On Saturday, the 8th September 2012, a new church and priory were consecrated by the Bishop of Uijongbu, Bishop Peter Lee in the presence of Cardinal Grech and other dignitaries. The church seats one hundred and twenty people and the Augustinian priory, which will now also serve as the novitiate house, has ten rooms for the friars, novices and private retreatants.
Earlier on the same day Cardinal Grech had baptized a local benefactor of the Augustinians. This was Cardinal Grech's first baptism of an adult. In Korea the majority of baptisms are of adults; ten percent of Korea is now Roman Catholic.
On Sunday morning Cardinal Grech took part in a typical Korean 11.00 am Sunday parish Mass (see phofto at left). On Monday, 10th September, in Incheon Catholic Cathedral, Cardinal Grech ordained a Korean Augustinian to the priesthood; this was also the cardinal's first sacerdotal ordination.
Cardinal Grech rightly considers himself a missionary, at least indirectly, as so many of his students over the years came from missionary countries. During his ten days’ stay he met several of his former Korean students who are now bishops, seminary rectors and professors in their own right. One of these was Bishop Lazzaro You, Bishop of Daejeon, who organized for Cardinal Grech to visit the two martyr shrines in his diocese.
The Catholic Church in Korea is just two hundred and thirty years old, and its first hundred years saw five major persecutions of Christians. Apart from the official one hundred and three canonized martyrs there were many unknown martyrs who were summarily killed and buried in mass graves. It was one of these sites that the Cardinal visited. The other was the birth place of the first Korean priest, Kim Dae-Gon, who was martyred at the age of twenty-four years.
The remaining time was spent by the Cardinal's giving a spiritual talk at the Incheon Catholic seminary to over a hundred seminarians, visiting the two other Augustinian houses and taking in the cultural sites of Seoul and its surrounds. Highlights were visits to two famous Buddhist temples.
The year 2013 then saw the completion of Stage Two of the building project, which was a free-standing retreat house with fourteen twin bedrooms able to cater for up to thirty retreatants.