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By Fr Samuel Yu, SC office Korea

Seoul, Korea, 17 November 2019 -- Next year of, 2020, Korea will remember the 10th anniversary of the death of their most famous Salesian missionary, the late Fr John Lee Tae Sok. He was sent by the superiors to South Sudan in Africa as a Salesian missionary priest, as a medical doctor and educator and spent 8 years working in Tonj. Fr. John passed away after a year-long battle with cancer and is now called the ‘Don Bosco of Tonj’.

In remembrance of our beloved Salesian confrere, Fr. John Lee, in Korea and beyond, the Salesian province of Korea is preparing a broad variety of initiatives in order to keep his legacy alive:

The 10th anniversary will open with the Eucharist to be celebrated in the Salesian High School in Gwangju by Archbishop Kim Hee Jung Hijino, Salesian Past Pupil and Archbishop of Gwangju, on 12 January 2020.

Another documentary movie produced by KBS media (National TV station) ‘Don’t Cry, Tonj 2: Shukran Baba” will be launched in early January 2020. This movie will present the life and death of Fr John, after the successful ‘Don’t’ Cry, Tonj 1’ that was watched by several million people in Korea and abroad. This movie the result of cooperation (MOU) between the KBS and Salesian Society in Korea, supervised by SC delegate, Fr Samuel Yu.

The opening of the Fr John Lee Memorial Hall in Busan (second largest Korean city) is scheduled for 14 January 2020 on the day of his death anniversary. This memorial hall (4 storey building) is located in the Western part of Busan, within the ‘Tonj Cultural Park’, and was constructed by the local administration in order to keep alive the spirit of generosity and service of Fr John Lee in his home place. A few days ago this Memorial Hall was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco and one Salesian priest and one Salesian brother will be sent to this new apostolic work. The opening ceremony will involve another four organizations that care about the spirit of Fr John Lee.

Launching of a new biography (scheduled for December 2020) by the 10th year death anniversary commission, edited by Lee Chung Ryol (author of late Cardinal Stephen Kim biography) and published and distributed by a major Korean publisher “Kim Yong Sa’. This process is under the responsibility of the Fr John Lee Memorial Foundation (chairman Fr. Mike Chang, SDB – provincial delegate for missionary animation).

Salesian Family open ‘Symposium on Retelling the Story of Fr. John Lee’ is scheduled for 24 June, his feast day (St John Baptist) in Seoul, with a photo exhibition and concert.

The whole one year celebration is launched with the help of many well-wishers, Korea Catholic media (Pyong Hwa Broadcasting) and other major media. At the same the Salesians continue the process of collecting all related documentation about the life and mission of Fr. John Lee (1962-2010). All materials will be available on a digital platform.

We pray, that this incoming celebration will encourage many young people and the Salesians to live with the same missionary spirit and generosity of late Fr John Lee, SDB!

Related materials on Fr. John Lee (collection) on Boscolink:

Fr. John Lee memorial foundation:

Media news articles

The Korea Times:

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea:

AustraLasia 5250 (II) Steadfast growth of the missionary culture in the EAO region

AustraLasia 4626 (II) Who was for me Fr. John Lee (interview)

ANS 14th January - A Day to Remember: 






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