By Lois Rogers | Correspondent
Jinhee Magdlena Kim, the new parish catechetical leader in the Church of the Korean Martyrs, which is part of Lawrenceville’s St. Ann Parish, is looking forward to getting the new religious education year off to a bilingual start.
The congregation worships in St. Michael’s Church in Trenton, traditionally a parish where Masses were celebrated in the Slovak language. In recent years, Masses in Korean for a growing Korean population have been added to the mix.
In this multilingual atmosphere, Kim, who is fluent in English and Korean, is hopeful her own language skills may be put to good use for the Korean students.
She envisions her bilingual abilities as a means to “eliminate the possible gaps in the children’s understanding” of faith due to language. This year, her team of four volunteers will work with her in bringing religious education to 25 students registered from kindergarten through 12.
“One of the reasons I volunteered to teach the children’s catechist class,” she said, “is that I noticed when I joined our church, that the classes were being taught to the children by their Korean parents mainly in Korean.”
Kim, who was born, baptized and catechized in South Korea, said she realized that “English is the first language for these Korean-American children. I saw the need for a catechist class that was also taught in English.”
Married to her husband, Gary, the couple has three children – Caleb, 11, Ayden, 9, and Stella, 6. They joined the Church of the Korean Martyrs six years ago when they arrived in Lawrenceville after a stay in Canada.
An oncology certified registered nurse working fulltime in New York Presbyterian Hospital, Kim she had been serving the parish by volunteering as a children’s catechist at the Sunday school before taking on her new role. She is also a volunteer coordinator for organizing social activities and donations for a local homeless shelter.
Sharing her skills and volunteering her time has been a true blessing, said Kim. “I am grateful to be working with all the wonderful church members to serve God.”