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It is witness that convinces, not words

Archbishop Wenski's message to priests on first night of convocation

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this message to archdiocesan priests during vespers on Sept. 20, 2022, the first night of their annual convocation, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Miami Sept. 20-22.

Today we celebrated the feast of the Korean martyrs. What is interesting about Korea is that the first evangelization was done by the laity. And the first priests to minister to them were Chinese, not Europeans. Andrew Kim was the first Korean priest who was martyred and along with 103 faithful was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II; Paul and his companions – some 213 Korean – were martyred earlier but beatified by Pope Francis. In the first 100 years of the Church’s existence in Korea, some 10,000 Catholics were martyred.

St. John Paul II told priests that the people look to them for the “word lived” before the “word proclaimed.” The days are long gone when what “Father said” or “What teacher said” was law.

People today will not follow “blind guides” as Jesus described the Pharisees; but they will follow pastors whose authenticity is revealed in their transparency.

When all is said and done, it is witness that convinces, not words.