Our top story this evening….
Close to one million people filled the streets of central Seoul this Saturday morning to
watch Pope Francis beatify dozens of Korean martyrs who were killed for their faith over
two centuries ago. Cheers rang through the air when Francis declared
the 124 pioneers of the Korean Catholic Church “blessed”…. and one step closer to sainthood.
Ji Myung-kil reports. The beatification of Paul Yun Ji-chung and
123 fellow martyrs… was held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul,… with hundreds
of thousands of people in attendance. Those blessed by the pope… were among the
10-thousand Korean believers killed for their faith by the rulers of the Joseon Dynasty
in the 18th and 19th centuries. Beatification brings them one step closer
to sainthood. “Today we celebrate this victory in Paul Yun
Ji-chung and his 123 companions. Their names now stand alongside those of the holy martyrs
Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Hasang and companions, to whom I just paid homage.” The beatification comes 30 years after Pope
John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs, all made saints long after losing their lives
well over a century ago. During his sermon, Pope Francis delivered
a message that the laity had played an important role in Korean Catholicism. “The Christian faith was not brought to the
shores of Korea through missionaries; rather, it entered through the hearts and minds of
the Korean people themselves. It was prompted by intellectual curiosity, the search for
religious truth.” Many who attended the mass were overcome with
excitement over bearing witness to the historic event… as well as being in the presence
of Pope Francis. “I was baptized yesterday. I am very thankful
and happy to be here for the pope’s mass. I feel blessed by God.” “I really don’t know what to say… I’m overwhelmed
with joy. I attended the papal mass 25 years ago and I’m here again today. I thank God.” The mass was also attended by the families
of the victims who so tragically lost their lives in April’s Sewol-ho ferry sinking.
There were also laid-off workers and people with physical disabilities. “With just two days remaining,… Pope Francis
is scheduled to hold a closing mass for Asian Youth Day tomorrow, and a reconciliation mass
next Monday,… on his last day before heading back to the Vatican.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.”