Wednesday, November 25, 2009

North Korean Refugees “agents of the Gospel"

North Korean refugees living in South Korea "are agents of evangelization, members in all respects of our society and friends to build the future together."

This was the message of the auxiliary bishop of Seoul, Mgr. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, during the 12th meeting of the Episcopal Network for Reconciliation of the Korean people for which he is president. The theme of the November 22nd meeting, was "Saeteomin, agents of the Gospel."

Saeteomin in Korean means "refugees, settlers”, and is the term by which the South Koreans call those who manage to escape from the regime in Pyongyang. Over time, given the very low level of integration of North Korean refugees, it has become a derogatory term.

The Bishop stressed their testimony "will help us increasingly expose and overcome the social prejudice that affects them, and the sense of alienation that greets them in South Korea. Listening to their testimony, we learn to know and welcome them, also in view of their role as evangelists, when North Korea will return to being a free country”.

According to Professor Ko Kyeong-bin, who teaches at the University of Seoul, "The agony of the 20 thousand saeteomin living here is of great concern. On the other hand, they are only the mirror of the 20 million North Koreans who would come to us after the reunification of two Koreas. We have a long way to go before being ready to welcome them in the right way. "

Before closing the meeting, Msgr. Kim added: "I will pray to God that the day will soon come when we can all live the reconciliation of the two Koreas with one heart”.

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