Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (8: 16-18) in which Jesus tells his disciples you do not light a lamp to hide it under a bowl. Today, we remember and celebrate the lives of Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Chong and their companions.
Fr Paul says for centuries Korea was closed to all from the outside world. It was closed to all outside influences. No missionaries went there. Never the less a number of laymen from within Korea sought to find out as much as they could about the outside world. In doing so, some books on Christianity fell into their hands and they were converted.
The first known baptism in Korea was in 1784. The first known martyrs who were killed for the faith occurred in 1791. Over the next century, over 10,000 Christian Koreans were killed for their faith. The first priests into Korea were Chinese priests and they, too, were executed.
St Andrew Kim was the first Korean priest trained secretly and yet, he too, when he started to exercise his ministry was executed in 1846. He was executed alongside Paul Chong and many others. Today we celebrate 103 Korean martyrs, mostly lay men and women; some were married, some not; some were old, some were young; and some were just children.
And so, in the tradition of our Church, Fr Paul says we pray, St Andrew Kim and Paul Chong and their 103 companions pray for us.