Many Post War Koreans saw the Catholic Church as their family.

Tuesday, 12/5/17

Many of the Advent readings at Mass have to do with the Lord coming to rule Jerusalem or his coming at the end of the world. And, it is disappointing that the Liturgy does not reflect our principal concern with this year's Christmas.

I have been making up for that by bringing up stories of wonderful Christmases I have shared in.

Let me speak about Korea (where I had a parish from 1954 to 1965.)  All U.S. A. people from the Atlantic to the Pacific call ourselves Americans. The Korean people have a much different way of referring to themselves. "They call themselves, "The  Hundred Names." That is because they have a hundred family names (like Kim,.Pak, Han, Jung, and so on.)

Up till the middle of the last century, the people with the same Korean name. honored  the direct descendent of the first of the name to land on Korea's coast. They would provide him with a home where they could gather once a year to honor their ancestors.

The Korean War, leaving half the Kim's in the north,  with half in the south, broke   up  those clans, leaving people with hidden longings for the old common family life.

From 1955, my first year in Yang Yang  parish, our number of parishioners doubled each year.(With the newcomers feeling the church to be their new clan.),

In 1956 before we could start our midnight Christmas Mass, I had to baptize sixty converts. They-made  two facing lines from the back door to the altar. It was terribly cold, with tubs of charcoal giving off more smoke than heat. (One old lady fell over when I anointed her forehead with Chrism.)


From after Mass until dawn, the people crowded on to every inch of floor space in my house, putting down rice, singing songs, and acting like one big family.

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