Tag Archives: obituary

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.

Infant Jesus Sister Eugenie called to eternal life

KOTA KINABALU – Infant Jesus Sister Eugenie Fernandez was called to eternal life on 20 June 2017 in Cheras Kuala Lumpur.  She was 73.  The funeral will be held on Friday June 23 at 10 am at Cheras Convent, Kuala Lumpur.

Sister Eugenie belonged to a congregation dedicated to education and the training of underprivileged schoolchildren.  It was founded in Rouen France in 1666 by Blessed Nicolas Barre (1621-1686) who had gathered some young women for the free instruction of the poor in 1662.

Today, the Infant Jesus Sisters and their lay volunteers have a presence worldwide through social projects and schools. They are also known as Dames of St Maur, from the address of their major house in Paris.

The congregation spread its wings to then Malaya in 1852 and to Sook in Keningau Diocese in 2002.  Sister Eugenie was one of the two pioneer sisters who established the house in Sook.  She served there for nine years (2002-2011).


Herald Malaysia loses its first stringer

MALACCA –  Percy D’Cruz, HERALD’s first stringer and a long-serving stringer of The Star’s Malacca bureau, passed away on 9 March 2017.  Percy, 69, is believed to have been electrocuted at his home at Banda Hilir on Thursday evening.

Theresa Tan, 62, discovered her dead husband when she returned home at about 6:30 pm.

A Malacca police forensics team went to the house on Thursday night to conduct checks.

“We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” said a family friend.

The wake was held at the Chapel of the Assumption at Praya Lane.

The funeral Mass was held at the Church of St Peter at 10 am on Monday, March 13, followed by cremation at the Jelutong Memorial Park.

Percy had been covering church events in Melaka for the HERALD since its inception in 1994. He also assisted those who needed help in putting memorial ads and advertisements in the HERALD.

Hours before he was found dead, he had sent an e-mail to The Star’s Malacca office to complain about damage caused to his home by a flood mitigation project.

Percy was a man with a sense of humour. He was also very accommodating, dedicated to his craft and professional in his coverage.

He will be missed. – Herald Malaysia

Franciscan Sister Diana succumbs to cancer

File photo: Sr Diana (front R) poses with Bishop-elect Julius Gitom (front 2nd from L) and some CDC staff, 20 July 2007.

PENAMPANG – Franciscan Sister Diana Eing succumbed to cancer on 7 March 2017 at a local hospital here.  She would have been 51 on Apr 2.

Born in Kg Talantang Kiulu in 1966, she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) in 1989.  She made her first profession in 1993 and took her final vows in 1998.

Among her other assignments was a spell of assisting Sister Dariah Ajap at the Catechetical Commission Office at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang  from 14 Feb 2006 to 30 Dec 2011.

Her last posting was in Sipitang in January this year.

She had health problems for some years now, including thyroid problems, and when she was diagnosed with cancer, it was already in the fourth stage.  She was admitted to KPJ two days before her death on Tuesday night.

The lying-in-state is at Loreto Convent Dontozidon.  The funeral Mass will be on Friday, Mar 10, at 10 am at St Paul’s Church Dontozidon.

Sabah’s last Mill Hill Missionary dies at 87

File photo of Brother Ben (in blue) poses with Gabrielite Brothers John Albert (L), Edward Rayappan (2nd L), Francis Chua (R) and La Salle Brother Charles O’Leary (C) at the World Day for Consecrated Life, 2 Feb 2004, Sacred Heart Cathedral KK.

KOTA KINABALU – Sabah’s last Mill Hill Missionary died at 87 on 13 Feb 2017 in Oosterbeek, Holland.  He had spent over 60 years of his life in Sabah.

Born in Tilburg, Holland, on 9 October 1929, Martien (Martin) Snoeren joined the Mill Hill Missionaries in 1951. He took the name Benedict or Ben when he made his commitment as a lay brother in 1952 and his final commitment in 1954.

In 1955 when Msgr James Buis wanted to open a new mission station in Bundu Tuhan. After the initial refusal by the British Colonial Government for Europeans to settle in the interior of Borneo, Msgr Buis told them that he wanted to open an agricultural station in Bundu Tuhan. The Mill Hill Missionaries were then asked to send two Brothers who had expertise in tobacco growing, as the first option was tobacco growing, the only cash crop that could provide the people with a better income.

It was soon abandoned in favour of the vegetable seeds they brought in from Holland, which grew well in the climate and soon were able to produce the many varieties of vegetables similar to those in Holland.

Brother Ben arrived in North Borneo on 4 April 1956 with another Brother to join Father William Roetenberg to open a new venture in Bundu Tuhan.  By 1960 they were joined by Brother John Hoekstra, who was a vegetable farmer by profession, which was an added advantage to the vegetable project. The project took off in 1962 under the name of Kinabalu Project Development.  Soon the project was running two 4-ton lorries transporting vegetables to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

1962 also was the year the multipurpose hall was built. It catered for many activities but the main purpose was to serve as a  Mass centre on Sundays.  The church community grew from less than ten to over 8o who attended Mass on Sundays.

“In due time, the mission compound became a built-up place with a parish church, rectory, convent, retreat house, school, children’s home and even a workshop for repair and maintenance,” (Ben Snoeren, 2004).

He was recognised for his selfless service to the church and the people of Bundu Tuhan when on 28 Apr 1994 he was knighted by the Dutch Government and bestowed the “Ridder in de Orde Van Oranje Nassau” on the occasion of the birthday of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

On 4 July 2014, his superiors wrote him to return to Holland for his retirement from active ministry.  So Brother Ben left Bundu Tuhan, where he served for 57 years, and returned to the Netherlands in poor health in 2014, and took up residence in the Vrijland Mission House in Oosterbeek where he died Feb 13.

Last of China-born priests dead at 90

Fr Tung (R) with his good friend, Fr Chi, whom he persuaded to come to North Borneo in 1954.

Fr Tung (R) with his good friend, Fr Chi, whom he persuaded to come to North Borneo in 1954.

PENAMPANG – The last of the China-born priests serving in Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese died at 6 am on 7 Dec 2016.  He was 90.

Born on 15 Aug 1926 in China, Father Aloysius Tung Chien Chee was the eldest in a brood of two boys and one girl.  He seemed to have been marked by God for God’s service: An Lu Minor Seminary (1942-1945), Han Kuo Major Seminary (1946-1949) and Aberdeen Regional Seminary Hong Kong (1950-1953).  After priestly ordination on 27 Dec 1953 in Macau he was sent to North Borneo (now Sabah).

In Sabah he served as Bishop’s Procurator (1954-1966), pastor of Labuan (1967-1969), Limbahau/Papar (1972-1980), Sandakan (1980-1984), and Tawau (1984-2000).  His last post was a return to Labuan (2001-2010) before he retired from active ministry.  He was the first to stay at the newly constructed clergy retirement home, Vianney Home, in Dontozidon.  In June 2016 he became bedridden due to cancer of the bones.  He died peacefully at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday.

His remains will be at Fook Lu Siew Parlour (2C, 1st floor) until Dec 8 (Thursday) when it will be transferred to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing at 4 pm.  The funeral Mass will be at 10 am on Friday, Dec 9, at the cathedral.

The other China-born priests serving in Sabah were Fr John Baptist Yong (1914-1977), Fr John Tsung (1918-1993), Fr Tobias Chi (1924-2010) and Fr Peter Ma (1925-2013).  With the exception of Fr Ma, the rest all died in Sabah.  Fr Ma died in New York in 2013.

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