Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Korean Basic Christian Communities

The Catholic Church in Korea for many years has been working to energize the small group movement (Basic Christian Communities) within the church but according to the recent editorial in the Catholic Times it faces many problems. The apathy of the priests and the lay people was given as a reason for the difficulty.

Probably the Church has trusted too much on the passive knowledge that the Catholics have received at the liturgy, from the readings and the sermons. The Catholic have to meet together in small groups to discuss and carry over to their daily lives what they have learned. In the country, dealing with country matters in the city with the city matters, those with little education with little education. What is important is that they read the Scripture and see their life in the light of the Scriptures. This requires them getting together in small groups and trying to see, judge and act in company with those they are meeting with.

The 5th General Meeting of AsIPA ended on the 28th of October. There was a delegation that attended from Korea and the program was written up in this weeks Catholic paper. "By AsIPA the initials for Asian, Integral, Pastoral, Approach. Asian, for being part of the local culture, and rooted in the daily lives of the people. Integral, to bring all the various aspects of parish life into the community and mission with Christ. Pastoral, caring for all that live around us by all of God's people, regardless of their race or religion. Approach, the tools must build community, enable participation, and build confidence, using Scripture and acknowledging the presence of Christ in our midst." The AsIPA is an Asian adaptation of a program developed in South Africa for Bible-centered small Christian communities. A desk within the Federation of Asian Bishop's Conferences (FABC) Office of Laity and Family oversees its development.

Korea for many years has tried to develop these small group meeting. They have many different names but they all come down to talking with those they know in the Lord to see if they can come to a way of acting on what they have learned from Jesus. Our Bishop representative from Korea commented that : "We in Korea have remained in the area of sharing our thoughts on the Scripture but we have to go beyond this and tie what we have learned from the Scripture to our daily life. If we are going to have a new vision of Church we have to learn what the success of the Philippine Church is able to teach us. "

The Korean Church has the example of small group meetings in the larger society. The Protestants have their weekly gatherings in the homes which does serve as a stimulus and a prod but society has also in the meantime become more complicated. People have less time and more woman are now working outside the home. It is getting more difficult to find time to meet. There will be attempts to adapt to the situation and if the priests and the laypeople do see a need for it, we will be seeing change in the near future.

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