PEACE BEGINS WITH VICTORY
A MESSAGE FROM BISHOP VANN
To the parishioners of Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center:
“Non est hic aliud nisi domus Dei et porta caeli” (Gen 28:17). This particular phrase from Sacred Scripture was used when my new parish Church – St. Agnes in Springfield, Illinois was dedicated years ago. I think of it often as it speaks so clearly of the purpose of a parish Church!
I would like to congratulate you on your commitment to not only build a permanent parish church and campus for Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center, but a legacy for the future of the Korean-American Catholic faithful. I am pleased to offer my personal support and prayers as you embrace this tremendous effort and am grateful for the times that I have been able to celebrate the Sacraments with you!
We construct churches, much in the same way we construct our own homes, first of all, to respond to God’s love and mercy through the fitting homage of our worship and loyalty. New life comes to us with the celebration of the Sacraments: the children of God are reborn in baptism, we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, our sins are forgiven in the Sacrament of Confession, and above all, the presence of God transforms our lives when Christ Himself comes to us when we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A parish church is, indeed, “the house of God and the gate of heaven” (Gen 28:17). Our churches are to provide an experience of the beauty and the transcendence of God as they also welcome and shelter His children.
This is a blessed and providential opportunity for you to work together, in love led by the Holy Spirit, and translate your Christian identity into a material building that will be a sign of your faith, love and devotion. This will be a significant and formative experience in the life of your parish community and will carry God’s unlimited love and blessings to all those involved. This is indeed providential because soon we will celebrate the building of another great House of God: The building of the Cathedral of St. John Lateran in Rome.
I am grateful to you and to the Lord, to join your director, Fr. Daniel Seo to thank each one of you for your ongoing tradition of spirituality, service and commitment. Your campaign goals will certainly be a challenge, but at the same time they are an exciting opportunity to demonstrate your love and commitment to our Lord and Savior. Thank you above all for your generosity and love which has brought us to this day. I look forward to being with you during the journey of construction and dedication.
I encourage you to actively support this effort to provide a firm foundation for the parish community of Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center and to create this wonderful legacy in the community of Irvine. May God bless all of you with the successful completion of your campaign: Peace begins with victory.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, J.C.D., D.D. Bishop of Orange in California
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
I am elated to begin this historic chapter with you of constructing a permanent campus for Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center. This project comes with the blessing of our bishop, His Excellency Kevin Vann, who gifted us this property in April of 2022. However, while many developments have recently taken place, this dream has been anticipated for more than thirteen years. Since the first Mass celebrated on September 18, 1994, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, this community has envisioned having its own church building and property.
I am honored for the opportunity to work with our community in building not only a church campus but a legacy for the future of the Korean American Catholic faithful. During my immersion in fall of 2021 in Seoul, South Korea, I prayed to Our Lady of Peace for inspiration, and she provided.
St. Josemaria Escriva says in his book The Way, "You write: 'My joy and my peace. I will never have real happiness if I have not peace. And what is peace? Peace is something closely related to war. Peace is a consequence of victory. Peace demands of me a continual struggle. Without a struggle I will never have peace' (#308)." These words rang in my ears as I visited shrine after shrine of the numerous Korean martyr shrines all over the country. As I revisited the legacy of the Korean Catholic Church, I realized our surrender follows the glory of the martyrs who united themselves to the glory of God. Thereby, the theme for this campaign is: Peace begins with victory.
We anticipate the permanent church will cost approximately $15 million, which is a significant value for an ethnic center like ours. But we are already more than a third there! If we rally uniting ourselves to the legacy of the Korean Martyrs and those generations that came before us, there is no doubt we will build a church worthy for our Lord's Holy Sacrifice.
We at Our Lady of Peace KCC are one family, and when we work together, our dreams will fall short of the reality to come! However, we need everyone's participation. Everyone will be asked to support this vision. I am not asking our community for equal giving, but rather I ask for equal sacrifice. See the abundance that God has given us from His generosity and see this as a unique opportunity to return to Him an act of thanksgiving which will be multiplied in eternity. We are investing for our future home--the Eternal Kingdom.
Dream with me and think about five or so years into the future. Picture a new French Neo-Gothic church like the churches of old sprinkled throughout South Korea. This will be a legacy for our children, and their children, and for future generations. They may receive Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and walk down the aisle for the Sacrament of Marriage.
Join me in offering a daily surrender to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and ask help from Our Lady of Peace with confidence that she never fails her children! Regina Pax, filios tuos adjuva! "Queen of Peace, help your children!" We have already accomplished much in this past year-- but together, nunc coepi: now we begin!
With great affection,Rev. Daniel Seo Director
Our Lady of Peace gives birth to Jesus
Our Lady of Peace (Mother Mary) completely surrenders to God the Father, and brings His Son Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, into this world. “Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
The shepherds were given a sign, child Jesus is born in a manger, and a host of angels praise God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
Upon hearing of this birth, King Herod feels threatened and seeks to kill the Prince of Peace. “When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi” (Matthew 2:16).
However, Mother Mary is crowned victorious, as she gives birth to the Son of Man. We call Jesus’ birthday: Christmas!
While the birth of the Lord was our Lady’s first victory, Mother Mary’s mission as our Lady of Peace has only begun. Now she must protect and guide baby Jesus until His hour arrives to complete God’s plan of salvation.
Our Lady of Peace spends the next thirty years accompanying Jesus with trust in God’s Will. This is a significant time of hidden growth and preparation for the final battle.
Our Lady of Peace embraces Jesus after He conquers death
“It is finished” (John 19:30). The Prince of Peace is crucified on Mount Calvary as the Most Holy Sacrifice. Our Lady of Peace completely surrenders again to God the Father and watches her Son complete this final battle against Satan.
Jesus rests in Our Lady’s arms after incomprehensible suffering for the reparation of our sins and our eternal salvation. We can see His bloody wounds from the flagellation, nails, crown of thorns, and the brutality of the soldiers.
“They spat upon Him and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the cloak, dressed Him in His own clothes, and led Him off to crucify Him” (Matthew 27:30-31). By these wounds, the Prince of Peace conquers all sin and death for the most triumphant victory in the history of mankind.
Our Lady of Peace shares in Christ’s victory, just as she shared every bit of suffering when standing silently in solidarity with her Son until His last breath. We too share in Christ’s victory when we join Him in our own sacrifices and prayer.
We enter into the same Holy Sacrifice, and the same victory over death when we participate in the Divine Liturgy.
Our Lady of Peace completely surrenders again to God the Father and watches her Son complete this final battle against Satan.
Our Lady of Peace protects the Korean Martyrs
As Korean-Americans, we trace our roots to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church in Korea. The faith which officially began in 1784 by the transmission of Holy Writ alone, was nearly destroyed by waves of brutal persecution (1801~1872).
Nevertheless, as Tertullian famously said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed the Church,” following the final persecution, Byung-in Persecution, from 1866 to 1872, ten thousand faithful were martyred and nine of twelve Paris Foreign Missions Society (M.E.P.) priests were also killed.
After the persecutions ended, 20,000 Korean Catholics remained. One in three Catholics died for the faith. Those who survived to tell the tale saw their closest family and friends die out of love for God. The blood poured by these family and friends modeled the Passion of Christ and it became the life-blood of the Korean church.
From 1872 to 1910, the lay-faithful were devastated from all the suffering and death. They had to find purpose to persevere in life after seeing life taken so easily from those they loved.
In 1910, Japan officially imperialized Korea, challenging the lay-faithful once again to remain vigilant in their faith and devotion. The faithful held nothing back, literally committing their livelihood to serve and honor Jesus.
Their experience of persecution has taught them that suffering is only a means of staying spiritually awake in the face of death. Through their zealous faith, the laity rallied to construct noble churches for the sacred worship of Almighty God. In the Golden Age of Korean Catholicism, the early 20th century, these newly erected churches were French Neo-Gothic in style.
Our Lady of Peace enshrines Hapdeok Church
Of these churches, the most inspirational church is arguably Hapdeok Catholic Church.
This church is the epitome of victory over war, and here is why: Hapdeok Church was originally built in 1899 by Rev. J.J.L. Curlier, the first parish priest of Hapdeok, and was the first parish to be built in Chungcheong-do. The church was then rebuilt in 1929 in the current neo-Gothic structure under Rev. P. Perrin.
Hapdeok played a central role in spreading Catholicism in the Naepo area immediately after the establishment of the Korean Catholic Church in the 1780’s. The irony about Hapdeok is that, even during the harsh persecutions (1801~1872), the number of layfaithful kept increasing.
The community eventually produced the largest number of martyrs in all of Korea. After the end of the long persecution, the Hapdeok church was built on the site where many Catholics had been executed.
Following, Hapdeok church, not only bore the most martyrs, but also produced the most vocations in all of Korea: 30 priests, 54 nuns, and 5 monastic religious. Again, by the blood of the martyrs, this church produced vocations for the seeds of faith to spread all over Korea. This church has become officially recognized as the seat for the Diocese of Daejeon.
Our church inspirations follow the legacy of this church community. By their witness, may we too be courageous in the face of trials and persecution. May we surrender our lives for God before all, and may we too become a seedbed for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Our Lady of Peace desires noble worship of Her Son
Each “child of God” is considered a “living stone.” As thousands of bricks come together to form a wall, and form a building, so too the many individual voices of God’s children gather together to form one, Holy, Catholic and apostolic church. The children of God unite together in this pilgrimage called “life,” and prepare one another to enter the Eternal Kingdom: our true home.
When Jesus entered the world, the temple no longer became only a place of worship for the Jews, but the ekklesia became a “church community” for all of humanity. All baptized people are adopted by God the Father and received as His “daughter and son.”
However, church is a gathering body of God’s children: “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
Hence, the church is not primarily a building, but is the “Mystical Body of Christ” composed by His children.”
Whether living in an age of martyrdom and persecution, or comfort and indifference, God’s children must stay focused on the true purpose of life: to be a saint, and to return to Our Father.
Each “child of God” is considered a “living stone.”
Our Legacy to Honor Our Lady of Peace
Our goal, following the legacy of the ekklesia of Hapdeok, is to continue the spirit of “solidarity in sacrifice.”
We are facing a challenging period in the Roman Catholic Church. This postpandemic period is a true trial of our faith. With many faithful leaving their churches with excuses of “online Mass” or no longer interested in Christ, the temptation is stronger than ever to forget our legacy and our purpose.
However, the challenges we face today fortify us because the emboldened attacks of the Enemy only teach us how to draw closer to Jesus Christ our Lord.
There are many natural causes for concern. Families are concerned with the volatile markets in the American economy, with extreme polarities among political parties, with gender identification in children’s education, the introduction of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and constant threats of World War 3.
However, as daughters and sons of God the Father, we recognize this time not as a problem but as an opportunity for sanctity! Now more than ever, we are given a golden opportunity to prove our faith to God the Father by offering greater sacrifice in the face of our struggles.
Some may feel that this opportunity to build a church has come at the worst time because our society is entering a heavy period of suffering. But we know, this is the best time! God has provided us this opportunity to show our fidelity to Him and continue the legacies of Our Lady of Peace and our brothers and sisters of Hapdeok.
Remembering their struggles with poverty, and their generosity after witnessing the death of many family and friends, may we too have heroic sacrifice and give the Lord our very best. May we take this opportunity to unite much closer to His Crucifix, to remember the sufferings of Our Lady of Peace as she prayed for Him in His Passion, and to offer ourselves generously for God to do as He wills.
Our Lady of Peace enshrined in Irvine, CA
We are not just building a church. We are building a legacy for our children and the generations to come.
Imagine a glorious French Neo-Gothic church established between two modernHanok buildings just like those sprinkled in villages throughout South Korea. One Hanok structure is the grand church hall that holds six classrooms, a lecture hall, the 350-seat main hall, a cafe, library and gift-shop. The other Hanok building is the professional auditorium that hosts concerts by upcoming Catholic artists, recitals by our own choirs and future orchestra, renowned guest-lecturers and other exciting community events. The main church offers a taste of Roman Catholic tradition, both from the glories of Rome and of our Korean home.
Now imagine, you step in front of the church building, and you cannot help but gaze with inspiration at the marvels of its architecture. You reminisce on the great sacrifices you made to help bring the Faith to the Irvine Korean community: the various fundraiser events, the heavy pledging, the continuous novena, studies of particular martyrs, endless hours of Eucharistic Adoration offered in anticipation of this moment. You look around and recognize the many families who stood in solidarity with you during these years of challenge and sacrifice. Suddenly, the church bells ring to signal the start of Holy Mass.
With great cheer and enthusiasm, you thank God for having granted you the courage needed to participate in the church building campaign with detached generosity. You remember all the unknown fears that weighed upon your decisions to trust in God and offer ‘your all’ for God’s greater glory during those years. But with intense joy and peace, you enter the narthex knowing God is truly pleased with your efforts.
After the Divine Liturgy has concluded and families begin exiting the church, children chase one another around the courtyard stepping atop the pavers etched with names of donors, and parents greet one another walking into the spacious church hall, teenagers are lounging in the library waiting for their coffee orders, and you just marvel at the majestic sight of so many young sanguine families.
You recollect stories of the hardships faced during the pioneering years of this church community, following after our ancestors in the Golden Age of Korean Catholicism, and you hope these children of the future age will one day too take greater courage and fully surrender to God. You cannot help but imagine what sentiments our ancestors must’ve felt after building Hapdeok church.
Family and guests from South Korea, other parts of the United States, and local friends from the Orange Diocese arrive, as we venerate Our Lady of Peace with a courtyard of lit candles. We thank Her who has accompanied not only Her Son, the Korean Martyrs, and our surviving Korean Catholic ancestors, but each one of us as well until this very day.
Church Buildings Inspired by Traditional Korean Architecture
Our Lady of Peace, New Church Building Project Status
Father Daniel Seo established the New Church Planning Committee for the New Church Building Project and conducted the first meeting on September 7, 2022. The New Church Planning Committee consists of 15 members. It is divided into four teams, which includes the spiritual team, the fundraising team, the public outreach team, and the architectural team. The committee holds regular bi-weekly meetings to discuss and plan the project and actively take actions. The church design is currently being prepared under the pre-schematic phase. Sketches of initial ideas are being shared and evaluated by the architectural team. Once the new church schematic design is completed, a detailed presentation will be given to the parishioners for review.
During the three upcoming special lectures and workshops, starting on October 15th, Father Daniel will enlighten us about the philosophy, theology, and the basics of Catholic church architectural design. Your input is very important to the success of our project, so we look forward to seeing you participate in the three special lectures and workshop series.
We place our trust in God that our need for a permanent church will be met, and that we will one day worship in a place that gives even more glory to Him and strengthens the unity of our parish family.
The project schedule is still in development since the schematic design is still in production. The planning and design of the new church will take approximately two years. The construction start date greatly depends on the speed of the fundraising efforts. Our goal is to fundraise actively during the next two years, while the detailed design is being prepared, so that the construction can start in early 2025 or even earlier and be completed in two years. Thereby, we hope through the generosity and passion of our community, we may celebrate our first Holy Mass in the new church in 2027. The new church committee will present a schedule to the parishioners once more information is available.
Main church building (north of the existing central plaza), rectory building (northwest corner of the site), parking lot, and driveway. The new worship space will accommodate approximately 430 people with an extra space for the choir of 40 people.
Parish Hall, a 2-story building with a kitchen, lecture hall, classrooms, and cafe lounge area (west of the Main Hall)
PHASE 3 Auditorium Building (East of Main Hall)
Existing Church Building
The existing church building and will remain in service during the construction of the new church building. It will serve other purposes when the new church is in use and will be demolished during the construction for the Phase 2.
Existing Temporary Facilities:
The existing temporary facilities will remain in service during the construction of the new church building. They will serve other purposes when the new church is in use and will be demolished during the construction for the Phase 2.
The parking lot will remain at the current location, but the parking capacity will be increased to meet the future needs.
The new site design will improve flow of the traffic within the site by adding an exitonly driveway to Trabuco Road along the east side of the project site.
14010 Remington, Irvine, CA 92620 (949) 654-5239 www.olpkcc.org