Unification News for August 2001

Archbishop Milingo's Honeymoon at Cheju Island

by Yook Bang

Written in Korean and translated into English by Yasuko Bang

During my stay in Cheju Island, May 8 through July 29, I heard the eventful news that in the United States, 60 religious couples were blessed, most of them Catholic Fathers. Before the Blessing all the Catholic Fathers were celibate. At this glorious historical religious leader's ceremony on May 27, 2001, Rev. Sun Myung Moon gave the Blessing

After this ceremony, most respectful Catholic Father, Archbishop Milingo's couple visited Cheju Island on July 14. The day before Archbishop and wife arrived, I happened to meet one Unification Church member in downtown Cheju. She told me, "You should come tomorrow morning to Sunday service because an extraordinary VIP Archbishop will come to our Unification Church service." A few days before this, I had received a fax from my wife, Yasuko, that Archbishop Milingo had just received a Blessing from Father. In anticipation of meeting this Archbishop, I decided to go to a Buddhist shopping center in order to purchase some kind of gift. I bought a 108 bead necklace to offer the Archbishop and a bracelet for his beloved wife. Since I was only in Cheju for a temporary visit and far away from the happenings in New York, I was not expecting to see the Archbishop and his wife in person. It was somehow a secret honeymoon trip because no one seemed to know about it. That's why I had an undercurrent of excitement. In most cases, couples go on a honeymoon trip to Southeastern countries like Japan, Saipan Island, Guam etc. In spite of these many famous sightseeing places, Archbishop chose Cheju Island. I was wondering why he chose this island.

In the office of Rev. Lim, I met Dr. Chang Shik Yang who introduced me to Archbishop Milingo and his wife. After we met, Archbishop explained why he chose Cheju Island. He confessed that he did not know why he was there in Cheju island. He felt; however, that some invisible power or spirit had guided him to come to Cheju Island. When I offered the gifts to the Archbishop and his wife, he was so moved with the necklace because it was similar in meaning to the rosary beads. He immediately wanted to offer something back to me to show his appreciation but there was a slight problem of what to give. He asked permission from his wife to offer the gift she had given to him to give to me. She quickly assented. It was a gold bracelet. I was hesitant to accept such a precious gift and when I told my wife after I got home, she too was astounded that he would offer such a gift to me. It seemed like a miracle that I would have the opportunity to meet the archbishop in this island of Cheju because in one day he had become a "top star" all over the world. What an honor for me and the rest of us to meet him in Cheju Island!

At the church service at 10:30 a.m, there was a huge banner for Archbishop Milingo just like the banner at East Garden to welcome home True Parents. Dr. Yang explained in detail Archbishop Milingo's history and his over 20 years of service for the Vatican in Rome. He was a strong powerful healer in Africa and Italy. After the service was over, we moved to Rev. Lim's office for lunch. I was invited to sit at the same table with the Archbishop to eat but the conversation was so stimulating and engrossing that I found I couldn't eat.

After lunch, the archbishop and wife returned to Namon Training Center. The next day quite early in the morning, the couple took a sightseeing trip near the Sogipo area. That morning, I received a telephone call from Rev. Lim to join them and was told to quickly come by taxi. I met them at a restaurant where they were all waiting for me, not eating until I arrived. After finishing lunch, suddenly Archbishop asked a request of me to take him to a Buddhist Temple. Close by, there was a famous main temple, named Yak Chung Sa Temple which I was familiar with because I had taken the relics of Buddha there to be displayed. When we arrived at the temple, I went to the office to inform them that a former Catholic Father from the Vatican named Milingo had come, but they did not recognize his name. I didn't mention that he was a Blessing couple.

When we stepped in the hall, the first thing the archbishop saw was the statue of Buddha which was brilliant and huge. When we started the tour, a Buddhist tour guide appeared offering his services to explain the paintings. I felt he didn't give an in depth explanation of the paintings and relics so I decided to step in. The Archbishop soon became so enamored with the Buddhist art and paintings that when I questioned him, he explained that he felt somehow the art is similar to the Catholic art; therefore, was so happy and felt great pleasure in viewing all of them. In spite of the fact that the Korean leader tried to hasten us, the Archbishop wished to stay longer so the others went to look at other places while we stayed in the temple for almost an hour. The temple had 3 floors, full of Buddhist art and relics. I noticed that the archbishop was interested in a large painting done by Wanhyo of the Shiloh dynasty. He was a high priest at the time. One day there was a scandal because a princess proposed to him and wanted him to marry her. Finally, he consented and he abandoned all his glorious titles and was disrobed to become a mundane normal man. I explained to Archbishop Milingo that this was the first incident of a Blessing in the history of Buddhism. Archbishop was smiling and then was so intrigued with this romance that he wanted to know more about the personality of this high priest and the events surrounding this marriage. I tried to explain as much as I knew about his personal history and experiences. It was not easy as a Korean with my somewhat limited English to explain but still I was so happy to do so.

After we left Buddha's main hall, suddenly Milingo proceeded to go into the meditation hall which is barred by outsiders to go visit. I went directly to the person in charge and mentioned that this layman wanted to meditate alone. Archbishop was thinking it is the same style as the sacrament style of the Catholics. I then explained to him that the first Catholic Father who studied Hinayana Buddhism in Sri Lanka introduced Buddhism to Europeans who came to live there.

After that we visited the Li Sungma villa, the first president's villa. We saw the huge waterfall like Niagara Falls in the USA. We sat down for a rest and had some ice cream. Suddenly at that time, Archbishop asked me to give a special prayer. We joined our hands and I prayed thanking Heavenly Father that He had sent Archbishop and his wife to Cheju Island. True Father and True Mother must feel the happiness that God feels to see Archbishop Milingo and his wife there. Through this trip, it was a great opportunity for them to understand this special island and its holy value as True Father sees it. At the end, we all shook hands and felt as one united family connected to God.

Dinner was a special dinner at this villa and offered by Namon Training Center. The menu included an octopus soup which is Cheju Island's specialty and very nutritious. We all enjoyed it immensely. After dinner, we sat around on the lawn. For the first time, archbishop's wife confessed a secret, her emotion after the Blessing. She felt like the archbishop and she had an instant feeling of oneness that was very special, akin to being one family. After that they returned to the Namon Training Center and the next day were expected to depart for Seoul and then on to New York. The "give and take" the Archbishop and I had that day was not superficial but very deep because of his common history with mine which gave me a feeling of fulfillment that I had not experienced in a long time. I was so grateful that I could be of service to him.

The last farewell lunch we had was at a Japanese restaurant. All of us were so excited that we didn't eat very much. I told the restaurant owner to make a "bento" (packaged lunch of the leftovers) so they could eat the food on the airplane. Mrs. Milingo seemed very happy about this.

At the airport, I guided them to a special room for VIP's. I told them that whenever they are at Belvedere, please call us so they can come to our home, which is only 5 minutes away from Belvedere. 15 Unification Church members came and joined with us to bid farewell to the Archbishop and his wife.

Yook Bang is a Buddhist monk and Unificationist.

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