Korean Catholic Youth Day Reflections (pt.1)

A couple weekends ago, a group of us Watermarkers had the wonderful opportunity to check out the Korean Catholic Youth Day down in Garden Grove, CA. (Thanks for the invite, Fr. Joe Kim!) It was an awesome trip getting to know other youth from Korean Catholic churches from all over the state (and even Arizona!). There were about 500 attendees– praised be Jesus Christ!! During the duration of this week, I’ll be posting up a series of reflections from the four of us that went, starting with Harry. Enjoy! 🙂

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            The staff held open the doors for us as we entered the Hilton hotel, our limousine driving away behind us. Executive Suite, top floor, was where my room was located. I folded up my sunglasses and tucked them into my shirt collar as I handed my luggage to the nearest housekeeper. Chin held high, I could not wait to begin this luxurious event.

Just kidding. I couldn’t shower at all during this trip and I managed a total of eight hours of sleep. However, these are the only complaints I have for this event. Everything else was amazing.

The Korean Catholic Youth Day officially started Saturday morning at the Crystal Cathedral. This massive property was bought from the Protestant Church in February 2012, a slight victory for Catholics. This cathedral is the second largest Catholic structure, exceeded in size only by the Vatican itself.

We began with a few speakers. The first was beat boxer, Paul J. Kim. After an impressive musical performance, he spoke about his own personal experience in discovering his relationship with God. At first, he never enjoyed going to mass and he wouldn’t take his faith seriously. Eventually, he attended a retreat where he was able to experience God’s glory and ultimately reach a conversion. His story felt strangely familiar and I was able to connect with it easily.

The next speaker was Fr. Joseph Kim, a pastor at Holy Spirit Parish in San Jose, and the man who invited us all to attend this event. He began illustrating a vivid analogy between an eagle’s method of flight and our faith. Thermals are a natural phenomenon where a column of air rises due to heat. Eagles depend on thermals for their flight. They spread their wings and slowly drift down until they reach a thermal. When they do, the rising air allows them to soar upwards so that they may continue to fly. The risk lies in the fact that thermals are impossible to see. Just as the eagles open their wings to soar over the thermals, so must we open our “wings” and give all of our trust to God so that we too, may soar like an eagle.

My personal highlight of the trip was adoration. At first, it seemed like any other adoration, but it eventually included worship, scripture readings, and prayer. I found myself completely lost in the moment, the aching in my knees numbed by God’s presence. The sound of weeping after experiencing God’s glory, the cozy aroma of incense, and the bright light shining upon the most blessed sacrament, all mixed together to create an incredible experience shared by hundreds of youth in the church that night.

The night ended in worship. There were a few familiar songs, such as “Your Grace Is Enough” and “Mighty To Save”, but most of the songs were completely new. However, the band performing was very adept. I found comfort in singing to the Lord at the top of my lungs. Have you ever looked at a live Hillsong United performance on Youtube? It was just like that. I was able to close my eyes and shut out everything around me to simply praise God.

If there was only one adjective I could use to describe this event, it would be “inspiring”. From the amazing talks by Paul Kim and Joe Kim to adoration and worship, the entire day has rejuvenated my relationship with God and left me with a desire to use everything I’ve learned to grow closer in my faith and to help others do the same.

-Harry

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