The Columban Fathers had been in Chicago for years as the decade of the 1970s began. The ethnically diverse city of Chicago included thousands of Koreans, and around 1971 the Columbans in the Windy City put forward the idea of establishing a community center for Koreans.
Columbans volunteered to say Mass in Korean at the predominately Korean parish of Saint Sebastian’s in Chicago, at first one Sunday per month, then twice a month.
The Columban Fathers spoke with John P. Cody, Cardinal of Chicago in 1971, about the idea of a Korean Center. Cardinal Cody approved of the proposal, and told the Columbans they could use a convent in the Parish of Queen of Angels, located on Chicago’s North Side.
The Columbans started the Korean Catholic Center in the convent in March 1972. It became a hub for sacraments, festivals, Masses, and language and U.S. culture training for Koreans in Chicago.
The Columbans had a great deal of experience with ethnic apostolates in Los Angeles, particularly with Mexican, Chinese, and Filipino communities there.
The Korean Catholic Center in Chicago was another Columban effort to help immigrants in the U.S. with the assimilation process.