Friday, August 2, 2013

Catholic Missions of Korea

In 1975, the Korean Foreign Missionary Society received approval for its mission from the Korean bishops. This was the first public step for  evangelization in foreign countries from Korea, and from that time on the Society developed with great expectations. The superior of the Society, in the Kyeongyang Magazine, discusses the foreign mission developments of the Korean Church.

He says there are now about 900 Koreans who are working as missioners in foreign countries. Each diocese, religious order and apostolic group has  foreign missions as one of their aims. We will soon see, he says, the fruits of these endeavors.

The founding bishop of the Korean Foreign Mission Society had great expectations for the Missionary Society. He wanted to change the image of the Korean Church, from one that receives to one that gives, and in the article, he introduces us to about 20 foreign mission societies now working in foreign lands. They are officially called, according to Church Law, Missionary Societies of Apostolic Life.

Many Catholics wrongly consider missioners to be members of a religious order, he says. But there must be present three elements which constitute the apostolic life. Missioners do not take the vows of a religious in order to carry out their duties and mission, but do so by living the life of the early Christians in community and with brotherly love; their goal is to extend the kingdom of God in the world; and to bring all to Christ in the fulfillment of love. Each society would have their own particular ways of achieving these three elements.

He then goes on to introduce us to the male missionary societies of the apostolic life working  in Korea: the Paris Foreign Mission Society (M.E.P.), the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (M.M), the Missionary Society of St. Columban (S.S.C.), the Guadalupe Missioners (M.G.), the Mission Society of the Philippines (M.S.P.), and the Korean Missionary Society (K.M.S.).

The Korean Missionary Society has for its motto: gratitude and repayment of favors received from others in Korean Church history. Their 51 members on the missions,  work in 8 different countries, and in 15 dioceses. The society has a total of 66 members,  and 26 seminarians. In 2012 they started a school for the training of missioners, not of their society, for overseas mission.
Korea is now among the very active missionary-sending countries of the world, showing great zeal for the missions, and also a Church that is helping with finances to accomplish this task. He quotes from Romans 10:15: "How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!" He  concludes with the hope and prayer that there will continue to be an increase in the number of those contributing to the work of mission.

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