The North Korean Catholic Association hosted four delegates of a special Reconciliation Commission of the Korean Catholic Bishops' Conference, earlier this month.
    The purpose of the eight day visit was to confirm the distribution of 2000 tons of wheat donated by the Seoul Archdiocese. Another visit was made from 1-8 July by four priests of the Korean Priests' Association for Justice, who brought aid and celebrated Mass.
    The delegates conveyed a personal letter from Bishop Peter Kang, president of the Commission, to the North Korean Catholic Association (NKCA), expressing his willingness to visit North Korean Catholics, and inviting Chang Jae-eun, NKCA president to visit the South. "Chang promised to invite the Bishop, and accepted his invitation to visit Seoul," a delegate told Fides.
    During the visit, the delegates of the Korean Priests Association for Justice checked the distribution of fertilisers and water meters sent to North Korea in June. They also celebrated Mass for about 140 Catholics at Changchung Church and prayed for the Pope and for the Church in both North and South Korea. The Association reached agreements for sending medicine donated by an American NGO, through the North Korean Catholic Association.
    Pyongyang's openness is stirring a new impulse for mission endeavours among North Koreans. 22 priests of the Seoul Archdiocese have already volunteered to be part of a mission planned for North Korea. Since the June meeting of North and South Korean leaders, South Korean clergy may be allowed to minister in North Korea. A group of priests from the South told Fides that a mission in the North will pave the way for reconciliation.
    Zenit (available soon)
26 July 00

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