Some of the mortal remains of the first Korean Catholic priest, Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, will be enshrined in a church in Burkina Faso in West Africa.
They will be kept at St. Joseph’s Church of the Archdiocese of Koupela as the Korean Church celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the martyred saint in the 19th century.
The parish church in eastern Burkina Faso was recently renovated with funds from the Catholic community of the Yeouido-dong parish of the Archdiocese of Seoul in South Korea.
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, outgoing Archbishop of Seoul, handed over the relics of Saint André Kim to Mgr Julien Kaboré, charge d’affaires of the apostolic nunciature in Manila and from the archdiocese of Koupéla, during a meeting in Seoul on November 23, according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Seoul.
Bishop Job Yobi Koo, Episcopal Vicar for Overseas Missionaries, attended the event as a Korean-French translator.
Cardinal Yeom expressed his joy after delivering the saint’s remains in the year marking the bicentenary of his birth.
It is a great honor to have enshrined the remains of Saint André Kim in a cathedral in Burkina Faso. It is a sign of unity and communion of saints
“I am very happy to have the opportunity to build fraternal solidarity between the Catholic Church in Korea and Burkina Faso through St. Andrew Kim. I believe this will allow us to be more deeply united in the love of God, ”said Cardinal Yeom.
Monsignor Kaboré declared that the Church of Burkina Faso is honored to consecrate Saint Andrew Kim.
“It is a great honor to have enshrined the remains of Saint André Kim in a cathedral in Burkina Faso. It is a sign of unity and communion of saints. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Cardinal Yeom for his consideration and thoughtful support on behalf of His Excellency Gabriel Sayaogo, Archbishop of Koupéla ”, declared Mgr Kaboré.
Bishop Kaboré said he was deeply impressed by the history of martyrdom in the Korean Church during his tenure in the apostolic nunciature in Korea.
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Andrew Kim, born in 1821, was the son of converted Christians, according to Franciscan media. He was baptized at the age of 15. He then traveled to a seminary in Macau, China, and returned to his homeland after six years in Manchuria. In 1845, he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai where he was ordained a priest.
Father Andrew was tasked with getting more missionaries to enter Korea secretly through a coastal road that would escape border patrols. He was arrested, tortured, and beheaded by the Han River near Seoul in 1846.
During his visit to South Korea in 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized 103 martyrs, including Andrew Kim, father of Kim Ignatius, Paul Chong and seven French missionaries who had been martyred in the 19th century during a period of brutal persecution of Christians during the reign of the Joseon dynasty.
The Yonhap News Agency reports that the remains of Saint Kim are currently scattered and enshrined in 200 locations at home and abroad, including Rome, Macau and Indonesia.
The South Korean church celebrates the 200th centenary of the saint’s birth with year-long programs including commemorative masses, events and pilgrimages starting November 29, 2020.
Jubilee celebrations will officially end with national commemorative masses in South Korean churches on November 27.
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