A Holy Mass was celebrated in Myeongdong Cathedral last week to give special blessings to five Seoul archdiocesan priests who will soon begin their missionary work outside Korea.
This year, five priests from the Archdiocese of Seoul will start missionary work in a foreign country. Fr. Nam Goong-eun will go to the Diocese of Saitama, Japan; Fr. Shin Gwang-ho to the Diocese of Sydney, Australia; Fr. Kim Sung-min to the Diocese of Xi’an, China; Fr. Lee Hyun-gyu and Fr. Jung Sung-hoon will join the Missionary Society of St. Columban as associate missionaries.
Since 2006, 19 priests from Seoul are working as foreign missionaries in 10 countries around the world, including Taiwan, China, Japan, Tanzania, Peru, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Spain, and France.
The Holy Mass was arranged by the Department of Foreign Mission and Outreach, an office newly established by Cardinal Yeom in 2013 to emphasize the importance of foreign mission work. Fr. Park Kyu-heum, the director of the department, emphasized that “we will try our best every year to send more missionaries out to spread to Gospel of the Lord.”
The Mass was presided over by Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, along with Auxiliary Bishop Cho Kyu-man, Bishop Yu Gyoung-chon, Bishop Chung Soon-taek, and Bishop Son Hee-song.
A special blessing ceremony was held during the Mass, in which the five priests received a stole printed with the official logo of the Archdiocese of Seoul from Cardinal Yeom as a gift. Afterwards, they received the imposition of hands by the bishops who concelebrated the Mass as a symbol of the unity of the diocese, praying together as one.
In his homily, Cardinal Yeom cited the passage about how Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord. “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19). This order is especially meaningful to foreign missionaries.”
Cardinal Yeom also stressed the fact that the Catholic Church of Korea was developed through the support of foreign missionaries. “It is our turn now to reach out and spread the Gospel to the other countries in need.”
On behalf of the five missionaries, Fr. Shin Gwang-ho expressed his gratefulness and said that he felt like participating in the Priestly Ordination again because “the Mass today allowed us to reflect on our vows to devote ourselves completely to the service of God.”