pope Francis in 2021".

Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick of Seoul celebrated a special Mass on July 24 to mark the second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. The prelate highlighted the valuable contributions of grandparents and the elderly to the Church and society.

Archbishop Chung said initiatives like the photo contest are essential as these can help the faithful “to build a culture of love by fostering intergenerational solidarity.”

Pope Francis established a Church-wide celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, according to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

The Dicastery’s prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, said that the day is the fruit of the pope’s two apostolic documents — Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love, 2016) and Fratelli Tutti (Brothers and Sisters All, 2020).

“This is the first fruits of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year, a gift to the whole Church that is destined to continue into the future. The pastoral care of the elderly is a priority that can no longer be postponed by any Christian community,” Cardinal Farrell said.

“In the encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the Holy Father reminds us that no one is saved alone. With this in mind, we must treasure the spiritual and human wealth that has been handed down from generation to generation.”

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