South Korean President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook visited the funeral hall for Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk at Myeongdong Cathedral in Jung-gu, Seoul on Thursday, the third day after his death. The presidential couple is devout Catholics, and this is the president’s first attendance at a funeral since the funeral of Paek Ki-wan, the head of the Research Institute for Unification, in February.
“We have lost an important pillar for the South Korean Catholic Church,” said President Moon to Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung. “It is regrettable that the leader of the church and society passed away during these difficult times.” He went on to say that Choeng gave people great lessons. “He emphasized the importance and value of gratitude for life and happiness even in challenging times. He said peace and harmony are especially important in the current times filled with conflicts. Even in the heaven, he will pray more eagerly than anybody for a harmonious society.” The president also thanked Cheong for giving the gift of a truly happy life and the life of honest poverty.
“When I met Cheong in his hospital ward, he said we have to pray harder for the peace of South Korea and the end of COVID-19,” said Yeom. “The church will pray earnestly for the country in an especially difficult situation at the moment.”
Myeongdong Cathedral is continued to be visited by many people who wish to send condolences. Chairs of the United Christian Churches of Korea, a Protestant federation, and Ministers So Gang-seok, Lee Cheol, and Jang Jong-hyun also visited to pay respect to Cheong on Thursday. The Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul Office said the number of visitors on Tuesday, the first day of the funeral, is estimated to be over 10,000.
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