PLEASANTVILLE — Yong Chin, who has been giving his time and talents daily since 1991, wouldn’t let surgery keep him away from his beloved St. Peter Church and his duties. Deacon Richard Maxwell called him “awesome.”
“He had a liver transplant about two years ago,” said the deacon “but about a week after the surgery he was in the church wearing a surgical mask and doing what he does best: keeping the church clean and running. When I asked him what he was doing there and why the mask, he said he had to keep from breathing in bad things. And the doctor said he could take a walk and he told me he came to the church because where else was he going to go?”
Chin, 71, came from South Korea in 1981 and started attending Korean Masses at St. Peter in 1991. That’s when he became involved with the parish.
“I came with my family, two children, a son and daughter,” he explained. “I now have two grandchildren.” His son lives in Virginia and his daughter in North Jersey.
“I open and close the church every day,” Chin pointed out, “and I set up the altar for the Masses. I have been doing that for 18 years.”
He also became a Eucharistic minister in 1991 (“I asked to be one,” he said) and he became associated with the homebound ministry where he visits three people after Mass and gives them Communion. Additionally, he has a weekly ministry where he visits a home for handicapped people.
He became active in the church, he pointed out, because “I am thankful for the Korean Masses and for finding a place where all people can worship together in peace.”
Father Alvaro Diaz, former pastor of St. Peter, said he will sometimes visit the Pleasantville nursing home with Chin, adding that Chin will visit hospitals in Galloway Township and in Somers Point, wherever parishioners might be. He ministers to them and prays with them and gives them Communion.
“He is definitely a man of service to God and to the church,” said Deacon Maxwell. “He also acts as a senior altar server. He attends Saturday Masses and all the Sunday Masses. He picks up all the server robes and hangs them up. And he’s always there to clean the church and to clean the bathrooms, which nobody seems to want to do.”
After each Mass, Deacon Maxwell continued, “Yong Chin will go to each pew to make sure all the books are there and are lined up in their racks. Whatever has to be done, he will do it. He is a blessing.”
“Everybody in the parish loves him and respects him. He is a true servant of God and of God’s people,” the deacon added.
For more information on stewardship contact Russell Davis, Office of Stewardship, at 856-583-6102.