Arcidiocesi di Seoul
Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - The Archdiocese of Seoul has officially declared the opening of the beatification process for three historical figures of priests who provided pastoral service in the Archdiocese: Bishop Barthelemy Bruguiere, priest of the Foreign Missions of Paris (1792-1835), first Vicar Apostolic of Korea; Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan (1922-2009), Archbishop of Seoul from 1968 to 1998; Father Andrew Moo Bang Ah Yoo Ryong (1900-1986), founder of the local religious order of the Blessed Korean Martyrs. As declared by the Commission for Beatification and Canonization of the Archdiocese of Seoul, for the first time in Korea, the cause of beatification is promoted by a single diocese: the three figures are "examples of faith for all" and "the Church intends to exalt them as people who have distinguished themselves for their virtue and holiness among believers," said Auxiliary Bishop King Job Koo Yobi, president of the Commission. The process that has begun will require "long efforts and prayers", as Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taek has pointed out, expressing his congratulations and the joy of all the People of God for the path now officially undertaken.
Following the "nihil obstat" received from the Holy See, the three candidates have been renamed "Servants of God." Next, the process begins with the examination of evidence and testimonies, in a first phase before a tribunal set up at the diocesan level; the second phase of the investigation will then take place at the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, in the Holy See.
Monsignor Bruguiere was the first Apostolic Vicar of Korea and the first Coadjutor bishop of Siam (in Southeast Asia). He died in China and his mortal remains were transferred to a Seoul cemetery in 1931.
Father Andrew Moo Bang Ah Yoo Ryong dedicated his entire life to spreading the Catholic faith in Korea, promoting a new style of Korean religious life, fully inculturated and inspired by the figures of Korean martyrs, during the painful period in which the country was under Japanese occupation (1910-1945) and in which foreign missionaries led the Church.
Cardinal Stephen Kim is universally considered a "national hero": Bishop of Seoul since 1968, created a Cardinal by Paul VI in 1969, he worked to implement the spirit of the Second Vatican Council in Korea. President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (1973-1977), he led the Korean Church through trials and tribulations, in difficult times and moments marked by political and social unrest, such as when Chun Doo-hwan took power in South Korea with a military coup in 1979. He was an attentive and courageous promoter of human dignity, human rights and democracy, always in the name of the Gospel, in the delicate and complex transition of the country from military rule to democracy, and this made him an appreciated figure and respected by all, Catholics and non-Catholics.
There are currently 103 saints and 124 blessed in the Korean Church, including Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the first Korean priest and martyr. For the beatification of the second Korean priest, Father Thomas Choi Yang-eop, the process is in the stage of examining the miracle. The Korean Church is currently promoting other causes for beatification: that of the Servants of God John Baptist Lee Byeok and his 132 companions; that of the Servant of God Hong Yong-ho, of Bishop Francesco Borgia and of his 80 companions; that of the Servant of God Shin Sang-Won, of Bishop Bonifacio Sauer and his 37 companions. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 1/4/2023)