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Pope sends blessing to “Month of Martyrs” in Seoul

August 30, 2013 - Pope Francis has sent his blessings to the month-long commemoration of Korean martyrs, that the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Seoul, South Korea, will be observing during September. In a message sent on the Pope’s behalf to Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone wrote saying the Holy Father hopes that “the commemoration will rekindle the faith of Christians and commit themselves more fully to the urgent task of evangelization.” The “Month of Martyrs”, centred around the feast of Korean martyrs on Sept. 20, is part of the celebration of the current Year of Faith by churches around the world. “His Holiness trusts that all who participate in pilgrimages during this month, aided by the prayers and example of the martyrs, will deepen their communion with the Lord Jesus Christ who laid down his life that we might share in the inestimable gift of eternal life,” Cardinal Bertone wrote. “He prays that this occasion may be an opportunity for pilgrims to rekindle the faith in their hearts and so commit themselves more fully to the urgent task of evangelization,” the cardinal wrote. The Korean Martyrs were the victims of religious persecution during the 18th and 19th centuries in Korea, mostly lay people. At least 8,000 Catholics were killed for their faith in the persecutions, 103 of whom were canonized by Pope John Paul II, May 6, 1984, in Seoul.
Seoul's ‘Month of Martyrs’ will be inaugurated on Monday, Sept. 2, at Myeongdong Cathedral. The archdiocese has prepared the so-called “martyrs routes”, which are pilgrimage routes linking the holy sites of the Korean Church with churches erected in memory of the martyrs of Seoul. Archbishop Andrew has proclaimed September as the “Month of Martyrs” to help educate the faithful about their forebears who gave their lives for their faith in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The prelate noted that many historical sites are unknown to the people of the city. “Sadly but true,” he said, “there is nothing but a monument in the largest shrine dedicated to our martyrs.” “However, through the ‘Month of Martyrs’ and the pilgrimage, we want Koreans to learn the stories of those who sacrificed their life for their faith,” he added.


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