Fr Andrew Kim (left) and Fr Lawrence cut their anniversary cakes while the children of Woori Jib and the religious brothers and sisters look on

By Linda Edward

Jan 15 2022

POTUKI, Putatan – Our only Korean priests in Sabah, Fr Lawrence Kim and Fr Andrew Kim celebrated their sacerdotal anniversaries at St Francis Xavier Church here Jan 9 at the 10.00 am Sunday Mass, followed by a lunch reception. 

Both Fr Kim (s)are priests of the religious congregation, Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae, Suwon Diocese.

Fr Andrew Kim, who was ordained on 11 Jan 2017, and celebrating his 5th anniversary, said to the Potuki community that without the people’s prayers, a priest cannot stand on his own, although they themselves pray and say the Holy Mass.

“I am still a young priest, still making mistakes and encountering temptations; pray for me and pray for our (other) priests,” said Fr Andrew in his speech, asking the people’s continuous prayer even as he himself prays for all God’s people.

Fr Andrew spent most of his five years priestly ministry in Sabah. Arriving here in 2017, he said he was very nervous because he was just a ‘baby priest’ and regarded Potuki as a ‘Nazareth’ for him.

He entered the seminary in the Diocese of Suwon, South Korea at the age of 18, immersing himself in the religious life, right after his secondary school. He is now 35. 

As a young priest in Sabah, Fr Andrew said he has learned many things and learned to work. He aspired to be better in speaking English and the Kadazan language.

Fr Lawrence Kim, ordained on 6 Jan 2000, was the “first priest in the new millennium in South Korea” he said. He celebrates his 22nd anniversary of priesthood this year.

He said, “Today is a meaningful day and I think it is time to check on my life. When I was ordained a priest, I worried about what life was like to resemble the Lord.

“One of the most necessary things for a priest is personal prayer and the help of prayers of many around him. Through these prayers, the priest gains strength. Please pray for me to continue my life as a priest who resembles the Lord,” said Fr Lawrence.

Throughout the 22 years of service, besides being a priest in the parish like other priests, he has served as a spiritual director of his congregation. He is also directly involved in developing the Mirinae Holy Land where the tomb of the first priest of Korea, Fr Andrew Kim, is located. During the works on the Mirinae Shrine, he was once hospitalized due to injury while working on the development of the shrine.

His other services involved being a parish priest for four years for the Korean people residing in the United States, renewing the agricultural farm system in Icheon branch resulting in making double output in three years, and being a director of a hospital in Daegu, visiting patients and celebrating Mass every day in the hospital chapel.

Also present at the Mass were the religious brothers of St Gabriel (Montfort brothers), Franciscan sisters, Woori Jib Board of Governors and 150 faithful from the Potuki Catholic Community, as well as friends from other parishes.