Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catholic Korean Community in Germany

The Catholic Church in Korea has sent priests to all parts of the world to care for the Koreans living abroad. About 150,000 reside in 66 nations on six continents, according to the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad. The number of Catholics in South America is the greatest and in Africa the least.

One overseas Catholic community that has been covered lately by the press in Korea is the Korean Catholic community in Germany. It had its fledgling start back in 1960, when many of our nurses and miners went to Germany to work. As with the beginning of the Church in Korea, they began to meet weekly, conducting services without a priest, similar also to what is done today with mission stations.

The Frankfurt area is also home to the second-largest Korean community in Europe; they will be celebrating 40 years as a Church this year. In 1970, with the coming of priests and religious, who were in Germany for studies, the community began in earnest.

On a visit to Germany In 1971, Cardinal Kim was asked for priests to take care of the Korean Catholics and 3 priests were sent to begin 3 parishes. Since that time, the Frankfurt community has grown to 1000 with 4 mission stations. All together there are now 6 Korean parishes in Germany.

Presently, the Frankfurt Church has been using another church building for their Masses, but is in the process of building their own church. Parish work remains very similar to how it was done in Korea: pastoral council, altar groups, working with the elderly, and the very important small group meetings, called Basic Christian Communities, that gather in different areas of the parish. One big difference from the other German parishes is that most of them receive help from the government because of the religious tax paid by Germans. The Korean community is completely independent of that money and is considered a new model of Church in Germany.

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