Our Parish Patron Saint
St. Paul Chong Hasang (center w/hat), St. Andrew Kim & Companions
The Artist is a former parishioner.
(Photo Courtesy of Parishioner Frank Cooney, R.I.P.)
"During the 17th Century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom during the 19th Century. Notable of these were Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean priest, and the lay apostle, Paul Chong Hasang. Also among the Korean martyrs were three bishops and seven priests, but for the most part, they were heroic laity, men and women, married and single, of all ages. They were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984." ~ (Fact Sheet - Author Unknown)
Saint Paul Chong Hasang was born in Mahyon, Kyonggi Province, Korea, in 1795. He came from a family of noble scholars that were dedicated to the Catholic faith and to its growth in Korea. His father, Augustine Chong Yak-jong, was a Catholic intellectual who had written the first Catholic catechism in the Korean language. He was martyred in 1801. His family was thereafter persecuted and stripped of all property. In spite of this hardship and tragedy, the devoutness of Paul's mother was strong, and the family never denied the faith.
When Paul was twenty-one, he went to China, where he asked the Bishop of Peking to send missionaries to Korea. While in China, Paul was confirmed. Throughout his life, he continued to seek missionary support for the Church in Korea. In 1831, largely through the efforts of Paul and his followers, the Vicarate of Korea was established and the Paris (France) Foreign Mission Society was placed in charge of the Church in Korea.
Paul traveled many times to China to escort foreign missionaries to Korea. He escorted Bishop Laurent Imbert on his mission and served him faithfully during his ministry. Bishop Imbert was impressed by Paul's devotion to the faith and decided to prepare him for the priesthood. Before this could happen, however, a new persecution of Christians broke out in Korea. Bishop Imbert was forced to flee; Paul and his mother and sister were arrested.
While awaiting execution in prison, Paul wrote "A Letter to the Minister," defending the Catholic faith to the Korean government. This work impressed everyone; even enemies of the Church praised its eloquence. However, the government was not moved to alter its stance. After much suffering and torture, Paul and his family were beheaded outside Seoul on September 22, 1839.
Saint Paul Chong Hasang is considered a leading figure in the revitalization and growth of the Church in Korea. Despite severe hardship and persecution, he kept his faith and served as a sterling example of piety for others.
Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions' Feast Day is observed on September 20th.
This mosaic of St. Paul Chong Hasang is located in the vestibule of the Church.
PRAYER TO OUR PATRON SAINT
"O God, Who has been pleased to increase Your adopted children in all the world, and Who made the blood of the Martyrs Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, St. Paul Chong Hasang and Companions, a most fruitful seed of Christians, grant that we may be defended by their help and profit always from their example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." ~ (Author Unknown)