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By Our Own Correspondent

       Busan, South Korea, 1 September 2022 -- Almost 3 years after the inauguration of the ‘Memorial Hall of Fr John Lee’ in Busan, South Korea, the 3 SDB-strong community (Rector - Fr Sebastian Lee, SDB) with many lay volunteers, keeps the memory of the Salesian missionary in South Sudan alive. The 4-story 'hall' is located next to the birthplace of Fr John, a few meters from the Catholic Parish of Seong-do.

       In spite of pandemic restrictions, during the past 30 months the Memorial Hall has developed a large variety of programs for any kind of potential visitors:

  • An exhibition hall of Fr John Lee and Tonj is enriched by beautiful artistic decorations on stones or paper, fruits of one fervent Catholic artist
  • The programs for children and youth are getting shape, with a variety proposals for voluntary service in different ways
  • A regular Mass for the benefactors and well-wishers is celebrated every month on the 4th floor of the Memorial Hall

       Moreover in collaboration with the local district government (Busan Seo-gu: Western district) a large set of external signpost and digital indications in the vicinity of the Hall, named a 'Tonj Community' has been developed, with many street decorations:

  • Tonj community was designed around the ‘block’ of immediate houses with beautiful decorations, from nearby public bus-station to the bench for photo-sessions with Fr John Lee and Tonj’s young people on the bench.
  • Together with other two Busan city well known personalities: Doctor Chang kee-ryo (established Gospel hospital in Busan) and Fr Aloysius Schwartz (US citizen, Catholic priest who founded a large social welfare facility for children in the Philippines and Korea). The local government proposed a city-tour along the places of three famous citizens with opportunity of voluntary services.

       Beside the already established websites of the “Fr Lee Tae-seok True love practice foundation" (www.el-love.com) or "Fr John Lee Memorial Foundation" (https://m.facebook.com/people/FrJohn-Lee/100004135036461) .there is a new website of the Memorial Hall for a wider public (http://이태석신부기념관.com).

       Our hope is that that a similar 'Memorial Hall' of Fr John Lee will soon be developed in Tonj, South Sudan, to keep alive the exceptional story of this Salesian missionary, who inspires many young people on their Christian faith journey or Salesian and missionary vocation journey!

       Welcome to Tonj in Busan City, South Korea!

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