Thought for the Day – The Memorial of the Korean Martyrs – Sts Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang & Companions – 103 saints and beati
For centuries, Catholicism was often seen as a threat to Korean customs and traditions, so Christianity took root in Korea only after much struggle and effort. But when it did begin to take root, those roots were strong.
Saint Andrew’s own Father had been martyred when he was a young boy but this did not dissuade him from become a priest, in fact, it strengthened his vocation. As a priest he helped other missionaries to come to Korea to spread the Gospel but this was soon discovered. So he was was captured, tortured and killed for his faith, when it was discovered that he smuggled missionaries into Korea from China. St Paul Chong also risked his life many times making repeated trips to China to find priests to come to serve the young Korean Church.
At their 1984 canonization ceremony, Blessed John Paul II called Saint Andrew Kim, Saint Paul and their 111 companions “the leaven” that lead to the splendid flowering of the Church in Korea.
How are we called to be “leaven” today—the leaven that will lead to the flowering of the Church in our own land? What will we do today that will lead souls to Christ? What will our Christian witness look like today in our own limited capacity?
Andrew wrote to his fellow Christians the following words: “We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honour of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?” How easy it is to fall into this nominal Christianity, when we fail to allow our faith to influence our conduct, our attitude.
Through the martyrdom and intercession of Andrew Kim, Paul Chong and all the Martyrs for Christ, may God grant us the strength that we too may remain faithful to God’s commandments even unto death, for the glory of God and salvation of souls. (Fr Kevin Estabrook)
Today there are approximately four million Catholics in Korea and has the fourth largest number of saints in the Catholic world. Since 1984, Paul Yun Ji-Chung and 123 companions were declared “Venerable” on 7 February 2014 and on 16 August 2014, they were beatified by Pope Francis during the Asian Youth Day in Gwanghwamun Plaza, Seoul, South Korea. There are further moves to beatify Catholics who were killed by communists for their faith in the 20th century during the Korean War.
Holy Martyrs of Korea, Pray for us!