SACBC MAY ROSARY MARATHON 05 May – Rosary for the end to the pandemic from OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY of NAMYANG, SOUTH KOREA

05 May – Rosary for the end to the pandemic from OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY of NAMYANG, SOUTH KOREA

Prayer Intention: For all children and adolescents
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A prelude to information about the Shrine of Our Lady might be about the growth of the Catholic Church in South Korea. The Church has gone through various stages of persecution and suffered the martyrdom of many believers, especially during the 19th Century.

Pope Saint John Paul II canonized a group of these martyrs in 1984, including St. Andrew Taegon Kim, the first Korean-born priest. Another set-back to the development of the Catholic Church in South Korea was also the Korean War which began when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border. It has been called the ‘Fatherland Liberation War” which lasted from June 1950 – July 1953. It was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations). 

As South Korea recovered social stability, the Church in the South gradually restored church facilities destroyed during the Korean War and developed missionary activities. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of South Korea was established in 1948. They created opportunities for new progress both in direct and indirect mission by reinforcing various activities such as education, medical works, publications and social welfare etc.

New religious institutes made inroad into South Korea for mission. Their activities made substantial contribution to the growth and maturity of the local Church. The cease-fire was a good opportunity for all the domestic religious institutes to grow and develop fully. During the Korean War the Church in South Korea had developed active relief work for war victims with the support of the humanitarian aid of the Churches abroad and it continued even after the armistice. The local Church has also had to rely on its own initiatives and efforts to grow and expand.

By 1953 the number of the faithful in the South amounted to 170,000 but by 1961 it reached 500,000, showing the increase of 16.5 percent of annual growth. 1958 was a special year because it recorded the increase of 24.18 percent. In the 1950’s, the expansion of the Catholic faith was evident from the fact that the Church was present in all the county seats including isolated islands. Also, a noticeable progress was made in the field of education. It was at that time that the Catholic University of Seoul introduced the medical department which had provided important medical manpower to the Korean society.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SHRINE:

This shrine is also known as ‘Rosary Hill’ and is considered a site of Catholic martyrdom.  Since the Catholic Persecution of 1866 this location has been “transformed into an ever-evolving place of prayer”. IT IS THE FIRST MARIAN SANCTUARY IN SOUTH KOREA and was created in order to memorialize 19 martyrs from the Byungin persecutions in the 19th century.

Namyang was designated as a Holy Place on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7th October 1991. Therefore, it is a truly Marian pilgrimage site. Moreover, it has been from its very origin, a centre of prayer for peace and reconciliation in the world, and particularly in Korea. On the premises of the Shrine, there is a beautiful, oriental Chapel. Numerous pilgrims who visit this place, after having walked the Rosary Road, come to Mary’s statue who stretches out her arms to welcome them. Full of trust, just like the little boy-child, Jesus, clinging to her, they entrust to her their joys, worries and all intentions which they carry to the Shrine.

Namyang is without any doubt a place of abundant grace of God. The Altar inside the Shrine contains a relic of Pope Saint John Paul II. It was blessed by Pope Francis during the General Audience at Saint Peter’s in Rome on 7th June, 2017. Many conversions to Catholicism have come from Buddhism.

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