A parish in Jakarta has been dedicated to Korean martyr, St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon (1821-1846), becoming the first parish in Indonesia with a non-European patron saint. St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean-born Catholic priest and patron saint of Korea, has been adopted as the patron of the parish church in Kelpa Gading in the Indonesian capital.
Under Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, Christians were persecuted and executed. Kim was one of several thousand Christians who were executed during this time. In 1846, at the age of 25, he was tortured and beheaded near Seoul on the Han River.
John Paul II canonized 102 Korean martyrs
St. Pope John Paul II canonized Kim along with 102 other Korean Martyrs, including Paul Chong Hasang, during his trip to Korea on May 6, 1984. Their memorial is observed on September 20.
Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta presided over the consecration ceremony of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon Church on Sept. 20, along with Auxiliary Bishop Benedictus Son Hee-song of Seoul.
"So far, Indonesian churches have been dedicated only to European saints and I wished for saints near to us," said Archbishop Suharyo. "Finally, we decided St. Andrew Kim, the first Korean martyr priest."
Last year, Jakarta Archdiocese requested a relic of St. Kim from Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, which arrived last October.
The entrance of the 2,400 capacity St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon Church is adorned with 24 wooden reliefs featuring scenes from the life of St. Kim. In front of the church stands a statue of the saint, holding a cross and wearing a traditional Korean hat made of bamboo and horsehair.
Bishop Son found a link between Korea and Indonesia in St. Andrew Kim. "The Independence Day of Indonesia,” he said, “is Aug. 17, 1945.” “Exactly 100 years earlier on Aug. 17, 1845, Father Andrew Kim was ordained a priest," said Bishop Son. "We all are a family under the Catholic faith," he added.
Archbishop Suharyo said the history of martyrdom in Korea has much in common with Indonesia's history of persecution and martyrdom. "I wish the passion of Korean laypeople who embraced Catholicism without any foreign missionary and fostered the saint-priest be a good model for Indonesian Catholics," Archbishop Suharyo said. (Source: UCAN)