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Korean Church marks fourth centenary of Vatican congregation

Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is thanked for its support over the years

Korean Church marks fourth centenary of Vatican congregation

South Korean bishops cut a cake at Myeongdong Cathedral to mark the 400th anniversary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. (Photo: Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea)

Published: May 11, 2022 02:51 AM GMT

Updated: May 11, 2022 03:07 AM GMT

Church leaders and Catholic laypeople in South Korea have marked the 400th anniversary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with a Mass and thanksgiving program.

The event at Myeongdong Cathedral in the Archdiocese of Seoul in the national capital also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the local branch of the Pontifical Missionary Organization, an affiliated body of several global missionary organizations collectively called the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS).

Bishop Matthias Lee Yong-hoon, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK), concelebrated the Mass along with Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, former archbishop of Seoul, and several bishops in the presence of about 150 Catholics on May 3.

Bishop Lee thanked the global Church and the Vatican congregation for generous support that had helped the Korean Church to grow and thrive.

The prelate recalled how a French Catholic laywoman, Pauline Marie Jaricot, paved the way for the genesis and expansion of the Church’s missionary activities globally.

“Some 200 years ago, a small gathering hosted by Pauline Marie Jaricot has grown into global missionary organization. The Korean Church has received a lot of assistance through the global Church and helped it become like a big tree. Now, the Korean Church is providing shade [support] to churches around the world,” Bishop Lee said.

“Missions do not necessarily have to go far away. Mission is to extend warmth and touch in various ways to wherever you are in need of help around you"

He said the Korean branch of the PMS has 8,000 members and expressed hope that many people will join its missionary activities.

“I would like to emphasize the role of the Holy Childhood Association. Its role is significant because it can help the Church become more vibrant by striving to form and sustain the faith of our children,” he added.

Cardinal Yeom insisted that, like the Korean Church, other churches can become missionary churches by extending support to missionaries working in remote parts of the world.

“Missions do not necessarily have to go far away. Mission is to extend warmth and touch in various ways to wherever you are in need of help around you,” he said.

“It is very important and effective for missions to inculturize the faith by nurturing local clergy. We too can unite with the universal Church by helping and supporting missionaries who spread the gospel in remote areas.” 

Following the Mass, Bishop Lee blessed the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with a Bible, while lay missionary couple Kim Jong-deuk and Nam Hae-suk received bread and wine as a symbol of the Church’s mission.

Father Kim Dong-won from Seoul Archdiocese presented a portrait of PMS founder Pauline Marie Jaricot to pay tribute to her great efforts to support missions across the world.

After the Mass, the bishops cut a cake to mark the anniversary.

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