Korean Missionary priest called to ‘work for God’

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Father Michael Kim, KMS, pastor at St. Joseph parish in Cordova, celebrates ten years of ordination this July. However, his path to the priesthood was unexpected; “I never thought of becoming a priest when I was young,” he said. In fact, he didn’t become Catholic until he was 19 years old.

While he was in college, Father Michael’s parents asked him to participate in RCIA. He said, “I listened to my parents and was baptized in the Catholic Church.” While in the RCIA program, Father Michael shared that the priest who heard his first confession told him to “work for God.” These words would stay with Father Michael on his road to the priesthood.

Father Michael graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering and landed a job with a motor company as an engineer development researcher. He said, “I really enjoyed my life, but I never stopped asking God what I could do for him.”

Father Michael started volunteering at his parish as a catechist and ministering to parishioners with disabilities. He also joined a bible study and started to hear God calling him to become a priest. At age 29, Father Michael entered the seminary and was ordained in July 2010.

While serving as a priest in Korea, Father Michael learned how there was a shortage of priests overseas and he joined the Korean Missionary Society (KMS). Currently there are four members of the Korean Missionary Society serving in Alaska. Two are in the Diocese of Juneau, and two serve in the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Fr. Michal Ko, who was featured in the last Anchor issue, serves in Kenai.

As a priest for KMS, Father Michael has ministered to Catholics in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and now Alaska. He said he enjoys bringing the sacraments to the mission communities he has served. “I enjoy bringing God’s love wherever I go. I know He is always with me.”

Prior to his arrival in Alaska, Fr. Michael was in California at Santa Clara University where he received an advanced degree, and became a Doctor of Sacred Theology. This degree, S.T.D., is the final theological degree in the pontifical university system of the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Michael has served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Anchorage since August 2017. In his ministry in Alaska, Father Michael has served as Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross parish in Anchorage and assisted at parishes in Valdez, Kodiak, Talkeetna and Trapper Creek. In the summer of 2018, he was assigned as pastor at St. Joseph parish in Cordova.

During his ministry in Alaska, Father Michael said he has enjoyed meeting new friends and learning about the diverse cultures that make up the state. He shared that, “Cordova is a tiny fishing town with a faithful community, rich with warm hospitality and incredibly kind people.” He added that the parishioners “teach me how to love God and how to love my neighbor.”

Father Michael looks forward to continuing his ministry in Cordova and “serving St. Joseph’s parish with the grace of God.”

'Korean Missionary priest called to ‘work for God’'
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