Call for world prayers for peace and reconciliation
Ahead of the inner-Korean summit-meeting, the Holy Father, as well as distinguished representatives of the Korean Church, called for prayers for peace and reconciliation on the peninsula.
On Friday, April 27th, the South Korean president Moon Jae-in met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Panmunjeom, the place where Korean soldiers from both sides face off every day. This will be the first time in over a decade that leaders of the two countries met face to face to discuss paths towards an appeasement of the situation that had been dominated by tension and at the brink of war in recent years. It was only in the course of the Olympic winter games that the situation eased and the meetings of the two Korean leaders, as well as a meeting of the ruler of the North with the US president, were agreed upon.
Just a few months prior to the games, at a time when relations where still frosty and belligerent rhetoric, manoeuvres and nuclear tests dominated the international headlines, a small delegation of Aid to the Church in Need, headed by the South Korean Military Bishop Yu Soo-il and the National Director of ACN Korea Johannes Klausa, visited the Demilitarized Zone. The delegation included international guests such as a Pakistani Archbishop, a Lebanese Provincial, a Sister Superior from Uganda as well as the General Secretary of Aid to the Church in Need International, Philipp Ozores. In “Panmunjeom”, where the summit took place, Archbishop Shaw of Lahore led the delegation to pray for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula…
Prior to Friday’s historic meeting, representatives of the Catholic Church of Korea, as well as Pope Francis, have called upon the world to pray for the success of the summit and peace in Korea. At the end of Wednesday’s general audience in Rome the pontiff said:
“This meeting will be a favourable opportunity to start a transparent dialogue and a concrete path of reconciliation and newfound fraternity, in order to guarantee peace in the Korean Peninsula and in the whole world. To the Korean people, who ardently desire peace, I assure my personal prayer and the closeness of the whole Church. The Holy See accompanies, supports and encourages all useful and sincere initiatives to build a better future, in the name of encounter and friendship among peoples. I ask those who have direct political responsibilities to have the courage of hope by becoming “artisans” of peace, while I exhort them to continue with confidence the path undertaken for the good of all “.
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, the Archbishop of Seoul, who is also Apostolic Administrator of Pyeongyang and President of ACN Korea, has written a special prayer asking our Lady to intercede and a plea for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. On Wednesday he first prayed it in a special Holy Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral together with the Korean faithful. Now Aid to the Church in Need asks all of its benefactors and friends around the world to join this prayer campaign and accompany our brothers and sisters in Korea with hearts and in their prayers!
On Sunday, the Kim Jong Un regime announced it would shift its clocks forward 30 minutes next weekend to unify with South Korean time — one of several conciliatory gestures decided at Friday’s historic talks between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Following a meeting oozing with fraternal symbolism at the riven peninsula’s demilitarized zone, or DMZ, North and South also agreed to restart family reunions, open a liaison office, and to put an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which officially is still being waged since only an armistice rather than peace treaty was ever signed. “A new history begins now,” Kim wrote in the visitor’s book of the DMZ’s Peace House. “An age of peace, at the starting point of history.”
North Korea’s nuclear test site will close in May, the South Korean president’s office has said. A spokesman said the closure would be done in public and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un promised to invite US experts and journalists to watch the closure of the country’s nuclear test site next month.
Let us hope and pray that disarmament will actually happen this time. North Korea previously signed denuclearization agreements which did not take place with:
- South Korea in 1992
- the U.S. in 1994
- the Six Party Talks participants in 2005
- the Obama administration in 2012.