Seoul cafe becomes 'shrine' to persecuted Christians

New exhibition adds another dimension for pilgrims who visit the Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine in Korean capital
Seoul cafe becomes 'shrine' to persecuted Christians

ACN Korea director Johannes Klausa discusses the suffering Christians must endure with Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul at an exhibition held at a cafeteria near the Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine in the South Korean capital. (Photo by Catholic Times of Korea)

A cafeteria at the Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine in Seoul, which symbolizes the persecution the Church has faced in Korea, has been turned into an exhibition hall raising awareness of the suffering that Christians face in various part of the world.

The Korean branch of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN Korea), a pontifical foundation that helps persecuted and poor churches around the world, opened a permanent exhibition on March 10 at a cafeteria near the shrine.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, also chairperson of ACN Korea, said during the opening Mass to launch the exhibition: "Our church's mission is to wipe away the tears of those who suffer."

"I thank the Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine and ACN Korea for their joint work in setting up the exhibition, which is keeping pilgrims informed of how Christians are being persecuted."

"I hope these bonds strengthen them and trigger a helping hand from God," the prelate added.

Operating under the theme of "Persecuted and Forgotten," ACN Korea has worked hard to disseminate information about the suffering Christians deal with on a global level.

Visitors to the cafeteria can easily see the situation presented through a world map placed on one of its walls.

The space also offers detailed information of past cases and a list of churches that have been victimized.

The show helps visitors to understand their situation with photos and prayer, officials said.

"We, the Korean Church, which has overcome severe persecution, can understand the suffering of the persecuted very well. We also have a mission to support modern-day martyrs," said Father Jacob, the shrine's rector.

"The exhibition will raise awareness of these modern-day martyrs and help pilgrims to remember the persecuted Christians in their prayers, as they share love and solidarity with them," added the priest, whose Korean name is Won Jong-hyeon.

ACN Korea director Johannes Klausa said he expected good things would follow the launch.

"The Jeoldusan Martyrs Shrine serves as a great venue to inform the faithful that they should never forget the suffering Christians face. The exhibition will be a big help with our activities toward that goal," he said.

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