The Archdiocese of Seoul launched the Nicholas Cheong Missionary Scholarship Foundation on October 15, 2021 in line with the wishes of the late Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, former Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyong-yang, who always emphasized the importance of the missionary vocation of the whole Church, and of the duty of each faithful as a missionary.
The Scholarship Foundation will continue for 10 years until 2031, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Cheong. The Seoul Archdiocese expects it to serve as the cornerstone of pastoral care within cultural missions while it aims to support lay missionaries and cultural artists.
In fact, the Archdiocese had conducted a survey to gather feedback from lay missionaries in preparation for the project, and it revealed that most of them had been facing various problems and challenges. Hence the scholarship will help them pursue their calling as they walk with God to reach people all over the world.
Scholarship recipients are to be selected among the Korean Catholic lay missionaries who are currently serving and evangelizing communities in Southeast Asia. Each candidate will be carefully reviewed by the committee, and the winners will be awarded at the Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day.
Furthermore, the foundation will organize the Contact-free Support Center for Catholic Arts and Culture which offers Catholic artists financial and informational resources including PR, legal assistance and counselling services.
The beginning of the project traces back to a meeting of Cardinal Cheong and a Catholic Korean actress, Maria Magdalena Ji-young Kim, during a movie premiere 10 years ago. Kim was particularly impressed by what the late Cardinal said on mission: “Mission has always been the standard for me when it comes to words and actions.”
She later visited Fr. Matthias Young-Yup Hur, Spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Seoul & Chairperson of the Nicholas Cheong Missionary Scholarship Foundation, and donated US$34,000 as a small contribution to support Cardinal Cheong’s missionary work.