Seoul, Korea, 21 January 2022 -- In the context of a fast ageing Korean society, nuclear families and fast ageing Catholic community with few young people, the years of many vocations in Korea are already over. Not only women's and men 's religious congregations, but also the diocesan clergy of the 11 dioceses in South Korea recognize a sharp decline in vocations. Just last year some 36 young men joined the largest of 6 Major Seminaries (Seoul), but this year only 9 newcomers are being welcomed. Even some mainstream religious congregations of men have not able to welcome a single novice already for some years.
Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB):
With 6 new novices welcomed on 3 January 2022 to the Daejon Novitiate, the Salesians are grateful to God for this blessing. Another 3 new pre-novices were welcomed on the same day to the prenovitiate in Don Bosco Youth Center community in Seoul and two new Aspirants joined us in Gwangju. At present the SDBs have 26 candidates and young confreres in initial formation.
Salesian Sisters - Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA)
With 4 novices in 2022 and one newly professed sister and 3 perpetually professed on January 6 in Seoul provincial house
Caritas Sisters of Jesus (CSJ in English or SCG in Italian) With 4 novices and two postulants to join soon after the novitiate in Gwangju. This community is international, unlike the SDBs or FMAs. There are two Vietnamese novices at the moment and two years ago there were novices of another nationality. Profession day for the Caritas Sisters in Korea is scheduled for February 2nd.
Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB)
The largest women's secular institute in the Catholic church has just two local groups in Korea, but they continuously welcome new aspirants, this January three new candidates started their serious discernment journey in Seoul.
The Feast of Saint Francis de Sales is traditionally for perpetual professions for the SDBs. Anybody can join the live-streamed Eucharist with KOR provincial Fr. Timothy Choi on 24 January: Cl. Lee Marciano, Cl. Shin John Chrysostom and Cl. Kim Stefano, SDB. You may follow their perpetual profession on the YouTube LIVE streaming. They are also asking for your prayers!
About 11% of the population of South Korea (roughly 5.8 million) are Catholics, with about 1,734 parishes and 5,360 priests as of 2017. By proportion of a national population and by raw number of adherents, South Korea ranks among the most strongly Catholic countries in Asia after the Philippines and East Timor. Last 2020 in South Korea there were 5500+ priests (809 of them religious), 1072 men religious and 10,000+ women religious and 166 missionary society priests. However the number of novices or new candidates for the major seminaries is diminishing. In 2020 there were some 56 novices in all 60 men religious congregations.
- LIVE streaming of the SDB perpetual professsion SDB (24 January, 14:00 (Seoul-Korea time)
- Korea 2022 SDB perpetual profession YouTube LIVE streaming (January 24)