Fr. Alessandro Barban, the Prior General of the Camaldolese Congregation of the St. Benedict Order, met with Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, and thanked him for his support on the foundation of the first Camaldolese community in Korea.
The first Camaldolese monastery in Korea will be built in Namyangju city. Construction began in January, and is expected to be finished in three years. Presently, a group of Camaldolese sisters reside in the house that belongs to the Benedict Order in Daegu.
The meeting took place April 27 morning in Cardinal Yeom’s office, and was joined by Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek, the episcopal vicar for religious orders. Fr. Barban stayed 2 weeks in China before coming to Korea.
Fr. Barban said that he is very surprised by the situation of the Catholic Church in Korea.
“I was surprised to hear that there are about 300,000 people baptized each year in Korea. This is no ordinary number. You really have an energetic and vigorous Church.”
Fr. Barban also mentioned that he has great expectations to the new Camaldolese community in Korea, hoping to bring “both direct and indirect effect to the Korean people with the Camaldolese spirituality.”
“The most important part of our spirituality is the ‘life of prayer,’” said Fr. Barban. “It is to seek and to commune with God. It is find real quietness in our minds. It’s the beauty of our Catholic faith which we want to bring to the people nowadays.”
Cardinal Yeom thanked Fr. Barban for his visit to Korea, and promised his continuous prayers and support for the Camaldolese community in Korea.
The Camaldolese spiritual family is a joint order of hermits and cenobites, founded by St. Romuald at the beginning of the 11th century.