Martyrs of Korea
+ The Christian Faith reached Korea through the work of dedicated lay people early in the 17th century. A strong, vibrant community emerged, flourishing under lay leadership until 1836 when, in secret, members of the Paris Foreign Mission Society entered the country.
+ During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866 and 1868, one hundred and three members of the Christian community gave their lives as martyrs.
+ Two outstanding members of this group of martyrs were the first Korean priest and pastor, Andrew Kim Taegon, and the lay catechist, Paul Chong Hasang.
+ The list of martyrs also includes bishops and priests but most of the martyrs were lay men, women, and children.
+ Pope Saint John Paul II canonized the Martyrs of Korea in the cathedral in Seoul, Korea, in 1984. Together the martyrs are honored as the patrons of Korea.
For prayer and reflection
“We have come into the world by God’s grace; by that same grace we have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name alone and not in fact?”—Saint Andrew Kim Taegon
We also remember Blessed Thomas Johnson, a Carthusian monk and priest who was arrested and tortured for his refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as the supreme head of the church in England. Blessed Thomas died of starvation after enduring extreme torture in London’s Newgate Prison on September 20, 1537. He was beatified with other martyrs in 1886.
O God, you have created all nations and you are their salvation. In the land of Korea your call to Catholic faith formed a people of adoption, whose growth you nurtured by the blood of Andrew, Paul, and their companions. Through their martyrdom and their intercession grant us strength that we too may remain faithful to your commandments even until death. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.