Seoul (AsiaNews) - As part of the celebrations to mark the "Month of Martyrs" in September, an event the Korean Church has celebrated for several years, the Archdiocese of Seoul has a plan to revive pilgrimages in the capital.
The goal is to give visibility to those routes in the city that link places of anti-Christian persecution with the churches erected in remembrance of the martyrs.
The ceremony to inaugurate 'martyrs routes' is set for next Monday in Myeong-dong Cathedral. The chosen theme is "I am the way, the truth and the life."
Mgr Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, will preside over the inaugural Mass, which will be co-celebrated with the priests in charge of the capital's holy places.
After the ceremony, the archbishop will go on a 2-km pilgrimage along with the faithful in attendance, walking from the cathedral to Jongno Church. About 500 people are expected to join him.
Meanwhile, the archdiocese is continuing to work for the beatification and canonisation of the many martyrs who helped the Church survive in Korea despite persecution.
There is a special place among these dedicated to Fr Choi Yang-oeb, and Paul Yun Ji-choong and his 123 companions, who were killed in hatred of the faith during the persecutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Bishops' Conference of Korea is hoping that they will be included in the consistory scheduled for 30 September and canonised by next year. The bishop of Daejeon invited Pope Francis to Korea for such an occasion.
AsiaNews has also published some articles on the lives of these witnesses of Christ.
"Many historical sites are unknown to the people of the city," Mgr Yeom said. "Sadly but true, there is nothing but a monument in the largest shrine dedicated to our martyrs (Seosomun). However, through the 'Month of the martyrs' and the pilgrimage, we want Koreans to learn the stories of those who sacrificed their life for their faith. Moreover, with these people as role models, we want to give the faithful an opportunity to improve their relationship with God. "
In view of the rise of new communication media, the archdiocese has also launched a new website that features the stories and the lives of the martyrs. In the near future, an app for smartphones will be also available.
"All this will especially help young people better understand the ways and purposes of the plan," said the Archdiocese's Social Secretariat. "For older folks, we will print 'old style' flyers to be sent to every parish."
(Stephany Sun, from the Archdiocese's Social Secretariat, contributed to this article)