- From the Editor:
- 2016 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
- Message for the 49th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)
- Statement of the Catholic Church in Korea on the Deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula
- Message for the 21st Farmers’ Sunday (Summary)
- Message for the 2016 Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People(Summary)
- Message for the Month of Mission 2016 (Summary)
- The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
From the Editor:
The Life of Our Faithful Catholic Ancestors
As the society of Joseon was moving into a period of turmoil, existing values, which had supported conventions and traditions, were gradually giving way. Because of this phenomenon, the hearts of many were filled with a longing to find new values and new spiritual leadership. In this situation, our ancestors in faith came up with the following questions: “What is an authentic life?”and “How can I become a true human being?” While striving to find answers to those questions, they eventually unearthed them within Christianity. Although they gave up more than what they could be and were deprived of, they willingly pursued the true life which they had found.
These days the Korean faithful should also be engaged in the pursuit of such an authentic life. When our devout ancestors learned of the Gospel for the first time, it was the ideas of respect for human beings and human equality that fascinated them most. It was those remarkable Gospel messages which made it possible for Christian faith to prevail throughout the country within such a short period of time.
Although the spirit of the Gospel has been lived more than two hundred years, our contemporary society is falling into a spiral of confusion. Many values in secular society are estranged from the ones upheld by the Church and some even contradict the Gospel. We can find symptoms of present day contempt for life in our society: increasing rate of homicide, suicide, abortion; the prevalence of human cloning and genetic manipulation; destruction of the environment, and materialism.
In times past, our ancestors in faith relinquished false values, and did not hesitate to sacrifice even their own lives to protect true life and human dignity. All the Korean faithful, as descendents of great ancestors in faith, should exert themselves to revive the value of respect for the dignity of human person. When we recognize the true value of human beings, and spread that noble value throughout both our own society and the world, many of the problems facing us today will, step by step, be resolved in peaceful manner.
Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2016 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
1. The bishops listened to a report on the ongoing preparations for submitting the revised Korean versions of the Roman Missal (editio typica tertia, Emendata 2008) and the Lectionarium to the Apostolic See for its confirmation. The finally revised translations, which reflect the results of the discussions with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, are to be submitted to the Apostolic See for its confirmation in October, 2016.
2. The bishops listened to a report, submitted by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy (President: Most Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo), on a plan for the publication of the revised Korean versions of the Roman Missal, the Lectionarium, the Evangeliarium, and the Holy Week. Publication has been scheduled for August or September, 2017 in order to use them from the 2017 Advent Season at the latest.
3. The bishops listened to a report that the revised Korean versions of 13 liturgical texts have been confirmed by the Apostolic See. These texts will be published after the confirmation of the revised Korean version of the Roman Missal. The list of 13 original Latin texts is as follows:
Ordo Dedicationis Ecclesiae et Altaris (1977); Ritus Ad Deputandum Ministrum Extraordinarium Sacrae Communionis Distribuendae (1973); De Institutione Lectorum et Acolythorum (1972); Ordo Benedicendi Oleum Catechumenorum et Infirmorum et Conficiendi Chrisma (1971); De Sacra Communione et De Cultu Mysterii Eucharistici Extra Missam (1973); De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam (2004); Ordo Benedictionis Abbatis et Abbatissae (1978); Ordo Coronandi Imaginem Beatae Mariae Virginis (1981); Ordo Consecrationis Virginum (1978); Ordo Professionis Religiosae (1975); De Benedictionibus (1984); Ordo Exsequiarum (1969); and Ordo Paenitentiae (1974).
4. As the educational activities of the CBCK Subcommittee for Pastoral Care of Pilgrimage were taken into consideration on behalf of the faithful, it was unanimously approved that the Subcommittee for Pastoral Care of Pilgrimage, which has until now functioned as a division of the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea (President: Most Rev. Simon Ok Hyun-jin), should be elevated to an official subcommittee in its own right with its own secretary.
5. The bishops listened to a report on a plan for the bishops from France to visit South Korea on October 14, 2016 on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Martyrdom during the Byeong-in Persecution and to have a meeting with them at the Archdiocesan office of Seoul on October 20, 2016. The French bishops are from nine dioceses with connections to the martyred French missionaries.
6. The bishops listened to a report on the preparation for the 22nd Korean-Japanese Bishops’Colloquium held in the Diocese of Incheon from November 15 to 17, 2016, with the theme,“ Military Industry Threatening the Peace of the World and Media”.
7. The bishops elected some officers of the episcopal conference as follows:
- Secretary of the CBCK and Executive Director of the CCK: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
- Chairman of the CBCK Episcopal Commission for Clergy and Religious: H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung- Chairman of the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Message for the 49th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)
“Beloved, let us love one another” (1Jn 4,7)
In regard to the three theological virtues: faith, hope, love, the apostolate Paul demonstrates that the greatest of them is love, especially fraternity.
Pope Francis expressed his concern at the Western world’s tendency to denounce Islam in its entirety out of resentment against the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. He said, “I believe that in almost all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group. Fundamentalist. We have some ourselves... I believe that it is not right to identify Islam with violence”(In-flight press conference of His Holiness Pope Francis flying from Poland to Rome, 2016.7.31). It can be assumed from the words of the Holy Father that if we confront the hate crimes of fundamentalists out of a desire for retaliation, we too fall prey to their evil plot. The Pope encourages us to find alternative, peaceful and evangelical ways to resolve the current situation because fundamentalists depend upon aggressive confrontations. At the same time, he makes it clear how the Catholic Church should deal with terror. “Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity”(Address of the Holy Father at a Prayer Vigil with Young People, 2016.7.30).
During military service, which many young men begin with fear and anxiety, young soldiers fulfill their military obligations within a hierarchical military system. Although they might, at times, suffer from a sense of desolation within their military battalions and regiments, they can find hope and strength when they encounter God. Especially, they may experience the love of God by attending Holy Mass. Military chaplains practice fraternal love by visiting soldiers who cannot attend Sunday Mass, and fellow Catholics in the army demonstrate the divine commandment to love by devoting their time and efforts in helping soldiers who attend Mass. Both military chaplains and the faithful of the Military Ordinate play leading roles in the evangelization of the military, infusing it with a new vigor which encourages soldiers who might be suffering from difficulties. In doing so, they help soldiers to experience fraternity.
Fraternity leads to fulfillment as a human being, the experience of peace for individuals, society, and nations, and to an effective form of evangelization. It is also a source of blessings. The Lord reveals the fraternity by washing his disciples’feet at the Last Supper and invites us to the blessings. Faithful to the mission and evangelization founded on fraternity, the Military Ordinate will open a new chapter in the Military Mission. Through love expressed in its ministry, the Military Mission will bring forth the fruit of happiness and sow the seeds of creative hopes and dreams for the future.
Therefore, while saddened by the painful reality of the division of the country, the Military Ordinate is willing to live a life of love for God and neighbours in accordance with the divine Words,“ I give you a new commandment love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another”(Jn 13,34). I believe that loving hearts will transform the Military Ordinate internally, help it to live an evangelical life and encourage it to devote itself to the evangelization of the world.
I humbly ask you to continue to show your warmhearted concern and love for the soldiers in frontline areas and in rear bases, military chaplains, and religious in the Military Ordinate. I would like to express my deep gratitude for your constant prayers and encouragement. I pray that God’s blessings may be with you and your family in abundance.
October 2, 2016
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il Bishop of Military Ordinate
The Church in Korea Welcomes
On November 10, 2016, the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea announced that Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shinchul as bishop of Incheon, Korea. On June 4, 2016, he was appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the same Diocese “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis”.
He was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of the said diocese and Titular Bishop of Cuicul on April 29, 2010. He is currently the President of the CBCK Committee on Education.
Statement of the Catholic Church in Korea on the Deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you” (Jn 14,27)
1. Concern for the Peace in North East Asia and the World
In his message for the celebration of the XLIX World Day of Peace on January 1, 2016, Pope Francis mentioned that the situation of the global village constituted a real “third world war fought piecemeal.”In such a situation ethnic, racial, national, and religious conflicts become aggravated. Within this reality the significance of peace-building on the Korean Peninsula becomes more important than ever before, as Korea is located at the heart of the world superpowers’area of interest. In this regard, we cannot but express our concern for the fact that the deployment of THAAD will make the Korean Peninsula the theater of a new Cold War even though it will have no practical effectiveness for the defense of the metropolitan area of South Korea. The Church asserts that “peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies”(Gaudium et Spes, n.78). We have to give up on the idea that militarization can manage the present crisis on the Korean Peninsula and achieve true peace. In fact, peace can be achieved only through the establishment of order based on justice and love. And as such, peace must rest on a proper understanding of the human person.
As we have already asserted on many occasions, the development of nuclear weapons must be abandoned by North Korea, as it escalates tension between the superpowers of the world. This provides no help for either the common good of our nation or the peace of North East Asia. In short, the deployment of THAAD cannot be justified, even though it claims to be a deterrent towards North Korean nuclear weapons.
We have learned well from our history that an arms race only gives rise to serious threats against the whole of humanity and causes severe economic suffering for the poor. At the same time, we have also experienced that intellectual and emotional exchange and sympathy leads to the fall of the Wall of Division. The tension and crisis concerning the nuclear problem surrounding the Korean Peninsula cannot be resolved by the use of intimidation by superior military power.
2. Concern at the Harm Caused to National Reconciliation
Though geopolitic and ideological confrontation on the part of the superpowers resulted in national division, the whole of the Korean Peninsula has exerted much effort to bring about peace since division 71 years ago. We can witness the fruits of such efforts for the development and peaceful prosperity of North and South Korea in the many joint statements and declarations made over the years: July 4th North-South Joint Statement (1972), North-South Basic Agreement (1992), June 15th North-South Joint Declaration (2000), and October 4th North-South Joint Declaration (2007). However, recent developments and the deployment of new weapons on the Korean Peninsula run counter to our past efforts for national reconciliation and common prosperity, as they only serve to escalate tension between North and South Korea.
Recently, the relationship between North and South Korea has suffered greatly from the shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint inter-Korean economic project. Subsequently, the deployment of THAAD will only aggravate the tensions and hostilities which exist among the countries on and around the Korean Peninsula, thus blocking the road to reconciliation and dialogue between North and South Korea.
In light of this, the Catholic Church in Korea urges the government to do its best to make the Korean Peninsula a setting for reconciliation and cooperation and not a theater for struggles in military supremacy. We earnestly ask the government to make every effort to accompany North Korea on the road to the abandonment of nuclear weapons through persuasion and dialogue, but not through force of arms. As Pope Francis said in his address at the presidential Blue House on August 14, 2014, during his apostolic visit to Korea,“ diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force.”True peace is accomplished through dialogue accompanied by patience, but never through mutual defamation or shows of force. We call once again for diplomatic efforts on the part of the South Korean authorities for the building of true peace.
3. Concern for Unrest among and Burden on the Public
The Church in Korea expresses her concern at the negative impact of THAAD on the already troubled Korean economy. She also wants to reiterate the fact that ultimate peace and economic growth can only be achieved through balanced disarmament accompanied by dialogue and mutual cooperation.
The Church also wants to make it clear that“ development is the new name for peace”(cf. Populorum Progressio, n.76). True peace can be achieved only when we change the present inhumane situation into a humane one which favors the value of human life. In light of this, the realization of peace will become only a distant dream if international conflicts are allowed to worsen the political and economic situation of both North and South Korea.
The present crisis of the world, including the crisis on and around the Korean Peninsula, tells us that now is the time to gather our wisdom so as to make the world a place where we do not play the fool to “prepare deadly shafts, make arrow blazing thunderbolts”(cf. Ps 7,14), but where we beat“ our spears into pruning hooks”(cf. Is 2,4). Especially, we as a nation are now in a position where we have to bear witness to the fact that peace on the Korean Peninsula cannot be achieved through the superior military power, but only by national reconciliation and mutual cooperation in a progressive manner.
In this regard, the Church in Korea expresses her grave concern at the present situation and voices her stern opposition to the deployment of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula, which will only aggravate the uncertainties of the military and economic situation of Korea. We cannot but worry over the possible diplomatic costs, as well as the growing mistrust and anxieties being forced on the Korean people as a result of the proposed deployment of the unproved THAAD. Add to this possible dangers which could arise if a necessary environmental impact assessment is not carried out.
In conclusion, the Church in Korea urges the authorities to completely reconsider the deployment of THAAD, and to do all in their powers to bring about the enhancement of peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world.
July 15, 2016
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
President CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 21st Farmers’ Sunday (Summary)
Let us Prepare a Meal of Life
“Give ear and hear my voice, pay attention and listen to what I say. Is the plowman forever plowing for planting? Put in wheat and barley, with spelt as its border? He has learned this rule, instructed by his God”(cf. Is 28,23-26). In this biblical passage, God teaches us the way of life. Farmers have made a living in accordance with the divine order of creation. In cooperation with nature, human beings have participated closely in the divine work of creation. However, as a consequence of the opening of the domestic agricultural market and the process of globalization, our rural community has been decimated to the point of there being no more room for agriculture. Rice is the staple grain of Korea and of its most basic agricultural products. However, since the opening of the domestic rice market under the tariffication of rice, agriculture in Korea is going through a difficult time.
Agriculture is considered a demanding form of work with only small profits and few prospects. Even though farmers have followed the path that God teaches, they find little hope of supporting themselves. As the Church, for her part, proclaims God’s teaching to participate in this precious life-giving work, she cannot but feel sorry for farmers. This is because the Church has failed to speak out strongly on behalf of farmers when our government and society, on pure economic logic, pursued industrialization at the expense of agriculture.
Yet, farmers, in silence, keep on planting crops. We should protect farmers in the name of the Church. With the decision of the 1994 Spring General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’Conference of Korea, the“ Save Our Rural Community Movement”was initiated in order to protect rural areas in a deep trouble. Since Farmer’s Sunday was established the following year, we have been praying for and carrying on the movement for farmers and rural areas. Each diocese established a “Save Our Rural Community Movement” centre to run stalls for direct sales of local agricultural produce and to promote cooperative activities between urban and rural areas. Unfortunately the movement has not yet spread over the entire Church in Korea, and due to a lack of support from consumers, farmers are still suffering from numerous difficulties.
We should give hope to farmers who live a life according to God’s Words. We should commit ourselves more to saving our agriculture and rural areas, based on respect for life and fraternal solidarity. Most of all, I ask an active involvement in the campaign“, Preparing a Meal of Life”.
In addition, let us put more effort into actively promoting education in nutrition, and into opening more direct sales stalls of local agricultural produce in more parishes so that Catholics may pay more attention to and better participate in the campaign. Especially, in an effort to help framers who suffer from a drop in the price of rice, I ask Church communities to actively participate in promoting the consumption of domestically produced rice by serving more food such as rice-cakes, rice-breads, and rice-drinks at events or by having a bowl of rice with breakfast. We may find a renewed sense of hope within in the Church by partaking in agricultural products such as wheat and rice with gratitude.
I pray that God, who loves farmers, may always bless you.
July 17, 2016
+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik Bishop of Daejeon
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 2016 Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6,36)
At present the relationship between North and South Korea is regarded as being in a very unhealthy state. The fourth nuclear test and the rocket launch by North Korea along with a series of strong counter measures on the part of South Korea have resulted in the forfeiture of opportunity for mutual dialogue and cooperation. The Gaesung Industrial Complex, the last sign of reconciliation and cooperation between North and South Korea, was abruptly closed in the morning of February 10, 2016, which happened to be Ash Wednesday, the day we started to celebrate the first day of Lent. Though we have had time to share together the joy of Easter after the liturgical Lenten season, our nation is still in the so-called“ national Lenten season” of dark conflict and confrontation.
As the cease-fire continues, the scars of the war remain and will be passed down to future generations. Every corner of our society bears the marks of such scars which, in turn, generate both large and small scale social conflicts. The Korean Peninsula is overflowing with high-tech weapons, which are telltale signs of the mutual hatred which exists between North and South Korea. If another war breaks out, it will simultaneously annihilate both Koreas.
On the occasion of the 2016 Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People, the Catholic Church in Korea appeals to political leaders of both Koreas to make efforts to bring about the reconciliation of North and South Korea as well as peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Church also expresses her support for the joint declaration and for efforts to build a world free from nuclear threats.
We have to unite our wisdom for the establishment of true peace on the Korean Peninsula by “beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks”(cf. Is 2,4), and by giving up the long-lasting arms race. Peace is by its nature a gift, but never without cost. “Peace is built up day after day in the pursuit of an order willed by God and can flourish only when all recognize that everyone is responsible for promoting it” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n.495).
Achieved in Jesus Christ, reconciliation essentially searches for unity. In chapter 17 of John’s Gospel, we see Jesus praying before his imminent death for the unity of his followers: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us”(Jn 17,21). Our reconciliation with God must be first realized before we can be one in God. Reconciliation is a precondition for unity.
Although both Koreas cry out for unification, and even though they use the same word reunification, they do so from within their respective closed horizons. North Korea wants reunification under communism, while South Korea wants it through absorption. Therefore, the louder the cries from both parties for reunification become, the more acute conflict grows. As unity presupposes reconciliation, peace must first be established before national reunification may be achieved. Therefore, we must all pull together to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Jesus promised us his peace:“ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”(Jn 14,27). This peace is different from the one that people usually talk about. In general, the world tends to achieve peace through power. However, peace based on power is very fragile because it demands suffering and resentment towards other people. The peace of the Lord is an active one achieved by love, not power. Jesus conquered the world with such peace (cf. Jn 16,33).
When we want to achieve the Lord’s peace, we must first forgive long-term grudges. Hostility, nurtured by the scars and memories of the Korean War, has led us to see our opposite number as an object of hatred. There has been no room for the evangelical value of “forgiveness”. Our hardened hearts have made the Lord’s unique commandment of “love”into a hollow echo. In such a situation, the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy announced by Pope Francis is a special gift for the healing of the wounds of national division.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”(Lk 6,36). This theme of the Jubilee helps to enlighten us, a hardened faithful living in a situation of division. It tells us that first we need to build peace, and we must not render evil for evil: satan cannot face satan. Cherishing mercy in our hearts, we must pray for those who are on the wrong path and urge them to get back on the right track once again.
Prayer is the strongest weapon for the faithful because God, who listens to our prayers, can make the impossible possible (cf. Lk 1,37). Pope Francis has emphasized sympathy and solidarity for us as Catholics and has asked us to form a consensus for peace and solidarity in prayer, as we live in a situation of prolonged national division. I hope that the “Campaign of the Rosary for Peace of the Korean Peninsula at 9 o’clock”, which the Catholic Church in Korea has practiced for last year, may continue. Our solidarity in prayer will bear wonderful fruits in the Lord.
Prayer for peace must be accompanied by practical activities. In our respective Sitz im Leben, in the family, the neighbourhood, or the parish community, we must practice activities for peace. At the same time, neither must we turn our faces away from our brothers and sisters, who suffer from misfortune and pain, across the DMZ. We must strengthen our sense of solidarity through sympathy for their pain and suffering as well as by sharing our love. Our efforts at building peace will of themselves give peace to the peacemakers (cf. Lk 10,6). May the abundant blessings of the Lord be with all our brothers and sisters on the Korean Peninsula.
June 19, 2016
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon Bishop of Uijeongbu
President CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
Message for the Month of Mission 2016 (Summary)
The Joy of the Gospel Throughout All the Earth!
The Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well is one of the most representative biblical figures among those who witnessed the transformative power of encountering Jesus. Although she used to have relationships with many men, her relationships remained only on a physical level and never reached the depths of her heart, mind and spirit. She felt an unquenchable thirst for life. Her inner state is clearly expressed with the words, “sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.”However, after she encountered the Messiah, her life was completely transformed, and she even became his disciple: a witness of Christ who proclaimed the Lord to others.
Another similar story is found in the Sacred Scriptures when a woman was cured by touching Jesus after enduring the great pain of hemorrhages for many years. “There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse”(Mk 5,25-26).
These two biblical stories show how one’s life can be changed dramatically through an encounter with Jesus.
Keeping in mind these passages, let us take a closer look at both our current situation and that of the world. South Korea is an exemplary country in the sense that it was once one of the poorest in the world, but achieved remarkable economic success in a short period of time. However, such sudden prosperity leads to a growing obsessions with the material, power, fame and pleasure among the people in the country. As disparity between the haves and have-nots grows wider, more and more people are losing their zest for life. Even in the case of those who appear to lack nothing on the level of material possessions, they often experience rapid deterioration in their inner life is and a sense of desertification. An increasing number of people are suffering from loneliness and straying from the fundamental values of humanity. Among the illnesses of “sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness,” loneliness is the most wide-spread and grave illness of our time. It is deeply rooted in the heart of contemporary society. Regardless of how many people surround you, you may still feel alone. Such a sense of isolation is the most serious crisis of humanity when God looks upon us.
Whenever God created, He saw how good it was; however, there was one occasion when He said, “It is not good.” This was when He saw the man alone. In this regard, Pope Francis urgently requested that the parish should be like “a community of communities”(Evangelii Gaudium, n.28). Its purpose is that the faithful can reflect the Word of God together in local meetings of basic and small communities. In this way, they may experience an encounter with the Lord, which brings joy and strength. As a result, they become spirit-filled believers. In this way, we, just like the Samaritan woman, should return to our own communities, filled with a new heart full of joy and strength from the Lord. And thus we become his disciples.
If we establish small Christian communities in accordance with Pope Francis’exhortation, we shall acknowledge what the Church is, what the Christian faith is and what authentic joy is. In this way, we can discover the Kingdom of God in this world and prioritize the mission of proclaiming the Good News to others. Those who encounter the Lord through the Gospel and share Him with others have already had a taste of heavenly joy.
We have been given a mission to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world through meeting God in the depths of ourselves. That is why we should devote ourselves to the building of a world where “love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss”(Ps 85, 11). In his homily during Mass at Santa Marta on May 28, 2015, Pope Francis pointed out that worldly and indifferent Christians who are concerned only with their relationship with Jesus and are indifferent to others around them are not true Christian. Bearing in mind these words of the Holy Father, we should all endeavor to become apostles focused on putting into practice the Lord’s last entreaty.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”(Mt 28,19-20).
+ Vincent Ri Pyung-ho Bishop of Jeonju
President CBCK Committee for Evangelization
The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
Paul Yi Do-gi (1743-1798)
Paul Yi used his little fortune in helping to lead non-believers to the Church. When he was threatened because of his faith, he moved from place to place and tried to spread the Gospel constantly. Later on he left Cheongyang with his family and moved to Jeongsan over the mountain, where they set up a kiln and started a pottery business.
The Jeongsa Persecution broke out in 1797 when Paul Yi was 54 years old. One day, a non-believer in the neighborhood came to him, and threatened him saying, “I will report to the police that you are a leader of the Catholics.”His wife, who was terrified, asked him to escape, but he said resolutely that he would not go against the Lord’s will, and did not follow his wife’s advice. He also made this decision in order not to give bad example to the neophytes.
On June 8 of that year, when Paul Yi was working at home, the police broke in to arrest him. They found crucifix and some religious books. They beat him and asked him to tell them the whereabouts of other Christians, but he remained silent.
Transferred to the government office in Jeongsan, Paul Yi was interrogated and tortured many times. Sometimes the police took him to the market place to beat him and humiliate him in front of the crowds, but he never yielded. He also kept explaining bravely the doctrine of the Church to the magistrate who tried to force him to apostatize.
As time passed, Paul Yi suffered from hunger and the freezing cold, but he endured it by thinking of Jesus constantly. One day, he heard an angel saying, “The Lord is with you.”He felt he was surrounded by heavenly bliss.
In the New Year of 1798 Paul Yi was taken to the magistrate and went through interrogation and torture all over again. One day the magistrate tried to make him betray God by promising him an official position, but Paul Yi replied, “Even though you give me the whole village, I cannot renounce my Lord.”Paul Yi, afraid he might become tempted, refused to see his wife and the believers who visited him.
On the morning of June 10, the police came to inform him that it was his execution day. Paul was happy. He was taken to the Jeongsan execution ground and was severely tortured once more. The crowds who came to watch joined the police in jeering him. Paul Yi reconfirmed that he would never betray the Catholic religion. Looking up to the sky, he shouted in a loud voice, “Holy Mother Mary, I greet you.”
Paul Yi was beaten so much that he fainted a couple of times, and his legs were broken. He was then left abandoned. Two days later the magistrate ordered to check to see if he was dead and said; ‘If he is not dead, kill him.’ The police cruelly crushed his body and he died a martyr.
Paul Yi’s body no longer had a human shape. It was on July 24, 1798 (June 12 by the lunar calendar). Paul Yi was 55 years old.
His body was buried according to the orders of the magistrate. Seven or eight days later Catholics from Jeongsan came to look for his body. They took it away secretly to their village and buried it.