St. Paul Chong Hasang was born in Korea, in 1795. He came from a family of noble scholars that were dedicated to the Catholic faith and to its growth in Korea. His father was a Catholic intellectual who had written the first Catholic catechism in the Korean language. His father was martyred in 1801. His family was thereafter persecuted and stripped of all property. Despite this hardship and tragedy, the family never denied the faith.
Throughout his life, he continued to seek missionary support for the Church in Korea. When Paul was twenty-one, he went to China, where he asked the Bishop of Peking to send missionaries to Korea. He escorted Bishop Laurent Imbert on his mission and served him faithfully during his ministry. Bishop Imbert was impressed by Paul's devotion to the faith and decided to prepare him for the priesthood. Before this could happen, however, a new persecution of Christians broke out in Korea. Bishop Imbert was forced to flee; Paul and his mother and sister were arrested.
While awaiting execution in prison, Paul wrote "A Letter to the Minister," defending the Catholic faith to the Korean government. This work impressed everyone, even the enemies of the Church. However, the government was not moved to alter its stance. After much suffering and torture, Paul and his family were beheaded outside Seoul on September 22, 1839. Despite severe hardship and persecution, he kept his faith and served as a sterling example of piety for others, heeding the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel to remain in his love and bear fruit that remains.
· In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” Jesus does love you! Do you believe that? Why or why not?
· Jesus encourages us keep his commandments. Is it hard or easy to keep God’s commandments? Explain your answer.
· Share a time when the love of Jesus has been shared through your mother or a mother-figure in your life.
· St. Paul Chong Hasang’s family taught him the faith, but he also lived it out in his own way. What are ways your family has helped you grow in faith? What are ways you have grown on your own?