On Sunday, July 8, 2012, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge dedicated St. Ha Sang Paul Catholic Church in Apex. Parishioners gathered for the Mass of Dedication, celebrated by Bishop Burbidge and concelebrated by St. Ha Sang Paul Pastor Reverend Chul Ho Lee, Very Reverend David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese, and Reverend Doug Reed, Pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Cary, previous spiritual home of the Triangle Korean Catholic Community .
St. Ha-Sang Paul Jung Church has grown from humble beginnings in 1992 at NC State University, when the Korean student community, led by the late Father Joe McNamara, formed the Triangle Korean Catholic Community (TKCC). As the community grew, Fr. John Wall welcomed them to worship at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. Until the new church, the TKCC worshipped at St. Michael on Saturday evenings, with additional weekly Masses celebrated at the parish rectory in New Hill, NC.
The TKCC became a parish on May 5, 2009, and requested they be named in honor of Saint Ha-Sang Paul Jung, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984. Saint Paul Chong was a leader of the early Korean Catholic Church, which kept the Korean Catholics energized following the killing of all Catholic clergy in the country in the early 1800s. When the Vatican and Church in China began sending priests back into the country, Paul Chong entered the seminary. In 1839, he was executed before he could be ordained.
The new church, with a seating capacity of approximately 200 people, is the second Korean Catholic church in the Diocese. The other is St. Andrew Kim Chapel in Fayetteville.
“It is a big blessing everyone has been waiting for, for a long time,” said Young June Pyun, Director of Liturgy. “I hope this will bring the faith of our community to grow even more mature and be able to reach out to other communities in need.”
Whansu Kang, co-chair of the parish building committee, who has been a member of the TKCC from its beginnings, described his feelings as “Wonderful! Happy and excited.” The journey to a new church has been a long one, he said, nearly eight years from the beginning of planning.
“At this Eucharist,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily, “we thank the Lord our God for His divine assistance in the completion of this project. I also express my deep appreciation to your former pastor, Father Kim, for his pastoral leadership throughout this process and extend my prayerful support to your new pastor, Fr. Lee.
“I also convey my deep gratitude to you, the lay faithful who supported the building of this new church and its facilities with your prayer, talents and sacrifices. I know that you did so for the glory of God, and how well pleased the Lord must be with all of you!”
The Bishop continued, “We must celebrate our rich diversity and, in a special way today, we thank God for the many blessings that Korean Catholics bring to our Church and our Diocese. In addition, we must strive to strengthen the unity that is ours in Christ Jesus.”
After Mass several of the parish leaders spoke of their gratitude and happiness at the completion of the project.
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Read Bishop Burbidge's homily
Newly dedicated St. Ha Sang Paul Catholic Church in Apex, serving the Triangle Korean Catholic Community.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge anointing the altar with sacred chrism, followed by the anointing of the walls with the chrism.