“It is important to pray for peace and reconciliation in Korea”


Aid to the Church in Need President Cardinal Mauro Piacenza opened the new office of Aid to the Church in Need in Seoul– and visited the demarcation line between South and North Korea

Following his visit to South Korea, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza talked about how impressed he had been by the vitality of the local Catholic church. “The people came in droves to the services I had the honour of celebrating. And their sympathy for the situation of the persecuted Christians across the world was remarkably high,” the president of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said. Cardinal Piacenza travelled to Seoul last week to celebrate the opening of the South Korean office of the pastoral charity. The Melkite archbishop of Homs in Syria, Jean AbdoArbach, also accepted the invitation to talk about what was currently happening in his church.

“I was particularly moved by the visit to the intra-Korean border. We were able to look the North Korean soldiers in the eyes; that was how close we were. We were only separated by a sheet of glass. I noticed how suspicious they were about our visit. However, I also saw curiosity in their eyes. This is certainly a positive thing,” the curial cardinal said following the visit to the demarcation line between North and South Korea. “The South Korean soldiers, some of them Catholic, were very welcoming. The same can be said for the Buddhist general, who reacted to our prayer for peace with sympathy.” Cardinal Piacenza recalled a recent incident at the intra-Korean border, during which two South Korean soldiers lost their legs. “All along the border there was evidence that there really is a war going on there. We saw how bleak the towns along the imposed border are. It was therefore very important to pray for peace and reconciliation in this wonderful country as well as for the healing of the inner and outer wounds of its people.”

The executive president of Aid to the Church in Need, Baron Johannes Heereman, was also impressed by what he saw at the opening ceremony of the Seoul office. “In South Korea we saw the great power of prayer of the faithful. This will strengthen us in our mission to pray for the suffering church.” Baron Heereman added that South Korea is currently transitioning from a receiving to a giving country. “Aid to the Church in Need acts as an intermediary between churches that are free and those that are oppressed or even persecuted. We are happy that South Korea has joined the international family of Aid to the Church in Need,” Baron Heereman said.

Aid to the Church in Need maintains offices in 22 countries around the world. The international pastoral charity supports pastoral projects of the oppressed and persecuted church in more than 130 countries.

Oliver Maksan

photo-2 photo-3