By Robin Gomes
As Korea’s Catholic bishops expressed satisfaction at the successful outcome of the historic United States-North Korea peace summit on Tuesday, a thanksgiving ‘Mass for Peace and Reconciliation’ was celebrated in thanksgiving in the South Korean capital Seoul.
When US president President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore on June 12, it was the first time an American president and a North Korean leader had ever met.
Joy of Korean Church
“A surprise and a joy,” is how Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) described the summit, saying he welcomed “the positive outcome.”
In a statement on Tuesday, he noted that through the summit North Korea and the US have overcome their long hostile relations and signed an historic step for denuclearization and a breakthrough for peace on the Korean peninsula.
“Peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly,” Archbishop Kim said quoting the Vatican II pastoral constitution ‘Gaudium et Spes”, hoping the international community will promote and support the ongoing peace efforts.
‘Mass for Peace and Reconciliation’
Meanwhile Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyeongyang, celebrated a ‘Mass for Peace and Reconciliation’ in Myeongdong Cathedral Tuesday evening in thanksgiving for the successful summit and for the denuclearization and peace process in the Korean Peninsula.
The Holy See’s new Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb joined the Mass.
“I deeply thank God because he listened to our prayers for reconciliation of the Korean people,” Cardinal Yeom said in his homily. “I sincerely wish that the agreement can be promptly executed to achieve the common good not only of the Korean people but people of the world.”
The June 12 Mass was the 1168th for peace and reconciliation, which has been celebrated every Tuesday evening in Myeongdong Cathedral since the first Mass on March 7th, 1995, sponsored by the Seoul Archdiocesan Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People.
St. Francis’ peace prayer
After every “Mass for Peace and Reconciliation” , those present recite the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, together with the faithful gathered at the same time in Jangchung Cathedral in Pyongyang. The prayer by the faithful of the two Koreas agreed upon on August 15, 1995, by CBCK’s Committee for Reconciliation of the Korean People (South Korea) and the "Catholic Association of Chosun" (North Korea).
The Korean bishops have called on Catholics join a novena prayer for North Korea, June 17 – 25. Each day has a specific prayer intention such as for the North Korean people, separated families, North Korean refugees, evangelization of the North, and the peaceful reunification of the peninsula.