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Bishop presides at special Mass
November 30, 2017
EDISON — The faith and culture of the Korean Apostolate shined brightly during its 25th Anniversary Celebration Oct. 15 at Transfi guration of the Lord Parish, Guardian Angels worship site. Bishop James F. Checchio presided and gave the homily at the liturgy, which was followed by a reception featuring Korean food and performances of traditional dance and music.
"It is always good to gather to celebrate the Eucharist and a great joy, but even more so when we recognize the gratitude in our hearts for 25 years of the Korean Catholic Community here in the Diocese of Metuchen," said Bishop Checchio. "How grateful we are to God for the good that he has done for our Church through you, so we say thank you and we thank the Lord for that, too. We look forward to many more glorious and happy years and pray for them." In his homily, Bishop Checchio refl ected on the parable for the wedding feast. He explained that 2,000 years ago, two invitations would be sent. The first to see who would want to come, the second to summon those who had accepted.
In the Gospel, it describes the summoning of the second invitation and the discontent felt after the recipient did not attend.
The bishop stressed that this parable is meant to remind us that those two moments, those two invitations, surface in our faith lives at our baptisms and confi rmations when we are asked to reject evil and profess our faith in God. He added that we will also be asked to do so again and again as disciples whenever we gather for the sacraments.
In closing, he said, “I certainly want to thank you, our Korean Catholic Community, for the great modeling of discipleship that you have given to us. For 25 years, you have modeled this type of discipleship that our Lord is calling us to in the Gospel today. Committed discipleship, in persevering in your commitments made in baptism and in confirmation, living the faith of disciples, day in and day out, you certainly are an inspiration to us.”
Bishop Checchio also noted that a new Korean priest, who speaks English and Korean, would be joining the community in January. He asked that everyone pray that God will open the hearts of young men and women to be open to a call to religious vocations, as the Church needs more priests and sisters.
In talking about the Korean Catholic Community parishioner Kristina Kim said that it was very important in helping her adjust to life in a new country.
"When I first came to America, this was the only place I could go and communicate better than I could in English," she said. “That always impacted me and gave me a feeling of where I belonged. This gave me a place to be part of the Korean Catholic Community and a place to celebrate my faith in God.”
A mother of three, she said her family is also a part of the faith community.
"Every Sunday we have to be at church and volunteer something. It is something very special, this parish.”
Kim said Bishop Checchio is very supportive of the Korean community and that is giving them a lot of strength simply because he believes in them.
She added that there are many activities offered within the Korean Catholic Community. Twice a month they serve lunch in the community so they can get to know each other better and help out other people. "Sometimes someone needs help with English translation, sometimes they need advice on children from someone who has been here longer. It's like an information exchange,” she explained.
The community also hosts a Korean Thanksgiving and a Korean Christmas; a talent show, and on New Year’s Day, a special Mass.
She would like to see some more events for the Youth Group, stressing that something for the children is needed.
Parishioner Inseok Seo said, "I am a neophyte, which is why this is so important for me. This year, I got baptized so this is more meaningful for our family because I am able to interact and get to know others in my faith and grow spiritually. This day is very important for us.”
He said that he was baptized by Bishop Checchio and is very impressed by him and his willingness and ability to reach out to all the people. Seo is looking forward to deepening his faith and be- coming more involved within the Korean Catholic Community.
Steve Kwock attended the celebration with his mother. "I think it is good for the Korean community. It is an outlet for them for their religious needs.” He added that he was visiting his mother’s parish from outside the diocese and that his home parish does not have a Korean apostolate. "I think this is very importan t for the younger generation. When I was growing up, the parents and kids were separated. The parents had a Korean Mass and the kids had an English Mass. It is better off for the kids to be separate d out and have an English Mass, as they might get more out of it.”
Kwock said he was impressed by the support of the bishop, noting that the silver jubilee is a great sign that the Korean Catholic Church is around and is going to stay around hopefully another 25 years.
By Stacey Daly, Correspondent at The Catholic Spirit