The Kkottongnae Congregation of Brother Jesus, a Korean religious order that works in poor communities, has opened its first seminary in the Philippines.
Located in the central Philippine province of Leyte’s Palo town, the Kkottongnae House of Spirituality is the congregation’s first seminary outside Korea.
The formation house was inaugurated on January 17, seven years after Pope Francis’ visit to the province in 2015.
The seminary was erected adjacent to the Pope Francis Complex Center for the Poor, which provides services to the orphans and the elderly.
The center was inaugurated by the pope himself during his visit and has since been run by the Kkottongnae community led by Father Philip Park, the congregation’s local superior.
Archbishop John Du of Palo led the blessing of the seminary, along with bishops Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Crispin Varquez of Borongan and Oscar Jaime Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines.
“This is in fact the first seminary of the Kkottongnae Congregation not only outside Korea, but in the world,” Archbishop Du said.
“This place will become the house of formation for the brothers who would be members of the congregation,” he added.
Founded by a charismatic Korean priest named Father John Oh in 1976, Kkottongnae derived its inspiration from a beggar named Choi Gwi Dong who, despite his disabilities, managed to take care of 18 other sick beggars.
The Kkottongnae Home located in the Diocese of Cheongju, about 120 miles outside Seoul, offers assistance to thousands of homeless, persons with disabilities, orphans and alcohol addicts.
Archbishop Du commended the continued partnership that his archdiocese and Kkottongnae have “in the mission of Christ and in the care of the poor.”
“The whole Archdiocese of Palo vows to continue to work together with you in bringing the love and mercy of God especially to the poor people,” he said.