Vatican City, Apr 29, 2021 / 06:30 am
Pope Francis offered his condolences Thursday after South Korean Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk died at the age of 89.
The cardinal served as a bishop for more than 50 years in Korean dioceses, including 14 years as acting archbishop of Seoul and apostolic administrator of Pyongyang.
He is remembered for his passion for evangelization, pro-life advocacy, knowledge of canon law, service to the poor, and efforts to bring peace and unification to the Korean peninsula.
Cardinal Cheong died on the night of April 27 in St. Mary’s Hospital, where he had been receiving medical care since February. His body is being kept in a glass coffin in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral until his funeral on May 1.
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the current archbishop of Seoul, offered a midnight Requiem Mass in the cathedral on April 27. He remembered his predecessor as someone who “wanted the Church to be the light and salt of society, and practiced a pastoral ministry that emphasized the values of life and family.”
“Cardinal Cheong gave out everything he had to churches and the poor. He donated his organs to devote himself to helping the weak," he said.
Cheong was born into a Catholic family in Seoul in 1931, at a time when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. He was baptized four days after his birth, and the cardinal once said that his mother took him with her to daily Mass during his early childhood.
His father left the family after the liberation of Korea in 1945 to go to North Korea, where he went on to become a vice minister, according to the Korea Herald.