By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published July 1, 2004
As a young boy growing up in Seoul, South Korea, Cyril Soo-Gil Chae had a typical childhood.
As one of five children, he lived in a home full of mutual love and respect.
“My father was diligent, honest and a good man, and my mother was prayerful and pious,” he said. “I was inspired by them.”
The young Cyril enjoyed playing baseball with his friends and especially loved school, despite a long commute in his early years.
“Even though I had to spend about an hour by bus for transportation to go to school during fifth and sixth grades . . . I really enjoyed school,” he said.
His mother was baptized into the Catholic Church in 1961, when her son Cyril was just 9 years old. Her son did not yet know the profound effect that would have on his life, especially following his own baptism.
“When I was baptized in 1976, I doubted whether God was alive or not,” he said. “However, through the Holy Spirit I came to believe God was a living God. I realized that Jesus saved me and loved me so much. So, my view of life was gradually changed.”
With a mind for the corporate world, Chae attended business school in his native land. He worked in sales and later in accounting for major companies, but then felt the tug of God’s call on his heart.
“I wanted to return my life to God,” he said. “And I discerned whether my vocation was God’s will or my own will for three years. Finally, I realized God was calling me and decided to become a priest in 1983.”
Exploring his calling, he joined the Congregation of the Mission Religious Order, where he remained for four years, and then the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament, in which he served for six years. He later found his calling to parish and archdiocesan life.
His Religious brother had introduced him to Atlanta.
“I have enjoyed this city because Catholicism is growing, and the spiritual movement and atmosphere are also improving,” he said.
All three of his sisters, and a family friend, came from South Korea for Father Chae’s ordination and his brother came from Los Angeles.
After his ordination on June 5, Father Chae’s first assignment is to continue to improve his language skills. He is now in Louisiana, studying English at Tulane University.
The new priest, who enjoys eucharistic adoration and listening to music, is looking forward to returning to Atlanta to serve.
“I want to offer myself to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and to be able to discern well God’s will—what is good and pleasing to God, and perfect,” he said. “Therefore, I hope that I might totally serve God and his people with all my heart, mind and soul in accord with the archbishop’s pastoral concern.”
Father Cyril Soo-Gil Chae
Birth Date: July 7, 1952
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea
Parents: Vincent Sun-Ik Chae and Anna Cho-Young Roh
Siblings: Two older sisters, one older brother and one younger sister.
Education: Attended Sungsil Junior Professional Business College in Daejeon, Korea; graduated with a diploma from St. Vincent College Seminary in Quezon City, Philippines, in 1994; graduated with a diploma from St. Vincent School of Theology in Quezon City in 1996 and 2000; earned master of divinity degree from St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa., in 2003.
Languages Spoken: Korean and English
Work Experience: Served in Korean military from 1976-77; worked for Seoul City as a clerk; worked for Copper Wholesale store as a salesman in 1980; served as a prayer meeting minister at Sangdo-Dong Parish from 1982-87; worked for Soosung Energy Co. as a staff member in 1988; worked for Dongdo Enterprise in general affairs in 1989; worked for Morning Star Co. as head of accounting department from 1989-90. Was member of Congregation of the Mission Religious Order from 1990-94; was member of Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament Religious Order from 1994-2000.
Primary Hobbies and Interests: Listening to music and eucharistic adoration.
Pastoral Internships: St. Thomas More Church, Decatur, summer 2003; Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, from May 2003-2004.
Particular Ministries of Interest: Perpetual eucharistic adoration, hearing confessions, spiritual counseling.
First Assignment: Studying English at Tulane University, New Orleans; temporary parish assignment at St. Christopher Church in Metairie, La.