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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feast of Korean Martyrs

Sunday is the great and glorious feast of St. Andrew Kim Dae Geon, St. Paul Cheong Ha-Sang and the Korean Martyrs. Now, while Maryknoll and the rest of the non-Korean Catholic world might think the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time is all that, we true believers know better. This feast day trumps all others and I for one will be wearing red at Mass or run the risk of the people seeing red.

Korean Catholics, along with recent immigrants from Vietnam and Haiti, not to mention Latin America, may yet save American Catholicism from itself. They seem to balance an interesting blend of moral and liturgical conservatism with liberal and progressive social conscience and action.

Two years ago the bishops of Korea donated to Maryknoll a beautiful granite replica of Pyongyang's (in North Korea) Great East Gate to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Maryknoll's mission work in the north. The gate, located west of the Walsh Building, is inscribed with words of gratitude to Maryknoll as well as with the names of all the Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers and Sisters who worked in the north. Three of those Maryknoll Sisters are still living.

On our side of the road, Father Son Kyeong-Su (Peru) had been the only Korean Maryknoller for years until he was joined by Father Alfonso Kim (China). He came from the same parish in Flushing, Queens as our seminarian now on OTP in Bolivia, Dae Wook Kim. When Alfonso was on the vocations team he worked extensively in Los Angeles with the Korean Bible Life movement, from which we have already gleaned two seminarians: Philip Yang (2nd Year) and Daniel Kim (1st Year). There might be another Korean American entering from that group next year.

I don't know if Korean American Catholics will save the Church, but I will be more than happy if they save Maryknoll.

Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Cheong, pray for us!

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