Father Daniel Kim:
The Spirit at Work

People are always amused when I tell them I was voted “most shy” in high school. Rest assured, the Spirit has been busy with me since I was a teenager!

My ministry is at St. Mary’s Church in Hong Kong where our staff serves a large community of Filipino migrants. The vast majority are women, and many have children they rarely see. Every two years or so when their work contract ends, they go back home hoping to return soon so they can continue sending money home. Adding to their stress is the exploitation by brokers who arrange the work contracts. Sadly, not every broker has the best interests of their clients in mind.

Despite all, the workers who worship at St. Mary’s are deeply faithful. They come to church every Sunday—900 strong at each of the two Masses I say. They want to worship and be among people with the same unshakable faith in God. This also helps them cope with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Sometimes the confessions I hear floor me. Here I am, with the oil of ordination barely dry on my hands, and I am listening to one heartfelt story after another. These are people whose faith has been tested many more times than mine. Yet they are trusting in the Sacrament of Penance— and hopeful in the healing presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. To be the facilitator of this faith experience is deeply moving for me.

“These are people whose faith has been tested many more times than mine. Yet they are trusting in the Sacrament of Penance—and hopeful in the healing presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. To be the facilitator of this faith experience is deeply moving for me.”

Another of my weekend ministries is working with young people. Many are ex-pats, living overseas with their parents so they can easily relate to me: the son of immigrants to the United States who grew up in two cultures. I especially enjoy speaking with them about mission service and what it means to live our faith by serving others.

When I am not at St. Mary’s, I study Cantonese. I know—nothing like a little challenge! I already speak Korean and Mandarin Chinese. Cantonese will give me an entrée to another community I hope to serve one day.

Before I entered Maryknoll in 2009, I dabbled a lot. I had four majors in college, I rode a motorcycle, and I ran a marathon among other things. Then my mother died—and while on a personal sabbatical in Europe I witnessed the murder of Brother Roger Schutz of the Taizé community.

These experiences were life-altering. I came to see the Paschal mystery in a new way: after death, always resurrection.

My goal now is to witness Christ’s love, and to be a good steward of your gifts. I am ready to give my life to God so that more people will see the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Thank you for sharing in my priesthood and all my grace-filled moments. You are always in my prayers.

~ Father Daniel Kim, M.M.