The archdiocesan territory covers Seoul, an area of 605 square kilometers, and Hwanghae province, an area of 16,744 square kilometers in North Korea. The ecclesiastical region of Seoul comprises the Metropolitan Seoul archdiocese with suffragan dioceses of Chunchon, Daejeon, Incheon, Suwon, Uijeongbu and Wonju. Pyongyang and Hamhung dioceses and the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon, all in North Korea, are its suffragans.
In 1992, Seoul archdiocese introduced the Small Christian Community (SCC) movement by Cardinal Stephen Kim, then Archbishop of Seoul. At that time, then Auxiliary Bishop Peter Kang Woo-il said each of Seoul's parishes had about 7,000 Catholics but about 90 percent lacked strong parish ties and felt alienated. To deal with the matter, the archdiocese chose the SCC model as the core of its evangelization in the new millennium. The archdiocese fit the SCC concept into its parish district system, in which every parishioner belongs to one SCC in principle. Through SCCs, laypeople can play a more active role and meet regularly to reflect on the Gospel, and Church and social concerns.
Located in the center of the Korean peninsula, Seoul has been the capital city of Korea since the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) moved its capital to Seoul in 1394. The name "Seoul" comes from the ancient word "Seorabeol" or "Seobeol," meaning "capital."
Seoul is a hub of the national economy, playing a key role in the free flow of national resources and capital. The vast majority of head and branch offices of large business groups and multinational corporations are all concentrated in Seoul.
In Seoul, radios and many national and local TV stations are available. Most families are also equipped with telephone and ultra high-speed Internet. Most individuals have mobile phones.
Seoul's transportation infrastructure is well equipped. The railway system transports people all over the nation and express train lines (KTX) carry people to Busan and Gwangju within three hours. Also, eight lines of subway cover all of the city and Seoul's public bus system is well known for its convenience. There is a domestic airport in Gimpo, which occasionally operates as an international airport.
In Seoul, the population is 9,930,616 at the end of 2017. (Some 20.4 percent of the population of the whole country is 51 million live in the territory.) Most residents are ethnic Koreans, with approximate 279,000 foreigners.
Standard Korean is in use. English, a mandatory subject in schools, is spoken and understood in business and tourist areas. All traffic signs are in English, Chinese and Korean.
Seoul falls within the temperate zone and has the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The yearly average temperature of Seoul is 12.2 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation averages 1,344.2 millimeters. Most of the rainfall is concentrated in the rainy months (monsoon period) of June through September.
Seoul is surrounded by mountains such as the Bukhan Mountain in the north, Gwanak Mountain in the South and Namsan (South Mountain) in the center of the city. The Han River crosses the city, dividing it into two.
Gonsalo Garcia was born on Feb. 5, 1556, to a Portuguese father and Indian mother of Konkani descent, at Agashi village at Bassein (now Vasai), near Mumbai city in western India. His father was a soldier stationed at Fort Bassein, a Portuguese fort. Gonsalo received his education under the Jesuits. While assisting at the Church of the Holy of Jesus at Bassein, he developed a friendship with Jesuit Father Sebastian Gonsalves, who eventually became his lifelong mentor and guide.
This Filipino layman martyr saint could be rightly called the patron of infant baptism because it was after the baptism of an infant through his instrumentality that on 2nd April 1672 Pedro was martyred along with his companion missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores who baptised the infant. This infant was of a mother who got converted to Catholicism.
Lorenzo Ruiz, also called Saint Lorenzo of Manila, is a Filipino saint venerated in the Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became his country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korea-born Catholic priest ordained by the French Bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol at Shanghai in 1844.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
St. Anthony Cathedral at Wahakotte in Kandy is a melting of cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. Wonder worker St. Anthony of Padua is a highly respected saint among Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faiths. Thousands visit this pilgrimage site all the year round. On the feast of St. Anthony on June 13, this national Catholic shrine draws tens of thousands of faithful from all over the country.