Pope Francis’ appointment of Malaysia’s first cardinal is an honour, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia said today.
Julian Leow, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, said cardinal-elect Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Anthony Soter Fernandez, 84, celebrates the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination this year.
“He was ordained as Bishop for the Diocese of Penang on 17 February 1978 and later installed as the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur on 10 November 1983,” said Leow in a statement.
“After serving as the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur for 20 years, he retired at the age of 71 on 24 May 2003. Since his retirement, Cardinal-elect Fernandez continued to serve the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and later was assigned as Spiritual Father to College General Major Seminary, Penang.
“Upon completing his term at the Major Seminary, he returned to the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and continues to serve as Chaplain at the St Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
International newswire Reuters reported that Francis promoted yesterday 17 Roman Catholic prelates from around the world to the rank of cardinal, who are the most senior members of the Catholic Church after the pope and serve as his advisers.
The ceremony to elevate the 17 new cardinals, known as consistory, will be held on November 19.
Reuters reported that the appointment of cardinals from Malaysia, the Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, and Lesotho for the first time underscored Francis’ conviction that the Catholic Church should be less Euro-centric as it is a global institution.
The Malay Mail Online