LESSON ONE: SAINT
ST. ANDREW KIM TAEGON AND ST. PAUL CHONG HASANG
St. Andrew Kim Taegon was a priest and St. Paul Chong Hasang was a
lay person. These two martyrs represent 113 Catholics who died for their faith
in Korea. They were proclaimed saints by Pope John Paul II during his visit to
Korea in 1984.
Christianity reached Korea in the seventeenth century. It was brought there by lay people. The believers nourished their faith on the Word of God. They quietly grew and flourished. Missionary priests came from France. The Korean people were introduced to the sacramental life of the Church. Government persecutions took place, off and on, throughout the nineteenth century. A total of 103 Koreans were killed between 1839 and 1867. Ten members of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris were martyred, too, three bishops and seven priests. This brought the total to 113.
St. Andrew Kim Taegon and St. Paul Chong Hasang represent the glorious and courageous Korean Catholics who paid the price for their love for Christ. St. Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korean priest. He was martyred on September 16, 1846, just a year after his ordination. Andrew's father had been martyred in 1821. St. Paul Chong Hasang was a heroic lay catechist. He was martyred on September 22, 1846.
Today the Church is growing rapidly in Korea. The gift of faith is being received because of the sacrifice of the martyrs who paved the way.
"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 only and not in fact?"-St. Andrew Kim