A heartfelt prayer for peace was held by the Korean Catholic community gathered in Imjingak on June 25, the date that marks the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950; a Eucharist was celebrated with the special intention of prayer for peace in the Korean peninsula.
As Fides News Agency reported, the initiative of the “Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation of the Korean People” was organized by the “Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People” within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea and involved over 20,000 faithful from the different Korean dioceses. Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Pyongyang, presided over the Eucharistic celebration, concelebrated by Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Apostolic Nuncio in South Korea. The homily was delivered by Mgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-Joong, Archbishop of Gwangju and President of the Bishops’ Conference.
Cardinal Yeom told those present: “We dedicate this mass to those who lost their lives in the Korean War. In particular, we remember the families still separated by the border and the displaced people who are still suffering from the traumas of war”. “The entire Catholic Church – he continued – under the guidance of Pope Francis, is praying for the seeds of peace to be planted in our painful history. In recent days, Mgr. Franjo Komarica, Bishop of the Diocese of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sent a special letter ensuring closeness and spiritual communion in this Holy Mass in which we pray for peace in the Korean peninsula.”
The diocese of Pyongyang and the diocese of Banja Luka, also marked by the Balkan war, have established a relationship of “spiritual sisterhood”. Card Yeom visited Banja Luka in 2017 while Bishop Komarica participated in the Peace Forum in Seoul in 2016. Since then, in the diocese of Banja Luka, a prayer for peace is dedicated to the diocese of Pyongyang every day.
Mgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-Joong Kim, in his homily, expressed his hope that “the expected summit between South Korea and the United States at the end of June could act as a springboard for peace and unification in the Korean peninsula.”
Furthermore, Mgr. Peter Lee Ki-Heon, Bishop of Uijeongbu and President of the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, has published a letter which, hoping for the resumption of the peace process in the Korean peninsula of 2019, calls for “a prompt resumption of mutual dialogues” the “continuation of personal relations and humanitarian aid” and “the encouragement and support of the international community” in the reconciliation process.
The Korean Catholic Church celebrates June 25 as a “Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation of the Korean People” every year. From 17 to 25 June a special novena is celebrated which ends on the 25th with a commemoration mass.