By Fr Donal O’Keeffe
The author is a Columban from Ireland and has served as superior of the Columbans in Korea. ‘Sou-Hwan’ used by the author here and ‘Suwhan’ used by Father O’Rourke in his poem are anglicized variations of the Korean personal name of the late cardinal.
On Monday 16 February at 6.12pm Cardinal Kim died in St Mary’s Hospital, Seoul. Within an hour the crowds were gathering at the Cathedral to receive the body which arrived at 9.30pm. Beginning that night and during the following three days over 400,000 people filed past the coffin to pay their respects. It was an unprecedented display of affection and respect for the man they called the ‘kun orun’(literally the ‘great elder’). People of all religious persuasions, young and old alike, came to see him for the last time. The cathedral was full and the church yard was overflowing for the funeral on the Friday the 21st which was broadcast live on all the networks.