The Catholic bishops of South Korea have entrusted to the Blessed Virgin Mary the synodal path and the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome this coming October.
At the end of their assembly on March 16, the Korean bishops called on Catholic communities to join in two “field experiences” that they described as opportunities for evangelical witness and mission.
On May 16, the first initiative is a visit to the Gangwon-do site, near the city of Samcheok, where in recent years the construction of a coal-fired power plant has been underway.
The Church leaders noted the power plants “significant negative impact” on the surrounding environment and local fishing communities.
A major pilgrimage organized by the National Commission for Reconciliation on June 6 will visit the Catholic Church in Paju, on the border with North Korea, where a Mass for peace and reconciliation will be held.
The bishops said the “common path” for the Korean faithful starts from “recognizing and loving” the Koreans in the North who are members of the same people as “brothers and sisters.””
On May 31, the Catholic faithful are also encouraged to gather in a solemn prayer vigil to mark a “Day of Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary” in their parishes.
During their assembly, the South Korean bishops reviewed the “Pastoral Guidelines for the Catholic Church in Korea” that was first published in 1995.
They noted the many changes that have taken place in the Church and proposed to review and update the “Pastoral Handbook,” which has been a reference for parishes, religious congregations, and Church movements in the country.
The bishops described the updating process of the handbook as “the synodal face” of the Korean Church that is “ready to walk together and to share joys and sufferings with the men and women of the third millennium.”