On January 5th, the Irvine Korean Catholic community celebrated its 10th anniversary by throwing a hefty party at Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Church.
The Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Church is one of the 56 parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, led by Father Alex Ha. The community was founded more than 10 years ago at a nearby church in University of California, Irvine. Over a few years, the church was able to bring together a community of Catholics from all over the world. Because of this, they decided to settle in a building on a vast land near Northwood Park in Irvine. Fast-forward a decade, the community continues to grow exponentially with many groups forming, like the bible studies group and mission team.
Father Alex Ha said, “Today is a great day. There [are] so many people from our community that came today to celebrate Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church’s anniversary.”
On the day of the anniversary, approximately 500 Catholic worshipers came together to celebrate through mass and festival. During mass, the priest displayed flashbacks starting from a decade ago, and leading up to the momentous day with pictures and videos. “Time passes by so fast. I was here since I was a baby, and I cannot believe I am already a college student,” James Kim, a member of the church, said.
The festival began with the father and deacon cutting a cake in front of a crowd, leading up to Korean traditional music played by talented high school students and adults. It was a significant moment for the Catholic community to come together and socialize with each other, regardless of the generation they are in. Elizabeth Lee said, “Although church is a place to worship, it is also a great place to get to know other people.”
By partaking in religious communities, people can forget about each other’s differences and develop friendships with one similarity: their belief. While some people may assume that this may seem forced, it is a superb experience that teaches on the subject of accepting diversity. Even though Our Lady of Korean Catholic Church is a catholic church built for Koreans, the church’s community admits that anyone can change and adjust to a certain group regardless of their religion or race. Ha said, “In future, I hope we can build a bigger and better church, as we continuously increase the size of our community.”
With the vast landmass the church acquires, Ha hopes to utilize it well by building new facilities to further increase the activities the worshippers can partake in. Although this is a religious event, Korean culture has an astronomic role in bringing people together.
Shaun Baek, Grade 10
Portola High School