|FOCUS ON KOREA|
The following are excerpts from the annual report made jointly by Theresa Kim (National Responsible) and Sebastian Lee to the international MLC leadership team. As you can see they are quite organized and have developed a formation process for new lay Marianists.
The organization of Korea MLC:
Korea MLC is composed of 220 lay Marianists in 22 communities. There is a National Council and 2 City Councils (Seoul and Incheon). The National Council is made up of a representative, the heads of 3 offices and the heads of the two city MLCs, totalling 6. The National Council has 4 meetings a year plus 2 meetings with SMs and FMIs. It coordinates the City Councils, animates the MLCs, and maintains relationships with the international Marianist Family.
Each City Council is composed of a representative and 3 heads of 3 offices. The role of City Council is similar to National Council. The term is also 3 years. Seoul MLC has a meeting and Mass the first Sunday of every month. The Incheon MLC meets the second Sunday.
How to become a lay Marianist:
Most Korean Marianists invite their friends in the parish to join their MLC for Mass. After that the friend may decide to become a lay Marianist. At first, we call it the "period of interest." The next year they study the Charism of Chaminade and his life. This is called the "year of novice" and usually continues 1 or 2 years. Finally, when they make a decision to be Marianist, they dedicate on the first Sunday of February. They then renew their commitment every year. In all, it takes about 2 or 3 years to be a "dedicated lay Marianist."
Korean Catholicsm is very much based in the parish (rather than a religious order.) That is why we draw members from our parishes.
Last summer we started a Marianist Korea Volunteer project. We serve at the Chaminade Elderly Care Center in Incheon once a month where we bathe and clean patients. Last year we also distributed piggy banks to the MLCs of Seoul. At the end of this year we will gather them and send the money to India and Africa. Also we sent a donation to the Japanese MLCs to console them after the March earthquake and tsunami.
The crisis or opportunity for MLCs:
Over the past 3 years, Incheon MLC members have decreased gradually while Seoul has been growing. In response, the Seoul Council began to send Christmas cards and Name Day cards to all MLCs and SM, FMI. Council members tried to attend funeral services and wedding ceremonies, etc. As a result, these activities have strengthened the spirit of Marianist family. Seoul also reached out to form a community of young adults. Currently there are 16 young men and women. The young adults just returned from JMJ (World Youth Day) in Spain and Chaminade's birthplace in France and Rome last month. They will play an important role in Korea MLC.
SM Center and ground-breaking ceremony:
The SM Center had its groundbreaking ceremony at the new place on September 4. About 200 Korean Marianists took part in the ground-breaking ceremony and Mass. (See photo.) We are full of hope for the future.
Korea General Meeting:
Every 3 years we have a general meeting for all Korean MLC leadership. All heads and heads of 3 offices in the communities participate in this meeting. We discuss about how to live as a Marianist and elect the representative of national council. The 6th General Meeting will be held on December 10 this year.