The Nuestro Señor Jesucristo Parish in Bulacan, known as the country’s only Catholic church that is dedicated to a Korean saint, has been elevated to diocesan shrine status. It will now be called the Diocesan Shrine of St. Andrew Kim Taegon.
In a January 30 Holy Mass, Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos officially declared the parish as a diocesan shrine. He then reminded everyone to “live a life that is inspired by God”— just like the Parish’s namesake, St. Andrew Kim Taegon. (Read: Wow, Bulacan’s Obando Church Is Now a National Shrine!)
“The martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim has borne much fruit in this province,” said Bishop Villarojo. “His blood, though shed in a foreign land, has blessed the province of Bulacan by having more Filipinos drawn to the Christian faith.”
Shrine of St. Andrew Kim Taegon
Found in Lolomboy, Bocaue, the Nuestro Señor Jesucristo Parish was built in honor of St. Andrew Kim Taegon— Korea’s first Catholic priest who lived in Bulacan before he was martyred in the 19th century.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Kim Taegon pursued his calling in Catholicism after he was baptized at age 15. He attended seminary in the Portuguese colony of Macau and was a scholar of the Parish Foreign Mission Society. (Read: 5 Catholic Saints Who Were Migrants Back in the Days)
As the war in China erupted at around 1873, Kim Taegon was forced to seek refuge and continue his studies in a Dominican convent in Lolomboy. There, he stayed for seven years before flying back to China in 1844 to be ordained as a priest.
When he returned to Seoul, Kim Taegon catechized Koreans in secret. However, in September 1846, he was caught by guards and was beheaded during the wave of persecution launched by the Joseon dynasty. (Read: 4 Modern-Day Martyrs Whose Deaths Changed the World)
Kim Taegon was among the 103 Korean martyrs who were canonized by St. Pope John Paul II in Seoul on May 6, 1984. Their feast day is celebrated every 20th of September.