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Kuching prelate shares a memorable moment in his ad limina visit to the Holy See

Archbishop Simon Poh of Kuching shares a memorable moment in his ad lamina visit to the Holy See on 4-9 Feb 2018 together with the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

One of the memorable moments of my first Ad Limina Visit was the meeting with Pope Francis on 8 February  2018.

What struck me was most was the humility and brotherly concern of Pope Francis who told us that, as Bishops, we are all brothers in our episcopal ministry and we can speak and share freely among each other. His human touch was evident when he even offered us to feel free to use the washroom nearby.

I shared on the religious reality of Sarawak and Sabah. These states are considered as the Christian part of Malaysia, but we face the challenges of Islamisation.

As the Bishop-in-charge of youth and campus ministry, I presented to the Pope on the rising secularism and the enticement to convert to Islam among the youth. We are working towards a greater collaboration among the dioceses for the pastoral care of the students and youth in Malaysia.

I arrived in Rome a few days before our official Ad Limina. Together with Bishop Richard Ng of Miri and Fr Josef Schmoelzer, a Mill Hill Missionary priest working in Rome who had served in the Kuching Archdiocese, we visited the Mill Hill Retirement Home in Brixen Bressanone (Northern Italy).

We visited the graves of some Mill Hill Missionaries who had served in Sarawak. I was able to pray at the grave of my predecessor Bishop Charles Reiterer who was the second Bishop of Kuching. I am especially grateful to visit the grave of Fr Josef Wassermann who had baptised me in 1979 when I was in Form 4.

The moment I saw the graves of the many missionaries who were buried in the church cemetery, I realised that when these missionaries left Europe to serve in the mission lands, they would not have known the impact of their missionary contribution in our land.

At the grave, I stood there as a testimony of the fruits of their labour.

The Ad Limina visit to the tombs of the Apostles Peter (Basilica of St Peter) and Paul (Basilica of St Paul-Outside-The-Walls) gave me a great sense of affirmation to continue in the mission that the Lord has given me.

This mission was first entrusted by Jesus to St Peter, St Paul and the Apostles, carried on by the missionaries who were sent from Europe to Malaysia. Now it is in the hands of all of us — bishops, priests, religious, and lay-faithful of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei. – Herald Malaysia, 2 Mar 2018

Apostolic Nuncio imposes pallium on Kuching prelate

Abp Marino imposes the pallium on Abp Poh, 18 July 2017, Kuching.

KUCHING – Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, imposed the pallium on Archbishop Simon Poh at St Joseph’s Cathedral here on 18 July 2017.

To many lay faithful, if not all, this was the first time to witness such an occasion as it has never been done before in the archdiocese.

Earlier, Abp Poh has received the pallium from Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica Vatican City on 29 June, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, together with 36 new metropolitan archbishops from around the world.

However, since 2015, the investiture of the pallium is to be done at the new archbishop’s home diocese by the apostolic nuncio.

“I received from the Holy See the mandate to impose on Archbishop Simon the pallium which he brought from Rome,” the apostolic nuncio explained before the Mass for the Investiture of the Pallium.

The nuncio said it was the pope’s explicit desire that while he would give the pallia to the archbishops, it would be imposed on them his representative in a ceremony at the cathedral so as to give honour to the local Church.

Addressing Abp Poh, the nuncio reminded him of the words of Pope Francis:

Dear Archbishops who today receive the pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  The pallium is a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other bishops of the world.

Abp Poh then knelt before the apostolic nuncio as he made the Profession of Faith, following which Abp Marino placed the pallium on the shoulders of Abp Poh.

Returning to his seat with the pallium, Abp Poh led the congregation in singing the Gloria.

In his homily, the Kuching prelate explained the significance of the pallium. The pallium is woven from the wool of two lambs blessed by the Pope on the Feast of St Agnes. Once these pallia are made, they are placed below the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the first pope, and are taken from there on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul to the Pope for him to bless and distribute to the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops.

When worn, the pallium also signifies the archbishop’s role, who like Christ, carries the sheep on his shoulders. It serves to remind the wearer that all power and authority come from Jesus, the Lamb of God. It also signifies the communion between the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope, with the metropolitan archbishops and the bishops throughout the world.

Abp Poh acknowledged with gratitude the foundations laid by his predecessors, Archbishop Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, and pledged to continue to build up the good works begun by them.

The prelate also requested the faithful to continually pray for him to be a good shepherd after the heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Over 2000 parishioners, including Abp Poh’s family and friends, witnessed the ceremony.

Concelebrating with him at the Mass were more than 40 priests, six arch/bishops and Cardinal Soter Fernandez who was making his first official visit there as a cardinal.

A thanksgiving dinner was held on July 19 on the theme  Celebrating God’s Steadfast Love. 

Also present at the event was Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Malaysia Ambassador to the Holy See. – Today’s Catholic

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