In a land area of 10,782 square kilometers, the Andong diocesan includes cities of Mungyeong, Sangju, Andong, Yeongju and counties of Bonghwa, Yeongdeok, Yeongyang, Yecheon, Uljin, Uiseong, Cheongsong in Gyeongsangbuk-do (province).
The diocese belongs to the ecclesiastical province of Daegu which comprises Daegu archdiocese, and the dioceses of Cheongju, Masan and Busan.
Andong diocese was carved out of Daegu archdiocese on May 29, 1969, as a suffragan diocese of Daegu metropolitan. At that time, it had only 18 parishes and 175 mission stations with 27,742 Catholics.
Bishop John Chrisostom Kwon Hyeok-ju of Andong issued a special pastoral letter on Nov. 28, 2004, asserting that the diocese has made the pastoral care of farmers its top priority. He noted that the number of farmers in the country has dramatically decreased from around 10 million in 1983 to 3.5 million in 2003. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, as of Dec. 31, 2005, South Korea produces only 29.4 percent of food it needs.
In Andong diocesan jurisdiction, the population is 772,843 at the end of 2006. (Some 1.6 percent of the whole population 49,624,269 in the country) Most residents are ethnic Koreans.
Standard Korean is in use. English, a mandatory subject in schools, can be spoken and understood in tourist areas. All traffic signs are in English and Korean.
Andong diocese falls within the temperate zone and has the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The yearly average temperature here is 13.2 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation in the region averages 1,046 millimeters. Most of the rainfall is concentrated in the rainy months of June through August.
Andong is located in the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula, in Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Gonsalo Garcia was born on Feb. 5, 1556, to a Portuguese father and Indian mother of Konkani descent, at Agashi village at Bassein (now Vasai), near Mumbai city in western India. His father was a soldier stationed at Fort Bassein, a Portuguese fort. Gonsalo received his education under the Jesuits. While assisting at the Church of the Holy of Jesus at Bassein, he developed a friendship with Jesuit Father Sebastian Gonsalves, who eventually became his lifelong mentor and guide.
This Filipino layman martyr saint could be rightly called the patron of infant baptism because it was after the baptism of an infant through his instrumentality that on 2nd April 1672 Pedro was martyred along with his companion missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores who baptised the infant. This infant was of a mother who got converted to Catholicism.
Lorenzo Ruiz, also called Saint Lorenzo of Manila, is a Filipino saint venerated in the Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became his country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korea-born Catholic priest ordained by the French Bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol at Shanghai in 1844.
On every first Friday of the month thousands of Catholics flock to Holy Cross Church of Cherpunkal in Kerala, India to revere Infant Jesus and St. Thomas, the founder of the church. The church stands on the southern bank of Meenachil River. This fabled church, also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross)Church, belongs to Catholic Diocese of Palai of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
St. Anthony Cathedral at Wahakotte in Kandy is a melting of cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. Wonder worker St. Anthony of Padua is a highly respected saint among Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faiths. Thousands visit this pilgrimage site all the year round. On the feast of St. Anthony on June 13, this national Catholic shrine draws tens of thousands of faithful from all over the country.