“I think often on that voyage. I think how such a small vessel was able to hold so many persons and surmount endless perils without harm to a soul,” Br. Marinus later said, regarding the 1950 evacuation.
“And as I think the clear, unmistakable message comes to me that on that Christmastide, in the bleak and bitter waters off the shores of Korea, God’s own hand was at the helm of my ship.”
In the current case of Afghanistan, Tomczyk said that people should not only be praying for the safe passage of refugees, but should also be charitable.
“We have to obviously pray, but also be the agents of charity in the world today,” he said. “Hope and this personal invitation to his unconditional love for others are the two things that would be definitely connecting Marinus with this situation.”
Bishop Lorenzo knew Br. Marinus when he was in college seminary and would visit the nearby Benedictine monks at St. Paul’s Abbey in Newton, New Jersey. Brother Marinus often worked in the abbey’s gift shop or as the abbey’s porter.
Both of those roles were considered relatively basic jobs at the abbey, a sharp contrast to his past life as a captain. As a simple monk, Br. Marinus did not pursue the priesthood.
“You would think a man like that, the captain of a ship who did all those things would have a much more important position in the community, but he seemed very happy with humble, simple work in service of the community,” said Lorenzo.
Lorenzo told CNA that he was completely unaware of Br. Marinus’ heroism until he attended his funeral in 2001, a testament to the monk’s humility. At his funeral, many Korean Catholics attended to pay their respects to a man who saved so many lives.
With the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Lorenzo is hopeful that the dire situation will help raise awareness of Marinus’ cause for sainthood and his past heroic actions.
“Maybe this will promote even more his cause for sainthood, as we can get these individuals, especially those who assisted the U.S. government and [persecuted] Christians, in particular, to safe harbor somewhere,” he said.
The life and deeds of Br. Marinus, said Tomczyk, could help to remind people to remain steadfast in God’s hope and “the fact that God works through people.”
(Story continues below)
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“I'm sure in the midst of all this evil, there are people of good will, people who are acting as God's messengers,” he added.
“And so I think [Br. Marinus] might be a sign of hope that even in the greatest darkness, there are good people out there who, or generally serving others in need.”
This article has been updated to correct the location of St. Paul's Abbey.