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Korean Catholic delegation goes north for first time


The Archdiocese of Seoul has sent the first-ever official Catholic delegation of 61 lay people and priests to North Korea.

AsiaNews.it reports that the group left yesterday and is led by Mgr Thomas Aquinas Choi Chang-hwa, the director of the National Reconciliation Committee, established in 1995 to "deliver God's love to our North Korean brethren."

Many sources have said the visit has "raised hopes about an agreement allowing more religious freedom in the country", ruled by a Stalinist regime and held by many to be an "an open air gulag".

Over the past 11 years, the committee has provided nearly $15 million in goods and services to the northern part of the peninsular, but this is the first time its members have been allowed to cross the border.

The delegation is scheduled to inspect conditions in health facilities it funded and to visit a food factory and a grain mill built with aid from Changchung - the only Catholic church in Pyongyang.


SOURCE
Catholic delegation goes north for first time ever (AsiaNews.it 26/4/06)

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27 Apr 2006