A Message from Father Nathan
My dearest people who are all close to my heart!
Lots of love, blessings, and prayers to you all.
Saints of the Catholic church of Korea Remembered
Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions
Celebrated on September 20th
Miami Archdiocese of Miami Convocation.
This week all the Archdiocesan priests will be gathered at the Hyatt Regency Center in Miami, for the convocation under the leadership and guidance of our beloved Archbishop. Usually, a convocation would include breakout sessions on a sweeping array of topics including the current political, and intercultural awareness, social media, social violence, and unrest, of the state of Catholic education, vocations, parish life, family life, and much more. Please pray for the success of this convocation.
Personally, I love to go there and be part of it, for the simple reason, that the priests of the whole diocese come together. I love the priestly reunions and their solidarity.
Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions – Saints of the Catholic church of Korea Remembered
We are going to celebrate an important feast on the 20th of this month. The evangelization of Korea was a lay initiative from the beginning. Once the Catholic seed was planted in Korean soil, it first grew slowly among scholars, but then steadily among the population over time. This feast commemorates the official persecution that burned hot, then cold, then hot, for decades as those first Christian seeds germinated.
As the Church grew like a plant, it protruded too high over the land and was repeatedly cut down in a bloody harvest commemorated. Hundreds of martyrs mostly lay men and women, but some French missionary bishops and priests as well were murdered by successive Korean governments throughout the last decade of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth for the crime of being baptized Catholics. They posed no threat.
Paul Chong Ha-sang
Paul Chong Ha-sang was a nobleman whose father and brother were martyred. Sacrifice was in his genes. Paul traveled to Beijing nine times, pleading for the Chinese Church to send priests to the lay-led Korean Church. Along with others, he sent a letter to Pope Pius VII describing the plight of the Korean faithful. Once clandestine priests began to arrive regularly in the 1830’s Paul would go to the Korean border to escort them to the communities of the faithful and lodge them in his own home. Paul was executed in 1839. His mother and sister were killed shortly after him.
Fr Andrew Tae-gon
Fr Andrew Tae-gon was the very first native-born Korean priest. He departed Korea in 1837 for the Portuguese settlement of Macau to complete his seminary studies. He was ordained by a French missionary bishop in Shanghai in August 1845. Father Andrew was beheaded at the age of twenty-six in September 1846.
Today’s martyrs whose names are all known and about whom basic facts are verified, stand in the fore. Yet behind them stand, faceless and nameless, thousands of other martyrs known to God alone. They perished by the sword, by crucifixion, in prison, or of starvation, rather than renounce their Christian faith when faced with certain torture and death.
The Catholic Church in South Korea today is immense and vibrant, fully Korean and fully Catholic. The Church in North Korea does not effectively exist and martyrs may still be dying there today, squeezed to death in the iron grip of its dictators. The story of the Korean Church is one of daring, one of steely courage, but one of many tears.
Only in 1886 did the century of persecution end, with a French-Korean treaty. Pope Saint John Paul II canonized Fr. Andrew Kim, Paul Chong Ha-sang, and 101 other Korean martyrs on May 6, 1984, at a Mass in Seoul, South Korea. It was, at that time, the largest gathering of humanity in the history of the Korean peninsula. The martyrs’ blood was fertile.
God bless you all.
With lots of love and blessing.
Ever wanting to be faithful to your service.
—Fr. Sahayanathan Nathan
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