The distance I walked this summer was 1227km. The distance in Europe alone was 3180 km. The total distance I walked from Seoul to Rome via 26 countries is slightly more than 8200 km.
I have been devoting myself for a long time in order to meet the Pope, assuming my successful arriving at Rome. But the meeting was not realized. First of all, let me introduce my handwritten letter sent in May,
(A handwritten letter to Pope Francis in last May. It is a calligraphy written on traditional Korean paper with a lifespan of one thousand years. I used a writing brush and chinese ink which was made by a technique that has been handed down for about 2,000 years since the Silla Dynasty.)
Since the position of Pope is also the head of a state, it is almost impossible for an individual who is not a public figure to meet the Pope. Therefore, I have no choice but to expect papal discretion. It was difficult to achieve such expectation because the time of my stay at Rome was absolutely short.
But I was lucky. Fortunately, the appointment ceremony of Korean Catholic cardinal was held at Rome. Baptismal name Lazzaro, You Heung-sik became the 4th Korean cardinal. The day after the appointment ceremony, I paid respect to the cardinal at the welcoming ceremony. Although it was a short meeting, I think it was very meaningful to tell the cardinal who was appointed as Minister of the Vatican about my pilgrimage of five years.
(Commemorative photo after greeting the Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik in Rome)
It was a long journey. When I started pilgrimage, it was three years since I was dismissed from college. I walked through many countries in Asia and I was walking in India in February 2018 when I heard news of my reinstatement. After returning to college, I walked in every vacation. Then, pilgrimage was suspended for nearly two years due to COVID-19. I resumed pilgrimage in 2022, and arrived at Rome in August after crossing the Alps.
I would like to thank the 100-member committee, the three co-representatives, and everyone who helped my pilgrimage publicly or privately.
During my pilgrimage, I wrote my diary on the Internet site(cafe.daum.net/earthlifesilkroad), and it was translated into English on a separate site (https://liferoad.org). The diary was translated into Japanese as well.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to professor Sang-hoon Lee, staff Seung-eun Lee for English translation. Also I would like to thank Mr. Kuwano Yasuo and Japanese nuclear phase-out supporters for Japanese translation.
The pilgrimage diary is valuable as a record, but it is insufficient as a medium for sharing experiences with many people. As a writer, I need to summarize the main points of the pilgrimage with the attitude of publishing a white paper. Therefore, it was very fortunate for me to serialize my diary in <Hankyoreh: On> which is a good medium in this era of nuclear instability.
From now on I will post the article, 1~2 episodes a week, over the next several months. I would like to share a vivid story of walking pilgrimage around the world with everybody.
Categories: Course and Diary