Korea Region

By Willy Jesena, CSsR

Our Formands on the Go…
Andrea Taegon and Andrew, our postulants, are now finishing their first year postulancy. Following the instruction from Rome, two years pre-novitiate is required of the candidates.  Various inputs have been given and will continue to fill up the time of the postulants. For their apostolate, they have been helping at the St. Joseph’s Free Clinic for the poor in Seoul City. Aside from the inputs on catechism, the Congregation and English studies, they have also attended courses on religious life at the Formation Institute managed by the Franciscan Friars in Seoul.

Our two novices in Lipa Asia-Oceania Conference International Novitiate are now on their 7th month.  They have benefited a lot from the spiritual and apostolic inputs in the Novitiate.

General Chapter
Fr. Rio Lee, our Regional Superior was a participant to the General Chapter held in Pattaya, Thailand. He rubbed shoulders with the 101 delegates and numerous volunteers who were active in services for the Chapter. We are glad that a Korean voice had contributed to the successful accomplishments of the Chapter.

Left to right: Frs. Mario Masancay, Thomas Park and Michael Kim

Left to right: Frs. Mario Masancay, Thomas Park and Michael Kim

Interesting Report from Bongwang Community
Fr. Thomas Park with his members: Frs. Mario Masangcay and Michael Kim, shares with us their experiences:

“This year’s Solemnity of Christ the King marks the Thanksgiving Day for the Bonghwang Catholic Chaplaincy and the Bonghwang Redemptorist community. The day was celebrated with a concelebrated mass with the faithful, a short festive program of Korean traditional music, dances and songs (rendered by the Naju City cultural group and known Kwangju saxophonist), a sumptuous agape and a fun time of videoke singing.  Farm produce of fruits, vegetables, rice and locally- processed foods were also sold in a makeshift market around the church ground. The presence of our chaplaincy’s faithful with their families, guests from Yeonsanpo parish with their parish priest, as well as friends and visitors from our village, other villages and Naju City graced our thanksgiving celebration. Such celebration is a way to express our gratitude to the Redeemer for the good harvest this year, as well as to culminate our humble contributions to the Lord’s work of evangelization, since all these are fruits of God’s grace and our apostolic endeavors.

Just in our 2nd year as Redemptorists, the mission-community here in Bonghwang Chaplaincy, Naju City, Gwangju Archdiocese, we were able to influence the live of the people through our presence and efforts.

Notably, attendance of our Sunday masses in the Chaplaincy is consistently increasing.  Faithful and new converts are coming from nearby villages and contribute to the increasing numbers and activities in the Chaplaincy. Not only formation programs, apostolate for leaders and catechumenate were established, but also various activities like picnics, pilgrimages, common farming and joining rally were organized to build and strengthen community relationship and solidarity.  With our Redemptorist presence, the Bonghwang Chaplaincy has become more and more active and alive. Aside from Chaplaincy work, we continue our monthly novena apostolate in Bonghwang, Mokpo and Gwangju.  We also extend our help to other churches and parishes requesting for masses and confessions. We try to respond even with short notice requests and distant locations.

Our Mission to migrant Filipinos in Korea is somehow established.  The schedule of various activities is regularized in various migrant centers (Mokpo, Gwangju, Yeosu, and Suncheon) of the Archdiocese.  We are involved not only with responding to the sacramental and spiritual needs of the people but also with community organization and the formation of these Filipino Catholic communities. Filipinos here are gradually becoming conscious of our presence and work especially in our efforts of responding to their needs and empowering them to actively participate in the church. Our Migrant Mission in the Archdiocese is greatly appreciated by the Filipinos and the Archdiocese as well.

We are active with our Redemptorist vocation promotion and formation program. Two postulants from Seoul come to visit our community periodically. They visit us for exposure and immersion.  They have been involved with common farming in the farms of our faithful in the Chaplaincy.  Two aspirants also stayed with us for few days of exposure to our Redemptorist life.

We continue to strive to be faithful to our community prayers, meetings, recreation and recollection.  We basically support and fend for ourselves as community, without the benefit of any staff or workers.  Occasionally we get invited to our leader’s family and friends for a meal with them, and we receive a lot of food donations from them to fill our supply. As a way of unwinding, we love jimjilbang (Korean sauna), movie watching and most of all dining -out to try delicious Korean dishes.

In general, we are really doing quite fine for an international community of three Redemptorists (the only religious community in the village with a dog named “Cheundung”) at work in the field of the Lord.  Not bad at all!”

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