Friday, August 28, 2009
Catholic Church of Korea's Unfinished Work
The Catholic Church of Korea can be pleased with the growth in numbers and the health of the parish life. It is a vibrant young church.
Cardinal Cheong mentioned recently after returning from Rome that the Church of Korea numbered 8th in the monies that were sent to Rome for the Peter’s Pence Collection. This collection helps the Holy Father with his charitable works around the world. There are only 5 million Catholics but Korea was the only one in Asia that was within the 10 who gave the most for the collection.
The Catholic Church of Korea has the world's first parish management system that ties all the parishes together. It is called the Yangeop System and standardizes the administration of all the parishes in Korea and allows them to exchange pastoral information. There is no other country with anything like what has been done in Korea.
Korea has 7 seminaries and they are all doing very well. There are now 1413 seminarians studying at the last official count in 2008. The number of Catholics has topped 5 million and parishes continue to grow and others are being built. There are 1543 parishes and this number continues to grow.
There are many other areas of growth, programs and activities that give much satisfaction but at the same time the majority of the Catholics do not have a desire or find joy in joining other Catholics for Mass on Sunday. The numbers of Catholics going to Mass on Sunday is less than 25%. This is surprising and I am certain it will be an area in which the Church of Korea will start examining and begin to take steps to remedy. The external growth, as important as it is in giving witness to what we believe, is not as important as the spirituality and maturity of the Catholics. This will remain a work unfinished for many years to come.