As tensions rise over North Korea's missile and nuclear program, Korean bishops are encouraging Catholics in South Korea to ask for the Blessed Mother's intercession for peace on the peninsular. The bishops, including Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, made this part of their message in celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which falls on 15 August.
In his message, Cardinal Yeom asked Catholics to pray the rosary in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparition in Fatima.
"The Virgin Mary urged us to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world," said Cardinal Yeom. "The rosary is our spiritual weapon to defeat evil effectively and it will help us overcome challenges in our faith and transfigure us to become workers for world peace," he said.
Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule on 15 August, 1945, coincidentally on same day Catholics celebrate the feast of Mary's assumption. The Catholic Church in Korea is also dedicated to the Blessed Mother and it considers its liberation as a "gift from Mary."
Cardinal Yeom expressed grave concern over mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula fueled by North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile programs. "For the safety and the future of all Koreans, North Korea should come to the discussion table and abandon their nuclear weapons," he said.
North Korea said yesterday that it is "carefully examining" plans for a missile attack on the US territory of Guam, just hours after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that any threat to America would be met with "fire and fury," Reuters reported.
In his message for the Marian feast, Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon said: "The church should promote the culture of peace and life against the culture of death that is mounting on the Korean peninsula. We should defend our peace by praying for mercy and peace."
Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon of Uijeongbu called for a peace accord between the two Korea's who are technically still at war.
The bishop also asked world leaders to work together to settle tensions on the peninsula.
Bishop John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju of Andong asked Catholics in Korea to be workers for the peace.
"Let's achieve peace in this land by doing works for peace in our daily lives," he said.