My Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Diocese of Broken Bay,
Since the end of 2015, Bishop Peter A Comensoli had been in active dialogue with the Catholic Korean People of our Diocese about the possibility of providing the community a more stable and enduring identity.
The Catholic Korean Community has existed in the Diocese of Broken Bay for 13 years. It developed, initially, from the Korean Centre at Silverwater in the Archdiocese of Sydney. At the outset, the Catholic Korean Community of the Diocese of Broken Bay met in the Parish of Corpus Christi, St. Ives, then located in the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Waitara. Since November 2012 it has been located at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Normanhurst, in the Cathedral Parish of Hornsby. At present there are some 1,800 people in the community, and more than 400 families. Of these, 400-500 gather for worship each weekend. The community is organised into 10 neighbourhood groups: Gosford, Dee Why, Chatswood, Killara, Pymble, Turramurra/Wahroonga, Hornsby, Normanhurst and Epping.
It had become clear to Bishop Comensoli that the historic situation of the Catholic Korean Community as one group within an existing parish of the Diocese was not sustainable. The community enjoys a size, a structure and an aspiration that cannot be integrated easily into the limited resources of an existing parish of the Diocese. Subsequently, after much consultation and advice, in September 2016 he determined that a formal Catholic Korean Chaplaincy be established. In the Church’s law, “a chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a stable manner the pastoral care, at least, in part of some community or special group of Christ’s faithful, to be exercised in accordance with the universal and particular law.” Therefore, the establishment of a chaplaincy means that the Catholic Korean Community will not be accountable to a Parish Priest as such, but rather to the Chaplain to whose care it would be formally entrusted. The community will have its own identity in the Diocese of Broken Bay rather than being simply a movement within an existing Parish.
Prior to Bishop Peter’s departure from us, the documentation that might underscore this framework had been developed. A Charter for the Chaplaincy had been formulated and a Memorandum of Understanding to guide the relationship of the proposed Chaplaincy in its ongoing use of the site of Queen of Peace, Normanhurst, which it shares with the members of the Cathedral Parish of Hornsby, had also been formed. The last twelve months have enabled us to continue to consult all parties about both the Diocesan Charter and the Parish Memorandum. They have also assisted us to ensure that everything is in place for the Catholic Korean Community and the Cathedral Parish to transition to the new arrangements. Also, in January of this year, Fr Simon Seong Kyeong Park has joined us from the Diocese of Incheon, South Korea to assume pastoral responsibility for the Chaplaincy.
It is my privilege now to share with you that this project of over three years’ consideration, is to be implemented on 1 July 2019. From this date, the Korean Catholic Community will be recognised as its own entity in the Diocese, with a capacity to exercise its life and future, under the authority of the Bishop. The Chaplain, Fr Simon, will enjoy the administrative governance of the Community entrusted to his care, along with his pastoral care for the Community for which he has responsibility. The Charter and the Memoranda are now published in both English and Korean and are available to view on our Diocesan website.
The period from 1 July 2019 to the time a new Bishop is appointed will provide us with the opportunity to make any adjustments based on our experience, so that we can present the Chaplaincy to our new Bishop with confidence and for his confirmation. We ardently hope that he will express his confirmation in a solemn and festive celebration which will be a grand moment not only for the Korean Catholic Community but for the whole of our Diocese.
We congratulate the Catholic Korean people of our Diocese at this milestone. In this development they have both proper recognition and a place from which they can promote their cultural expression of faith in the best possible way. I also express my gratitude to the Normanhurst community of the Cathedral Parish of Hornsby who extend their hospitality to our Catholic Korean community at this time. Their generosity and graciousness have been of invaluable assistance in this initiative.
In our single Diocesan family we have many different cultures, all of whom are important to acknowledge, to nurture and to celebrate – for each of them is a powerful means by which God reveals himself; each of them has something to teach us about the mystery of God and of faith. May this time be one of grace and blessing for us all as we celebrate the communion of life we share out of our rich diversity.
Very Rev Dr David Ranson
Download Charter for the Korean Catholic Chaplaincy in English and Korean (PDF 2.4MB)