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More than 200 Korean martyrs are up for beatification


Image of the 124 Korean Martyrs Aug 16 2014. Photo credit: Preparatory Committee for the 2014 Papal Visit to Korea CNA 8 19 14

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Seoul, South Korea, Mar 9, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The first Bishop of Pyongyang, an American born-bishop, and numerous priests and laity are among the 213 who could be beatified and advanced on the process to sainthood under a process begun in South Korea.

Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejon predicted it will take at least ten years before any beatification or canonization, “but for our people, these people are already holy.”

The bishop heads the Korean bishops’ committee considering the beatifications. He told Asia News that important parts of the path to beatification are the Catholic faithful’s prayer and “desire to follow the spirit of the martyrs.”

One group under consideration for beatification includes Servant of God Bishop Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and 80 companions. This broad group ranges from the martyrs of the 1901 Jeju massacre, in which about 300 Catholics were killed, to the victims of persecution following the division of Korea following the Second World War.

Bishop Hong, born in 1906, was ordained a priest in 1933 under Japanese occupation. He was named the first native Bishop of Pyongyang in 1944. He was an apostolic vicar to a region considered mission territory by the Church. With the rise of communism, he was imprisoned in 1949. His fate is unknown, but he is believed to have died in a concentration camp in North Korea.

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