Monday, January 25, 2010

From Receiving To Giving

Before the 1980s, the Catholic Church in Korea had been for many years on the receiving end of the giving and receiving divide. She has wisely used the resources received and now, since the '80s, has been supporting other countries that are facing hardships. No data had been gathered on the amount of money given out until this past year when Caritas Coreana made a study detailing what had been given. Outside of aid given for evangelization and to North Korea, they have on average given a million dollars annually for overseas aid.

To help collect the data, 16 dioceses, 1,542 parishes, 165 religious societies, 28 apostolates, and other organizations participated. This survey, the first of its kind initiated by the Church, will be of great help in building a network of helper organizations to facilitate the work of overseas aid in the years to come, without any overlapping.

If we count the
total number of Korean Catholics, the amount each donated annually comes to about two dollars. If we count only those who go to Sunday Mass regularly, the figure jumps to eight dollars per Catholic. About 60 percent of this aid is from collections in support of different projects. It's not very much but it is the beginning of an outreach to others now going through what Korea had to suffer for many years.

In 1980, the outreach found its way into only four areas of the world. In ten years,
this figure went up to 12; in ten more years, the year 2000, there were 33 areas of the world being served.
Catholic Korea, like the country as a whole, has come a long way in a very short time. From being a Church on the receiving end of assistance, it now is an outreach Church involved in giving to those around the world who are most in need of assistance.

This outreach will continue, and guided by the data collected by Caritas Coreana the Church intends to be of more service to more people. Where the data reveals shortcomings in outreach per
formance, there is no doubt that they will be corrected.

In the beginning of our work as missioners, after the Korean War, we all were beneficiaries of receiving whatever help we needed from Maryknoll. Enough money was sent to take care of our living expenses, run the parishes, provide for those working in the parish, and to aid the sick and poor. For many years now, this has come to an end and we are now in a giving mode. This is also
true of many sectors of the Korean economy. Korea is one of the few countries that have made this transition so quickly from a receiving to a giving country. There is no doubt that the church, and the country, will continue to give, and give even more than before, with each passing year.

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