Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Memorial of Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions

Andrew Kim Taegon (1821-1846) and Paul Chong Hasang (1795-1839) probably never met.   But they, along with 92 other Korean martyrs and a handful of foreign missionaries, became “Canonization Classmates”  when they were canonized by John Paul II during a visit to Korea 1984. Their stories merit contemplation.

Andrew was the son of Blessed Ignatius Kim a convert who was martyred when Andrew was 18.  Baptized at the age of 15  Andrew traveled 6000 miles to Macao where he entered the seminary.  Following ordination six years later he returned to Korea.  Part of his mission was to help other missionaries enter Korea via the water-route and thus avoid border guards.  He was tortured and then beheaded at the age of 25, two years after ordination. 

Paul was a married lay-missioner.  He traveled to China often as a servant in the Korean diplomatic corps.  He contacted bishops in China to plead for more priests.  He went so far as to contact Pope Gregory X with the result that the Korean diocese was declared valid.  His brief biography notes that he reunited scattered Christians following persecutions and encouraged them to keep and live their faith.  One of the great founders of the Korean Church, he died during a persecution in 1839.

Those named as companions were tortured and killed during various persecutions in the 19th century. The details of the tortures are nauseating to read about, even for a physician. 

Because he was a priest,  Andrew Kim was an anomaly in the Korean Church. Because he was a layman, Paul Chong was the norm.  As John Paul II put it in his canonization homily: “The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today’s splendid flowering of the Church in Korea.

Today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land.”  Despite inhumane persecution the lamp of the early Korean Church burned brightly on its lampstand.  The Korean martyrs, almost all of them laymen and women, never hid the gospel under a bushel basket.  They took up the cross and followed.  The result is a vibrant Church, bursting at the seams with vocations to the religious life and priesthood.

Today we pray for the Church in Korea.  And we pray that in time, the people of the North will be freed from the shackles of cruel dictatorship.

I haven't left the country, a serious temptation, but have been on the road a lot.  Upon returning from LJ I was given permission to purchase a new camera.  First non-used one I've gotten.  It took some time to get used to and learn.  More of a challenge was learning to use the new photo processing software needed to download the photos.  The old software, Aperture 3, does not recognize the RAW photos from the new camera.  And, as Apple has stopped updating Aperture, it won't recognize them.  After trying out multiple programs on free trials I settle on a fairly complex one.  The photo work is intuitive the storage process is not.  Way too much time yesterday working on learning it but it is coming.  By the end of the day I'd stopped swearing.  A good sign.  

One more road trip in the offing and then it is time to move to Boston College, about eight miles down Rt. 30 from here.  Perhaps not even that far.  Nonetheless, it will be a different milieu.  

One of the events here at Campion was remodeling and rededicating the daily Mass chapel.  The old chapel was not exactly ugly but it certainly wasn't pretty.  Everything was beige and light wood, the tabernacle was very poorly placed, and, well, I could go on at length.  The work was done in house.  It was also done beautifully.  

Our Lady of Montserrat to whom the chapel is dedicated.  

A straight ahead shot taken after dark.

Two angled views using wide-angle.  The lighting is much improved.  Floors were refinished and no longer squeak.   The tabernacle was moved from a corner to a place of greater prominence, as it should be. 

The empty tabernacle prior to blessing the chapel. 

I never noticed this Jesuit seal before despite it having been on the old tabernacle.  Everything in the chapel was beige or neutral wood.  The seal disappeared into it.  

The water in the pitchers was poured into the holy water font.  Every wall was sprinkled with water as part of the dedication.

Father Superior Walter Smith, SJ proceeding around the chapel while sprinkling the walls. 

The chrism used to anoint the altar. 

The back of the chapel.  This too was made much more attractive. 

Reception in the rotunda. 

Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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