A Catholic Times' column by a professor of Chinese Studies on unification of the peninsular, has an interview with the local superior of the Maryknoll Society, Father Gerard E. Hammond. He begins his article by mentioning a brief history of Maryknoll, established for mission to Asia. Mission work for the Society began in Korea early, and in 1927 the Pyongyang Province was made a prefecture and work continued until war and the Communist take-over of North Korea.
Father Hammond has been associated with the Eugene Bell Foundation whose president is Stephen Linton. Father has been working in North Korea with Stephen Linton and his foundation combating those with Multi-drug -Resistant Tuberculosis. They have 12 centers in the North which they visit frequently with drugs, assisting and examining patients. They are one of the biggest groups in this work.
Recently, Fr. Hammond told one of the Korean priest leaders in promoting unification of the county that medical aid to the North is one of the most important works that we can engage in at present. Germany is a good example of what was needed for unification. East German citizens trusted West Germany, and they made the choice of joining them because of the good will towards the West.
When North Korea has a trust in the government of the South, we will have the citizens' peaceful transition to a one Korea, says Fr. Hammond. When North Koreans are having problems and difficulties, we should not neglect them. We need to monitor what is being done, ensuring the aid is going to the needy. That is the reason the Eugene Bell Foundation has established the 12 centers.
Persons that were members of the elite in North Korean society were purged from positions in government by Kim Jong-un for selling medical supplies on the market for personal gain, given from the South and international organizations. Which showed medical help given by 'angels' was acknowledged and punishment was duly given to those who stole from the sick of the country.
Fr. Hammond is 80 years old and has his grave site selected, and wants to be considered a Korean. He will continue working to help the North Koreans and prays and hopes for the day of unification.