Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taek of Seoul recently ordained 16 new priests and 25 new deacons for the archdiocese that will host World Youth Day 2027 in South Korea.
With these ordinations, the number of priests in the main South Korean archdiocese goes from 969 to 985; if the 25 deacons become priests (none were reported as permanent deacons), that number would rise to 1,010.
The 985 priests include Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop emeritus of Seoul; the current archbishop; and the three current auxiliary bishops.
A news brief posted on the Archdiocese of Seoul’s website states that the ordinations took place on February 1 and February 2 in the Myeongdong Cathedral, both presided over by Chung.
The article further explained that “deacons and priests who are selected as clergy through the sacrament of holy orders have the duties of proclaiming the Gospel, administering the sacraments, and serving the Church as collaborators of the bishop. In particular, the priest celebrates Holy Mass as a representative of Christ.”
Of the deacons who were ordained, 21 received their formation at the archdiocesan seminary, one at the Redemptoris Mater seminary, one belongs to the Missionaries of the Word, and two others are Dominicans.
The text explained that “a deacon is the first level of clergy in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and can perform the sacraments of baptism and marriage.”
The biblical theme for the ordination ceremony of the priests and deacons was “Let innocence and uprightness preserve me; I wait for you, O Lord.” (Psalm 25:21)
Deacon Hwang Jun-ho, who submitted the relevant Scripture, explained that “this verse from David’s psalm contains the prayer of a person who responds to God’s call and advances toward him.”
“As a priest who is an instrument of God, there may be times in life when you wander and falter due to external and internal temptations and trials, but I chose this verse with the hope that you will be able to overcome these difficulties with ‘innocence and uprightness’ and stand before God on the last day as a righteous priest who resembles Jesus,” he said.
In South Korea, a country of 52.6 million inhabitants with a majority identifying as nonreligious, Catholics represent about 11 per cent of the population. According to the Vatican news agency Fides, there are more than 5,700 priests and 1,784 parishes in the country.
Pope Francis visited South Korea August 13–18, 2014, during an apostolic journey for the sixth Asian Youth Day.