Archbishop John Wong is giving his homily during the Sunday Mass Dec 5 in St Francis Xavier Woorijib which is also their 5th anniversary

By Linda Edward

Dec 9 2021

POTUKI, Putatan – Five years have passed since the Korean priests opened the St Francis Xavier Woori Jib Home in Kg Potuki here. The Home celebrated their 5th year anniversary being present in Kota Kinabalu, Dec 5, with a Eucharistic Celebration presided by Archbishop John Wong and a simple luncheon.

Fr Lawrence Kim, resident priest in Woorijib said it has been 12 years since his congregation, the Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae South Korea, entered the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.

Their main mission is to help the Korean Catholic community who resides in Kota Kinabalu. The Archbishop at that time requested them to help in local missions and Fr Kim said that was when his congregation began to take root and thus the development of Woori Jib.

Children aged 5-15 years old currently residing in Woorijib Home, wearing the Korean traditional Hanbok costume

“I thank God for being able to help the local Churches, the least we can do.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Archbishop who gave the blessing at that time,” said Fr Kim remembering the blessing ceremony of Woori Jib on Nov 28, 2016 by Archbishop John Wong.

“I would also like to thank the community here in Potuki who have warmly welcomed us and have always supported us in terms of purchasing this land and settling down here,” he continued.

Fr Kim also expressed his gratitude to the current Board of Governors as well as the existing Steering Committee members and the Korean collaborators who have always helped and supported their missionary works in Sabah.

“Without the cooperation of all these people, I don’t think Woori Jib would be where it is today,” he said.

Fr Lawrence Kim, resident priest in Woorijib

He specifically mentioned the first Korean priest in Sabah, Fr Leo Choi Sangki, who has started all the good works and was instrumental of the development of Woori Jib.

“All of this would have been difficult without his hard work, commitment and dedication. It was his heart for the Lord and his love for the children of Sabah that led him to get this land and started this building we have today,” expressed Fr Kim.

He updated the Potuki community on the condition of Fr Leo who is now back in Korea.

“I had a phone call with him a while ago and was told that his health is much better now and he is doing normal activities as usual.

“He asked me to say thank you to the Archbishop and priests and the faithful, especially people of Potuki,” said Fr Kim and remarked that it was perhaps through their prayers that Fr Leo is now fully recovered.

Fr Kim also extended his gratitude to Fr Wilfred Atin, rector of Penampang Parish, “Thank you for including me and Fr Andrea Kim in the pastoral care of the Penampang Community in terms of providing Mass and other sacraments,” said Fr Kim who now, together with Fr Andrea, are able to preside Holy Mass in the local Bahasa language.

Fr Kim expressed their commitment in serving the Sabah local Church, “We will always love the Lord and will continue to serve the community in Sabah, contributing to the further development of the church and of the region and will serve as a bridgehead for better cooperation between Sabah Malaysia and Korea.”

There are 14 local girls aged 5-15 years old who are now residing in Woori Jib. Fr Kim said that early next year they are planning to add one more girl to the Home.

He said this during his speech in the simple celebration after the Sunday Mass.

Archbishop John Wong in his speech, congratulated the Korean priests for their presence and contribution in the Archdiocese, especially for their service and love for the people of Sabah.

“The Korean priests are very communicative. They will always ask permission, and always pray together with the Archdiocese. They are moving together along the journey and mission of the Archdiocese.

The prelate congratulated them for the 5th year anniversary of Woori Jib Home. Given the pandemic situation today, he assured them that everything will be fine as long as they are building their foundation in God.

Being in the year of the Synodal journey, Archbishop Wong said he is happy that the Potuki Catholic Community is having a discussion on the Synod process come Dec 12.

“I’m very happy that next Sunday you will have a discussion on Synodal journey. I believe under the leadership of Fr Wilfred, the whole of Penampang Parish is already moving into this Synod process.

During the celebration, the Archbishop has also blessed the new statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the Woori Jib Home and handed Confirmation certificates to six new confirmands.

Archbishop Wong blessing the new status of Blessed Virgin Mary after the Mass

In her speech, Clarice Moiji, chairlady of Woori Jib Board of Governors (BOG) updated the people and invited guests of the latest development planned by the Korean congregation.

“They are planning to construct another building in 2022 for their clothing and holy Items shop, which by God’s grace, will be completed within the next two years,” Moiji said.

She said the clothing and other items are shipped from Korea once in every two years. The latest shipment is expected to come very soon.

She appealed to the people to support Woori Jib’s clothing shop and to support their existing holy Items shop in ITCC Penampang perhaps by getting some Christmas gifts for their families and loved ones.

Cake cutting to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of Woorijib by Archbishop, Fr Andrea Kim (left) and Fr Lawrence (right) witnessed by a mixture of the clergy, religious, and members of BOG. Clarice Moiji in pink Hanbok.

During the Mass for the 5th anniversary of Woori Jib, as a sign of respect and honour for the Korean culture, some guests came in the beautiful and colourful traditional Korean costume called the Hanbok, while some were in the local Kadazan attire.

Besides Moiji, the current BOG comprises Dr Lawrence Mah Hon Kheong as vice chairman, Philomina Engsun, Sr Dariah Ajab, Jennifer Anjek, Sylvia Jawatin and Nemesius Valentine, chairman of the Potuki Catholic Community.