The Korean Catholic Church has shown an interest in setting up missions in Mongolia, Peru, Chile, and in other parts of South America and Asia. In 1996, the Columban Missionary Society of Korea started sending Korean priests as missioners to other countries. And in the following years they sent 11 missioners who have had mission experience and have returned; at the present time there are 11 more who have volunteered for mission work. The Columban Missionary Society is also sending out lay persons as missioners.
Missioners have been in Mongolia for the last 20 years, and presently number 81. 28 are from Korea, mostly from the diocese of Daejeon. The Jesuit Province of Korea has also a mission in Cambodia which it supplies with missioners.
The Catholic Times editorial mentions these facts but also points out that the dioceses have not successfully promoted the spread of missionary work outside of Korea. There has been little response to the programs, set up by the bishops and the Korean Foreign Mission Society, for those interested in the missions . The Society, begun in 1975, now has 64 members, and will be a help in the formation of the missioners, but the first class was disappointingly small. The Society will continue and hopes to see a change in the interest for mission.The interest in foreign missions in Korea is still in the early stages; consequently, a systematic program of raising funds for the missions and support is still to be developed.
We say that all Christians are missioners. This is our Catholic understanding, but the methods of putting this into action still remain to be effectively incorporated into the lives of the Christians. Asia has only 3.1 percent of the population that are Catholic, so the opportunity for evangelization is great.
The editorial ends with the acknowledgement that the Holy Spirit is the motivating power behind the work of mission. And just as Jesus gave the apostles the power to witness to him, we have to pray for that to happen today.