By Carolyn Espinosa Assistant to the Director Mary Help of Christians Center, Tampa, FL
(Tampa, FL – March 13) – Fr. Francis de Sales La has had a busy week getting settled in here at the Mary Help of Christians Center (MHC)!
Fr. La is the youngest of nine children from Changwon, South Korea. He was the first person in his family to be baptized, though four of his sisters followed him into the Catholic Church. Fr. La’s journey to the Church and to the Salesians began when he was in high school, and his mother became ill. He started questioning the meaning of suffering and difficulties in life. There are several common paths for Korean people, and he explored Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Christianity.
Fr. La attended university in Busan, studying German. After graduating, Fr. La went to work for E-Land, a large clothing company in Seoul. The company is owned by Protestants, and they incorporated Christian principles into their business. Although Fr. La appreciated the principles, he entered the Catholic Church during his time there. He also began volunteering, teaching boys one evening a week at a local center—and yes, the center was run by the Salesians.
Fr. La entered the seminary in 1994 and was ordained in 2005. He has spent much of his priestly ministry in Seoul, although he was recently on Jeju Island. While here with the Korean Community, Fr. La’s goals are to be a good shepherd and a good Salesian. He will also work on his (already excellent) English and learn Spanish as well.
We are blessed to have him here, and happy to welcome him to the MHC community!