When Fr. Han Lim Moon is ordained to the episcopate on May 4 he will make history. Bishop Elect Moon will become Auxiliary Bishop for San Martin, Argentina.. He will be the first South Korean-born prelate to be appointed to the episcopate outside his native country. It will also be the first time an Asian-born prelate joins the Argentine Episcopal Conference.
At 58 years of age, however, he has lived more of his life in Argentina than in South Korea.
Bishop Elect Moom immigrated to Argentina at the age of 21 along with his mother and brother. When he arrived in country he had nine years of minor and major seminary studies under his belt. The young seminarian moved straight away to ask the Archbishop of Buenos Aires for admission to the diocesan seminary.
In 1984 he was ordained to the priest hood for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and served as a hospital chaplain, parish pastor, and a point of reference for the Korean community living in Flores, a suburb of Buenos Aires.
When asked if he expected to me made a bishop he told journalists that just before being told he was being appointed auxiliary bishop, he was in the chapel praying before the Blessed Sacrament. He said, “it occurred to me to ask God if there was anything he wanted to tell me and he dictated to my heart a prayer that I have in which He asks me to be a blank page so He can do with my life what He wills.”
Bishop Elect Moon met then-bishop Bergoglio in 1994 when he wanted to invite the Little Servants of the Holy Family of Seoul to Flores. Bergoglio gave his permission to invite the sisters, and from then on was invited to all the major feasts celebrated by the Korean community in Flores. Despite the long standing connection to Pope Francis, Bishop Elect Moon said only God knows why the Holy Father decided to make him a bishop.
Next week will be a full week at the Vatican. On Monday, February 17 the Council of Cardinals will meet for the third time. The council will meet from February 17 to 19.
Pope Francis will then hold a Consistory or consultation with the entire College of Cardinals on February 20 and 21.
On February 22, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Francis will meet with the College of Cardinals again, this time to officially create 19 new cardinals. The following day the new cardinals will celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s with Pope Francis and their brother cardinals.
After the October session of the Council of Cardinals the Vatican that Pope Francis had called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the context of Evangelization. In December, during the Council’s second session, it was announced that Pope Francis would create a Commission for the Protection of Minors.
During the last meetings of the Council of Cardinals the Vatican’s spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi said the cardinals had been reviewing each Vatican dicastery, examining what needed to be changed or restructured. At the time Fr. Lombardi said the cardinals felt it was too early to begin announcing changes to the structure of the curia, but changes would be made in due time.
Given the number of meetings scheduled in the week ahead, we could see more announcements about new initiatives approved by the pope.