Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pope's Visit to Korea

During these  months before the visit of the pope, the Catholic Church of Korea is busy with its many preparations. Before the last visit of the pope for the International  Eucharistic Congress in 1989, the Desk Columnist of the Catholic Times reminds us  we had four years to prepare for the visit of Pope John Paul II. Consequently, the Church is busy, not concerned with only one event,  but a number of events in different dioceses. The desire to make the visit a  help both  spiritually and devotionally will make  the preparations more difficult.

There are two questions that we need to ask, he says. Why is the pope coming to Korea and what do we need to prepare?  The ceremonies for beatification  are usually held in Rome, there is no reason for them to be in Korea. The pope does not go to the different continents for their group youth meetings so no need for his visit to the Asian Youth Meeting. The political reason to encourage peace and unification is not a sufficient reason and the visit to the Flower Village is not the reason for the visit.

They are all part of the reason for the visit.  Each different diocese has the responsibility for preparing for the visit, and each will work to develop programs to deepen the spirituality and the devotional life  of the Catholics during the visit.

There is a hope that it will bring change to the way we are Catholics. This change should be a renewal in the way of  the Second Vatican Council.The second change should be to follow the teaching of Pope Francis in his exhortation to the Church in 'Joy of the Gospel'. The exhortation has become a best seller and we should read, study  and put its teachings into practice.  

The third change  is not only a change in the devotional life of the Catholics but also in the lives of the pastoral workers in the Church and the structures. It is very meaningful for us to remember that the changes are taking place at the very center of the Church at the Vatican. Individuals need to be the subjects of the changes that are necessary. To just be teachers of the  Christians is not all that is necessary, the leaders need to show us the change. The person who has done this is Pope Francis, an example to all of us. 

The bishops of Korea  are granting indulgences in preparation for the visit of Pope Francis for those who will make a pilgrimage to the shrines of the martyrs. The occasion is present for all of us to learn from the lives of our martyrs  and learn from their spirituality in preparation for the ceremonies on August 16.                                                                                    

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