Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, retired on Tuesday, November 30, after ten years of service head of the Catholic Church in the South Korean capital.
“Even after I leave the diocese, I will be grateful for every moment and pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula and our Church,” said the cardinal who is also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang in North Korea.
The prelate led the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Myeongdong Cathedral to mark his last day as archbishop and before moving to the Catholic University of Korea Songsin Campus in Seoul.
“Looking back on the past, I think that we are not able to meet various expectations and have a lot of shortcomings,” he said.
“At the very least, I believe that I was able to finish my term in this way because of God’s grace and the cooperation and expectation of the brothers and priests and the faithful,” added the cardinal.
Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick will take Cardinal Yeom’s place on December 8.
Cardinal Yeom was appointed 13th archbishop of Seoul in May 2012 following the retirement of the late Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk.
In February 2014, he was appointed the third Korean cardinal by Pope Francis.
Cardinal Yeom offered his resignation to Pope Francis in 2018, the year he turned 75, the mandatory age of retirement of Catholic bishops.
In his homily, Cardinal Yeom expressed his gratitude to the people of Seoul.
“I have lived as a priest for 51 years and as a bishop for 20 years, and for nine and a half years as a diocesan bishop, I have to bear a cross that is too heavy for me,” he said.
“I tried to give my all as a good sheep-smelling shepherd that the pope had asked me to do, but I deeply felt my lack of ability,” added the cardinal.
Cardinal Yeom was born in 1943 to a family of Catholic martyrs in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province.
He graduated from the Catholic University of Seoul in 1970 and was ordained to the priesthood in the same year.
In his 50 years of service, he has been chairman of the Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corp. and president of local charity group Babo Nanum Foundation.