Today we honor St. Andrew Kim, a young Korean priest who at twenty-six was beheaded for practicing a foreign religion in the Hermit Kingdom.
He was fifteen when his father was beheaded for his Faith. Andrew slipped away then, taking up priestly training in Shanghai. Ordained a priest, he returned to Korea when he was twenty-four. Two years later, when he was about to be beheaded, he said, "My real life is about to begin." He had been so loved, that many other Koreans wanted to be buried at his side.
In 1944, when people for filming the life of St. Andrew, they wanted to show Andrew's slipping back into Korea on a deserted shore. They had a young Catholic from our neighboring parish play the part of Andrew; and my close friend, Father Jack Lynch was bearded ro play the part of a French bishop sneaking into the country with Andrew. I, with a beard too, played a French priest who joined the two of them fighting high waves coming ashore.
I have a memory of Father Lynch, hanging on to the little fishing boat's mast, moaning, "By-jeepers, Sully, I can't swim."