Supreme Knight, Bishop of U.S. Military Archdiocese Visit Korea

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5/1/2012

by Patrick Scalisi

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and Bishop F. Richard Spencer, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, visited South Korea to meet with fellow Knights there and assess the outreach to Catholic members of the armed forces.

The trip included meetings with Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Korea; Cardinal Nicholas Cheong JinSuk, archbishop of Seoul; Bishop Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il of the Military Ordinariate of Korea; and Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Korea. The supreme knight’s delegation, which included the Order’s assistant for military affairs, Charles H. Gallina, also visited historical and religious sites.

Arriving April 23, the supreme knight met with Ambassador Kim and military Knights who serve at the United Nations Command headquarters before touring the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with Bishop Spencer. The zone has divided the two countries for nearly 60 years.

“I have personally visited and walked inside the DMZ more than 11 times, and each time I walk away with prayers of hope on behalf of the people who live in this desperate country,” said Bishop Spencer, who is a member of Bishop John J. Kaising Council 14223 at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea.

The following day, Anderson and Bishop Spencer led military chaplains and Knights on a pilgrimage to the Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine, atop a small cli? on the bank of the Han River. ?e shrine is named for a dark period in Korean history: During the Catholic persecution of 1866, thousands of Catholic priests and lay people were martyred in revenge for the invasion of the French. Jeoldusan, in Korean, means “mountain where heads were chopped,” and the site is one of the most sacred places in the country.

The visit to the shrine was followed by lunch with Archbishop Padilla, who shared with those in attendance that his father was intensely proud of his membership in the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. The archbishop’s father even directed that “Knights of Columbus, Faithful Navigator” be inscribed on his tombstone.

Later, the supreme knight and Bishop Spencer met with Cardinal Cheong JinSuk, who related how he had worked with and assisted the U.S. military during the 1950-53 Korean War. ?e cardinal said that he remains grateful for the contributions that the United States continues to make on behalf of his people.

Following meetings with other members of the Korean Catholic hierarchy, the K of C delegation embarked on the highlight of the trip. On April 25, the supreme knight traveled to Yongsan to take part in a historic Fourth Degree exemplification.Nearly 40 members of Council 14223 were initiated as charter members of Bishop Joseph W. Estabrook Assembly which is named for an auxiliary bishop of the U.S. military archdiocese who passed away Feb. 4 after battling pancreatic cancer. The exemplification was followed by a special Mass during which Roy L. Mellon Jr. and Joseph Y. Pak were installed into the office of acolyte, a step in their formation toward becoming deacons. Both men are past grand knights of Council 14223 and, when ordained, will be the first-ever permanent deacons in service to the U.S. military archdiocese.

Concluding the visit with a celebratory dinner after Mass, Anderson thanked the military Knights for their hospitality and for their Christian witness among the ranks of fellow soldiers.

“A number of you have thanked me for coming all this way to be with you,” said the supreme knight to those assembled, “but really I should thank you because my wife Dorian and I are going to take back memories that we will never, never forget."