A group of merchants working in the same regional market celebrated the 25th anniversary of their unique Catholic community: the Garak Market quasi-parish.
At the chapel located on the 3rd floor of the market, a Holy Mass was presided over by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, along with the priests who are in charge of the quasi-parish. About 200 people participated in the Mass.
During the Mass, the parish pastoral council was honored by Cardinal Yeom with an appreciation plaque in recognition of their effort to operate the church.
The Catholic community of Garak Market began gathering in 1985 and was established as a quasi-parish in 1991. Before it was recognized as a quasi-parish, the community also built a soup kitchen to feed the homeless people who come near the market.
Jung Ok-gi, the first president of the parish pastoral council, teared up as he recalled the times before the community settle in Garak Market. At the time, all religious activities were forbidden in the market’s rental area; the community had to move around different markets to find a place to celebrate Holy Mass.
“At that time, Garak district was nothing more than a wildland,” said Jung Ok-gi. “It was very difficult for us to settle here and start our business again. But then we saw homeless people froze to death in the cold streets. We decided to build a soup kitchen for them despite our difficult situations. Fortunately, the late Cardinal Stephan Kim Sou-hwan visited our community and gave much support to our community. Eventually we could build a chapel in the market.”
Cardinal Yeom expressed his gratitude to the community and promised his prayers for the community. He encouraged them to continue their charity work “as the Good Samaritan who helps the marginalized and the poor.”
The 2nd pastor of Garak Market Quasi parish, Fr. Gerhard Kwon, encouraged the merchants to become “the light on this world of darkness” and the salt “which has no special flavor but seasons other dishes.”