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The story of Korea's first Catholic priest-martyr premieres at the Vatican


At 24, St. Andrew Kim Taegon became Korea's first priest, and just one year later, its first martyr. 

I will be by your side, alive or dead.

Kim's story, which took him on difficult journeys from Korea to Macau, the Philippines, and China to study for the priesthood while evading persecution, is now told in the new movie, “A Birth.” 

The film premiered at the Vatican before members of the Korean Catholic community: A gesture that the movie's lead actor says keeps the saint's spirit alive in a place he held so dear in his heart. 

YOON SHI-YOON
Plays St. Andrew Kim
200 years ago, St. Andrew Kim wanted to cross the ocean to follow the spirit of the missionaries that were sent by the Vatican.
In the end he could not come here because of the situation at the time, but now I feel that he has come here with me.

Made to honor 200 year's since the birth the Korean saint, the movie's title also refers to the beginnings of the Catholic Church in Korea after Kim was executed for his faith in 1846 near Seoul.

Korean Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-Sik, who was present at the movie's premiere, says that the life and death of the patron saint of Korean clergy continues to inspire new generations of Catholics in his home country and around the world.

CARD. LAZARUS YOU HEUNG-SIK
Prefect, Dicastery for the Clergy

Through a death so many things are born. I personally decided to be a priest after learning of him. Every morning I am reminded of him in my priestly life.

The movie's director says that in addition to the anniversary of Kim's birth, the film was made to inspire young people to follow the saint's example and embrace seeking spirituality.

PARK HEUNG-SIK
Director, “A Birth”

We find ourselves toward the end of the Coronavirus pandemic and before the reality of self-centeredness, of inequality, and a lack of spirituality, and so I thought that the key to solving these problems could be found in the life of St. Andrew Kim.

While Kim's memory is back in the Vatican for the movie's premiere, it had previously traveled to Rome when he was named a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1984. 

In addition, the Vatican announced just last month that a 12-foot statue of Kim will be installed on exterior wall of St. Peter's Basilica, memorializing him forever within the walls of Vatican City.

JM