Korean priests in active service now exceed 5,000, and although we see a drop from the recent past, Korea is doing well. Foreign priests according to Catholic Bishops' Conference still active in Korea stood at 138, which decreased by 20 from the previous year. From the time of the first Korean priest St. Andrew Kim, more than 6,000 were ordained; 536 have died, and 427 have left the priesthood to return to secular life.
many Koreans in the Diaspora who have immigrated and have become
priests in their new homelands is difficult to ascertain, but the two
Catholic Weeklies had articles about Christopher Eung jin
Bae, who was ordained for the priesthood in the Boston Archdiocese in
May of this year. He will be the fourth Korean priest for the
archdiocese. He is assigned as the assistant priest at St. Mary's
Church, Franklin. On his visit to Korea, he was interviewed by the two
article mentions he was born in Korea; after graduating from middle
school the family emigrated to the States. He went on to realize his
dream. He went to the University of California at Los Angeles, and
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduated and got a good-paying
job working as an analyst at Accenture, Boston. However, he didn't find
the joy he expected, and wanted to know why.
mentioned he dreamed of marriage and of owning a Lamborghini but with
the priesthood, he had to give up this dream. With a group of young
people from his Korean parish, he went to Haiti in 2010 to help the
poor and sick for 10 days. He was looking for the meaning of life. The
trip filled his head with thoughts he never had before. He considered
money the requisite for happiness. Here he was with 9 out of ten of what
he thought was necessary for happiness, searching for the tenth, and
unsatisfied. The people he was working with had barely one and were thankful and happy.
to Boston and speaking to the pastor the topic of a vocation to the
priesthood was mentioned. Three months later, he entered the seminary
and took a leave of absence from his work for a year, just in case....
was filled with doubt and uneasiness, but all was reversed. He found
great joy, the meaning of life and went on to the priesthood. His
favorite scriptural phrase--Psalm 86:12, which he took for his
ordination maxim: "I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God with all my
heart, and I will glorify your name forever."
His road to the priesthood was not just adulation,
for his mother continually would tell him to think over well what he
was doing. Even at his ordination his mother cried uncontrollably from
the sadness she felt. It was this opposition on his mother's part that
gave him confidence that his choice was the right one, and believes his
mother will one day agree.
his own life, he felt like a chipmunk on an exercise wheel and wants
to help others to find meaning in life, which will depend on his
keeping the joy and happiness in life he has found.