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Friday, March 31, 2017

Saints Luke Hwang Sok-Tu and Joseph Chang Chu-Gi (Korean Martyrs) - March 31

The Korean Martyrs died during the religious persecution of Catholics in the 19th century in Korea.  It is stated that as many as 10,000 were killed during this period.  Those known and unknown were beatified by Pope Francis during the Asian Youth Day in Gwanghwamun Plaza, Seoul, South Korea.  Their feast day is commemorated on September 20. 

The following taken from Magnificat magazine Holy Week 2010, Vol 12, No 1 tells the story of two of those saints who died on Good Friday, March 30, 1866.

Saint Luke Hwang Sok-Tu 

At the age of twenty, Luke Hwang Sok-tu, of Yonp'ung, Korea, a pagan nobleman's son, set out for Seoul to participate in his country's national scholastic examination.  Stopping at an inn along the way, Luke met a Catholic whose words about his faith deeply impressed him. 

Luke quickly acquired several Ctholic books. After becoming a Catholic himself, he persuaded his wife to enter the Church as well.  Luke's father was infuriated by his son's conversion. Finding that his words seemed only to provoke his father to blasphemy, Luke took a vow of silence, promising to God that he would not speak again until his father was converted to the Catholic faith.  After observing this silence for over two years, he was rewarded with the conversation of his father.

In later years, Luke served the missionary priests as a language tutor and catechist, and assisted Bishop (Saint) Antoine Daveluy in compiling and editing books for Korean Catholics.  On Good Friday, March 30, 1866, Luke was beheaded together with Bishop Daveluy and four others during a major persecution of the country's Catholics.  

Saint Joseph Chang Chu-Gi 

Joseph Chang Chu-gi, of Suwon, Korea, was catechized in the Catholic faith by his sister-in-law.  When at the age of twenty-six he had fallen ill, he, his wife and his children received baptism from a Chinese missionary priest.  After recovering, Joseph served as a catechist and provided his own home in Paeron to house Korea's first seminary.

Joseph became the seminary's handyman and helped in the translation of the catechism, but preferred to live in dire poverty rather than accept any payments for his services to the priests.  He was remembered for his extraordinary zeal and patience.

On March 1, 1866, during a resurgence of anti-Catholic persecution in Korea, Joseph was arrested together with the priests in Paeron. One of the priests persuaded the officers to release Joseph, but shortly afterward he was re-arrested, and charged with being the owner of the seminary building.  During his interrogation, he openly professed his Christianity, Joseph was beheaded on Good Friday, March 30, 1866. 

For devotional items related to the Catholic Faith please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures

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