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- 2014 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
- The Church in Korea Rejoices over a New Cardinal
- Message for the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees
- Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014
- Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2014
- News from the Church in Korea
- The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
Natural Duty of Christians
Regardless of their political orientation, whether progressive or conservative, in the ruling party or the opposition party, politicians talk about so-called "win-win" politics. Even businessmen eagerly talk about "win-win" or "symbiosis". However, big companies usually exploit small companies, best students despise poor students at school, regular workers neglect non-regular workers in the workplace, and the leasees are bluntly discriminated against in an apartment complex. We are not in a world where everybody lives together filling up what is lacking in the other, but in a world where a rich man who possesses a million dollars covets the dime of a poor man.
Is it really impossible for us to have a community of "win-win" and "symbiosis" where we take care of each other and promote mutual growth, sharing life as creatures of the divine order of creation?
This coming August, Pope Francis will pay an apostolic visit to Korea on the occasion of the 6th Asian Youth Day, and he will celebrate Mass for the beatification of Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions. Our ancestors in faith who died as martyrs practiced a life of brotherhood, as they prayed together and shared the sacrament of love regardless of their social status. It was an astounding practice at that time. Simon Hwang Il-gwang (1757-1802), a butcher who died a martyr, commonly said, "I believe that heaven exists
here and hereafter", as his fellow believers treated him as a human person regardless of
his low social class.
Even though the social class system has already been abolished, the aforementioned discrimination has caused various divisions in our society. In a certain sense, the Church is not wholly free from these phenomena. It is very frustrating and unfortunate for us to remember what Jesus told us: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35). We have witnessed our neighbours who committed suicide because of extreme economic distress, while those who have vested rights with power and property do not stop their greedy pursuit. If we cannot say "No!", even though we can clearly see such a situation, is there anything left for us except total annihilation?
The natural duty of Christians is living together. "Everybody must bear one's own burden, and he or she must also bear one another's burden" (cf. Gal 6). Citizens of a democratic society must also live together respecting one another. We should not violate the rights of others to protect our own rights. I think it is our duty as Catholics and citizens in a democratic society to protect our neighbours from the violation of their rights, as a gesture for the cause of the common good.
As we are joyful at the news of the beatification of the Korean martyrs, we must clearly remember our duty as Christians and citizens and desire to live the Kingdom of God on earth that our ancestors in faith anticipated.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2014 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2014 Spring General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from March 24 to 27, 2014 and made the following decisions:
1. The bishops examined and approved the draft "Pastoral Guidelines for Sunday Mass and the Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church in Korea", prepared on the level of the CBCK.
2. The bishops agreed to make efforts for actively sharing with the poor in the spirit of evangelical sharing on the occasion of the apostolic visit of Pope Francis, considering movements for the whole Church in Korea to carry out.
3. The bishops agreed with a plan of the Preparatory Committee for the Visitation of Holy Father to hold a symposium in cooperation with the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea. Furthermore, the bishops also agreed that efforts for studying and sharing the message of Evangelii Gaudium will be made at the level of the dioceses.
4. The bishops approved the draft "Prayer for Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Korea and the Beatification Ceremony of the 124 Servants of God", submitted by the Preparatory Committee for the Visitation of the Holy Father, after they reviewed and modified the text.
5. The bishops agreed that a special collection will be taken up nationwide on June 8, 2014, the Solemnity of Pentecost, on the occasion of Pope Francis' apostolic visit to Korea as well as the beatification ceremony for the Servants of God "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions".
6. The bishops agreed with the plan of H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul, who suggested Seoul as the venue for the 34th World Youth Day in 2019.
7. The bishops approved the revised draft "Rules of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People".
8. The bishops examined and approved the draft "Rules of Pro-Life Activities" under the CBCK Committee for Bioethics.
9. The bishops examined and approved the draft "Statutes of the Conference on Faith and Order of Christianity in Korea" (tentative name), after listening to a report of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious
Dialogue (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) on the establishment of the Conference together with the Orthodox Church in Korea, the Anglican Church of Korea, and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK).
10. The bishops decided to postpone opening the 2014 Autumn General Assembly until October 27, 2014. The main reasons for this postponement are the apostolic visit of Pope Francis as well as the participation of the President of the CBCK in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
11. The bishops listened to a report that the Emmaus Center (Director: Rev. Simon Kim Yong-un) had submitted a 12-week program for the second half of 2014, regarding the ongoing formation of priests during their sabbatical year. They also agreed that in case of too many applicants, annual programs can be provided more frequently.
The Church in Korea Rejoices over a New Cardinal
His Eminence Cardinal Yeom is the third Korean cardinal after the creation of H.E. Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan in 1969 and H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk in 2006 respectively.
Born in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province in 1943, Cardinal Yeom was ordained a priest in 1970. He was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul on December 1, 2001. He took possession of the See of Seoul, succeeding H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, the Archbishop emeritus of Seoul, on June 25, 2012.
Message for the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (summary)
Migrants and Refugees: Fostering a Culture of Hospitality,
Communion and Solidarity
Dear brothers and sisters,
Migration is not a recent phenomenon, but it is a big issue around the world. Moreover, the development of transportation and communication has accelerated this phenomenon. Just taking the subway, we can easily see immigrants of diverse nationalities. In this message I would like to pose a question: "Do you think immigrants are happy in Korea?" While answering this question, I hope we can find good ways to live together.
First of all, let us look into the lives of immigrant workers. They live in anxiety because they left their homelands far behind. It is emotionally hard to bear with homesickness. As immigrant workers, they are suffering from harsh working conditions and unfair treatment, such as exposure to industrial accidents, delayed payment and abusive treatment.
How about multicultural families? They have trouble communicating because they do not understand Korean culture and language well. It is not easy for them to find someone to share their difficulties with and to vent their uneasiness. The pain experienced by multicultural families is beyond what we can imagine.
How about Sae-teo-min, North Korean defectors? Although they are Koreans, they live with so many limitations that they do not feel like Koreans. They cannot integrate into the mainstream culture because of various difficulties such as different ways of thinking and worries about the families they left in the North. Here I would like to ask you whether we have the hospitality to welcome the immigrants with warm hearts.
In order to foster a culture of hospitality in our society, we have to invite the immigrants personally to our homes and parishes. The experience of inviting them makes us one family. We should welcome them, open the doors of our houses and parishes, and listen to them. I would like to recommend that you have a day like a "Day for Homestay" or a "Day for Inviting Immigrants."
As one effort to foster a culture of communion, we need to share difficulties with the immigrants. They need our help. What we can do first is to help them to learn Korean. We should become their good neighbors by giving what we have, such as time, talent, and materials. When we share what we have with them, we can be their friends and become true neighbors. We should live together with the immigrants to establish a culture of solidarity.
As Pope Francis said in his Message for the 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, each of us, as a child of God, has a mission for evangelization in the world and has to become a friend to the migrants and the refugees, trying to share and resolve their difficulties. We should also cordially welcome the immigrants and accept them as our companions, as Jesus invites all peoples and embraces them in the Eucharist.
In imitating Christ who showed in person the love for mankind by laying down His life for us, His friends (cf. Jn 15,13), we have to help the immigrants as our friends and share communion with them, overcoming racism and materialism which we are all faced with, in order to establish the Kingdom of God where all of us live together.
April 27, 2014
+ Simon Ok Hyun-jin
Auxiliary Bishop of Gwangju
for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
and Foreign Residents Living
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014
Is Christ Divided? (1Cor 1,13)
On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014, I would like to wish all of you peace. May the grace which unites each one of you with Christ continue to bear fruit in your life.
Every year in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Christians all around the world pray together in one heart and mind. The draft resource material on the theme for this week is commonly prepared by a local ecumenical group, and then the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity review and finalize it. The draft resource material for prayer of this year was prepared by the Canadian representatives.
In Canada the indigenous people and the great immigrants from Europe have been living together in the blessings of nature. Christianity has contributed to enriching the culture in Canada with its diverse cultures and languages from many countries. However, there have been many prejudices in the way of dealing with the indigenous people. The Christians taking part in the ecumenical movements in Canada show that one of the most important challenges that ecumenism has to face is to harmonize nature, resources, cultures and languages given to them, especially to respect the way of living and the culture of the indigenous people. They underline that the community of humanity is sustainable only when doing so. That is why they have chosen the theme of the prayer from the Apostle Paul's provocative question to the Christians in Corinth: "Is Christ divided?" (1Cor 1,13)
We, living in Korea, should also listen to the question: "Is Christ divided?" We, Koreans have shared the experiences of having overcome internal and external tribulations of the country with one accord throughout our long history. Yet, there still are many factors causing many conflicts manifested in diverse forms in our society. In our contemporary history, many ideological and social conflicts still remain. Christianity in this land, first introduced as Catholicism, has gone through the conflicts with the traditional culture and endured many tribulations. Then after about 100 years, the Protestants like the Presbyterians and the Methodists were introduced. Many Koreans misunderstand that Catholics, Presbyterians, and Methodists are different from each other, even though they are all Christians.
We should overcome the division of Christians, whether it is between Catholics and other denominations. Just as Christ is not divided, the Church has never been divided, either. What is divided is just the people, namely Christians. We should confess that we are responsible for the division of the Church in Korea and we should make efforts to overcome it. Of course, this does not mean that we as Christians have not lived far from what we should be.
In Korean contemporary history, the faithful have practiced the love of Christ, enduring persecution and hardships. They also have exerted efforts to make peace, promoting modernization and democratization of our country without any expectation of reward and renown. Based on these experiences, the first Joint Prayer for Christian Unity in Korea was celebrated in 1986. Since then, the Joint Prayer Meeting for Christian Unity in Korea has been the place where many traditions of Christians can meet each other. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) and the Korean Council of Churches (KCC) have begun the public movement of dialogue which has born not a little fruit with the Conference of Christian Unity in Korea established in 2001. One of the fruits was the preparation of the draft text for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2009 with the theme "That they may become one in your hand" (Ez 37,17). This joint preparation gave all the churches in the world an opportunity to understand Christianity in Korea and contributed to holding the World Council of Churches' General Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013. The WCC's General Assembly in Busan with many Christians participating was an astonishing experience of discussing together current issues in ecumenism and the challenges that the whole world is facing .
Now we would like to take a new leap. We are officially preparing to establish a Conference on Faith and Order of Christianity in Korea (tentative name), confirming our challenges and strengthening the activities of the Movement of Christian Unity in Korea. The Conference will make efforts to realize the spirit of mutual understanding and reconciliation in our daily life, on the basis of the experience of unity and cooperation that Christians from all over the world are participating in.
The ecumenical movement can help people experience the fundamental unity of faith, that is, the spiritual unity in Christ, exceeding the institutional unification of Christians so that the division among Christians is healed. Therefore, the ecumenical movement should begin with drawing upon the friendship among various Christian communities and should take concrete steps toward cooperation in mission which lead to true Christian life in the local society where they belong. This is in line with the common values and policy direction to which our local society orients itself. Further, we can find the first step in the unity of Christians for the reconciliation of the human community in creation.
"Is Christ divided?"
On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I hope this question will be answered with true Christian life. I pray the Lord will bless us. May the abundant blessings of God be always with us and those loved by God. May the Lord always keep us.
+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Archbishop of Gwangju
President CBCK Committee for Promoting
Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2014
One Human Family, Food for All!
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we are celebrating the 22nd anniversary of Overseas Aid Sunday. Pope Francis announced the launch of a campaign against global hunger by Caritas Internationalis on December 10, 2013, Human Rights Day, with the theme of "One Human Family, Food for All". With this announcement Pope Francis urged Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 164 member organizations working in about 200 countries around the world, to take the initiative in carrying on the mission of the Church and in drawing Her attention towards all those suffering from poverty.
Pointing out the disgraceful situation where "we are in front of a global scandal of around one billion people who still suffer from hunger today", the Pope awakened our conscience with these words, "we cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist" (Message for the Launch of One Human Family, Food for All). As he mentioned, "the food available in the world is enough to feed everyone". In response to his urgent request for all of us to have open minds, we need to actively participate in this campaign.
Last year reviewing foreign aid activities carried out over the last 20 years, Caritas Korea international had time to seek its orientation and way to go in the future. Reflecting on the current situation around the world and seeking possibilities to overcome what the world is facing, we decided to work in solidarity with Caritas Internationalis over the next 10 years beginning with Overseas Aid Sunday 2014, in order to exert every effort to change the world into a place where no one ever dies again from hunger.
Dear brothers and sisters!
We are well aware that Our Lord, our Redeemer was always attentive to the hunger of his people and identified himself with the abandoned and the starved, from the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to satisfy the hunger of the crowds to the breaking of bread on the road to Emmaus. From the early Church we have celebrated the Eucharist with the Lord's Prayer that Jesus himself taught us. This prayer encourages us to share our daily bread and does not allow us to accept the situation that people around us are suffering from the hunger. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, the Lord's prayer in which we ask daily bread from our Father makes us realize that we are all members belonging to a single community, one human Family.
Let us actively take part in the campaign against global hunger, asking the Lord to give us the grace to envisage a world where no one ever dies from hunger. In response to the invitation of the Pope who invited all of us "as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world", we need to share in love what we have with people in hunger, as the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes teaches us.
The Lord tells us to "give them some food yourselves" (Mt 14,16). May God bless all those who respond to this request. I genuinely appeal once again that all of you will share what you have generously with the starving in the love of Christ.
January 26, 2014
+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Bishop of Chunchon
Caritas Committee of the CBCK
Caritas Korea International
● News from the Church in Korea
● Mass for Life
The Pro-Life Activities under the CBCK Committee for Bioethics celebrated Mass for Life at Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul on February 10, 2014. The Most Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo, President of the Pro-life Activities, presided over the Mass with priests in charge of pro-life activities in each diocese concelebrating.
Almost 1,300 faithful including pro-life activists participated in the Mass. They prayed that the prevailing cultural contempt for life may disappear and that a pro-life culture will spread widely in our society and promote the rights of unborn children.
Bishop Lee argued that the older generation centering on economics enticed the younger generation to practice contraception and commit feticide, promoting the use of contraceptives. Bishop Lee also said that nowadays many young people are overexposed to the mass media without proper protection, and they show a tendency to have a contempt for life. He asked the pro-life activists to make more efforts to teach the young to understand the dignity of life and the proper meaning of sexuality.
The Pro-life Activities initiated the 'Forty-Day Prayer' beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014 to promote the cause of the abolishment of the "Mother and Child Health Law" which technically promotes abortions.
● Beatification of the 124 Korean Martyrs
According to the Vatican News of Feb. 8. 2014, the decree for the beatification of the servants of God Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions will be promulgated. The beatification Mass will be celebrated with Pope Francis presiding during his apostolic trip to Korea from Aug. 14 to 18, 2014.
At the 1997 Autumn General Assembly the bishops decided to jointly promote the Beatification and Canonization of the martyrs together, that is those who were persecuted in 1791, 1801, 1839 and 1866. At the 2001 Autumn General Assembly the bishops decided to establish the Episcopal Special Commission with the Most Rev. Michael Pak Jeong-il as the President and with bishops of five dioceses (Seoul, Suwon, Daegu, Cheongju and Jeonju).
After the Commission's investigation of the documents on May 20, 2009, the acts for the cause of the beatification of the servants of God Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Bishop of Masan, Chairman of the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization, heartily welcomed the news, calling to mind the efforts of the former Chairman of the same Commission and of its members.
● Guidebook for the SCCs in Korea, SCCs of the Catholic Church in Korea - Principles and Directions, Management and Practices
The Subcommittee for Small Christian Communities under the CBCK Committee for Evangelization (President: Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho) published SCCs of the Catholic Church in Korea, a guidebook for the SSCs in Korea.
Since the early 1990s the Catholic Church in Korea has introduced the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) as a way of evangelization and made efforts to build them. For the more effective spread of the SCCs, however, there has been increasing demands for a practical guidebook, which can help the faithful to comprehend the basic principles of the SCCs and their practices. As one effort to respond to these demands, the Subcommittee published the guidebook, in March, 2014.
This guidebook presents the spirit, principles and directions of the SCCs from the perspective of an integral pastoral approach. Especially, it contains concrete measures based on research and studies on the SCCs in the pastoral fields, as well as their experiences.
The preface explains the background of the introduction and the process of promoting the SCCs in the Catholic Church in Korea. It also shows the fruits born by the SSCs so far, hopes for the future, and challenges of the New Evangelization in our age, as well as critical opinions and skeptical perspectives on the SCCs.
The text is comprised of three parts, entitled respectively 'Appearance of the SCCs and Ecclesiological Comprehension', 'Practical Principles of the SCCs', and 'Organization and Management of the SCCs'. Each part is written on the basis of concrete and exemplary cases by the members of the Subcommittee, after gathering the opinions of priests, religious, and lay persons who have had a lot of experience with the SCCs.
Bishop Ri said, "I believe this Guidebook will help pastors and the faithful to realize the image of ecclesial communion, as well as to solve the difficulties and questions concerning the SCCs one by one".
● Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2013
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2013 on April 10, 2014.
According to the Statistics as of December 31, 2013, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,442,996, an increase of 1.5% (81,627) over the last year. This accounts for 10.4% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased since 2003. By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,250,015 and the number of the female faithful was 3,192,981, 41.3% and 58.7% respectively of all Catholics in Korea.
Of the 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with 27.1% of the total Catholics in Korea, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (15.2%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (8.7%). The combined number of the faithful in these metropolitan areas (Seoul, Incheon, Uijeongbu and Suwon) accounted for 56.1% of all the Catholics in Korea. In terms of the percentage of the Catholic population compared to the overall population, the Archdiocese of Seoul represented 14.5%, followed by the Diocese of Cheju 11.9%, the Diocese of Cheongju 11.2%, the Dioceses of Suwon and Incheon 10.7% respectively, and the Archdiocese of Daegu 10.5%.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2013 was 118,830, a decrease of 10% from the previous year. By gender, newly baptized men numbered 63,285 and women 55,545. The number of infants baptized amounted to 25,589.
The Statistics also indicates that the number of clergy in Korea in 2013 amounted to 4,901, with 36 bishops, including one Cardinal. There were 4,695 Korean priests and 170 foreign priests. Among the priests, 3,995 were diocesan priests, 697 were religious priests and 173 were missionary priests. 117 priests were newly ordained in 2013, an increase of 2.6% over the previous year.
The number of parishes in 2013 was 1,668, a slight increase of 4 over the previous year, while the number of mission stations was 791, a decrease of 5 from the previous years.
With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,564 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual vows as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,173 women religious.
The number of marriages celebrated in the Church amounted to 19,424 in 2013, a decrease of 6.2% from the previous year. Of this number 11,926 cases were marriages between a baptized and a non-baptized person. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession was 4,665,194, a decrease of 4.7% from the previous year. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 21.2% of the total Catholic population in Korea, a decrease of 1.5% from the previous year.
● Workshop for the Staff Members of Caritas in Korea
The CBCK Caritas Committee and Caritas Cheongju of the Diocese of Cheongju jointly held the "2014 Annual Workshop for the Staff Members of Caritas" at Kkotongnae Training Institute of Love from April 10 to 12, 2014.
The theme of the workshop was "Caritas, Communication with the World", which will also be the theme of the 6th Convention of Catholic Welfare to be held in October this year. Along with Rev. Francis Jung Sung-hwan, Secretary of the CBCK Caritas Committee, many priests and staff members of Caritas from all dioceses participated in this workshop to ponder upon diverse methods to communicate the activities of Caritas to the public on the basis of the recognized necessity of evangelization ad extra.
At this workshop, the participants had time for group discussion among the staff members in various fields: corporate management; facilities; parishes; supporters and resources promotion; public relations; education; international cooperation. At the beginning of the workshop, Rev. Jung explained the background and content of Evangelii Gaudium, the first Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis.
The Subcommittee for Educational Development under the CBCK Caritas Committee and Caritas Korea International had time to introduce their activities respectively. The Subcommittee said that it will publish the Guidelines for the Practice of Catholic Social Welfare which will be a help for the field workers in their activities. The Subcommittee is also planning to develop a program for the spiritual formation of the workers in the area of social welfare. Rev. Simeon Lee Jong-keon, Executive Director of Caritas Korea, introduced the purport, background, and action plan of "One Family, Food for All!", a global campaign against hunger by Caritas Internationalis.
● Ordinary Meeting of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon) held its semiannual ordinary meeting at the Conference Hall of the CCK on April 9, 2014.
The Committee decided that it will regularly issue a "Message for May Day", first announced at the "Mass for the dismissed workers of SSangyong Motors and all the workers of this land" which was celebrated at the Franciscan Education Center on April 29, 2013. The Committee also decided that it will call on workers, the government, and the whole civic society for patience, compromise, and sincere dialogue to overcome social conflicts all together.
At the beginning of the meeting the participants attended a lecture on "Controversy on Pro-North Korea Groups and the Crisis of Democracy" given by Dr. Lee Ho-joong, Professor of Sogang Law School. After the lecture the participants agreed upon continuous concern and effort for the renewal of organizations of civil authorities including National Intelligence Service.
The Committee showed its grave concern for the severe infringement upon human rights committed by civil authorities through the excessive exercise of their power, after they listened to the report that a priest, a sister, and a lay person were arrested on April 7, 2014 because they joined a demonstration against the illegal construction of a naval base near Gangjeong village in Jeju Island. The Committee also reaffirmed its denunciation of illegal meddling in elections by the government last year.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Cheong Mun-ho Bartholomew (1801-1866)
After baptism Bartholomew resigned from all public offices. His character was so good that he was loved and respected by all, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He taught people catechism. This is another reason why he was highly esteemed.
When Bartholomew heard the news of persecution in Cheolla Province, he sent a messenger to Cheonju to confirm the news. The messenger happened to be a non-Catholic. Before the messenger returned, a group of police rushed into the village where Bartholomew lived and arrested him together with six other Catholics on December 3, 1866.
When the seven were led to a regional prosecutor's office, they appeared very happy. They were put in a storeroom. Bartholomew was strongly tempted to renounce his faith, but his companions, particularly Cho Peter, encouraged him. Bartholomew repented and remained steadfast. He prayed hard and endured tortures and sufferings with courage. He told the prosecutor that he would rather die than deny God. He looked very happy when he was taken to the death site on December 13. The executioners were surprised to hear him murmuring prayers. On his way to Supjeong-i in Cheonju for martyrdom, he said to Cho Peter: "Today we are going through the heavenly examination. What a happy day indeed!" He compared martyrdom with officialdom in Heaven. Bartholomew was beheaded at Supjeong-i in Cheonju on December 13, 1866, at the age of 65.
Son Seon-ji Peter (1819-1866)
From the time when he was 16 years old, his virtues were well-known among his neighbors. As soon as he became an adult, Father Chastan made him a catechist. Peter carried out his duties as a catechist very faithfully until his martyrdom.
At Taeseongdong in Cheongju, where Peter was living, his house was used as a mission station where he baptized and taught people. Many people came to his house to pray.
In autumn of 1866, during the harvest season, Peter was surprised to hear a group of firewood gatherers passing by his house say that there would be very severe persecutions soon. On Sunday, December 3, 1866, when the Sunday prayers were over, he heard someone calling his name outside the house. After he had helped his wife and children to escape through the back door, Peter was arrested by the police.
In the meantime, Peter's mother, who was not Catholic, went to the governor and begged him to save Peter's life. The governor's aides insisted that Peter would first have to deny God, but Peter would not do so.
On the next day Peter and a group of seven other prisoners went to the Cheongju prison. Severe tortures could not make him renounce his religion. The prosecutor knew that Peter was a catechist, and therefore he was tortured more severely. His arms were broken, and he could not eat or drink without someone else's help. He endured all the tortures and sufferings peacefully.
When he was about to leave for martyrdom, Peter gave his clothes to one of his cellmates. Just before his execution he offered prayers, and he was heard murmuring the names of Jesus and Mary. He was beheaded at Supjeong-i in Cheonju on December 13, 1866, at the age of 47.