Nov 21, 2009

The 15th Korea-Japan Bishops Exchange meeting

Catholic Bishops Conference both from Korea and Japan, as neighbouring conferences, have been holding regular meeting in one of either country once a year by this time of the year since 1995. So the 15th meeting between Catholic Bishops of Korea and Japan was held in Osaka from 17 to 20 November which was attended by 14 bishops from Korea and 17 from Japan. The main topic of this year's meeting was to lean from life history of late Cardinal Kim of Soul who passed away in February this year. Bishop Kang U-il, bishop of Cheju and the president of the Korean Bishops Conference, who had been an auxiliary bishop for Cardinal Kim for long time gave us a talk on late cardinal's life. We also had a chance to watch a DVD presentation on his life history.

The group was divided to 3 after the talk and lunch with priests of Osaka to visit 3 different areas in Osaka to learn about reality and history of this area. I joined a group which went to Kobe to learn about severe earthquake in 1995 and visited Takatori Catholic Church which was burnt down with all other houses in the affected area after the quake. There we met those who are working for various NGOs and also visited FM YY (Wai Wai) which has been providing local information in many languages since the quake time so that foreign residents in the area are not left behind. After the study session, we also had wonderful diner in one of the local cuisine to enjoy OKONOMIYAKI, a local Japanese pancake.

After the serious meeting, we also had fun of visiting AWAJI island. My biggest surprise was the Otsuka Museum where they reproduced the Sistine Chapel precisely in size and colour. They have special technique to reproduce art on ceramic tiles. They are not just a copy but a work of art by itself.

Big thanks for Osaka archdiocese for wonderful hospitality. We will meet in Korea for next meeting.

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