Pilgrimages to the island of Yim Tin Tsai are being arranged by the Sacred Heart Church throughout most of this year known as the Jubilee of Mercy. They are held on the fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 4pm on the island.
“The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” runs from December’s Feast of Immaculate Conception to November’s Feast of Christ the King.
Yim Tin Tsai, connected to Kau Sai Chau by a breakwater and only 3km from Sai Kung town, is much celebrated in Catholic folklore. The island was settled by the Chan family of Hakka origin 150 years ago at least. Some say earlier. The Chans worked a salt field, tilled the soil and caught fish. Italian missionaries discovered them in the 1860s and within 15 years they had baptised everyone. At its height the island housed about 500 people. In 1879, the first chapel was built by Joseph Freinademetz, who was canonised in 2003. The chapel was replaced by the Romanesque church now standing there. Recently it was renovated, winning a UNESCO heritage award.
The church is not arranging transport. You make your own way to the island by hiring a sampan on the waterfront.