Participants at the Martyrs' School held in Daejeon, July 1-2, share insights into each others' lives in a discussion session. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)
A two-day training course on martyrdom in Daejeon is helping the Korean Catholic faithful to truly understand martyrdom in the contemporary age and experience its spirituality. Daejeon Diocese, in the west of the country, began the Martyrs' School last February to arouse the spirituality of Korean martyrs among the faithful and help them live it in their daily lives. The school tries to solve various challenges in our faith lives with key of "martyrdom." With theme "invitation to martyrdom," the special two-day program offers lectures, theatrical plays on martyrdom, visitations to tombs of diocesan priests and life-sharing sessions. So far, the school has held four 'classes' since February and each class averaged some 150 participants from all over the country. It helps participants understand that martyrdom in our age is not shedding blood for your faith but living the experience. Cecil Jeong Mi-mi from Wonshinheungdong Church in Daejeon said, "We are usually reminded of martyrdom in September, but the school helped me to realize we should live a life of martyrdom in our daily lives."
The Korean Church recognizes September as the Month of Martyrdom as most of Korea's martyr saints, including Father Andrew Kim Tae-gon, were martyred at this time in the calendar year. Father Paul Kim Min-hi, pastoral planning director of Daejeon Diocese, said, "The school helps the faithful to live each day drawing strength from our beloved martyrs of the Korean Catholic Church. Furthermore, it helps them find martyrdom in their daily lives." The title "Martyrs' School" was derived from a comment by St. Father Pierre Aumaitre, a French missionary martyred in Korea in 1866. He coined the nickname for the Paris Foreign Missions Society.
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