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Thousands gather to bid farewell to the late Fr Fundes

Archbishop Wong poses with the Motiung family and relatives before the remains of Fr Motiung are brought to their final resting place, SHC, 8 Sept 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Thousands of faithful gathered to bid farewell to the late Father Fundes Motiung at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 8 Sept 2017.

An estimated 5,000-odd crowd turned up for the funeral of Fr Motiung, many from the different neo-catechumenal way communities in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Requiem Mass.  Joining him were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee and over forty priests from the three arch/dioceses who had just finished their annual retreat in Bundu Tuhan.

In his homily, Abp Wong reminded the faithful that “for the Christian, life has not ended, only changed.”  He stressed on the hope of eternal life held out to all in the Word of God.

Fr Motiung died on Monday, Sept 4, shortly after Abp Wong’s visit.

Hundreds of people – whose lives he had touched throughout his 19 years of priestly service – came to pay their last respects as he lay in state at St Michael Penampang from Monday to Wednesday (Sept 4-6) and at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing on Thursday (Sept 7).

Out of those 19 years, 16 were filled with pain as he underwent treatment for leukemia.  Yet whenever he was able, he would go about his priestly ministry cheerfully.

He was buried at the Mile 4.5 Catholic Cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama.

Fr Fundes called to eternal life

File photo: Fr Fundes (C) poses with his fellow neocatechumenal priests at a joint anniversary celebration organised by St Thomas Kepayan in 2010.  On his left: Fr Johnny Raju, Fr Tony Mojiwat; and on his right: brothers Frs Federick and Edward Raymond.

PENAMPANG – Father Fundes Motiung was called to eternal life on 4 Sept 2017.  He was the first of Sabah’s seven priests from the Neocatechumenal community to return to the Father.  He was 52.

Born on 19 Nov 1965 in Kg Kepayan, Fundes was the youngest in a brood of seven boys and two girls born to Paulus Motiung and Dorothia Tokiu.

After completing his formative studies at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome, he was ordained on 6 July 1998 together with Saimon William of Membakut at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu, the firstfruits from the Neocatechumenal community.

After ordination, he took up a licentiate course on family counselling at his alma mater in Rome. When he returned to Kota Kinabalu, he served in Penampang (2002), Tanjung Aru (2003-2014) and back to Penampang in 2014.  He was also the spiritual adviser to the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission.

In a statement released Sept 4, Archbishop John Wong said: “He was always a zealous servant of the Gospel, building the Kingdom of God generously without counting the cost.”

Despite being diagnosed with leukemia in 2000 and under treatment since then, he went on his pastoral ministry cheerfully as and when he was able.

He went back to St Michael on Saturday, Sept 2,  for three reasons; one was to witness a donation from the federal government, another was to greet the Penampang Youth Day (PYD) participants, and finally, to taste the food being prepared by the Angat brothers, Eddie and Armando and other volunteers.

On Sunday, Sept 3, as he was preparing to attend Mass at Stella Maris where he had once served as pastor, he slipped and fell in the bathroom. He was rushed to the hospital by an ambulance.

Many had thought that it was yet another brief stay for Fr Fundes, who had been in and out of hospital for his leukemia treatment – but this time it was not to be.

At about 9 pm, he complained of breathing difficulties and those who were by his bedside called for the doctor to attend to him.

His blood pressure had dropped and the doctor said he had inflammation of the lungs. He also needed blood transfusion.

When Fr Fundes breathed his last on Sept 4 just before noon, his brother Fidelis was by his bedside. Abp Wong had visited him earlier.

The beautiful renovation works at St Michael Penampang are his legacy to the parishioners.  The deceased was present at the re-dedication of the parish on Aug 18.

“While there he told me his work at St Michael’s was finally over,” said Thomas Mumpin, one of his closest aides.

Mumpin said Fr Fundes had told him that he had done what he could and it is up to others to improve on them.

The remains of Fr Fundes are now at St Michael’s Church until 10:00 am Thursday, Sept 7. Thereafter, his body will be taken to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Sacred Heart Cathedral where he will lay in state.

The Requiem Mass will be presided by Abp Wong at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Friday, Sept 8 at 10:00 am followed by the burial at the Mile 4.5 Catholic Cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama.

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