by Katherina Hwang
The Korean Apostolate of the Brooklyn Diocese held its sixth annual Bolivia Mission Trip.
The volunteers had helped the Cristo Salvador parish – Father Francisco Ma, pastor – located in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, from July 1-13, mainly by building a chapel in Brecha Dies, a countryside region that lacks electricity.
The volunteers also attended a Sunday Mass with the local community, visited a center for special education, a day-care center run by a nearby convent and other voluntary activities.
The volunteers were led by two priests, Father Francis Javier Jung and Father Benedict Jun, and by one lay coordinator, Katharina Hwang. Volunteers came from four participating Korean communities in each parish – St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang, Holy Spirit, St. Robert Bellarmine and Korean Martyrs’. They were Mitchell Lee, Sojeung Sally Park, Sung Won Choi, Willfree Kim, Tae Jung Kim, Michelle Heegoo Kim, Jin Soo Kim, Justin Jun Kim, Su Min Kim, Michael Joonho Chong, Suyeon Shin, Yooyeon Shim, Elisabeth Eunsun Yoo and Jennifer Sook Yun.
In its sixth anniversary year, the Bolivia Mission was started in 2008, and the program settled a firm relation with the parish of Cristo Salvador, helping the parishioners. For the past six years, the volunteers built houses for homeless parishioners, visited the day-care center and special school, befriended local volunteers from Cristo Salvador parish and otherwise experienced life and hardship in the Bolivian countryside. The volunteers, many of whom were high school students from the Korean community of the Diocese of Brooklyn, enjoyed this program as much as the local parishioners.
The Bolivia Mission will continue in coming years.