ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Yun Li-sun
The Bishop of Daejeon and president of the Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of migrants lead the faithful in prayer in places linked to the lives of the martyrs: "These lay missionaries, who died to open Korea to Christ, illuminate our path. And we honor them through prayer and silence. "
Daejeon (AsiaNews) - More than 3 thousand Catholic faithful have walked for 13 kilometers in silent prayer and then attended a solemn mass in memory of the 124 Korean Servants of God that the Holy See could soon raise the status of blessed. According to Msgr. Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and president of the Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of migrants, "this journey of the soul proves that our country needs prayer and meditation to achieve a real peace."
Speaking to AsiaNews, the bishop said: "We have just released a guide for Pilgrimages in South Korea written by my Commission. We decided to present it in September because, at the invitation of our lay people, this is the month we want to dedicate the Korean martyrs. And the example of the 124 Servants of God is illuminating: with his father Thomas Choe Yang-eop, the second priest in the history of Korea, were killed for their faith and now they illuminate our path. "
The martyrs died between 1791 and 1884. The majority were lay people, while Fr. Thomas Choe is remembered as "the martyr of sweat" for having covered 2800 km evangelizing the remotest areas of the country. In the Korean Church, said Msgr. You, "the sacrifice of these lay people victims of the anti-Catholic persecution is seen as the reason that the country has opened to Christ. That's why, after the 103 saints proclaimed by Pope John Paul II, we are waiting for the beatification of these other witnesses. "
The bishop led his followers on a pilgrimage "to the places where the martyrs lived and worked. I had asked all the participants before leaving to switch off their mobile phones, which are ubiquitous here in Korea, so they could feel through prayer, the importance of the moment. None of them disobeyed and this made me quite happy: we are all growing together". In order to continue on this road, another pilgrimage was organized, this time 16 km for October 15 next.
The same attitude pervaded the group of 90 young Catholics who, along with Msgr. You, went to Madrid for the World Youth Day: "These are people who are growing, exuberant as they should be. But more and more they are learning the joy of contemplation and prayer, and contact with the youth of the rest of the world was edifying for them. We will certainly also go together to Rio de Janeiro, and we hope with all our heart that within four years the World Youth Day will be here with us in Korea. "