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US priest has visited North Korea 51 times

Catholic World News - August 26, 2014

An 81-year-old US missionary priest has visited North Korea 51 times since 1995, according a Catholic Herald report.

Father Gerard Hammond, who serves as Maryknoll superior in South Korea, brings food aid and medicine into the Communist nation. Security forces monitor conversations with patients, and discussion of God is forbidden.

“You’re present to a people whom you cannot speak to and they can’t speak to you, but it’s the old adage: ‘heart speaks to heart,’” said Father Hammond. “They see compassion. Well, they’re in a country where they’re told that [the late dictator] Kim Jong Il gives them everything. But then they see, well, in this case he isn’t. So you’re also creating a thought pattern in their own life: ‘What do these people help bring us? What are they doing here?’”

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