Francis Bang (?-1799)
Francis Bang was born in 'Yeo', Myeoncheon, Chungcheong-do and was a military officer to the governor. He was known among Catholics as ‘Bang Bijang’. Francis Bang heard about the Catholicism being proclaimed in his hometown, and accepted it earlier than anyone else. He frequently met with Peter Jeong San-pil, Lawrence Pak Chwi-deuk, and James Won Si-bo to study the catechism and pray.
Francis Bang was diligent in practicing the Catholic teaching. He was the most outstanding among the Catholics. He often shed tears when listening to the stories of martyrs, and aspired to die a martyr like them.
Many Catholics were arrested during the Jeongsa Persecution in 1797. Francis Bang was arrested in Hongju the following year. There he went through severe punishments for six months, after which he was sentenced to death. Two other Catholics who were sentenced to death with Francis Bang, sobbed before the last meal customarily offered to criminals before execution. Francis Bang`s face was radiant with joy. He thanked the Lord and the Holy Mother Mary for the grace of martyrdom. He said to his fellow Catholics:
"Just as creation of the world and its preservation are God`s grace, so too, the generous treatment of the chief official is God`s providence. why then are you so sad and discouraged? That is the temptation of the devil. If you miss such a good opportunity to go to heaven, when do you think you can expect another one?"
Thanks to his advice and encouragement which were inspired and empowered by God, the two Catholics repented their weakness and shared the same holy destiny as Francis Bang. They were martyred all together, in Hongju-eup on January 21, 1799 (December 16, 1798 by the Lunar calendar).