Tag Archives: obituary

Franciscan Sister Eithne (Felicity) McCarthy called to eternal life

File picture of the old St Francis Convent Karamunsing where Sr Felicity (Eithne McCarthy) lived and taught in the late 1950s and 1960s.

PENAMPANG – Franciscan Sister Eithne (Felicity) McCarthy was called to eternal life on 4 March 2018 at the Convent of St Francis, Blackrock Road, Cork. She was 87.

Eithne McCarthy was born on 18 June 1930, the seventh of eleven children of Maurice and Annie McCarthy, in Co Donegal, Ireland, where her father had been temporarily assigned. The following year the family returned to Cork, where Eithne grew up. She is survived by her sisters Maureen and Sister Ursula and her brother Declan who lives in the United States.

Seeking direction about her vocation, Eithne made a novena to the Little Flower in the SMA Church near the convent. The Sisters had been making the novena for a postulant. At the close, on the Feast of the Little Flower, Eithne followed the Sisters to the convent and expressed her desire to enter.

Eithne entered the Congregation on 11 February 1951 in Blackrock Road and exactly one year later she entered the Novitiate at Altrincham receiving the name Sister Felicity. She made First Profession on 29 June 1953 and five years later she made her Perpetual Profession also in Altrincham.

Sister Eithne was trained in business studies, bookkeeping, shorthand and typing when she entered but after profession she was sent to do teaching training at Mount Pleasant Teacher Training College in Liverpool. She worked hard and qualified in 1958 and left for Borneo the same year. She taught in Jesselton (St Francis Convent), Tawau and Seria and was a popular teacher. Her file contains an email sent through Sister Ursula from a past pupil who wrote “I was a distracted student and most teachers had given up on me. You refused not to believe in me and you inspired me and turned me round academically. Your impact on me was immeasurably positive and I am so grateful to you for altering my life.”

When the Sisters were expelled from Borneo Sister Eithne spent some time teaching in Rochdale and Blackburn before being appointed as assistant superior and novice mistress in Broughton Hall. In 1983 she went to do a theology course in Maynooth, Ireland and was then appointed to Leyland as a parish Sister where she stayed for five years. She is lovingly remembered there today.

In 1989 Sister Eithne returned to Ireland and after three years in Prague House she moved to Dublin where she spent nine years in parish work. During this time she was also community leader and on three occasions she was elected as a Regional Councillor. Sister then returned to Blackrock where she was to spend the rest of her life. When her sister, Maureen, become too frail to live alone Sister Eithne went from Monday to Friday each week to stay with her and returned to the community at weekends. In time her sight and hearing deteriorated badly and when she became unable to continue, Sister Ursula took over the care of Maureen.

Almost blind and almost deaf Sister Eithne remained cheerful and active. She had a beautiful smile and a good sense of humour. She walked up and down the stairs and all around the house to keep mobile and at last she had the time she had often craved for prayer and reflection. She prayed every day for the General Leadership Team to be guided in all their decisions. She was always grateful for the least thing anyone did to help her

On Sunday Mar 4, Sister Eithne joined the community for Mass and lunch and was her normal self. After lunch she made the Stations of the Cross. When she did not go to the kitchen as she usually did to fetch her supper around four o’clock Sister Mary Coyne went to see if she was alright and found her dead in her room. She died as she had lived, quietly and with no fuss.

The funeral Mass for Sister Eithne was held at the Convent of St Francis on March 8 at midday followed by burial at St Oliver’s cemetery. – FMSJ website

Stephen Hawking: a longtime member of Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Pope Francis greets Stephen Hawking during an audience with participants attending a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican on 28 Nov 2016. Hawking, the British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist and popular author died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)

VATICAN CITY – Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who said he did not believe in God, was still an esteemed member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and fostered a fruitful dialogue between science and faith.

The academy, which Pope Pius IX established in 1847, tweeted, “We are deeply saddened about the passing of our remarkable Academician Stephen #Hawking who was so faithful to our Academy.”

“He told the 4 Popes he met that he wanted to advance the relationship between Faith and Scientific Reason. We pray the Lord to welcome him in his Glory,” @CasinaPioIV, the academy, tweeted March 14.

The Vatican observatory, @SpecolaVaticana, also expressed its condolences to Hawking’s family.

“We value the enormous scientific contribution he has made to quantum cosmology and the courage he had in facing illness,” the observatory tweeted in Italian.

The British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist and popular author died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster tweeted, “We thank Stephen Hawking for his outstanding contribution to science. As a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, he will be missed and mourned there, too.”

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury tweeted, “Professor Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding. His was a life lived with bravery and passion. As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace.

Blessed Paul VI named Hawking a member of the papal academy in 1968. The academy’s members are chosen on the basis of their academic credentials and professional expertise – not religious beliefs.

Blessed Paul, the first of four popes to meet Hawking, gave the then 33-year-old scientist the prestigious Pius XI gold medal in 1975 after a unanimous vote by the academy in recognition of his great work, exceptional promise and “important contribution of his research to scientific progress.”

Pictures from the academy’s archives show the pope kneeling before Hawking, who was seated in a motorized wheelchair, to present him with the medal and touch his head.

Hawking had most recently met Pope Francis when he delivered his presentation on “The Origin of the Universe” at the academy’s plenary session on science and sustainability in 2016.

In interviews and his writings, Hawking asserted that God had no role in creating the universe.

Yet his avowed atheism did not keep him from engaging in dialogue and debate with the church as his work and contribution to the papal academy showed.

He also debated on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in 2010 with Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer — a philosopher and educator — over the scientific underpinnings of the beginning of the universe and the theological arguments for the existence of God.

Vatican astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, who has studied both physics and philosophy, told Catholic News Service in 2010 that “the ‘god’ that Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe in is one I don’t believe in either.”

“God is not just another force in the universe, alongside gravity or electricity,” he added. “God is the reason why existence itself exists. God is the reason why space and time and the laws of nature can be present for the forces to operate that Stephen Hawking is talking about.” – Carol Glatz, Catholic Herald

Cardinal Dolan pays tribute to Billy Graham

circa 1955: US evangelist Billy Graham addressing a meeting. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has paid tribute to preacher Billy Graham, who has died at the age of 99 [21 Feb 2018], the Catholic Herald posted on 21 Feb 2018.

Graham was a Southern Baptist evangelical preacher, but his preaching was much-admired by Catholics.

“As anyone growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham,” Cardinal Dolan said.

“There was no question that the Dolans were a Catholic family, firm in our faith, but in our household there was always respect and admiration for Billy Graham and the work he was doing to bring people to God.

“Whether it was one of his famous Crusades, radio programmes, television specials, or meeting and counseling the presidents, Billy Graham seemed to be everywhere, always with the same message: Jesus is your Saviour, and wants you to be happy with Him forever.

“As an historian, my admiration for him only grew as I studied our nation’s religious past, and came to appreciate even more the tremendous role he played in the American evangelical movement.

“May the Lord that Billy Graham loved so passionately now grant him eternal rest.”

Pope John Paul II was especially warm towards Graham, reportedly exclaiming in one meeting: “Listen, Graham, we are brothers!” Graham, in turn, described Pope John Paul II as the “moral leader of the world.”

Pioneer Pauline Sister dies at 84

KOTA KINABALU – One of the pioneer Pauline Sisters in Malaysia died of pneumonia in St John of God Hospital Pasay City Philippines on 1 Feb 2018.  She was 84.

Born on 3 May 1933 in Iloilo, Lilia del Rosario entered the congregation of the Daughters of St Paul in Pasay City in 1956 after finishing secondary school.  She made her first profession in 1960, taking the name of Sister Rosaria.  After her final profession in 1965, she was sent to the newly opened community in Brickfields Kuala Lumpur (1965-1967).  After two years she was sent to Jesselton/Kota Kinabalu (1967-1969), and posted again to West Malaysia, this time in Petaling Jaya (the community moved from Brickfields to Petaling Jaya in 1969) where she stayed until 1972.

The Daughters of St Paul has two phases of foundation in Sabah (North Borneo before 1963); the first from 1961-1971 and the second from 1989 onwards.

“I stayed six years and seven months in Malaysia and I thank God for the many blessings I have received in the mission which strengthened my Pauline vocation,” Sr Rosaria wrote in the souvenir magazine commemorating the golden jubilee of the congregation in Malaysia in 2015.

Back in the Philippines she served in Iloilo, Pasay City, Bacolod, Zamboanga, and Naga.

When diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, she was transferred to the wing reserved for the sick and the elderly sisters in Pasay City.  But her illness did not rob her of her smile, her kindness and her attitude of gratitude toward everyone.

In late January 2018, she went down with pneumonia which made it necessary for her to be admitted to the hospital and it was there that she ended her earthly pilgrimage and entered into eternal rest on Thursday night at 11:50 pm.

Fr Bingham dies at 86

SIBU – Catholics in the central region of Sarawak are mourning the loss of one of their longest-serving priests, Father David Bingham, who passed away peacefully on 27 Jan 2018 in England. He was 86.

News of his passing was conveyed by Mill Hill Missionaries to the Catholic Church here.

The late Fr Bingham had served as priest in the region for over 40 years.

A parishioner, Clement Chieng, gave thanks for Fr Bingham’s work in Sarawak.

Augustine Siaw said the late Fr Bingham had been an outstanding missionary for many years in the Sibu Diocese.

According to a statement from Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr David Bingham was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 7 April 1931 to Francis Dennis and Mary Bingham.

Fr David’s father served as an engineer in the Royal Navy and the family settled in Kenya where they took up farming.

Fr David received his secondary education with the Benedictines at Ampleforth from 1944 to 1949.

After performing compulsory military service, he studied in Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in History in 1956.

He then got a job with a shipping line in Singapore where he first made contact with people from Malaysia.

In his memoirs, Fr David wrote that through his contacts with the Church in Singapore, his Catholic faith had been strengthened and the first stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood made themselves felt.

Eventually, he applied for admittance to the formation programme of the Mill Hill Missionaries.

After a bridge-year in Osterley, he entered the Mill Hill formation programme in Roosendaal for studies in Philosophy.

In 1961, he entered St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to study Theology.

On 1 May 1964, he took the Perpetual Oath and the following year, on July 10, he was ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral.

He received an appointment to Malaysia, where he taught for two years in Sarikei followed by two years of mission work in Kanowit.

He was transferred to Simangang in 1971 and served there for some five years.

Subsequently, Fr David worked in the missions of Bintangor, Julau, Sibu, and Song.

Altogether, Fr David spent 46 years working in Sarawak.

He learnt the Iban language, reportedly with a pronounced English accent, as well as a little Hokkien.

In May 2005, Fr David started working in the British region and in October 2014, he took up residence in the Mill Hill Missionaries retirement home in Freshfield. Liverpool.

On the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 2015, it was noted that Fr Bingham had “great energy, an enquiring mind and a good sense of humour. “

In July 2001, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his mission work.- thestar.com.my

AsiaNews founder Fr Piero Gheddo dies at 89

MILAN – AsiaNews founder, Father Piero Gheddo, 89, died on 20 Dec 2017 at the Ambrosiana Nursing Home, Cesano Boscone, near here.

Born in 1929 in Tronzano Vercellese Italy, he entered the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in 1945 and was ordained priest in 1953.

Internationally recognised as ‘the missionary of print media,’  Fr Gheddo worked all his life in the world of communications to spread the Gospel. In 1986 he founded AsiaNews, and continued to contribute to it when it went online.

His achievements include the founding of the Italian Missionary Publishing (Editrice Missionaria Italiana or EMI) in 1955, the co-founding of the Milan PIME Missionary Centre with Father Amelio Crotti and Father Giacomo Girardi in 1961; and the Mani tese (Extended Hands) in 1964.

He was editor of “World and Mission” (Mondo e Missione) 1959-1994 as well as of “Missionary Italy” (Italia Missionaria), and of “PIME Missionaries” (Missionari del Pime).

In 1962, as a journalist of the Osservatore Romano, he was chosen by Giovanni XXIII as an expert to draft the conciliar decree Ad Gentes. In the 1990s, John Paul II chose him to author the encyclical Redemptoris Missio.

Fr Gheddo wrote over 90 books, 30 of which were translated, and received several journalistic awards.

His books on his parents, Il testament del capitano (The Captain’s Testament) with the letters of Pope John from the war in Russia (San Paolo, 2002) and Questi santi genitori (These Holy Parents) (San Paolo, 2005) have become best sellers.

From 1994 to 2010 he was director of the PIME Historical Archives in Rome, publishing several histories of PIME missions in the world, as well as biographies of some members of the institute.


For years, he contributed to Italian state television (RAI) explaining the Sunday gospel. On Rai radio, he contributed a brief morning message (Il Vangelo delle 7.18, The Gospel at 7.18 am). He also collaborated with Radio Maria and various lay publications like the magazine Gente and the newspaper Il Giornale when Indro Montanelli, whom he befriended, was the paper’s editor.


Deeply convinced that the world needs models and experiences, Fr Gheddo was a driving force behind the cause of beatification of a number PIME missionaries: Giovanni Mazzucconi, Paolo Manna, Clemente Vismara, Mario Vergara, and more recently, Alfredo Cremonesi.

He worked on documenting the actions of the servants of God Marcello Candia, Angelo Ramazzotti, Felice Tantardini, Carlo Salerio, Egidio Biffi as well as Leopoldo Pastori and Msgr Aristide Pirovano.


Starting in 2014, the ailing Fr Gheddo needed constant medical care. For this reason, he moved to the Ambrosiana nursing home in Cesano Boscone, in the diocese of Milan. Here he worked almost until the end, managing his blog and sending thoughts and reflections about the mission.  – Bernardo Cervellera, AsiaNews.it

Filipino Cardinal Vidal dead at 86

File photo: Cardinal Vidal (L) with fellow Filipino Cardinal Tagle of Manila

CEBU, Philippines – Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the retired Archbishop of Cebu, died on  18  October 2017 at the age of 86. He had been hospitalised last week after he collapsed, suffering from pneumonia.

Ordained in 1956 as a priest of the Lucena diocese, he became coadjutor bishop of Malolos in 1971, then Archbishop of Lipa in 1973. He became Archbishop of Cebu in 1982, serving at that post until his retirement in 2010 at the age of 79. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by St John Paul II in 1985.

With the death of Cardinal Vidal there are now 219 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 120 are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a papal election.

In a telegram to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and “profound gratitude for the late cardinal’s untiring and devoted service to the church.”

The pope also praised “his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines” and commended the cardinal’s soul “to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly father.” – CWN/catholic herald

Franciscan Sr Alphonsus Low called to eternal life

KOTA KINABALU – Sister Alphonsus Low of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) was called to eternal life on 26 Sept 2017, a few days short of her 79th birthday.

She was admitted to KPJ on Monday Sept 25 due to breathing difficulty and died peacefully around 10:20 am the next day.

She was born in Singapore on 29 Sep 1938 as Daisy Low Cheng Neo.

She entered Postulancy on 5 Aug 1961 in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and received the habit and the religious name of Sr M Alphonsus when she entered the novitiate on 11 Feb 1962.  After taking her first vows on 11 Feb 1964, she went for formal teachers’ training.

In her 53 years, she had been fully involved in education and caring for boarders, while at the same time giving much of her time in service to the Stella Maris Parish Tanjung Aru as Extraordinary Communion Minister, Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary and the intercessory group.

She also played a proactive role as Secretary General of the Congregation in 1981 and as Councillor for two terms in 1987 and 1993 during which time she was entrusted in securing grants from the state government for various projects of the Congregation.

In 1999, Sr Low almost succumbed to Melioidosis.

It is not clear whether her infection had to do with her diabetic condition. According to doctors, the single most important risk factor for developing severe melioidosis is diabetes mellitus.

As she struggled with her life while on drug therapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the entire Congregation prayed for her recovery. God answered their prayers when the former Principal of SM Stella Maris sprang back to life, defying near death.

She lived on to celebrate her golden jubilee in October 2014.

The lying-in-state is at Stella Maris Hostel Tanjung Aru Monday-Thursday Sept 26-28.  The funeral will be on Friday Sept 29 at 10 am at Stella Maris Church Tg Aru before the body is brought for burial at Mile 4.5 Catholic cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama.

Msgr Anthony Thomas of KL called to eternal life

KUALA LUMPUR – Msgr Anthony Thomas of Kuala Lumpur had been called to eternal life on 24 Sept 2017.

In a chancery notice ref (chan/MC/02/2017) dated Sept 24, it said that Msgr Thomas, 80, died peacefully on Sunday at 2:30 pm at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged Cheras where he had been residing since his retirement in 2005.

Among the deceased’s many qualities was his giftedness and proficiency in music which has contributed greatly to the repertoire of hymns, responsorial psalm musical settings and Mass Ordinaries widely used in the local Church.

He is well remembered by the parishioners of St Joseph Sentul, Visitation Church Seremban and Sacred Heart Church Peel Road where he had served as parish priest.  He was instrumental in the building of the respective parish community centres.

Wake Masses:
Mon Sept 25, 7 am Little Sisters of the Poor Cheras; 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road
Tue Sept 26, 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road

The funeral will be on Wed Sept 27 at 11 am at Sacred Heart Peel Road and burial at Kajang cemetery.

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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