Dcn. Stephen Cho, LC, to be Ordained to the Priesthood on April 29th, 2023
He was born on February 8, 1992 in Seoul, South Korea. He entered the Center Harbor Vocational Center in New Hampshire, United States on July 27, 2006. He began his novitiate on September 15, 2009 in Cheshire and there he studied classical humanities for two years. He then moved to Rome to begin his studies in philosophy. During his period of apostolic internship, he returned to Korea to finish his military service and later went to Washington, United States to support as an auxiliary member of ECYD and the youth section. He currently exercises his diaconal ministry as an auxiliary member of ECYD in Monterrey, Mexico.
Deacon Stephen Cho, LC, will celebrate his first mass at 10:30 am, April 30th, 2023 at the Korean College of Rome, Italy,
Born in Seoul, South Korea on February 8th, 1992, I grew up in a Catholic environment. My parents are devout Catholics. Ever since I was little, I remember spending so much time in the Church because I was part of the altar servers’ groups and would acolyte Masses at least three times a week. I never missed the catechism on Saturdays and had many friends from my parish. I went to the Church because it was fun to be there with my friends, but no one really taught me how to pray and have a deep relationship with God. Nonetheless, thanks to my parents, I grew up in a safe and Catholic environment which prepared the ground for the vocational seed to grow in my heart afterwards.
My first encounter with the Legion was in 2006 when I went ice-skating with a Legionary priest. During lunch, the priest showed me a video about the apostolic school in New Hampshire, USA and asked me if I wanted to go there to be a priest. Although I gave him my immediate “no” because I had not even thought about the priesthood, the offer to go to the States for me was attractive. I wanted to learn English and travel around the States. After a couple of months of thinking about it, I ended up joining the apostolic school with purely human motivations.
Without knowing any English, it was not easy at first living in the school, but I liked it. I got along with my classmates who were kind and helped me to learn English. The priests and religious who worked at the school taught me how to pray and helped me to form a relationship with God which no one had taught me before. Being in contact with God and seeing the examples of the priests there, I wanted to become like those priests. I saw in them a joy that I had not seen before. It was not the joy that you get from eating a good hamburger or having a good vacation. It was a joy that came from God and from helping others to find God.
Upon graduating the apostolic school, I was not sure if I was called to be a Legionary, but I wanted to give it a shot and find out what God wanted from me. So, I ended up joining the novitiate in Cheshire, Connecticut, in 2009. I was happy to receive the Legionary uniform, but this happiness did not last long. Looking at my friends in Korea who were in universities, I wanted to live a normal life just like them, having a girlfriend, going to parties, etc. Every week I talked to the instructor of novices, the priest in charge of me, and told him that I did not feel called and wanted to go back to Korea. He told me to wait for making this important decision until Christmas. If I felt the same after Christmas, he said I could go home.
A week before Christmas, before going to bed I was in the chapel by myself. I wanted to hear what God wanted from me. Looking at the crucifix, suddenly, I felt how much Christ loves me, so much that he died on the cross for me. Then, seeing his face, I felt that he was calling me. God infused in me the desire to spread His love that He has for me to others. I felt that I had a mission. Ever since then, the biggest motivation for me to be a Legionary has been this call to spread the love of Christ to others as a priest. It does not mean that everything was crystal clear afterward. During the formation, I have had doubts, questions, ups and downs. In these moments, however, Christ called me again and again from the crucifix. The love that He showed on the cross strengthened me in moments of weakness. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).
I feel unworthy to be called to be a priest. Who am I? There are so many others in the world who are better than me. Priesthood is a work of God. If God chose me, he will be faithful to me as he has been.
All are warmly invited to join us for the live broadcast of the Ordination Mass on Saturday, April 29th, at 10:00 am Rome time (4:00 am EDT, 1:00 am PDT), here.