Korean Catholic Priest in Southampton
I had been joining Oxcat (Korean catholics’ group in Oxford) Mass pretty much every month this year, and even went to a camping holiday at the weekend of the Royal Wedding(end of April), so when the visit to Southampton from the priest was planned, I felt more blessed than ever. It was pretty much up to Ian to plan the whole event althoughI had my fair share of opinions about how best to accommodate him, and with the time restriction, the only real option was for him to come to Miss Jung’s house, conveniently situated within wal
king distance to the train station, to have the mass in her living room! I joined her to get some food shopping for snacks and drinks, but they proved to be of no use, since we aren’t supposed to eat from an hour before the mass, and afterwards, we had to rush out to get some dinner and see him leave. While I was busy carrying groceries from the nearby Saintsbury’s with Miss Jung, Ian went to greet Father Kim from Southampton Central.
There was also a Korean lady whose daughter I taught Korean as a volunteer 3 years ago at weekly classes. She arrived with her mother who is a keen church-goer.
We all engaged in conversations until each one of us took turns for confessions. I hadn’t done much of a proper confession in my life, so I was reluctant at first, but was convinced that this couldn’t be a better opportunity. The content of the confession is confidential and can’t be revealed here, :P but I can reassure you that I am mighty glad I went through this, and had weight off my shoulders after a long time of not being able to release any stress for a long time.
As for the mass, we gathered a white blanket and a candle on a tea table, and the rest was up to Father to sort out. Not as complicated as I imagined!
Most of us weren’t really weren’t regular church-goers, so we couldn’t recite some of the prayers, so Father helped us by reciting them himself in addition to what he was to say by himself. This resulted into a bit of a muddle, but I couldn’t complain. It wasn’t about the formality to begin with anyway.
After the mass, we went to La Cantina, a very nice Mexican restaurant for a quick dinner. I really adore the vegetarian fajitas served here. Unfortunately, we hadn’t taken any photos of the place, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go again sometime in the near future!
We then had to see Father Kim off the train to Coventry, where he was to give 3 masses the next day. What a hectic schedule! After he left, we went back to Miss Jung’s house to “help her clear out the fruit and cake” (by eating them of course!) that was prepared but was left untouched. We gathered around and just talked about how blessed we were to have such a wonderful and personal mass arranged just for a handful of Catholic christians in Southampton. Of course, numbers don’t mean anything, and god’s love is equal, it was great to be reminded of it by a priest who took extra time to visit people he knows in a different city, and it all made us feel that extra special and much loved and obliged (and confident) to be more faithful in the future.