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Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk


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Feast Day: April 3

Death: April 1, 3
Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk, also known as Lorenzo Pak Chwi-deuk, was a layman convert to Christianity in the apostolic vicariate of Korea. Born around 1769 in Myeoncheon, Chungcheong-do, South Korea, he became passionately devoted to his newfound faith and dedicated himself to spreading the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Having learned the catechism, Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk returned to his home village with the intention of converting his family and neighbors. He diligently worked to share his faith, hoping to bring those close to him to the light of Christianity. However, his efforts were met with opposition during the anti-Christian Sinhae persecutions that began in 1791.
During this period, he boldly protested the arrests of other Christians and fearlessly visited them in prison. His courageous actions caught the attention of the authorities, and as a result, Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk himself was imprisoned for several weeks.
Even after his release, he continued to spread Catholic doctrine and offer support to fellow Christians. When the anti-Christian Jeongsa persecutions commenced in 1797, Lawrence went into hiding to escape arrest. However, when the persecutors apprehended his father in his place, he voluntarily surrendered in order to protect his family.
Imprisoned for two years and subjected to relentless torture, he demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. Historical records document that he endured over 400 beatings, along with other forms of torment. Throughout his imprisonment, regardless of the questions posed to him by his captors, Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk unfailingly explained Catholic doctrine and remained steadfast in his faith.
The authorities, recognizing their inability to break his spirit, resorted to putting him to death. On April 3, 1799, he was hanged in Hongju, Chungcheong-do, South Korea, becoming a martyr for his unwavering commitment to the Catholic Church.
Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk is regarded as one of the Martyrs of Korea, a group of individuals who sacrificed their lives for their Christian beliefs during a time of intense persecution. Pope Francis recognized his martyrdom on February 7, 2014, with a decree in his honor.
Later, on August 16, 2014, Pope Francis beatified Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk at the historic Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul, South Korea. This beatification ceremony served as a testament to his exemplary faith and devotion, as well as an acknowledgement of his status as a holy martyr.
Blessed Laurentius Pak Chwideuk's inspiring life story continues to inspire generations of faithful followers, serving as a reminder of the unyielding power of faith and the sacrifices made by those who chose to stand firm in their beliefs.