July 23, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 19
Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo poses for many photographers after the bi-lingual Mass. Here he is with a large number of parishioners from St. Rose of Lima and the Korean Martyrs Catholic Parish in Hampton as well as some Godparents who may not be members of that community.
Korean Catholics urged to evangelize
Several hundred Korean Catholics gathered at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on July 8 for a celebration of the martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Taegon and the sacrament of Confirmation.
The bi-lingual liturgy in both Korean and English drew Korean Catholics not only from St. Kim Taegon Parish in Richmond but also the joint parish of St. Rose of Lima/Korean Catholic Community in Hampton.
In his homily Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo said that St. Andrew Kim Taegon experienced the same rejection that Jesus did while trying to evangelize.
Born in 1821, St. Andrew Kim Taegon was 25 when he was martyred in 1846. He was eventually canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984 along with 103 Korean martyrs.
Bishop DiLorenzo exudes joy as he receives flowers and a framed commendation from Christopher Kim and Clara Park.
“In that time and in that (Korean) culture, people had a choice and exercised that choice,” Bishop DiLorenzo said. “Some did not believe that Christianity had a place in the Korean culture.”
St. Andrew Kim Taegon remained firm in his Christian faith as he was preparing to be killed.
“This is the last hour of my life, listen to me attentively,” the Korean saint is believed to have said. “Become Christians if you wish to be happy every day.”
Those who persevere in their Christian faith despite obstacles and hardships are called saints, the bishop said.
“Become Christians if you wish to be happy every day.”
But on the other hand, people have choices and some choose to reject Christ’s message.
“It is a sad choice and we don’t want people to live with the consequences of their bad choice,” he said.
Bishop DiLorenzo confirms Hyungtae Woo as his sponsor, Peter Hyungro Lee, looks on. Both men are from St. Rose of Lima and the Korean Martyrs Parish in Hampton.
In a reference to the Korean culture, Bishop DiLorenzo said it existed 2,000 years before the time of Jesus and is still in existence more than 2,000 years later. But during these many centuries there were many hard times.
“The Japanese presence during World War II was especially painful to the Korean people,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
Many Koreans have chosen to migrate to other countries, he added, pointing out that two million have come to the United States.
“Is Korean culture open to receiving Catholic Christianity and the answer is yes,” the Bishop said.
He noted that 29 percent of the Korean community have chosen to be Christian “and a number of them have chosen to be Catholic Christians.”
Congregation in worship at the Korean mass.
Among the attributes Korean people have as part of their culture is a sense of democratization, participation in social welfare with outreach to the poor and a respectful approach to dialogue. Other attributes include personal morality and virtue, strong family loyalty and respect for their elders.
“What is important is that you, as a group of lay faithful, go out and evangelize,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
“The challenge of everyone here is to go out and invite those who are angry, upset and alienated from the Catholic Church and invite them to be with your religious family.”
He encouraged the Korean lay faithful to reach out especially to young people and those who are unchurched.
“With today’s gathering I am grateful to God and I thank you all very much for your presence and I look forward to meeting with you again soon.”