Msgr Bernard Paul (left) will take over from Bishop Paul Tan.

JOHOR BAHRU – Pope Francis has appointed Msgr Bernard Paul, 62, as bishop-elect of Melaka-Johor diocese.

Msgr Bernard Paul is currently the parish priest of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and a vicar-general of Penang diocese.

He will take over from Jesuit Bishop Paul Tan, who has headed the Melaka-Johor diocese since 2003.

Msgr Bernard said that youth, family and interreligious cooperation will be among his areas of focus when he takes over as bishop.

He added that he will strive to hold more interfaith dialogues to foster greater understanding among Malaysians.

On the theme for his episcopate, Msgr Paul said it will be “Take! Bless! Break! Give”, explaining that these are words associated with the consecration of bread and wine.

Msgr Bernard was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has served in a number of roles in Penang diocese including being vicar general for pastoral life, diocesan head for vocations, president of the Council of Priests, and working in parishes.

The episcopal ordination of bishop-elect Bernard Paul will be held at the Persada International Convention Centre in Johor Bahru on Jan 12, 2016,  at 5 pm.

By Vincent  D’Silva