- (Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul Facebook)
His Exc. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seoul, has called upon the Virgin Mary for help and addressed the "urgency of reconciliation" between North and South Korea, as the two nations prepare to restart family reunions.
The Archbishop said that Mary is the "Mother of reconciliation" and that Catholics entrust her with the promotion of peace on the Korean peninsula, according to Fides News Agency.
North Korea recently agreed to restart reunions of families that were separated during the 1950-1953 war, which will take place at a tourist resort in the North in September. South Korean president Park Geun-hye had called last week for a resumption of the reunions, described as highly emotional affairs, which were last held in 2010.
BBC News noted that hopes are such reunions will help ease tensions between the two countries, which are technically still at war since a peace deal was never reached in 1953.
"The reunion of separated families and their relatives shall be made in Mt Kumgang resort on the occasion of the upcoming Harvest Moon Day," revealed the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.
President Park added: "I hope this agreement will help correct wrong practices of the past inter-Korean relations and pave the way for new relations of co-existence."
Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, who took charge of the Archdiocese of Seoul last year, recalled the liberation of Korea from Japanese imperialism on August 1945, which he described as a "gift of the Virgin Mary." He said that 60 years ago the mother of Christ was the "mother of liberation" for Koreans, but today she can be "the mother of reconciliation."
"With her maternal charity, she takes cares of the brethren of her Son, who still wander on earth and in places surrounded by dangers and difficulties," the archbishop added.
He noted that there is serious conflict and division in the Korean peninsula, and the matter of reconciliation is also a path of peace for the whole world.
"That is why we should set aside the past and look towards a bright future of hope," Andrew Yeom Soo-jung continued.
He said that too many people have died and families have been separate because of the division between the North and the South.
"I would like to ask the Korean government to begin to solve the most urgent problems: the confirmation of the survival of members of families divided by the border between North and South Korea, the modalities of exchange of letters and reunifications. I pray that wiser policies are applied according to criteria of humanity and that dialogues may resume until the day when North and South Korea can open their hearts to each other."
The Archbishop concluded his message by calling on Christians around the world to put aside divisions and hatred and to pray for love and peace.