Korean name: 김종혁金鐘赫
Our Father Evaristo Jong-hyeok Kim was 64 years old and in the 40th year of his monastic vows when he died on 26 July 2019 at 3:55 a.m. after a long illness. We ask for your prayer that the deceased may find eternal peace in the Kingdom of God.
Fr. Evaristo Jong-hyeok Kim was born in Sangju City of North Gyeongsang Province on 21 April 1955. He was the third of five children of his father Jakobo Kim and his mother Martha Oh. The family of Father Evaristo — which had been shaped according to the Confucian tradition from generation to generation during 700 years — belonged to the noble Kim family of Andong-Uiseong. It is reported that, one day, his great-grandfather visited the neighboring village where Catholic Christians also lived. During his visit, something which was very unusual in those days caught his attention, namely that there were people with different family names and from different families who were more attached to each other by love and friendship than people who came from the same families. He was so impressed by this that he became Catholic with his whole family. Thereafter, the grandfather of Father Evaristo became the father of seven sons. Many priests and religious emerged from their numerous descendants, including our Father Evaristo Jong-hyeok Kim and his older brother Father Polycarp Jong-Pil Kim.
Father Evaristo entered the community of Waegwan Abbey on 2 March 1973. His recommendation was written by Father Michael Fütterer OSB of Schweiklberg Abbey, then pastor in Sangju-Somundong. He studied theology at Catholic University in Seoul. He carried out his military service from 4 February 1975 until 27 September 1977, after which time he lived as a novice for one year. On 12 January 1979 he professed his first monastic vows in the presence of Abbot Placidus Ri OSB. He graduated from Catholic University on 3 February 1981 and made his solemn vows in the presence of Abbot Placidus on 13 February 1982. He was ordained a priest on 2 February 1983 by Archbishop Johannes Sye.
After his ordination, Father Evaristo began his priestly service as a chaplain in Pyeonghwadong parish of Gimcheon City. He then became the person responsible for the abbey’s candidates and postulants. His next assignment was the parish in Waegwan where he served as chaplain. During this time, he also studied at the Educational College of Keimyung University to become a teacher. In 1989, he worked at Sun-Sim Middle and High School, administered by Waegwan Abbey, where he remained almost until the end of his life. During the week, he was at school and during the weekend he helped out as a chaplain in the Waegwan region. In particular, he celebrated Holy Mass on Sunday at a small church of Waegwan parish in Samcheongdong, where mainly leprosy patients live. Until his retirement as director of Sun-Sim Middle School in 2017, he continued to carry out this service for the people in the village. In imitation of our Father Honorat Millemann OSB of Schweiklberg Abbey — who was also for many years the pastor in Samcheongdong — Father Evaristo also usually covered the distance to the village on foot. From 22 January 2007 to 16 February 2009, being at a time when he was not yet the director of the school, he was also responsible for the parish in Sindong. From 2009 to 16 June 2017 he was the 13th Director of Sun-Sim Middle School. However, soon after he learned from his physician that he had terminal liver cancer and had only a few months to live. Despite this diagnosis, he did his best to do the things that came his way. For ten years, death was his close companion every day.
After his retirement as director on 16 June 2017, he moved to our monastery in Hwasun where his older brother is superior. Two years before his retirement, he harbored the dream of making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Only with difficulty did he receive permission for it from Abbot Blasio. While staying in Hwasun he carefully prepared for the pilgrimage and purchased the plane ticket in 2018. But his pains became so severe that he had to renounce the pilgrimage to Santiago.
Father Evaristo returned to the abbey on 2 May in order to say goodbye to the confreres. The day after, he had to be hospitalized in the hospice section of Fatima Hospital in Daegu. There too he said goodbye to the confreres who visited him. After a few days he died peacefully on 7 May 2019.
Please pray that Father Evaristo, who was simple, humble and obedient throughout his life, may find eternal peace.
“Lord, give Father Evaristo eternal peace and enlighten him with your eternal light!”
Abbot Blasio Park OSB and the Community of Waegwan Abbey