“In various Korean dioceses, we have started celebrating Holy Mass with the faithful, naturally taking due precautions. Pastoral and charitable activities have resumed, always with the necessary prudence and attention. It is a great moment of spiritual joy, of great hope for the faith of our communities”, said Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, at the head of the Korean diocese of Daejeon, to Agenzia Fides, while in recent weeks the Korean government gradually loosened the measures of social confinement and economic lockdown, adopted to deal with the Coronavirus emergency, obtaining encouraging results. The sign that Korea is coming out of the critical phase is the imminent reopening of schools: high school students will begin on May 13, then schools of all levels will gradually begin.
“In this time of trial, we strongly felt spiritual communion in the Catholic community, while the help of the media and social media has been useful for maintaining direct contact with the faithful,” noted the bishop, recalling that “the Korean Catholic Church, with a great sense of responsibility, scrupulously observed the provisions issued by the government to contain the virus, showing co-responsibility and broad collaboration with civil authorities, to protect and promote the common good in the nation, while launching, at the same time, in numerous charity initiatives for people in need.
The Bishop reminded Fides that the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. Kim Taegon, first Korean priest and martyr, will begin in November 2020, kicking off a jubilee year that will last throughout 2021. “Yes it is a precious opportunity to understand the will of God for the Church and for the whole Korean nation in the near future, in the post-pandemic, which cannot be the same as in the past: it will be a special time for conversion to God, to seek new ways and new paradigms on a political, social, economic level, for all humanity. The Lord challenges us to change, it is up to all of us to listen to his Word.”
South Korea is among the nations that in the fight against Covid-19, successfully adopted: mass swabs; tracking of personal contacts; individual isolation, or personal quarantine treatment. The Korean population expressed appreciation for President Moon Jae-in and his executive, promoter of this approach, rewarding him in the recent elections of the National Assembly, where the political coalition of the president’s party, a Catholic, obtained 180 seats out of 300 overall. “That of Moon Jae-in is truly ‘good governance’, based on wisdom, balance, transparency, honesty; Korean citizens have recognized it, granting them their full trust,” the Bishop said.