After presenting their inspiring papers at the March conference, our Korean American Catholic scholars, theologians, and priests went away to continue to work on them, then reconvened this weekend at DePaul University in Chicago to present their new drafts.
Fr. Simon Kim’s paper traced the narrative of the Korean American immigrants. Fr. Paul Lee presented his paper on how we Korean American Catholics can embody the spirit of the Pentecost. Dr. James Lee made Augustine’s theology relevant to our experience. And Dr. Andrew Kim’s paper showed how Thomas Aquinas’ philosophies can solve our binary nature. Dr. Hoon Choi imagined a beautiful future for the Korean American Catholic church, and Dr. Franklin Rausch gave suggestions on how to record this future as a historical narrative.
A lot had changed since that first forum. Back then, I attended as a curious guest, and now I was there in my capacity as co-editor of the book project. I spent the weekend working on the drafts and listening carefully so that we can publish a varied but unified work containing the best scholarship possible. The conference itself went very well, generously hosted by DePaul University’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, and among our guests were William Kavanagh and Robert Schreiter, members of the FIAT family (Fr. Alex Lee, Frances Park and Dave Kim), and past FIAT Leadership Training Retreat participants from Chicago, Dan and Angelo Oh, and Steph Yang.
On a personal note, this weekend I was allocated a shared hotel room with Dr. Hoon Choi, who not only had written my personal favourite paper, but whose paper I had (without his permission) already kind of paraphrased to my Confirmation Class, because I had found it so moving, and found that they felt it to be equally moving! He and I stayed up late talking and became good friends, and his paper’s recurring motif (“Imagine!”) not only became the catchphrase of the weekend, but Fr. Simon and I also decided that it should be the title of his paper!