Maryknoll & Koreans: 100 Years of Faith & Love

2023년 3월 5일

Maryknoll & Koreans: 100 Years of Faith & Love

< Second Sunday of Lent >

 One hundred years ago, in 1923, the first group of Maryknoll Missioners arrived in Korea. At that time, Bishop Patrick Byrne became the apostolic administrator of the Church in Korea. What amazed him and all foreign missioners is that, despite the absence of Korean clergy, the faith was alive and well among the lay people. In short order there were Maryknoll bishops in three dioceses: Seoul (Bp. Patrick Byrne), Chungju (Bp. James Pardy) and Incheon (Bp. William McNaughton). It would be easy –and wrong– for Maryknoll to take credit for the phenomenal growth of the Catholic Church in Korea. Truth be told, we were given the privilege of harvesting the fruits of the tens of thousands of Korean martyrs whose blood nourished the faith for more than 200 years. Among them was Bishop Byrne, who died on the Forced March during the Korean War in 1950.

It was Maryknoll Sister Margarita Kim who convinced Cardinal Stephen Kim to send a priest to New York City in 1973 to minister to the growing Korean immigrant community. You might say she was the spiritual midwife to St. Paul’s parish since she was responsible for Fr. Thomas Cheong coming to New York. Today, in addition to Fr. Bae, who has worked with Korean Catholics at St Paul’s every weekend since 1985, two of your parishioners, Fr. Kim Hak Beom and Fr. Kim Dae Wook, proclaimed the gospel as Maryknollers in Brazil, Japan and throughout the USA. Two Maryknoll lay mission couples, Pooja and Patrick Park as well as Peter Lee and Maggie Han served in Venezuela, Russia and Vietnam. Today we are pleased to welcome Fr. Dr. Peter LeJacq to St. Paul’s. Dr Peter worked in East Africa and built the Catholic Medical School at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania. He will preach at today’s Masses. In gratitude we celebrate 100 years of the wonderful cooperation between Maryknoll and Korean Catholics and, God willing, we’ll have 100 more!