South Korea – Starting with youth-at-risk: after 20 years, a new presence opens

16 November 2017

(ANS – Jeju) – Twenty years after starting a new presence in diocese of Chuncheon (1996), the Salesian province in South Korea is slowly entering into another diocese, Jeju, located on the only large island of Jeju (650,000 population) with 78,000 Catholics, 46 diocesan and 8 religious priests in 27 parishes.

Already present are the Caritas Sisters of Jesus, FMA Sisters and Salesian Cooperators. To date, there were only two Salesians, both born on the Jeju Island - one priest and one brother! Of course, as everywhere in Korea, there are also many Don Bosco Past Pupils or classmates from the seminary in Gwangju.

Upon the benevolent invitation of Bishop Peter Kang U-Il, one Salesian was asked to stay and explore a possible commitment for the Jeju's young people and Catholic community.

Thanks to the low-profile approach and spirit of service, Fr Gabriel Oh SDB was able to make many friends with his tireless service to the parishes and much-needed sacramental service around the small island diocese. After nine month of patient service comes the confirmation of finding the first Salesian center. Although there is a lack of diocesan clergy in the parishes, until now the ministry for the youth-at-risk (youth in conflict with law) was not yet fully developed.

With the help of many lay people and diocesan priests, the first possible Salesian center was discerned. In cooperation with the Family Court of Jeju, from 2018, the Salesians shall take care of the Youth entrusted by the Family Court (level one) for a specific stay period before returning the children to their family or to ordinary social life. Indeed for the Family Court judges, at the moment there are only two options: ordering compulsory social services, or sending the youth to the juvenile reformatory for 1-2 years.

Bishop Peter Kang, with his coadjutor Bishop Pius Moon, has already given the green light for the official start of the first Salesian presence at the beginning of next year, 2018. The community shall be based at the Columban 'St Isidore Farm' at the island's center, a house for the boys at the heart of Don Bosco.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".