- From the Editor:
- 2017 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
- Message for the 22nd Farmers’Sunday
- Appeal of the Catholic Church in Korea for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
- Message for 2017 World Day of Prayer For the Care of Creation
- Statement of the CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment (Summary)
- Message for the 50th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)
- The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
From the Editor:
Mission of the Catholic Church in Korea
At the 2017 Autumn General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK), the bishops decided to change the name of the CBCK Committee for Evangelization to the CBCK Committee for Evangelization & Mission. This change has been made to encourage missionary activities: spreading the Gospel to non-Christians, promoting baptism and establishing local churches. This change also aims to promote and strengthen the missionary work of the Catholic Church in Korea. In Korea mission is carried out on the domestic front by the CBCK Committee for Evangelization & Mission and on the international front by the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea.
The Catholic Church in Korea is committed to missionary work for the redemption of all the world’s peoples. Today people face a great deal of confusion when trying to determine the true values of life. It is never easy to decide what is true and what is false in the midst of a society suffering from information overload: whose words are trustworthy? People also feel anxious and overwhelmed by life’s numerous issues, from eating to education, from employment to marriage, and from child care to insurance for the elderly.
Living in a society which is full of confusing choices, politically, economically and socially, one may find it difficult to maintain peace of mind. As a consequence, many Koreans feel lost, and in their desperation for spiritual support they can easily fall into error. Therefore it is urgent to lead those people into the truth of Jesus Christ. When the Gospel was introduced into Korea for the first time, there was only a handful of people who accepted it. However, the Gospel truth fascinated thousands of Koreans within a short period of time and encouraged many to devote their lives to spreading the Gospel. Thanks to their precious sacrifices for the faith the Catholic Church in Korea continues to flourish on a daily basis.
A Christian is a person who belongs to Christ. Concretely this entails two aspects. First, being a Christian means to be a person in communion with Christ: Christ is always at the center of his or her life. Second, a Christian, as a part of Christ’s body, participates in His work of Redemption. Today Christ is still inviting us to work with Him as His hands and feet. How can the faithful in Korea respond to such a divine calling? Christ is not concerned with an individual’s level of competence. Rather, what matters to Christ is how much we can empty ourselves so as to trust in Him. I pray that the Catholic faithful in Korea may willingly respond to Jesus’s invitation to build the Kingdom of God on earth.
Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2017 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2017 Autumn General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from October 16 to 19, 2017. At the assembly the following decisions were made:
1. Pope Francis instituted the World Day of the Poor to be celebrated on the thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. As the Pope desires that the Church more fully lives in evangelical poverty, the bishops decided that the Catholic Church in Korea will celebrate the World Day of the Poor on the national level from this year onwards. Pastoral guidelines for specific practices in the different dioceses are to be at the discretion of each diocesan bishop.
2. The Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (President: Mr. Paul Kwon Kil-jung) proposed the celebration of a Jubilee Year for Lay People in 2018, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation. In order to promote the Catholic lay apostolate’s work, the bishops approved the Jubilee Year for Lay People initiative across the nation. They also decided to ask the Apostolic Penitentiary to grant a plenary indulgence.
3. The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik) decided on a plan by which the Catholic Church in Korea will select a socially disadvantaged group each year in order to better encourage their inclusion into society. In 2017, it was decided to highlight the plight of migrants in farming and fishing communities. In order to redress the systematic injustices experienced by the migrant community (such as Art. 63, the Labor Standards Act), the said Committee will cooperate with the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea.
4. On the 70th anniversary of the 4.3 Jeju Uprising, also referred to as the Jeju massacre, which started on April 3, 1948, the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il spoke of the necessity of seeking new ways to end the division of the nation, and reconcile the Korean people. Accepting his suggestion, the bishops decided that the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People and the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace, in cooperation with the Diocese of Cheju will hold a conference in either December 2017 or January 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of 4.3 Jeju Uprising. The bishops also decided to support various programmes marking the occasion.
5. The bishops deliberated on and approved the publication of the Brief Explanation on Catechism for the Faithful II: Sacraments, submitted by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis (President: Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju).
6. The bishops approved the revised draft of the Catholic Prayer Book submitted by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy (President: Most Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo). The Korean version of the Fatima Prayer to Christ Our Savior shall remain in the Catholic Prayer Book. The book will be published after the publication of the Korean version of the Roman Missal.
7. The bishops listened to a report on preparations for the 4th Korean Youth Day (August 11-15, 2018) submitted by the CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry (President: Most Rev. Peter Chung Soon-Taick) in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Seoul.
8. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki-Hyen, President of the CBCK Committee for Evangelization & Mission, as liaison with the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
9. The bishops elected the Most Rev. John Bosco Chang Shin-ho, Auxiliary Bishop of Daegu, as a representative of Korea at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Budapest, Hungary, 2020.
Message for the 22nd Farmers’ Sunday
Let Us Restore Our Rural Community
through Ecological Conversion and the Sacrament of Communion!
On the occasion of the 22nd Farmers’ Sunday, I would like to express my gratitude to farmers who toil in the fields in a time when farming is drastically undervalued. May God bless those farmers. I also appeal to you to pay more attention to and actively participate in the ‘Save Our Rural Community Movement.’ The Catholic Church in Korea promotes this Movement in order to restore rural communities, so that they can live in harmony with urban communities, and protect the divine order of creation. This is considered a proper response to Pope Francis’ teachings as found in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si′ where he empathizes the importance of ecological conversion and communion with creation.
Today, humanity and the earth’s ecosystem are confronted by a series of complex crises in the shape of climate change, shortages of food and resources, and prolonged financial instability. These crises have been brought about by human actions. The natural world, created by God, has been recklessly exploited by greedy and selfish human beings. The Lord said in the Bible: “As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gn 8,22). God in His Providence allows men and women to obtain food from the earth through agriculture. God, through His amazing plan, teaches farmers how to yield crops (cf. Is 28,26-29). In this way, farming is a sacred work and a fruitful invitation calling us towards God, the Creator. Farming, which takes place within God’s created nature, engages everyone on earth.
However, as a result of neoliberal economic globalization, which focuses on the accumulation of monetary profits, many countries face problems such as, poverty in rural areas, the accelerated disappearance of small-scale farm holders, disintegration of family-based agricultural communities, and the impoverishment of land. As a consequence of opening the domestic agricultural market and the policy of restructuring agriculture, our rural communities have been decimated to the point of there being no more room for agriculture. Furthermore, our dinning tables are losing their freshness due to the influx of imported food and the promotion of potentially unhealthy food such as that using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
In 1966, a year after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church in Korea established the Association of Korean Catholic Farmers’ Movements. Since then, in order to deal with issues which concern agriculture and farmers, the Catholic Church in Korea, in cooperation with the said Association, has continued to make efforts to promote both pro-life and community life through the ‘Life Community Movement’. When our rural communities faced crisis as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations, the bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, at its 1994 Spring General Assembly, decided to initiate the ‘Save Our Rural Community Movement’. Since instituting Farmer’s Sunday the following year (1995), the Catholic Church in Korea has prayed for and supported hardworking farmers by recognizing the importance of agriculture and the rural community. Each diocese established a centre for the ‘Save Our Rural Community Movement’ enabling the direct sale of local agricultural produce. These centers aim to preserve the Divine order of creation and promote cooperation and a sense of community between urban and rural dwellers.
Despite such attention and commitment, the reality faced by our agricultural sector and the rural community is not bright. Unfortunately, due to lack of support from the government and consumers the ‘Save Our Rural Community Movement’ has not yet spread throughout the Church in Korea. Ecological conversion should find its starting point in the restoration of agriculture and rural communities, as well as on our dinning tables. In addition, we should pay attention to the cries of the suffering earth and the poor who cannot afford to partake of healthy and safe food. In order to protect the environment more effectively, our actions should also be accompanied by a continuous effort to solve social problems in a spirit of authentic love. Furthermore, to bring about the sacrament of communion with all creation, we need a new universal solidarity and active participation using our own particular gifts.
To make it possible to prepare a life-giving table for all, those in urban and rural areas should work together by sharing and cooperating in educational, cultural, welfare, environmental, and economic activities. Local and community movements working to develop solidarity should also be encouraged. In addition, it is important to continue humanitarian food aid to North Korea and agricultural cooperation between North and South Korea. In order to promote these activities in a systematic manner, I strongly recommend the establishment of a special division on both parish and diocesan levels in the form of an ‘Apostolate Organization for Ecology.’
We who live on planet earth are children of God called to practice ecological conversion in our daily lives.
July 16, 2017
Bishop of Cheju
President CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment
Message for 2017 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
The Care of Creation is a Profession of Faith in the Most Holy Trinity
Pope Francis promulgated his encyclical letter, Laudato Si′, on care for our common home in 2015. The Holy Father also instituted the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ to be celebrated annually on September 1. In line with Pope Francis’ intention, we ought to make time to reflect on the meaning of God’s creation, turn away from the sin of destroying the order of creation, and renew our commitment to protecting our ecosystem.
The Catholic Church, through her 2000 year history, has been proclaiming a central message of the Gospel, the Trinity. We profess our faith in the Trinity, in which God exists in love and the Trinity provides us with a model of holiness to be imitated. In Laudato Si′, Pope Francis states: “the Trinity has left its mark on all creation... each creature bears in itself a specifically Trinitarian structure” (n.239). The world is created by the Trinity. Therefore, “when we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity” (n.238). “The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships... The human person grows more, matures more, and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others, and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created” (n.240).
Again, Pope Francis in his encyclical asks us to observe biblical teachings on creation: “we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts... tell us to ‘till and keep’ the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2,15)” (n.67). He continues: “each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love” (n.84). God shows His boundless richness through all creation and invites us to praise Him.
However, in reality, all creation which is meant to praise the Lord “is groaning in labor pains” (Rom 8,22). The entire world, including the Korea Peninsula, is affected by climate change in the form of global warming,droughts and floods. Global warming is the result of rising levels of carbon dioxide emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, predominantly since the Industrial Revolution. Consumer-oriented lifestyles are part of the vicious circle of mass production, consumption and waste creation which, in turn, makes the earth sick. Sadly, it is the poor who are most affected by environmental destruction. In this regard, the Pope explains: “there is a need to change ‘models of global development’; this will entail a responsible reflection on ‘the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications” (Laudato Si′, n.194). This also requires a specific and active practice for “protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity” (n.201).
Our profession of faith in the Trinity leads us to recognize that care of creation concerns not only humanity but God too. To destroy creation is to offend God, while to restore the order of creation is to participate in God’s work of creation. In this world, where the cries of the earth and the poor are rising to the sky, we Christians who proclaim God’s love and profess our faith in the Trinity should take the lead when it comes to caring for the poor and creation.
The Pope also proposed that we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Hence, let us take a moment in front of the Blessed Sacrament to repent of our sins and pray for creation, which we are helping to destroy by our indifference and greed. Let us partake in the work of God’s creation by leading lifestyles which enable us to take care of creation. Along with caring for creation and for those in need, let us also strive for self-development and selffulfillment. In our prayers through which we encounter Jesus, we, with all creation, shall give praise and glory to the Lord through the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
September 1, 2017
World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
President CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment
Statement of the CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment (Summary)
How to look upon the public debates concerning the suspension
of the construction of the two nuclear reactors – Shin Kori Nos. 5 and 6?
The current government is beginning to fulfil one of its electoral pledges, the denuclearization of Korea. On June 27, the government announced the temporary suspension of construction of the two nuclear reactors: Shin Kori Nos. 5 and 6. To date, about 30 percent of construction has been completed. In order to decide whether to proceed with the project, a government committee will organize public debates over a period of three months. This recent government announcement reflects security and environmental concerns about the project. However, as for the public debates that will allow ordinary citizens to decide on a policy which demands expertise, opinions are sharply divided.
We are standing at a crossroads regarding this decision, and many religious people, including Christians, will be obliged to deliberate carefully. It is not simply a matter of constructing a couple of buildings. It is, in fact, a vitally important decision concerning not only our national heath and safety but also the entire ecosystem. Until recently, the government used to depend on feedback from a few experts when it came to making policy decisions which might have profound effects on the lives of people. Ordinary citizens were given only rudimentary information which usually highlighted only the beneficial aspects of the project.
Since 1960, our government, following the advice of a few experts, implemented a birth control policy grounded in the fear that any population increase might undermine the country’s economic growth. Following this, in 1973, the government introduced the Mother and Child Health Act which permits abortion. What this policy, made by a few politicians, does is to encourage people to act recklessly by killing the lives of embryos in their mothers’ wombs, and to curb human procreation, which is a gift of the Creator. As a result, birth rates in Korea have plummeted to become the world’s lowest, and Korea is now classified as an aged society. Over the past 10 years, the government has invested 10 trillion KRW to promote childbirth but without success. This is because the source of human life has been sterilized by a few so-called experts.
Since 2010, our government has destroyed the country’s four major rivers by installing huge beams across them, in the style of dams, as a provision against floods and droughts. A huge sum of capital was injected into this project which has resulted in irremediable damage on the country’s major rivers. Although many civil organizations, religious, and academic authorities expressed concerns about the project, the government did not strive for public consensus over the issue. Instead they simply entrusted the matter to a few experts who were freed from proper legal process. And as a direct consequence the ecosystems of these major rivers were badly damaged because of extensive excavation. Presently the four major rivers are not only covered with green algae, but we are also unable to protect ourselves against floods and droughts. A few scholars, who uncritically accepted the government’s policy, are also responsible for this disastrous state of affairs in our rivers.
It is reasonable for the government to respect and take into account the opinions and analyses of experts. However, it is inappropriate for an exclusive group made-up of a few experts to play the central role when it comes to such important policy decisions. Before introducing new policies, especially those related to basic human rights, the government should provide people with all available objective information, thus enabling them to have a better understanding of the issues involved. Most of all, the government has a responsibility to respect and reflect public opinion.
In the case of large scale national projects, which involve enormous budgets, conflict and competition among interested and participating companies can become a problem. Not only enterprises but also academics, government officials, and local residents can be easily corrupted when faced with the size of massive capital investment in national projects. Therefore, it is necessary to include third parties who have no vested interests in the projects.
This means that any government committee which organizes public debates has a grave responsibility. It should manage the entire process with great fairness so as a national consensus can be found. In a similar fashion, it is also important for the government to provide the public with as much relevant technical, economic, ethical and social information as possible.
As for the temporary suspension of the construction of Shin Kori 5 and 6 reactors, questions have been raised about its economic impact on people. Despite possible economic loss, the issue should be considered from other perspectives also: how it affects the lives and security of human beings and the wellbeing of the ecosystem. These values cannot be compromised for the sake of economic gains.
I hope and pray that many more people will be able to participate in the process of public debates, sharing proper information and experiences so that, in turn, a decision which will restore and protect life in this land is reached.
August 1, 2017
President CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment
Message for the 50th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)
Evangelizing the Military with New Enthusiasm
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the occasion of the 50th Military Mission Sunday, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and love for all the soldiers, military officers and commanders in frontline areas and in rear bases, who work tirelessly to maintain peace and security in our country. I also thank the military chaplains and sisters who are engaged in pastoral care with our military service personnel, the faithful in the Military Ordinariate, and all who do not spare their prayers and support for them.
On this occasion of the 50th Military Mission Sunday, the Military Ordinariate, looking back to when we started military missions, is striving to concentrate on evangelizing the military with new enthusiasm.
In this year’s pastoral letter, I recalled the words of Jesus, “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Lk 24,47). When Jesus returned to the Father from this world, He gave us the supreme order to repent and preach the Gospel throughout the world.
For this purpose, Catholic soldiers, military officers and commanders have been asked to encourage at least one of their colleagues to attend catechetical class. And existing believers are reminded of the importance of renewing their education and continuing their formation. A Catechism, designed especially for soldiers, which focuses on the faith in the Trinitarian God through our Lord Jesus Christ, will be published by the end of this year.
Looking back over the past years, I have found a link between the history of evangelizing the military and the history of the military. When the Korean War broke out, Maryknoll Sisters and other sisters were actively involved in caring for patients who were transported to Daegu, Busan, Masan and so on. In the prison camps of Geoje Island, Busan, and Ulsan, Maryknoll Father Patrick Cleary, Father Im Jong-guk, and Benedictine monks carried out missionary activities, which form part of miliary history.
With the help of the Ordinary Bishop of the US Military Ordinariate and Monsignor George Carroll, the military mission system was organized on February 7, 1951, and military chaplains started to exercise pastoral care towards service personnel. This can be regarded as the beginning of the evangelization of the military. Later, Daegu Archidiocese and Busan Diocese raised a fund of 32,460,000 KRW and began to support the chaplains ministering to the military.
In 1958, Fr. Isidore Park, a Seoul Archdiocesan priest, was appointed as chief of military chaplains. In 1961, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea approved the Catholic Military Chaplain Corps. The pastoral care of the military started during one of the most difficult and urgent times in our history, delivering the Gospel and the teachings of the Church to the soldiers in the midst of a desperate situation. Since military service is obligatory for most young male Koreans, pastoral care of the military could not be neglected by any diocese. In the beginning, Korean dioceses had difficulty in maintaining levels of pastoral care for the military due to the lack of clergy, and as a result the Bishops’ Conference of Korea decided to approve the Military Chaplain Corps. This decision reflected the church’s determination to succeed in providing pastoral care to the military.
On May 27, 1967, the Bishops’ Conference decided to establish Military Mission Sunday, a week after Armed Forces Day, and to raise funds to support the military mission. Thus, on September 29, 1968, for the first time, 42 military chaplains delivered homilies on Military Mission Sunday in parishes all over the country.
In the September 22, 1968 edition of the newspaper Catholic Times, the Most Rev. Daniel Tji, as Moderator of the Military Chaplain Corps, appealed to people to generously support the military chaplaincy in the following manner:
“The Vatican Council pointed out that we are not saved as individuals, but as community jointly. If a military chaplain fully implements his duty in a division, at least 13,000 soldiers will receive great benefit. All these soldiers are now or will be the head of a household, who will have a strong influence on society. Military chaplains can often have the opportunity to form hundreds of these people in groups. We have an obligation to more actively support military chaplains and help them better to do their duty and to influence the military through love and goodness.”
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10,11). According to these words of our Lord, military chaplains are the shepherds who live with and for soldiers. Military Mission Sunday was established to promote the evangelization of the military and to help the shepherds in their ministry.
On the occasion of the 50th Military Mission Sunday, I humbly ask you to continue to show your warmhearted concern and love for the soldiers in frontline areas and in rear bases, and all the military chaplains, religious, and lay missionaries in the Military Ordinariate.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your constant prayers and support. I pray that God’s blessings may be with you and your families in abundance.
October 1, 2017
Bishop of Military Ordinariate
Message for the 2017 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
“Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Is 65,17)
Having lived in the long and painful shadow of national division for over seventy-two years, we once again celebrate the Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People. Having overcome the wounds and pain of the past, Germany, as a unified nation, is standing firm at the heart of the European Union. However, we are still stuck in the mire of inter-Korean confrontation and conflict, and, to make matters worse, our influence grows weaker as a result of the escalating tensions among the related superpowers around the Korean Peninsula.
As a nation we have experienced a turbulent time over the past few months: a series of large-scale candlelight demonstrations was led by citizens angry at the unprecedented monopoly of national affairs; for the first time in the history of the Constitution the president was impeached and detained; a new president was elected to replace the impeached president.
All countries have their various problems. However, on top of other problems, South Korea and North Korea have the issue of national division to contend with. Having been in a state of cease-fire for 64 years, Cold War logic is still deeply rooted in both the South and North. Sadly, by putting Cold War logic above faith, some of our believers stigmatize North Koreans as those who do not deserve to be loved and as objects to be curse and hatred. They denounce those who speak the practice of “love”, the core of our faith. Moreover, they also brand priests as ‘followers of North Korea’ without hesitation. The long lasted Cold War has made our communities and our individual lives ill, and, as a result, our future is becoming ever more unclear.
In order to build a better future, a shift to a peace system on the Korean peninsula is urgently needed. In this current unstable cease-fire situation, the Korean Peninsula is always exposed to tensions and dangers. Peace on our peninsula is required for the betterment of our lives, but even more so for the lives of future generations.
Therefore, I urge the new government to make efforts to transform the cease-fire into a more stable system of peace. When the war is finally declared over and the South and North open a new era of peace through active exchange and cooperation, the day of unification, with mutual economic growth, will follow. To this end, I urge the government to take active steps to ensure that the South and North grow as brothers and sisters through active encounters on both religious and civil levels.
People have power to change the world as we have already witnessed. When our aspiration for peace comes true in reality, we may sing a song in praise of the Lord: “one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is 2,4).
Dear brothers and sisters who are called peacemakers! (Mt 5,9) Please join us in prayer with patience, courage and eagerness for peace. Every evening at 9 o’clock, take a moment to pray an ‘Our Father’ and a ‘Hail Mary’ for true peace in and for the unification of this land where we live. On the occasion of the 2016 Spring General Assembly, the Bishops recommended the establishment of a ‘National Reconciliation Department’ in each parish. We must initiate this peace movement at the parish level. In order to transform our stony hearts, soaked in Cold War logic, into soft hearts of flesh (Cf. Ez 36,26), we should strive to raise funds to support various educational and experiential programs and to facilitate inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady in Fatima. At the apparition the Holy Mother said “Repent and pray the rosary for the peace and salvation of the world.” This message is also addressed to us today who are living a life of division and conflict. Let us make the Korean Peninsula a place where, through the intercession of Mother Mary, peace will once again flow like a river.
June 25, 2017
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
President CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
Peter Jeong San-pil (1739?-1799)
Peter Jeong San-pil was born in Deoksan, Chungcheong-do, to a commoner family. He was reckless and strong willed. Everyone was afraid of him; however, when he became a Catholic, he grew in humility and gentleness, and was kind to everyone.
At the end of 1794, when Father James Zhou Wen-mo came to Korea, Peter Jeong went to visit him and was baptized. He was appointed as the catechist in the Naepo region, where he faithfully performed his duties. He prayed and read religious books with zeal, and devoted himself to teaching the catechism to those around him.
He and his close friends Lawrence Pak Chwi-deuk, James Won Si-bo and Francis Bang met frequently and practiced their religion. When the Jeongsa Persecution broke out in 1797, all three were eventually arrested and martyred.
Peter Jeong was arrested in either 1798 or 1799 and taken to the government office of Deoksan. During his detention, Peter Jeong underwent harsh interrogations and frequent torture, but throughout he bravely testified to the teachings of God. In prison he encouraged other Catholics in the faith and professed his own faith in God without fear. He remained serene even when he had to sign his written death sentence. On his execution day, after receiving his last meal Peter Jeong invited his fellow Christians to eat with him, and said:
“God created this food for people, so let’s say a last prayer of thanksgiving and share it. We will soon enjoy everlasting happiness in Heaven.”
After eating, Peter Jeong was taken to the execution ground and beheaded for his faith in God. Peter Jeong was executed in 1799 and was in his fifties.