Cardinal Congratulates Catholic Gold Medal Skater


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SEOUL, South Korea, MARCH 10, 2010 ( The cardinal of Seoul was among those who congratulated the Korean figure skater who won gold at the Olympics; Stella Kim Yu-na is a Catholic convert since 2008.

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk sent a congratulatory message, according to CathNews Asia.

"Stella Kim touched and gave happiness to all Koreans by ... overcoming various difficulties and doing her best," he said in his message. He also expressed his hope that "lots of young people will gain confidence and hope through Kim's achievement."

Kim and her mother converted to Catholicism in May 2008; Kim took the name Stella at her baptism. Kim now makes the Sign of the Cross before competing, as she did before the short program at the Olympics. She also wears a rosary ring.

The secretary of the Korean bishops' Committee for Social Communications told UCA News that little gestures like that can help the Church in its mission.

"Big stars like Kim making the sign of the cross in public can help the Church's evangelization activities indirectly," Father Ignatius Kim Min-soo said. "Her public display of her Catholic identity fills local Catholics with pride and influences non-Catholics too."