Young South Korean Catholics celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Youth Bible Group at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on May 5. (Photo: Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation)

By UCA News reporter

May 17 2022

Study group was founded in 1972 despite pressure from the military regime.

About 700 young South Korean Catholics attended a special Mass, exhibition and cultural program in capital Seoul to mark the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Youth Bible Group.

During the event at Myeongdong Cathedral on May 5, organizers and participants thanked God for blessings over the five decades since the group was established in 1972 during military rule in South Korea.

Winners of a special Bible quiz competition, “Experience the Word of God,” received prizes. All participants received a copy of the Bible.

The theme for the jubilee celebration was “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119: 105), Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC) reported on May 13.

Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick of Seoul Archdiocese called on young Catholics to share the love with their neighbors.

“I think that God has called you to the Catholic Youth Bible Group to testify and share the love of God that you have experienced with your neighbors. I hope you will try to courageously put that love into practice in your life. Even if the journey toward the Word of God is difficult, we must not stop or give up,” Archbishop Chung said.

“When I watch the Olympic Games, there are boys and girls holding up signs in front of the athletes, and I think the Lord has given me that role”

Participants spoke of how Bible study had helped them to lead happy lives, while organizers thanked all people who had supported the group in the past 50 years.

Sister Cho Hwa-seon of the Sisters of Our Lady of Eternal Help is considered a pioneer in the formation of the group. The elderly nun, then a young college student, led the group’s first meeting at a convent at Jeongneung in Seoul in 1972.

She said she was happy to see some original members attend the jubilee celebration with their children.

“When I watch the Olympic Games, there are boys and girls holding up signs in front of the athletes, and I think the Lord has given me that role. I enjoyed the great blessing of meeting you in God,” Sister Cho said.

Archbishop Andreas Choi Chang-mu, former archbishop of Gwangju, recalled how the Church moved ahead with the Bible study group despite the military regime in the 1970s suppressing all youth clubs to dismantle any movement for democracy.

“It is heart-warming to feel that it is God’s work when I see the Catholic Youth Bible Group has taken roots, borne fruits and bloom like this”

“It took about three years to form the parent Bible group in parishes, and then within 10 years youth Bible groups were established. God’s providence and power are amazing. I give thanks, praise and glory to Jesus, the Word made flesh,” the prelate recalled.

Father Hong In-sik, who has been involved with the Bible group for over 25 years, thanked God for abundant blessings over the years.

“It is heart-warming to feel that it is God’s work when I see the Catholic Youth Bible Group has taken roots, borne fruits and bloom like this,” he said.

Helen Jin Hyo-na, a group member and volunteer for the 50th anniversary program, said she feels God’s love and grace in Bible meetings.

“I was moved by the fact that in the footsteps of our seniors we have lived with the same thoughts and nurtured the same faith while confirming that the concerns of young people are not much different from the past and now. It makes me feel again that the Holy Spirit is always with us,” she said. – UCA News