|President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook attend the funeral of Moon`s motehr Kang Han-ok on Thursday. Yonhap|
She died Tuesday evening at the age of 92. Kang was born in Hungnam, South Hamgyong Province, in what is now North Korea. Korean funerals are customarily held over a period of a few days, usually three or five days, with the burial taking place on the final day.
The funeral mass at the Namcheon Catholic Cathedral was held as a private ceremony, with access limited to a relatively small number of government officials and politicians, and some members of the congregation.
Government and politicians who attended the mass included a number of top Cheong Wa Dae officials, ruling Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Lee Hae-chan, and National Assembly Speaker Rep. Moon Hee-sang.
At the mass, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the head of Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in Seoul, read a message from Pope Francis.
In the message, Pope Francis said that he was saddened by the news of the passing of Moon’s mother and that he will be with Moon in spirit.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also sent a message of condolence, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung revealed on Thursday that the message from the North Korean leader was conveyed through the border village of Panmunjom on Wednesday afternoon. The message was relayed to Moon soon after it was received, Ko said.
The three-day funeral rites had been held as a private event with Moon stating through a Facebook post that he wished government officials and politicians to focus on state affairs.
However, exceptions were made for a number of opposition leaders including Hwang Kyo-ahn, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, and some government officials, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)