The Korean Foreign Mission Society celebrated their fortieth year of establishment with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Dec. 5th. At that time, they had a an academic conference in which they looked over the past forty years and looked ahead to their fiftieth year. The Catholic Times acquaints the readers of the celebration and the results of the conference.
Forty years ago when the Society was established the understanding of mission in Korean Catholic society was deficient but during these years, there have been changes, the place of mission in the life of the Church has been established. Korean Mission Society has strengthened its identity, examined itself theologically, and is imbued with the teaching of Vatican II.
The keynote talk by a priest, head of a research institute, congratulated the Society for its example. The Mission Society, and the Korean Church as a whole is faced with a crisis in implementing the teaching of Vatican II: authoritarianism of the clergy, separation of life and religion among the laity, also a country in which the gap between rich and poor continues to grow and will impact the Mission Society.
A member of the Missionary Society of
St. Columban, gave the first presentation in which he showed how after 82 years
of mission in Korea the missioners have become old, the decrease in
younger members, has in his opinion, been a blessing in bringing the
talents and insights of the laity to the church.
Problems and difficulties in mission, the sudden changes in pastoral efforts in the local church, the scandal of clerical sexual abuse, brought confusion and frustration to the fore but also an invitation to missioners to be humble.
that the society after 40 years be theological open to the reading of
the signs of the time, reflection on the history of the Church in Korea, and its traditions, and to bring the laity into the life of mission.
Another participant mentioned that during the past 40 years of mission, the Korean Mission Society has realized that mission is the life of the church. Mission to Asia and especially to China should merit the attention of the Society: a research institute to educate specialists for the work, and to begin a society for mission in China.
He urges strengthening efforts in education, and preparing specialists for mission and a new model for lay people in mission.