Daejeon (Agenzia Fides) - The "Extraordinary Missionary Month" will renew the apostolic impetus in the Korean Catholic community and will be an impulse to continue in the proclamation of the Gospel, which in Korea has its roots in the experience of the martyrs. This is what don Agostino Han, a priest of the diocese of Daejeon says to Fides, recalling the history and newness of the Church's evangelization in Korea. "Our history recalls Mark's evangelical passage when he says: "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how (Mk 4: 26-27)", recalls the priest.
For this occasion, Don Agostino traces the story of the growth of Christianity in Korean land: "At the end of the 18th century, some scholars came into contact with biblical books and 'The true meaning of the Lord of Heaven' by Matteo Ricci, in Chinese, and began to study independently the doctrine of the Church. Captivated by the truth explained by Ricci, they sent one of them to Beijing to allow him to receive baptism. Subsequently Chinese and French missionaries went to Korea, many of whom were martyred by courageously professing faith. Some of them were killed a few months after arriving in the Korean peninsula, which means they were killed in odium fidei after traveling for more than a year, crossing the oceans. Many at the time of martyrdom were only thirty- years old".
"At that moment - the priest continues - it would have been very difficult to imagine the Church in Korea would reach centuries later the remarkable number of 5 million people professing the Catholic faith. Today it is a Church that sends more than a thousand missionaries among priests, religious and lay people, in the four corners of the world". Don Agostino notes: "Although the missionaries were martyred only after a short time of the work of evangelization, their sacrifice was not useless. They were men that threw the seeds of the gospel in Korean land. The fruits of the seeds cannot be seen immediately. The mission of Jesus, as well as that of the missionaries, goes to very far lands, it is not about carrying out a great human project, but to do God's will in his own way, trusting in God's providence. Today, we Korean Christians, preparing and living the extraordinary Missionary Month, must have this trust in God's providence, as a solid foundation for all our evangelizing activities. God is the Lord of history, wants the salvation of all peoples, through the collaboration of every baptized, in his Providence". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2017)