St. Andrew Kim Taegon, Korean priest and martyr, who lived from 1821 to 1846, and Paul Chong Hasang, lay apostle and catechist who lived between 1794 and 1839, are two of the 103 Korean martyrs remembered today in the Catholic calendar
The role of lay people was central in bringing the Catholic faith to Korea. But it is a church that suffered much in the nineteenth century and has suffered also in north Korea in the twentieth century.
St. Andre Kim Taegon, before he was killed, wrote this from prison:
“When he was in the world, the Lord Jesus bore countless sorrows and by his own passion and death founded his Church; now he gives it increase through the sufferings of his faithful. No matter how fiercely the powers of this world oppress and oppose the Church, they will never bring it down….
“Because we have become the one Body, should not our hearts be grieved for the members who are suffering? Because of the human ties that bind us, should we not feel deeply the pain of our separation.
“But, as the Scriptures say, God numbers the very hairs of our head and in his all-embracing providence he has care over us all.”