Fr. John Oh was born as a third child out of six into a poor farming family on March 22, 1944. Despite poverty, his father (Oh, Duk-man ) and mother (Yang, Yook-soon) did not complain the hard reality. Instead, they devoted to child-rearing and encouraged sons and daughters to complete anything they started whatever it was. Their teaching helped children breed patience and resilience. Fr. Oh also has been strongly influenced by the parent teaching.
As a young boy, he experienced the Korean War and saw many people starving to death before his eyes. Such tragedy got him to be determined to become a politician to help out the poor people. Later, however, Fr. Oh changed his mind to become a priest as he thought that a priest could do more to help those in need.
On May 3, 1976, Fr. John Oh was ordained by Bishop Nicholas Cheong, Jin-suk who was the then head of the Diocese of Cheonju. On Aug 20 of the same year, he became the pastor of Mugeuk Catholic Church located in Eumsung (in the vicinity of Kkottongnae).
On Sep 12, 1976, Fr. Oh encountered an elderly beggar by the name of Choi, Gui-dong. The elderly beggar lived under a bridge. Choi, himself in poor health condition, was feeding other homeless people even in worse condition than Choi. It was awakening moment for Fr. Oh. He realized that even if you have only the strength to beg for food, it is even God’s grace. All money Fr. Oh got was only about a dollar. He started building a shelter with five rooms and five kitchens and called it House of Love. On Nov 15, 1976 the sick homeless under the bridge moved to the shelter from which Kkottongnae originated.
Currently Fr. John Oh is the Chairman of Kkottongnae of Jesus Foundation.