The anniversary was celebrated on Saturday in the peninsula and in Rome with the first ever solemn Mass in Korean in St Peter's led by Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. In a message, the pope thanked Seoul Catholics for sending anti-COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries.
Rome (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Korea’s Catholic community on Saturday marked 200 years since the birth of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean-born priest who was killed in hatred of the faith in 1846 at the age of 25.
Eucharistic liturgies were held in South Korea’s 1,750 churches to commemorate the anniversary, along with the first solemn Mass celebrated in Korean in Rome’s St Peter's Basilica.
Last Saturday afternoon, Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik led the service in the presence of representatives of Rome’s Korean community. A few weeks ago, the former head of the Diocese of Daejeon was appointed the new prefect of the Congregation for the clergy in the Vatican.
On the occasion of Saint Andrew Kim’s birth, Pope Francis released his own message to Korean Catholics, which Archbishop You read during Mass.
in addition to praising the heroic testimony of the martyr Andrea Kim, the pontiff publicly thanked Korean Catholics for donating anti-COVID-19 vaccine doses to the poorest countries through the Vatican. “This is a strong invitation for a greater commitment to the cause of the least of the world,” Francis said.
The pope also urged those working for reconciliation between North and South Korea to "continue with renewed commitment to be good peacemakers”.
The celebrations at the Solmoe memorial, the site where the Diocese of Daejeon commemorates the birth of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, also focused on reconciliation between the two Koreas.
A video message from Archbishop You Heung-sik was screened during the service led by the Auxiliary Bishop Augustinus Jong-soo Kim in the presence of Card Andrew Yeom of Seoul.
"I sincerely hope that the South and the North will open their hearts and talk to each other so that true peace can dwell on the Korean Peninsula," Archbishop You said.
“It is the greatest misfortune that the two Koreas have been separated for more than 70 years. I continue to pray for peace,” he added.
The Korean Catholic Church is also marking the bicentenary of the birth of Saint Andrew Kim with a jubilee year centred on the question “Are you a Christian faithful?”, which the martyr asked to his persecutors two centuries ago.
John Paul II canonised Andrew Kim along with 102 other Korean martyrs in a ceremony held in Seoul on 6 May 1984.