Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Ha-Sang and companions. These men were Koreans and the Church in Korea has an interesting history. It arose not because there were missionaries there but through the strong determination of Korean laypersons. Yi Seung-Hun was baptized in China and began the evangelization of Koreans. Paul Chong Ha-Sang responded and risked his life smuggling missionaries into the country. Andrew Kim Taegaon was the first Korean native to be ordained but only ministered for a year as he and these Koreans were arrested and killed.
This was a wonderful reminder of the impact laypersons have on the developing church. I am so grateful for all the people who influenced and inspired us on the parish missions we have conducted. I know that I’m a better priest because of their influence and later friendship. So today I express my thanks to God for the people who have built the church. Today’s feast day has been a great reminder.