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    » 07/05/2012, 00.00

    SOUTH KOREA

    Saint Andrew Kim, "the light that brightens our daily faith"

    Joseph Yun Li-sun

    The bishop of Daejeon celebrated a solemn Mass this morning, anniversary of the great martyr's beatification, on the site where he met a martyr's death. "I called on the faithful to examine their conscience to see if they live according to the right principles," he said. We prayed for the pope who "needs all the support and love he can get."

    Daejeon (AsiaNews) - Saint Andrew Kim and the Korean Martyrs "are a shining example for the whole Korean Church," Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik told AsiaNews. "Once a while, I wonder what they might think of us when they look upon our efforts; whether they are happy of our work or not. We must often examine our conscience to see if we lead the best possible life," said the bishop of Daejeon who also chairs the Episcopal Commission for the Care of Migrants. He spoke on the anniversary of the beatification of the great Korean martyr.

    The shrine dedicated to the saint is located in Mgr You's diocese. After his ordination in Shanghai, the saint came home to be hatefully killed along with fellow Catholics. "His example is the brightest light of our Church. At this morning's Mass, I told my parishioners that they have to reflect upon the great saint's example, and ask themselves what he and the Holy Spirit might think of us. It might seem old-fashioned, but it is always important to remember that we are children of God and that we are accountable to him for our deeds."

    The bishop told the thousand or so worshippers present at the site where Saint Andrew was martyred "to pray for the pope and the Universal Church. The Holy Father needs all the support and love he can get. The Church must renew its spur to improve every day. In our own small way, we are trying to do what we can."

    Andrea Kim Taegon was born in 1821 into a noble Christian family, growing up in an milieu bathed in Christian principles. His father had turned their home into a 'house church' that attracted Christians and neophytes seeking baptism alike. When the authorities discovered him, he refused to give up his faith and died a martyr's death at the age of 44.

    Lay people founded the Korean Church and still support it. The Christian faith arrived in Korea in the 17th century with foreign delegations that visited Beijing every year.

    However, the new religion was unfavourably received by the local government, which fiercely persecuted it for centuries. Today 10 per cent of the population is Catholic, growing each year in strength.

    More than 10,000 Koreans died as martyrs during the age of persecution. Two groups were beatified in 1925 and then 1968. On 6 May 1984, all 103 of them were canonised by Pope John Paul II in Seoul. Ten of them were non-Korean (three bishops and seven priests). All the others, catechists and believers, were Korean.

    This "ferocity pushed our people to react forcefully. We have faced wars and dictatorships under the light of this extraordinary grace. We must live up to it," Bishop You said.

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    See also

    21/07/2005 CHINA
    Shanghai church draws Korean pilgrims
    Church building was torn down and rebuilt as part of Pudong district's redevelopment plans. Koreans visit the site to see relic of Saint Andrew Kim, the first Korean martyr.

    15/10/2008 SOUTH KOREA
    The Church in Daejeon at 60
    Two years of pilgrimages, martyr worship and fund raising for the poor went into preparing the anniversary. Now the diocese is sending missionaries to Mongolia and is helping other dioceses in South Korea.

    23/04/2010 KOREA
    Korean martyrs, a perfect example of love for Christ and one’s brothers
    Korean bishops urge the faithful to learn about the lives of 103 martyrs, canonised by John Paul II, who died during waves of anti-Christian persecution that swept over the country more than a century ago. Their blood made the seeds planted by God blossom.

    03/12/2007 VATICAN – KOREA
    The Pope has thoughts and a blessing for all North Koreans
    In meeting the bishops of Korea Benedict XVI praises their initiatives in favour of reconciliation. He talks about missionaries’ contribution and the witnesses of faith offered by Asian Churches. He stresses the importance of the family.

    20/08/2015 KOREA
    Korean Church to examine the beatification of the bishop of Pyongyang and companions, martyred by Kim Il-sung
    The Bishops’ Conference announced that in late November that it will begin to assess whether Mgr Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and his 80 companions can be considered as martyrs. Jailed in 1949, Mgr Hong has been missing ever since. The group includes Mgr Byrne, a Maryknoll missionary forced on a "death march" by the soldiers of the North Korean regime.



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