Tag Archives: Eng

Archbishop Emeritus John Ha: I retire with peace of mind and heart

KUCHING — In his address after the installation Mass on 20 March, Archbishop Emeritus John Ha, 70, whose resignation was announced on 4 March, shared the reason of his resignation from the Archbishop’s Office ahead of the canonical age of 75. Below is his speech that evening:

“With my successor found, the Most Reverend Simon Poh Hoon Seng, I am now able to retire with peace of mind and heart. I certainly feel a profound relief and joy deep within me. To me this sense of relief and joy are an affirmation that I have made the right decision to request the Holy Father’s approval for my resignation from the Archbishop’s Office ahead of the canonical age.

On hearing the official announcement of my “resignation”, many have asked “WHY?” I guess the term “resignation” which is the canonical term carries some negative connotations like ill health, inappropriate conduct, disillusionment. To clear the air, I now share my reason for my decision to request for early retirement.

The Holy Father’s acceptance of my request for stepping down prematurely from the Archbishop’s Office was announced on 4 March 2017, deliberately timed to coincide with my 70th birthday. My reason for this timing was that I thought the age of 70 would be readily accepted as grounds for early retirement.

Thinking back, I suppose I could say that at the rock bottom my reason for requesting for early retirement is my love for the Church, though this may not have been so explicit in my mind. I have been deeply inspired and encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI who resigned from the papacy a few years ago primarily because he had realised that in his condition then he would not able to lead the Church as effectively as the Church deserved.

Over the last few years, I have been increasingly feeling my age as it gradually manifested its symptoms – brevity of attention, frequent lapses of memory, quick mental exhaustion at meetings. In addition, I gradually felt worn out by challenges from within and from without myself personally as well as the Church. At times, I felt rather discouraged if not totally helpless. Administrative work also started to take its toll on me, so much so, that I began to feel it more as a burden than as a joyful ministry.

I felt that these gradually debilitating realities of mine must not be allowed to hamper the growth of the Archdiocese of Kuching. I saw the need for an Auxiliary Bishop – one who is obviously younger, but also more capable, more energetic, more resilient and even more charismatic than myself. I therefore took a considered decision to write to Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Holy See, to request for an Auxiliary. Bishop Simon was appointed and ordained in September 2015.

With him as my Auxiliary, I was able to share several administrative and pastoral responsibilities with Bishop Simon. In the process, I saw his aptitude and capability. I also looked at the other two Bishops (Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu and Bishop Richard Ng of Miri). Any one of these three Bishops could easily take over from me as the Archbishop of Kuching. Thus, in September last year, I confidently and courageously submitted another request to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples – this time for a successor. Acting on my request, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino, conducted an extensive consultation. The appointment of Bishop Simon as my successor resulted from this consultation.

Of course I am very glad that Bishop Simon has been appointed to succeed me. This is because he has been very actively involved in the pastoral care of the Archdiocese. As a result of this involvement of his, he truly knows the ins and outs of the Archdiocese. His appointment assures continuity as well as progress of the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Simon Poh has taken canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Kuching. To him I say, “Congratulations and thank you, Simon.” To all the Catholics of the Archdiocese, I say: “Archbishop Simon Poh is now your Archbishop. We thank God for him and I am sure you will give him full support and keep him in your prayers. May God make him the shepherd we need and deserve – a shepherd after Christ’s own heart.”

A new shepherd for the Archdiocese of Kuching

KUCHING — Newly-installed Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuching, Archbishop Simon Poh, invited all faithful to discern God’s vision and to plan the direction of the archdiocese together.

“As the Archdiocese of Kuching embarks on the process we call ‘3R’, Review, Reassess and Renew… we are seeking a vision of what we want our Church to be, and seek ways to live out this mission in our parishes,” said Archbishop Simon during his homily.

In 2012, the Archdiocese of Kuching held the Archdiocesan Pastoral Congress to assist the-then Archbishop of Kuching, Archbishop John Ha in crafting the direction of the archdiocese. The result of the Congress was the “ACTS of the Congress”, a set of action plans for the pastoral direction of the archdiocese. This year, the local church reviews and reassesses the ACTS. Survey questionnaire forms are made available for this purpose. The findings of the review will be brought to the archdiocesan assembly scheduled on 18 – 20 August.  Continue reading A new shepherd for the Archdiocese of Kuching

John Seven Plus One – Reflection 6/8

A series of Lenten (and Easter) Reflections based on the signs in the Gospel of John by Fr Francis Lim, SJ, every Thursday (except Tuesdays during Holy Week and Easter Week).

The Gospel of John is also known as the Book of Signs. John portrays these signs as works of wonder by Jesus in order for believers to deepen their faith in Jesus. Through these reflections, Fr Francis hopes to bring our parishioners to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.


Reflections on Healing of the Man Born Blind

Jesus heals the man born blind in John 9 (6 April)
What are the things that prevent me from seeing Jesus? What do I need to do to overcome my narrow-mindedness and blindness to other people?

Reflection 1

What do I see in Jesus?
I see Jesus as my dear friend who walks and journeys with me. In Him I find love, peace and joy. I can depend on Him even when things are not going the way I expect them to. He will be there for me. I have to learn to surrender to Him which is easier said than done. But I am trying as the days go by with His grace and mercy.

What do I need to be cleared of blindness or narrow-mindedness in my life?
Learning to detach oneself from possessions in terms of material and relationships (being able to agree to disagree). Nothing in this life will last but to look forward to life everlasting with the Lord.  Continue reading John Seven Plus One – Reflection 6/8

John Seven Plus One – Reflection 5/8

A series of Lenten (and Easter) Reflections based on the signs in the Gospel of John by Fr Francis Lim, SJ, every Thursday (except Tuesdays during Holy Week and Easter Week).

The Gospel of John is also known as the Book of Signs. John portrays these signs as works of wonder by Jesus in order for believers to deepen their faith in Jesus. Through these reflections, Fr Francis hopes to bring our parishioners to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.


Reflections on Jesus Walking on Water

Jesus Walks on Water in John 6:16-21 (30 March)
In the midst of the dark storm in the sea, Jesus comes walking to the disciples struggling in the boat and says to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Who is the Almighty God to me in challenging times? Do I have faith that Jesus walks with me in those times?

Reflection 1
The reflection is beautiful, punctuated with songs and psalms, food for the soul, and thus making the reflection complete.

Behind the beautiful façade is my share of turmoil of life. Like the apostles in the boat, it causes fears and anxieties. Most of the time, one encounters the hiccups in life by one’s low human intelligence and reasoning. One forgets Jesus’s presence easily.

Jesus seems like a ghost because one is so preoccupied with self-thoughts until He calls out. (Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10) He knows. He calls. By focusing on Him, one’s fears and anxieties are deemed insignificant.

Walking on the impossible but it is possible with God.

Then, in a split of moment, one focuses elsewhere. The waters are raging, fears and anxieties set in again.

Like Peter I sink again.

God is merciful. He helps me immediately.

For this Lent, one hopes that one can learn to trust in God and to learn to know His presence always.  Continue reading John Seven Plus One – Reflection 5/8

John Seven Plus One – Reflection 4/8

A series of Lenten (and Easter) Reflections based on the signs in the Gospel of John by Fr Francis Lim, SJ, every Thursday (except Tuesdays during Holy Week and Easter Week).
The Gospel of John is also known as the Book of Signs. John portrays these signs as works of wonder by Jesus in order for believers to deepen their faith in Jesus. Through these reflections, Fr Francis hopes to bring our parishioners to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.


Reflections on the Feeding of the Five Thousand

Feeding of the Five Thousand in John 6:5-15 (23 March)
Like the little boy with the five loaves and two fishes, what is the little I can offer to God in exchange for a bigger miracle? What has God given to me? What does the Eucharist mean to me?

Reflection 1
Ever since I gradually learnt to place my complete faith and trust in God, I have received countless blessings from Him for which I am very grateful and thankful. My day will start with praising and thanking God for all He has bestowed upon me even in the face of trials I may encounter sometimes in life.

In return, I am always praying to Him to lead a more prayerful life in order to grow closer to Him and to love Him more by partaking of the Eucharist during Mass; to spend quiet time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to express how thankful and deeply grateful I am for all He has done for me.  Continue reading John Seven Plus One – Reflection 4/8