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Pastoral Letter by His Excellency Paul Tchang-Ryeol Kim, Bishop of the Cheju Diocese, Korea
Easter Sunday 1999

His Excellency Paul Tchang-Ryeol Kim, Bishop of the Cheju Diocese in Korea visited Naju on June 12, 1997 and witnessed a miraculous descent of the Holy Eucharist in the Chapel. In the above photograph, His Excellency holds the Eucharist in his hands to bless the faithful in the chapel.

+ Praise Jesus

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord! I extend my heartfelt greetings to each and every one of you on this great feast of the Lord’s Resurrection.

I would like to convey to you a strong inspiration that I received from the Lord during this Lent, which is the time for preparing for Easter Sunday and the Easter season. I think that it will be the best Paschal gift that I can give you to write this letter and, thereby, help you meditate on the profound meaning of the Easter season which begins on Easter Sunday, continues on through the Feast of the Ascension, and ends on Pentecost. I feel much joy in having this opportunity to reveal to you the profound mystery of what happened on the Pentecost, which marked the grand finale of the Easter season, because I have never issued a pastoral letter on the Pentecost.


Dear brothers and sisters! First, let us listen to St. Paul the Apostle: If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you (Romans 8:11). From these words, we can tell that the Holy Spirit who was involved in the Resurrection of Jesus will also be involved in our own resurrection. Therefore, it is necessary that the Holy Spirit take us as his own for us to be able to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus properly and to actually receive the grace of salvation that comes from His Resurrection (cf. Romans 4:25).

After His resurrection, Jesus left us. During my childhood, I used to feel much sadness when any of my family or relatives who had been staying with us were leaving. I was standing sadly, watching them leave, until they disappeared from my sight. After they left, I continued missing them for some time. When I meditate on the event of Jesus coming to this world and leaving it, I sometimes share the feeling of sadness that the Apostles must have felt when they were looking absent-mindedly at the sky even after the Lord disappeared from their sight. One might think how wonderful it would have been if Jesus did not ascend into Heaven after the Resurrection but continued to live on earth. However, if that happened, there would not have been any Pentecost. What would have been the consequence? The Lord’s work of salvation would have become fruitless and every work that He accomplished would have become useless. The Church and the Sacraments would have been powerless. Jesus allowed us to call His Father our Father, but we could not have felt or served Him as our Father. Besides, we could not have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord or Savior, either. We would have been leading our life of faith like the Apostles during the forty days before the Pentecost, seeing the resurrected Jesus occasionally. Fortunately for us, however, the Holy Spirit came to this world and took it as His own after Jesus had merited the salvation for us and left. This is what Jesus had predicted before His departure from the world. He even explained the reason by saying that it would be better for us if He left, and that the Paraclete would not come if He did not leave. He also gave us the pledge that the Paraclete whom He will ask the Father to send us would remain with us forever (cf. John 16:7, 14:16).

Now we can see that it is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus will remain with us until the end of the world. We can see that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit that we may not suffer from the sorrows of orphans while waiting for His return which He promised by saying: I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you (John 14:18). We can also understand the reason why the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete. We also acquire a deep understanding that as the Father Himself did not come as the Savior but accomplished that work through the Son, the Son handed over to the Holy Spirit the work of accomplishing salvation, which He earned, in individual humans. Truly Jesus gave us the revelations on the new life and opened the way for us to attain it, but did not accomplish it Himself. Completion and accomplishment come with the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The Holy Spirit will continue the work of Jesus and spread it to the entire world.

A visionary who lived in the 12th Century (Joachim of Fiore) classified the history of salvation into three ages: the age of the Father, the age of the Son, and the age of the Spirit. The age of the Father was succeeded by the age of the Son, which in turn has been succeeded by the age of the Spirit. He predicted that the third period, namely, the age of the Holy Spirit would be the climax of the history of salvation. Of course, the entire work of salvation is a common work by the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity. The work of salvation does not just belong to the Father and the Son but to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. By the action of the Holy Spirit, our salvation and the life of Christianity can reach their peak. Therefore, we cannot regard as groundless the words of that visionary that the age of the Holy Spirit would be the climax of salvation.


The Second Vatican Council was an important council for several reasons. I think the major significance of this Council can be found in that it provided momentum for the Second Pentecost. Soon after his installation, Pope John XXIII received a revelation that the Church needed reform. It was this revelation that brought about the opening of the Second Vatican Council. As he was summoning the new Council, the Pope offered a special prayer for the grace of a new descent of the Holy Spirit. He invoked fervently a new descent of the Holy Spirit as another Pentecost so that the Church, which had become stagnant, lost vitality, become rigidified, and lost fervor, might restore vitality, vigor and warmth. God has granted the Pope his fervent request. It could not have been otherwise, because it was God Himself who gave the revelation to the Pope. This was how the Second Vatican Council became a council of the Holy Spirit.

After the conclusion of the Council of the Holy Spirit, the Church revised the missal before anything else. The Roman Canon with its long history had been considered unchangeable. But after the Council it began to be called the Eucharistic Prayer instead. Besides, three new forms of prayer were added. More important than the addition of three new forms of prayers was the fact that the prayer for the Holy Spirit was included both before and after the consecration. The prayer before the consecration is called the prayer for the consecration, and the one after is called the prayer for unity. The prayer for the consecration is as follows: We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they may become the body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And the prayer for unity is as follows: Grant that we, who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ. As the Holy Spirit intervened when God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and the Word, took human flesh, He also intervenes when bread and wine turn into the flesh and blood of God the Son. We find the words of St. John Damascene in Article 1106 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine the Blood of Christ. I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought. Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself took flesh (De fide orth, 4,13).

Thus, he who brings Jesus Christ to the altar is the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be offered; nor can the Eucharist be realized. Neither is unity among God’s people at all possible without the Holy Spirit. Unity through Holy Communion will not be possible without the Holy Spirit, either. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us reaffirm this truth at every Mass and offer the prayers. I do not hesitate to assert that this liturgical reform was the greatest innovation brought about by the Second Vatican Council.

What I perceive in this liturgical reform is the profound connection between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Eucharist. When we look back at our Church history, we find times when the Holy Spirit was neglected. Those were also the times when correct understanding of and healthy devotion to the Holy Eucharist were lacking. As I already mentioned in the pastoral letter on Christmas Day of 1994, our Church had severely limited and suppressed Holy Communion by the faithful and, thereby, made it difficult for them to maintain a loving and life-giving contact with Jesus Christ for more than 1,000 years until the end of the 19th Century. Only since the beginning of the present century have more frequent and even daily Communions been encouraged, on the condition that proper preparations are made before Communion. This was fortunate and to be congratulated and was an epoch-making reform for the life of the faithful. But the conditions for receiving Holy Communion were still difficult. To say nothing of the spiritual preparation, the fasting which was required as physical preparation involved a superhuman determination and effort by today’s standards. After the Second Vatican Council, the requirement of fasting became so lightened that one could say that it was almost abolished. Furthermore, it has been allowed that one receive Communion during Mass twice on the same day. The contrast between then and now is so striking. I am inclined to say that such liturgical reforms have been the signs of approaching the Second Pentecost. It is by the Holy Spirit that we realize through faith the true presence of Jesus among us and in our lives. I would also like to emphasize that such dramatic reform regarding the Eucharistic devotion has been the fruit of private revelations received by holy souls.

We can find another sign of the Second Pentecost in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The Holy Spirit inspired the Fathers of the Council to include a clear explanation of the relationship between Him and the Church and between Him and individual Christians in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). In Article 12 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the Council clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit not only works through the Sacraments and the hierarchy but also bestows upon all members of the Church various graces including special charisms for the reform and more extensive growth of the Church; that the charisms should be welcomed with gratitude and a feeling of consolation for the growth of the Church; that decisions regarding the authenticity and good use of the charisms belong to those who govern the Church; and that the pastors have the responsibility not to extinguish the fire of the Holy Spirit but discern everything and keep what is good. This same teaching is also included in Article 3 of the Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People (Apostolicam Actuositatem). It is stated in this article that the Holy Spirit bestows graces on each person as He wishes so that each person may be the steward of the various gifts bestowed upon him by God and that discernment of the authenticity of these charisms and decisions on the good use of them belong to the pastors, not certainly with a view to quenching the Spirit but to testing everything and keeping what is good.

Thus, the Second Vatican Council not only highlighted the role of the Holy Spirit and glorified Him but also elevated the position of the laity. This elevation does not necessarily mean a change in their formal status but that lay people became entrusted with many different tasks by receiving favors and graces from the Holy Spirit more abundantly than ever. That these documents may not end up as mere scraps of paper, the Holy Spirit has been pouring down an unprecedented abundance of favors and graces directly upon the lay people. Thanks to the Council, the Second Descent of the Holy Spirit has come to the Church, and diverse charisms, which used to be old-time stories, have been poured upon the faithful as if the irrigation gate has been opened. You all have personally experienced such graces and are witnesses of these amazing works of the Holy Spirit.


I would like to mention one particular charism among many that have been generally bestowed upon all the faithful by the Holy Spirit. It is the charism of prophecy. A long time ago, God inspired Joel to prophesy as follows: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit (Joel 2:28,29) This is also a special characteristic of the age of the Second Pentecost that has been developing since the Second Vatican Council. The faithful had formerly been just receiving guidance and directions. The ordinary faithful could not dare to dream dreams or prophesy prophecies. Now they can dream dreams, see visions, and prophesy. They can meditate and pray while receiving inspirations, speak and teach what they received by revelations, and receive private revelations for themselves and for the communities.

Our age is indeed an age of private revelations. However, as has always been the case, disturbing remarks are now being heard within the Church in Korea and, especially, words of apprehension are being uttered by most of the shepherds. Such apprehension, however, is groundless, caused by lack of proper understanding of private revelations. In a broad sense, private revelations are the graces and privileges that any of the faithful can receive. Who can lead a life of faith without private revelations? It will not be possible. One cannot live as a Christian without inspirations and revelations. The Council gave a new clarification on this subject to the pastors and theologians in the Church. The reason for the concern about private revelations despite the Council’s teaching must be that, as the number of private revelations has been increasing, false revelations unavoidably have been occurring also, causing confusion. However, should we throw away money because there is counterfeit money? Because there are false private revelations, should we frown upon and ignore private revelations and inspirations themselves? All of the devotional movements and apostolates such as the Eucharistic devotion, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, novena devotions, Legio Mariae, M.E., Cursilio, Foccolore, Knights of St. Mary, Third Orders of the Franciscans, of St. Vincent, of St. Damian, etc. could not have started in the Church without private revelations. Religious orders could not have been founded, either. Who could dare found a religious order without revelations from the Lord? The Second Vatican Council, which we deem so precious, could not have started, either. That is because that Council was summoned under the inspiration of a private revelation to Pope John XXIII. Not only the Second Vatican Council, but how can any council be opened without private revelations? Without private revelations, I would not have anything to say as a pastor. I could write a theological dissertation, but could not write a worthy pastoral letter. One cannot lead a life of faith with public revelations alone. That is because the life of faith is a living communion with God. A church that only has organization, dogmas and theology would be a cold, lifeless organization. The Church can become a living body filled with vitality only when the Holy Spirit is active in the Sacraments and in the hierarchy and also enlightens and guides each one of the faithful. This is the very reason why our Church has untiringly defended the need for and the important role of private revelations by both explanations and actions despite the persistently recurring false private revelations and their harmful effects.

St. Paul the Apostle placed prophecy, which is to receive God’s words and relay them to others, at the second highest place in the rank of charisms (cf. Eph 2:20; 4:11). He also said the following: Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Eph 2:20). Article 4 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church states: The Spirit guides the church in the way of all truth and . . . bestows upon it different hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs it and adorns it with his fruits (Eph 4:11-12; 1 Cor 12:4; Gal 5:22). Therefore, it can be said that, as the teaching authority is important, private revelations are also important. That is why St. Paul urged the faithful as follows: Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy (1 Cor 14:1). The gift of prophecy for receiving God’s will as revelations and relaying them to others is that important for the life of our Church. All of the Saints received private revelations and are standard examples of those who received private revelations. The private revelations they received are products of the heavenly wisdom and exceed the extensive scholarly knowledge and accomplishments. On March 7 of this year, which was the Third Sunday of Lent, there was a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica for the beatification of Anna Schaeffer, who was a laywoman in Germany. She suffered indescribable physical pains with superhuman patience, but gave spiritual consolation and encouragement to others who were in difficulties with gentle and generous words of heavenly wisdom. She was able to lead such a holy life for 43 years thanks to the words of Jesus and the visions (which she called dreams) which she experienced from time to time.

There is something I would like to mention frankly. I am frequently more impressed by the testimonies of lay people than by the writings of the clergy. While the writings of the clergy are more rationalized and scholarly, the writings of lay people are mostly stories about the dreams they dreamt and the prophecies they received from God. The difference between the two is the difference in inspiration, graces and vitality. The Holy Spirit is truly pouring down his gifts indiscriminately upon his servants and handmaids of this age.


That the present age of the Holy Spirit is also the age of private revelations is evidenced by the fact that, within thirty years after the Second Vatican Council, three women were awarded the title of Doctor of the Church, which was unprecedented in Church history. In 1970, as if it were the opening signal for the age of the Second Pentecost, St. Teresa of Jesus and, one week later, St. Catherine of Siena received the title of Doctor of the Church. In 1997, St. Therese of the Child Jesus was also honored with the title of Doctor of the Church. Before then, all of the 30 Doctors of the Church had been men. To qualify for the title of Doctor of the Church, one must have both profound holiness and outstanding knowledge. These three women were declared Doctors of the Church, because it was recognized that they met both criteria. However, even though they had profound holiness, they did not study theology; nor had they much scholarly learning. Rather the opposite was true. St. Teresa received some education, but she only had knowledge of the Church doctrines. St. Catherine of Siena did not attend school at all and was illiterate. But God taught her how to read and write in a special way in order to use her as His instrument for relaying His revelations. St. Therese of Lisieux entered a cloistered convent when she was 14 and died when she was 24. What theological knowledge can we expect from her except what she learned about Church dogma? The outstanding knowledge that the three women possessed was acquired solely from private revelations. That they were awarded the title of Doctor of the Church was based on private revelations. Thus, the conferment of the title of Doctor of the Church on them changed the concept of knowledge and was a coronation of private revelations with a golden crown. Again, these women became Doctors of the Church not by their profound theological knowledge but by the books they wrote under the inspiration of private revelations. St. Therese of Lisieux wrote in her autobiography: As I was small and weak, He stooped down to me and gently taught me the secrets of His love. If scholars who had spent their lives in study had questioned me, I’m sure they’d have been amazed to come across a fourteen-year-old child who understood the secrets of perfection, secrets which all their learning couldn’t reveal to them, for one has to be poor in spirit to understand them (The Story of a Soul).

Therefore, to view private revelations as taboo is to turn one’s face away from the graces of the age of the Holy Spirit, which is the climax of the history of salvation. Looking back at Church history, we see that those ages when private revelations were despised were also the ages of ignoring the Holy Spirit and the ages of darkness. Examples are the ages of St. Joan of Arc and St. Teresa of Jesus.

Joan of Arc began hearing voices (private revelations) since she was 8 and revealed them when she was 13. She went on to render great services to her country and the Church. However, because of the voices she heard, she was brought to the court of the Inquisition. After many tricks and threats for three months in jail, she was forced to sign a false confession. According to a premeditated plan, she was excommunicated and sentenced to burning at the stake. Surprisingly, the chief judge who condemned and sentenced her was Bishop Pierre Cauchon, the Ordinary of the Bauvet Diocese, who had previously been the president of the University of Paris. Fortunately, however, as truth prevails eventually, the case of Joan of Arc was re-examined eighteen years later. After seven years of thorough investigation, Joan of Arc was declared innocent. Furthermore, she was canonized five hundred years later in 1920 and was declared the patroness of France. What is particularly amazing is the fact that she did not receive any education but is being recognized as a Saint of great genius. Merezkovkij, a Russian Orthodox thinker and a friend of Dostoyevsky’s, named five Saints of great genius in his book: Between Jesus and Us, which covers the 2,000 year history of the Church. These five Saints were: St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

In the case of St. Teresa of Avila, her spiritual writings barely escaped confiscation by the officials of the Inquisition who did not understand private revelations. By special protection by God, her writings escaped every crisis and have been preserved in the Church as precious spiritual masterpieces and the Saint herself also escaped trial by the Inquisition.

Dear brothers and sisters! Why would I reveal and reiterate to you a few of the disgraceful incidents in our Church history? I only have one purpose, which is, first, to emphasize that when the Holy Spirit is neglected, private revelations are also despised and, second, to warn that there always is the danger that such mistakes can be repeated, although not necessarily in the same manner in different local churches.


As soon as the Second Vatican Council ended, the charismatic movement was born in our Church. A good evaluation of that movement was included in the address by the Holy Father before an Italian charismatic group on April 4 of this year:

The Catholic charismatic movement is one of the many fruits of the Second Vatican Council, which, like a new Pentecost, led to an extraordinary flourishing in the Church’s life of groups and movements particularly sensitive to the action of the Spirit. How can we not give thanks for the precious spiritual fruits that the Renewal has produced in the life of the Church and in the lives of so many people? How many lay faithful —men, women, young people, adults and the elderly — have been able to experience in their own lives the amazing power of the Spirit and his gifts! How many people have rediscovered the faith, the joy of prayer, the power and beauty of the Word of God, translating all this into generous service in the Church’s mission! How many lives have been profoundly changed! For all this today, together with you, I wish to praise and thank the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Father added the following advice:

Faith dies when it is reduced to custom, to habit, to a purely emotional experience. It needs to be cultivated, helped to grow, at both the personal and the community level. I know that Renewal in the Spirit does all it can to respond to this need, always seeking new forms and ways that are better suited to the requirements of people today.

Dear brothers and sisters who are participating in the charismatic movement! What can you do for the charismatic movement to be cultivated and grow, as emphasized by the Holy Father? I would like to offer you a piece of advice. Compare today’s charismatic gatherings with those of 20 or 30 years ago. Has there been any growth and progress quantitatively and qualitatively? If the charismatic movement has not spread and become popular, could it not be because of you yourselves? Think about whether it has been you who have made those who had been hesitant about opening their hearts to the Holy Spirit become even more closed. If the forms of devotion that you have adopted look strange and even disgusting, how can the graces be distributed widely among all classes of God’s people? Many of the clergy and laity have become disgusted with your imprudent behaviors and eventually become resistant toward the Holy Spirit and even behave rudely toward Him. How can you be of any service to God and the Church, as long as you are perceived as unorthodox groups? Therefore, from now on, remember that the Holy Spirit has to get involved everywhere, for everyone, in every work, and in every event. The Holy Spirit has to intervene in the prayers of individuals, in homes, and in communities and also in all your projects and activities as members of families, as citizens and as members of the Church. This is my ardent desire and advice.

In fact, you have unintentionally planted a perception of yourselves as unorthodox groups in Christianity in the minds of many of the faithful. Listen to what a priest in the United States is saying: Catholics these days are truly confused. On the one hand, there are modernists. On the other, there are the Holy Ghost evangelicals who behave as if they had all the gifts of the Holy Spirit!

Such criticisms might have been caused by ignorance, misunderstanding, prejudice or even malice, but they certainly prompt you to re-examine yourselves. St. Paul said, Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed (2 Cor 6:3). Likewise, I want you to avoid giving offense to others that what you are doing may not be criticized. Even in the gatherings among the Protestant denominations with more established traditions, a common-sense order seems to be maintained except among some fanatical groups.

Dear members of the Diocese! Renewal in the Spirit has been perceived as a movement by a part of the faithful, but the renewal in the Holy Spirit itself belongs to all Christians. If it is a movement, it has to be a movement by the whole Church and by all of God’s people. Whether recognized or not, it is a fact that we have already entered the age of the Second Pentecost, which is the climax of salvation history. This age must continue until the end of the world. Therefore, we must not close our ears to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit even for one moment. We must not refuse the outstretching of His hands, either. I urge you earnestly. Call upon the Holy Spirit always. You may sing or recite hymns to the Holy Spirit. Or you may offer ejaculatory prayers like: Come, Holy Spirit! Abba, send us Your Spirit! Come, Holy Spirit, take possession of my heart and set it on fire with love! Come, Holy Spirit, and occupy this time and this place. Call upon the Holy Spirit at any time and at any place. Invoke Him at home, in the church, in the marketplace, at workplace, at school, at playground, in the car, in streets, in alleys, and everywhere. Then, the Holy Spirit will fill that time and that place with Himself. When all of God’s people in our Diocese do so, our Cheju Island will become enveloped by the Holy Spirit; and Jesus Christ will triumph, rule and command. God the Father’s holy name will be glorified, His Kingdom will come, and His will shall be done here as in Heaven. At the same time, the food that we need daily will be secured; we will forgive and love one another and, thus, be forgiven by Him; and we will escape from the rule by the force of evil and be protected from all kinds of evil.

I would like to tell you a story about myself. I invoke the Holy Spirit all the time. At all times and at all places, I call upon Him. In the Cheju bishop’s residence, there is a small, beautiful chapel with a tabernacle. Whenever I enter the chapel, I first invoke the Holy Spirit. Then, I offer the prayer to the Spirit which I began at the age of 13. Thus, the chapel is always under the power of the Holy Spirit and is a place where the true presence of Jesus and the Father is naturally felt. I always feel joy and peace of mind at this place. Of course, I firmly believe in the sacramental Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but this faith alone does not fully satisfy my thirst for experiencing Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who lets me experience Jesus and feel the Father’s presence filled with love and mercy. Thus, I gain some understanding of the words of St. Therese of Lisieux that she did not think that the life of seeing God directly would be possible only in the next life.

Dear brothers and sisters! We have just begun celebration of the Easter season of 50 days. Let us all celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus together with the Blessed Mother and see Jesus off who is ascending into Heaven. Then, together with the Blessed Mother, let us anxiously wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit and earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit and His abundant gifts. With such hope in my heart, I send my blessing to you, my brothers and sisters, and to your homes, in the name of the Blessed Trinity.

Bishop Paul Tchang Ryeol Kim
Diocese of Cheju, South Korea
Easter Sunday 1999

—from Mary’s Touch, July 1999 Newsletter

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