The Day I Became a Vegetarian

Columban Fr. Taemoon Kwon lives and works in Taiwan.
January 31, 2012

It has been three months since I came to work among the aborigines in DaHu parish. One of the things I learned about the aborigines in the parish is that they love eating meat. However, the kind of meat that they like has a very strong smell. Although I also like eating meat, I find it difficult to eat the meat that they offer me whenever I visit the home of our parishioners. I felt sorry for them because I always refused the meat dish that they offered, so I thought that it might be a good idea to tell them that I preferred eating vegetables. Since then I have kept telling the parishioners that I love vegetables and not meat.

One day, the Korean sisters who also live in the parish came to cook for the old people who go to the center behind the church for classes every Tuesday and Thursday. That day the sisters cooked Korean food. Watching them prepare the meal, I felt very excited. I could finally eat my favorite Bulgogi, a beef dish. When the food was ready I was so excited that immediately after we said the prayer, I took my chopsticks to pick some Bulgogi. When the chopsticks were about to touch the meat, one of the parishioners shouted to the Korean sisters, “Fr. Taemoon does not eat meat!” So I changed the direction of my chopsticks and picked up the kimchi instead.

Whenever I think of this story, I cannot help but laugh. Because of what I told them, I could not enjoy my favorite Bulgogi that day. It would have been my first Bulgogi in Taiwan. Yet even if I did not get to eat it, I feel consoled by the knowledge that the parishioners paid attention to what I told them and that they care for me.