The initiative is credited to Father Matthew Cho Myeong-yeo, 33, who in July 2001 began adding to his e-mail directory the names of those wishing to receive such advice.
At the time, the young priest was training for a post in the Social Communications Office of the Inchon Diocese. He now directs the office.
“Working on a computer from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., I thought I should dedicate the time to serve all those who through a word of encouragement or a message on the love of God, would rediscover the beauty of life, taste happiness, and return to the faith,” the priest said.
With messages such as “write five reasons why you are happy to be alive today”; “recognize a miracle that happened around you”; “dedicate one hour of your day to help your neighbor”; "spend five minutes in silence and prayer,” the Korean cleric has helped young people and students to reflect on life and to approach the faith.
The service, entitled “Good News,” is on the Web site of the Seoul Archdiocese, one of the most visited sites in the country.
About 60% of South Korea’s population over age 6 uses the Internet at least once a month.