A shrine at St. Father Kim Dae-gun Drifting Ashore Memorial Hall in Jeju Island, South Korea (photo: Jeju Special Self-Governing Province)
A local authority is looking to preserve a bit of Catholic history and promote tourism by introducing a “pilgrimage” trail taking in several shrines. The Jeju-do provincial government said on May 4 that it will establish the trail later this year to preserve" meaningful historic places relating to Korean Catholicism" and which will widen the variety of trails for tourists on Jeju island. Father John Ko Byeong-soo, president of the pastoral mission committee for Cheju diocese, said yesterday the plan may help the local Church’s evangelization efforts. The trail will include seven sites including the Felix Peter Kim Gi-ryang, martyr monument and the Daejeong shrine. Another proposed site the Yongsu shrine is the place where Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon came ashore on his return from Shanghai, China, in 1845 after he was ordained the first Korean priest. He celebrated his first Mass in Korea there, but was martyred the following year. According to local authorities, the project includes restoring the Father Kim, memorial church and providing accommodation facilities at Isidore ranch and praying facilities at the Hwang Sapyeong pilgrimage site nearby. Jeju authorities say it will set up a task force that will include Father Ko and local historians to prepare a basic plan by June. Jeju island is Korea’s main tourist attraction and drew 7,578,000 Korean and foreign visitors in 2010. Cheju diocese,
which covers Jeju island, had 67,496 Catholics as of 2009. Related report Why does the Church denounce tourism?