Monday, January 30, 2012

Something to Shout About

There are many things heard that are far from uplifting, and when there is something to shout about, it seldom gets to be known but stays subdued within a person's heart. However, the Peace Weekly recently had an article about a parish in Seoul that is very proud of its accomplishments and God's working within the community.

Catholic parishes are usually well-filled on Sundays, but on weekdays it's rather quiet. The journalist writing the story arrived at the Seoul parish on a weekday afternoon around 3:00. Although there was a parish Mass going on, there were no other parish activities; yet there were many in the  parish meeting room enjoying beverages, talking and reading. The office worker mentioned, to the surprise of the journalist, that since it was vacation time there were fewer than usual that afternoon.

Not only Catholics but others come to the parish meeting room to spend time, using the vending machines for beverages and socializing around the many tables that have been set up to encourage meeting and sharing with others. The beverages are just a little above cost which makes them attractive both to the congregation and to those not part of the community. In a period of 2 years, 12 different exhibitions were held in the meeting room, which also attracted many from outside the parish community.

The percentage of Catholics in the larger community is over 20 percent. Since the year 2007, and up until last year, they have had 2011 people baptized. And though the parish has been divided, they still maintain the 20 percent. 

The article credits the success of these efforts to the educational programs in the parish, the reading of Scripture and popular books on spirituality.  Every month since 2009, they have had lectures by qualified people, which have been attended by many from the larger community.

Since 2007, the reading of spiritually oriented books has been extraordinary, which has made for a great change in the spiritual development of the Christians. The parish bulletin has recommended 76 spiritual books, and parishioners have  responded by contributing book reviews. And the religious goods store sold nearly 62 thousand books, about 40 books per household of those attending Mass on Sunday.

The money given in thanksgiving each month would be more than the Sunday collections and monthly offerings in the ordinary parish.In addition, the Seoul parish has helped other parishes and groups in the diocese with tens of thousands of dollars. And during the past year, they saw the start of 13 different presidia of the Legion of Mary. Certainly the Seoul parish has accomplished much in a very short time, and has much to shout about.  

The pastor is  quoted in the  article and  alludes to the educational programs and reading  that  have changed the attitude of the Christians. "They have begun sharing with  others. This is the new evangelization that is needed for the new times in which we are in."  he concludes.    

1 comment:

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