The Loyola School of Theology invites you to the oral defense of the S.T.L. Tesina entitled “The Reality of Migrants in South Korea during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Pope Francis’ Teaching” by Fr. HONGSIK KIM (Archdiocese of Daegu, South Korea) on 29 November 2023, Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. at the Tipanan ni San Ignacio, DLC 201, 2/F Dela Costa Bldg., LST. The Board of Examiners is composed of Fr. Rowan Rebustillo, S.T.D., Ph.D. (Adviser), Fr. Hartono Budi, S.J., Th.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner), and Emmanuel de Guzman, Ph.D. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Licentiate in Sacred Theology with a field of concentration in Migration Theology. It is open to the public.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic threatened people’s health, deprived them of their lives and jobs, and restricted people’s rights of movement across the globe. In particular, under the Korean government’s COVID-19 response policy, migrants living in Korea experienced severe discrimination, alienation, and exclusion. As such, it is necessary for the Catholic Church to understand the difficulties faced by migrants and reflect on how to take care of them during COVID-19. This study dwells on Pope Francis’ perspective of today’s migration issues, zooming in on his understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason is that Pope Francis has always shown a particular concern for migrants, presenting his theological reflection on migration and pastoral vision for migrants as a fraternity in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which was released during the pandemic.
To obtain relevant and realistic context supporting the Pope’s perspective, this study interviewed migrants living in Korea during the pandemic. These interviews serve as the gateway to discover the difficulties of migrants living in Korea and the challenges that the Korean Catholic Church faced after the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this study addresses the pastoral visions of how the Korean Catholic Church can concretely practice the teachings of Pope Francis in South Korea. Eventually, this study can serve as new light and hope for those engaged in migration pastoral ministry who are in a difficult situation due to COVID-19 and its aftereffects.