Tag Archives: Korean martyrs

Martyrs of Korea

Korean MartyrsThe Catholic Church in Korea is atypical because it was established and sustained by the laity. The missionary impulse of Catholicism was not a clergy enterprise but a lay one. This particular church faced persecution from day one. Today, we honor several of the lay martyrs who were beheaded on 31 January 1840 in Dangkogae, Seoul, Korea.

They are:

• Saint Agatha Kwon Chin-i – Married lay woman
• Saint Agatha Yi Kyong-I – Lay woman.
• Saint Augustinus Park Chong-Won – Lay catechist 
• Saint Maria Yi In-Dok – Young lay woman
• Saint Petrus Hong Pyong-Ju – Lay catechist

Francis goes to Korea

Francis in KoreaToday, His Holiness Pope Francis began his Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Korea for the 6th Asian Youth Day (13-18 August 2014). We keep the Pope in our prayers and friendship as he visits our sisters and brothers in Korea.

The preparations for the papal visit is called “simply impeccable” and an event to remember. Listen to a Vatican Radio report on the prep. I am sure our friends their are welcoming their father in Faith in grand style and with blessed affection for they know Christ and virtue of friendship.

The Program

The Catholic Church in Korea is one sustained and developed by the laity. The Church in a very real way is a country of martyrs, 124 of them will be beatified by the Pope on Saturday. Listen to a bishop’s review of his Church in a Vatican Radio interview.

Vatican Radio has looked into Catholic life of the  Church on this peninsula. Listen to the interview.

Let us ask in prayer that the Korean Martyrs to assist the Pope, the bishops and laity in the witness to Jesus Christ.

Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and companions

The Church remembers the martyrdom of the Korean martyrs, more than 103 of them. The names of Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasang are the hallmarks for this 19th century Christian witness. I can’t fathom the depth of love and hope these martyrs must have had in facing trials.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who have been pleased to increase your adopted children in all the world, and who made the blood of the Martyrs Saint Andrew Tae-gon and his companions a most fruitful seed of Christians, grant that we may be defended by their help and profit always from their example.

My 2011 blog post on today’s feast gives more information.

At Mass today at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross (Branford, CT), Father David Borino remembered the intentions of Sister Maria Kim, OSB, a nun of this monastery. In addition, I’d like to remember in prayer the Benedictine monks of Saints Maurus and Placidus Abbey, (Waegwan, Korea), St Paul’s Abbey (Newton, NJ), Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-Suk (archbishop emeritus of Seoul) and the Korean community in Queens, especially my friends Claire and Theresa. May the Divine Majesty richly bless these servants of God.

Saints Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasang and companions

St Andrew Kim Taegon.jpgToday is the feast of the 19th century Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Hasang and their 103 companions. Kim is the first Korean born Catholic priest! He also followed his father as a martyr for the faith. Andrew was beheaded after being tortured in 1846. These saints were raised to the altars by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Why ought we be concerned about this today? One reason is that these witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ were mostly lay people. The faith in Korea is a Catholic faith that has its roots not primarily in the work of clergy but by the work of the laity. This is not a feast that proclaims the greatness of the laity over the clergy but it is a feast that speaks to the faithful and fruitful work of the Holy Spirit in priesthood of the all the baptized to make disciples of all nations. Surely, the ministerial priesthood was utilized in discrete ways because of the anti-Catholic sentiment of this geographic region. How else would the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist be given? What the Church in her wisdom following the guidance of the Spirit has given us are models of holiness in serving the Lord in fullest sense possible: the correspondence of the ordained and lay priesthood.

Father Scott Hurd posted a brief piece on today’s feast.
Let us pray for the Church in Korea!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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