Pastoral Challenges for Honolulu Korean-American Catholics
a. This is to follow up on the discussions of Apr. 10, 2010 between Bishop Lazzaro You of Daejeon and Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu.
b. For 10 years, the Korean Catholic Community at St. Pius X (“KCC”) has tried to grow as an exemplary community within the Diocese of Honolulu. The two bishops’ encouragement has reignited their zeal for growth.
c. This writing is to seek guidance on addressing the drastic decrease of evangelization among Korean-Americans in Honolulu.
i. Korean population which marked 1,076,872 residents in the U.S. in 2000,
ii. Of the estimated 40,000 Korean-Americans in Honolulu, there are 600 Korean-American Catholics, i.e., 1.5% of all Korean-Americans in Honolulu. This is one third of the national rate, which should be a matter of grave concern to all of us.
iii. There are 4,103 Korean Protestant churches in the U.S., while we have 176 Catholic communities (107 with resident priests, 69 without priests). In Honolulu, we have one Korean Catholic community while there are 52 protestant churches.
d. There are three major pastoral challenges for evangelization among Korean-Americans in Honolulu:
i. The need for their own building
ii. The need for facilities for older people
iii. The top priority of pastoral care of youth and young adults
II. The Need for their Own Building
a. As immigrants, they constantly struggle with a sense of marginality, helplessness, and arbitrariness. Since they have limited participation in political and commercial arenas in their daily lives, having some control over their destinies through a sense of ownership of their physical property and course of action is crucial for their immigrant life.
b. The immigrant church needs to provide a convenient space and time for the culturally homogenous group to socialize. This social gathering and interaction is crucial for immigrants and must be one of the primary roles of the immigrant faith community.
c. For the Korean faithful, building a house of worship has enormous significance. During the first one hundred years, Catholics in Korea grew under severe persecution. Thus, building a worship space and receiving a priest has very special meaning. Instead of ‘building’ a church, they use the expression of ‘dedicating’ a church. This tradition is especially strong among the elderly faithful who are particularly active in the Honolulu community. Additionally, having their own space means convenience as well.
d. Since Koreans are scattered in diverse areas, they need a convenient location and facility for gathering.
e. The current setting as an attached ministry to a local parish, sharing facilities with other parishioners, cannot satisfy the needs of the Korean immigrants or the goals of the Diocese. It continues to amplify marginalization within the church rather than integration into the church life.
i. Resentment—having full duties with no rights: the KCC faithful feels that they are doubly taxed by the diocese and the host parish (e.g., the diocesan capital campaign contribution at the parish level, monthly rent for the use of facilities).
ii. Tenant mentality: The current setting not only limits the KCC faithful from having a sense of ownership but also breeds feelings of being tenants. While we have over 50 newly baptized every year, the limitation on space and time for their particular needs discourages the KCC faithful from having a sense of ownership, as the Diocese hopes. Culturally, living in a rental property is considered to be shameful for Koreans, and contributes significantly to the drastic decrease of evangelization among Korean-American in Honolulu.
iii. Unwelcoming environment: The church is a safe haven for maintaining cultural identity and for social interaction among Korean-Americans to operate as an extended family. Even if the value of religion is usually considered in spiritual terms, for immigrants there are many social and economic benefits of participation in religious organizations. Churches perform many functions for immigrants including: helping find housing and jobs; teaching English and skills for navigating the American bureaucracy, especially naturalization process; counseling parents on how to relate to their American-born children, providing special religious and education programs for children, and running credit unions. The image of the immigrant as the perpetual foreigner or outsider irks and embarrasses many second-generation Korean-Americans. Protestant churches are better able to meet these needs because they often have their own buildings.
f. In May 11, 2010, Bishop Vicent Ri, Chair of the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Korean Living Abroad, met Bishop Oscar Solis, his counterpart at USCCB. The two bishops agreed that the drastic decrease in evangelization among Korean-American communities is a matter of great concern to both conferences. Bishop Ri shared his thoughts with Bishop Solis about how to encourage Korean-American communities in the U.S. to be more intentional about evangelization. He said, “With regard to missionary activities either in Korea or in other countries Korean missionaries of different religions has demonstrated remarkable accomplishments. If the Bishops in the U.S. recognize this unique characteristic of Koreans and foster their evangelizing spirit by providing them an appropriate environment, they will accomplish evangelization at an incredible rate.” As matter of fact, many dioceses in the main land including Washington, Baltimore, Newark, Raleigh, LA, Charlotte, Chicago, Orange and many more are fostering this unique characteristic of Koreans.
g. As members of the local church the Korean faithful have had a sense of inconvenience and alienation for over 30 years, which has prompted the desire for a building project. This may perpetuate the sense of “us vs. them,” which may be corrected by the Bishop.
III. The Need for Facilities for Older People
a. The increase of older people among Korean-Americans is evident in Honolulu. In view of the population, 70% of the KCC faithful are older people.
b. Caring for older people has a special place in the priority of younger people among Koreans, which contributes tremendously to the church’s evangelization efforts.
c. KCC now faces serious challenges in providing adequate care for older people. Korean older people in Honolulu need a senior apartment and assisted living facilities because of the following reasons:
i. The majority of Korean older people experience language barriers.
ii. The need for Korean food presents major challenges for assisted living facilities and for Korean older people.
iii. For younger retirees, we need to provide opportunities for continuing education and skill development.
iv. We need more caregivers who can provide services in a culturally sensitive manner.
d. As part of the pastoral care and evangelization efforts, KCC is willing to take an active role in this special ministry. Many Korean communities in the main land are providing such ministries to older Korean people.
i. St Andrew Kim parish in the Archdiocese of Washington and 103 Korean Martyrs parish in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are both running senior apartments in their parish properties. They purchased large properties with the help of their archdioceses many years ago, on which they built apartment buildings financed by the Federal Government.
ii. The Holy Family parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been running an assisted living facility for almost 20 years in cooperation with a Korean religious community. Additionally, there is one facility in L.A. and one facility in Washington, DC.
IV. Pastoral Care of Youth and Young Adults as The Top Priority.
a. Young people are not just the future of the church, but are the present. The church needs to pay particular attention to the “silent exodus” of church-raised but disaffected second-generation young people, which has often been unnoticed.
b. These young people may find the ethnic-enclave atmosphere of the first-generation church unbearable. Some also find immigrant churches “irrelevant, culturally stifling, and ill equipped to develop them spiritually for life” in the current multicultural context.
c. The intergenerational cultural conflict between parents and children is one of the main factors leading to psychological and behavioral problems among the Korean-American youth. The authoritarian style of Korean parenting is perceived by the Korean-American youth as rejection, often resulting in hostility, which is exacerbated by a widening cultural and language gap between parents and children.
d. Among Korean communities that are 30 years or older, the KCC in Honolulu is the only one that has not yet produced a single priest.
e. These challenges call for collaborative efforts by all parties responsible for the ministry to young people. We need to focus on religious education, faith formation, leadership development, family-oriented liturgy, and various social welfare services, which require a dedicated facility and trained personnel.
V. Concluding remarks
a. The KCC faithful are gently disposed, but ardently hopeful about the growth of KCC.
b. The understanding and positive pastoral care on the part of the Diocese will definitively encourage KCC to grow into an exemplary faith community in the Diocese.
c. There is an unsubstantiated belief that Koreans have a lot of money. Korean immigrants are no different than any other immigrants, but their attitude toward the offertory collection is. Most immigrants from Europe and Latin America, where the separation of church and state is less clear than in the U.S. or Korea, have not been encouraged to give substantial amounts to the church. As such, Korean Catholics are likely to give more to the church, but not necessarily because they are richer than other immigrants.
d. KCC is to be encouraged to be more intentional about evangelization. There are many people who have stopped attending church, which has been deemed the result of the lack of evangelizing vision and zeal at KCC over the last 30 years. Encouragement from the Ordinary will certainly reignite their zeal.
 1,076,872 Koreans in the U.S. (Source: Census 2000) The Asian American population is expected to double by 2010,11 and the six largest Asian groups—Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese—account for 87.5 percent of Asian Americans overall. Sharon M. Lee, "Asian Americans: Diverse and Growing," Population Bulletin Vol. 53, No. 2 (June 1998).
 Estimated Korean-American population is 40,000, according to the Summary on the Relationship Between Hawaii and Korea, published by the Counsel General of the Republic of Korea in Honolulu, August, 2009
 Christian Today Report, May 19, 2010.
 Helen Lee offers a keen observation: “Issues of marginality, helplessness, etc. occur for different reasons and with different results, depending on which generation you are referring to, and also depending on the degree of acculturation that exists for each individual person. While first-generation Koreans in America often feel marginalized from the greater American/Caucasian community, second-generation Koreans experience marginality resulting from a multitude of causes. Some second-generation Korean-Americans feel marginalized from other Koreans, some from the non-Korean community at large; some never quite resolve this tension while others find ways to cope with living in two cultures.”
 A recent study on the role of religion among immigrant groups concluded that the Catholic Church was successful in the long run, by allowing the first generation to go their way with national churches that allowed for variations in language and cultural forms. By the time the second generation was ready to make religious choices, the Catholic Church offered an incredibly good package – a respectable church that was free of Protestant prejudices; schools, hospitals and other social services staffed by caring and dedicated nuns, and demanding religious practices that appealed to many people… Religious commitments are stronger if a faith expects conformity principles, and enforces obligations by creating a strong sense of community: see Charles Hirschman, The Role of Religion in the Origins and Adaptation of Immigrant Groups, The Center for Migration and Development of Princeton University, Working Paper #03-09f, 25.
 Helen Lee, “Silent Exodus: Can the East Asian Church in