This was the last winter retreat before our candidates are confirmed in the spring. Once they are confirmed they will be full adult members of our community, and they will be blessed to be able to join in the mission of our church, perhaps as youth leaders themselves, or helping with the liturgy, or any one of our groups. But also, they will be able to join the larger community outside of our church, and meet some of the amazing priests and lay leaders who are doing so much for Korean American Catholics everywhere.
It was on that note that I decided to reach out to the most inspiring, most active, and most devout brothers and sisters that I have had the honour of serving alongside at various events and retreats over the past years, and when I sent out an invitation to these friends, asking if they would come to our humble confirmation retreat to meet St. Joseph‘s high school students, so many so generously said yes!
So we were joined by Jayne Hong, Ann Rhee, Irene Kang, Grace Choi, Nicolette Lea, Sally Yu, and my nephew Edmond Yoo… What a dream team! Personal highlights include an off-the-cuff roundtable about the elements that make the Catholic Church unique and beautiful, where each of our leaders and guests were given a card and were asked to speak about the topic on the card and to elaborate on personal experiences, and the hour turned into an amazingly enriching and inspiring one; another was an improvised skit activity where three groups had to pretend to welcome new guests to our church, and the new guests were played by these special guests who did not make it easy for our poor improvisers! (Ann and Sally pretended to be a mother and daughter who only spoke Korean, and no English, which totally flummoxed one team!)
Other memorable moments include the beautiful Eucharistic Adoration led by Edmond, the moments of fellowship by candlelight on the last night, and the very productive time we spent creating and rehearsing our skit for the KCYD2016 talent show.
But mostly, it was spiritually energizing to spend these few days away from everything, with just each other, and for the students to really connect with some amazing role models from the Korean American Catholic community of Southern California, a community which they will soon be a part of, and I hope, an active part of…
Thank you to Fr. Gerry for your love and support, for coming to preside over our adoration and hearing our confessions, thank you to all the youth leaders and praise team for being so responsible and inspiring, and of course to our special guests for making this retreat so special. Last year we had Fr. Eugene as our special guest, so you had a lot to live up to, but you were amazing!