Dr John Lee is a father to eight children – six boys and two girls aged between 16 and 29, the chairman of mission group A Call to Share (ACTS), former master of the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore, and is now the president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC).
The federation, which has existed since 1924, helps coordinate efforts of Catholic medical associations and spread Christian principles throughout the world.
Dr Lee, who became the second Asian president of FIAMC during the 24th FIAMC World Congress in Manila from Oct 1-4, told CatholicNews that “it’s a great honour. At the same time, it was a little bit of a shock because I hadn’t expected it.
“I didn’t want to disappoint the Asian countries who elected me, who nominated me, so I accepted the nomination,” said the former FIAMC vice-president.
Candidates for the presidency had to be nominated six months beforehand and their names were passed to the Vatican before the final results were announced, said the doctor.
Now as president, Dr Lee will stay for a four-year term.
Many changes to his schedule would have to be made to make way for frequent travels to Rome for FIAMC meetings.
He also has been “busy fixing up committees” for FIAMC.
One such committee he set up during the recent congress comprises “young doctors from every continent”. During the meeting in Manila, they gave ideas “on how to engage the younger doctors” in mission work.
He shared that he wanted the mindsets of young Catholics doctors to change. He hopes that they would see that being a doctor is not solely a profession, “but a vocation”.
He also shared that he is “setting up a committee on human trafficking. This is an issue that Pope Francis is particularly concerned about.”
Apart from the new committees set up, Dr Lee is looking into how FIAMC can address pro-life issues, increase the federation’s membership and explore different ways to reach out to a wider audience.
“We used to have a literal [hardcopy] magazine but now I want the federation to go towards social media.”
He is also in the midst of finding “suitable candidates to lead the ethics committees and mission committees”.
Dr Lee who founded ACTS, a mission group that he said is close to his heart, said that he will step down and other people will spearhead the group’s mission work.
In the spirit of mission work, Dr Lee quoted “Uncle Ben” from Marvel’s Spiderman. For Catholic medical doctors, “with great power comes great responsibility”, Dr Lee quoted.
By Lorna O’Hara