Today the Church honors the Korean martyrs who gave their lives for the Kingdom of God. In 1784, Korean Yi Sung-hun was baptized in China and returned to found the first Christian community. Bibles were sent in from China and the young Church grew. Between 1791 and 1866, waves of persecutions occurred, killing over 10,000 Christians. Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Chong were instrumental in leading the Church through this turbulent time. St. Andrew Kim was the first native priest of Korea, having had Christian parents. He was beheaded in 1846. St. Paul Chong was a lay leader who appealed before the government and because of his pleas, Pope Gregory X sent more priests to Korea. He was martyred in 1839. In 2007, His Excellency Mr. Roh Moo-hyum, President of the Republic of Korea, visited the Vatican. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the visit which, “…served to strengthen the good relations that exist between your country and the Holy See.” Today there are upwards of four million Catholics in the Republic of Korea (South), with Christians in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) still underground.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.(Psalm 56:14)
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Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint :)