US SPIRITUAL LEADERS ON JEJU ISLAND
|Nipponzan Myohoji buddhist monk Gilberto Perez (left) and Jesuit Father Bix (right) join the dance at the front gate of Jeju Island Navy base construction site. Both men are from Washington state in the US|
A big event was held in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea by the Catholic community during this past weekend. It was a celebration of two years of active Catholic resistance at the base.
You would see and feel the holiness of this island; after returning from the regular daily practice of 100 bows (stand-kneel-deep bow) in front of a main gate of the construction site--with a view of the great sea beyond the site. The woman who started this deep bowing practice two years ago was there and today she was assisted by Gilberto and I, two Korean Notre Dame Sisters, a young woman from the US and two Korean women from Jeju. One of the ND Sisters said to me, “Your country has done this to us”!This is the most alive and vibrant faith community I've ever experienced. Daily Eucharist is the foundation of the ongoing acts of resistance which also occur each day. Everyday priests, nuns and villagers sit in chairs blocking the main gate while the sung Eucharist up the road is being broadcast. After the Mass and rosary there is very vibrant Korean dance that knocks your socks off and fills you with joy. After this there is lively song. This is followed by Korean lunch---kim chi style- that is held In the community meal house that has free and open meals every day.
The atmosphere is light and alive with communication. At 7AM the day starts with a village lady who leads us in 100 deep down on your knees bows in front of the gate. Different blocking actions take place in the afternoon. Each order of nuns sends two nuns every week to vigil and resist. They stay in a guest house that is rented by the diocese. Four Jesuits are assigned to full time resistance work. The bishop is fabulous and calls villagers to resistance as well as assigning priests to work for peace.
Gilberto Perez also wrote:
Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo,We all continue to pray. Yesterday and today over 75 Catholic nuns, 45 Jesuits and even the Bishop performed Sunday Mass. With over 300 local peoples and big dinner party at the village center. Reminds me of Cuba and Mexico where everyone in town is invited. Many of the nuns, priests and Bishop came from Seoul. Yes, Koreans are very passionate about peace and prayers, many studied in Berkeley, Boston and even the Philippines too. Two young Americans are here but not able to block gate, as they want to return to Korea. We sit in front of gate while Mass is said and police carry us off to let trucks and cars on/off the base and then we just return again. Police are thus far been pretty gentle. They remove us and lots of filming while this is performed, about five time each day.Fr. Bix becomes like a young teenager when he is resisting the empire and very funny and happy with all...A baby Buddha.