Life and Peace Mass Facing Oppression

Video by Peace Nomad and Fr. Mun Jeong Hyeon's writing

(Video by Peace Nomad)


Life and Peace mass facing oppression

Writing by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon

May 3, 2013


‘How daring they are to forcefully carry off priests during the mass!

We hold mass in front of naval base construction(destruction) gate every 11 am.

There is a reason. It is the very site where mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, a villager (Mr. Kim Jong-Hwan), and an activist (Mr. Kim Dong-Won) were arrested on August 24, 2011 after which they were soon to be imprisoned (* All were released after three months since then). On Sept. 2, 2011 when they set up high fence, closing the farm road to the Gureombi Rock through a big administrative execution, priests in robes were invaded of the mass site and carried off. We could not but offer mass across the construction gate since then.

We hold mass looking at the Joongdeok Sea and Gureombi Rock. It is speechless to express how disgracefully we have been oppressed. The incident of blaspheme on the Eucharist on Aug. 8, 2012 is that case. Since then, we have been guaranteed of mass hour and venue.

However, drastic policy started since April 25, 2013, after [Kang Un-Sik], the chief of the Seogwipo Police Station was inaugurated on April 22.  830 police personnel  including those of the main land were mobilized on the day. They allow the entry and exit of construction vehicles including cement mixer trucks during the mass, breaking promise without notice. Not to mention guaranteeing the mass, they make it difficult.

In fact, the police had not allowed the passage of vehicles as though they were making favor of it, while the navy had even closed the main gate.

However, things  happened in Gangjeong, too, same with the forceful removal of Ssangyong workers’ tent that has been enshrined of scrolls of portraits and forceful setting-up of flower beds, in front of Daehan gate, center of Seoul. Those were almost at the same time.

We are to dedicate mass as we have done. The Fathers, Brothers, and followers who hold mass sitting in front of main destruction gate have gotten various insults, been carried off by police, and been encircled. Once the construction vehicles come, those are what happen. We occupy our seats again once we are released from that circling.

How daring they are to carry off priests in mass and to encircle them! Today’s officiating Father, looking at those scenes, moved altar, set it up in front of main gate and started mass. Countless policemen were mobilized and encircled the altar. They were ordered to stand between the altar and followers, isolating us. The followers who have joined the mass in isolation looked to realize the great meaning of mass. An epoch-making event happened. [The followers of which most are old women gradually, naturally and peacefully broke the barrier]

We who are staying in Gangjeong are living in tension all the time.

Long years brings tension into disease. Though oppressed we are, our prayer becomes more urgent under greater oppression.’ (Source: Original Korean writing)