KUCHING, MALAYSIA – “Today as I stand in front of you as a bishop, it is not about me. It is about the Church gathered here,” said newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop Simon Poh Hoon Seng of Kuching, Sarawak.
More than 5,000 Catholics from Kuching archdiocese and other parts of Malaysia attended the episcopal ordination ceremony of Auxiliary Bishop Poh, 52, on Sept 24 at Stadium Perpaduan.
An auxiliary bishop assists the residential bishop of the diocese, in this case Archbishop John Ha.
The ordination was witnessed by 19 bishops, including Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino, 88 priests, 41 seminarians and members of Religious orders from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
Archbishop Ha was the principal consecrator with Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung of Kuching and Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan as co-consecrators.
Immediately after he was ordained, Bishop Poh was welcomed by dancers dressed in the traditional attire of the Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Melanau ethnic communities.
After sharing a little on his vocation, he gave this advice: “Parents, give your children to God ... there will be blessings. Give thanks to our heavenly Father for he is exceedingly generous and He will give a hundred-fold.”
Bishop Poh was born on April 15, 1963, in Sri Aman, Sarawak, the eldest of five siblings. He entered the Major Seminary of St Peter’s College, Kuching, in 1982. He was ordained a priest at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching, at the age of 25.
He was in turn assistant parish priest at Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Sri Aman; St Stephen’s Church; and St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching.
He later pursued a Licentiate in Missiology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, which he obtained in 1996.
From 1997-2000, he was parish priest of St Ann’s Mission, Kota Padawan, while also external lecturer for Missiology, Evangelisation in Asia, Pastoral Ministry and Social Communications in St Peter’s College, Kuching.
He went to Fu Ren University, Taiwan, to study Mandarin and was later spiritual director to seminarians in St Peter’s College, Kuching. In 2006, he became the Chairman of Commission for Mission and Human Development and the following year was made director of Pontifical Mission Societies in Kuching archdiocese.
He was appointed parish priest of St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching, in 2012. On May 8, 2015, he obtained a doctorate in ministry at the Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana, USA. - Submitted by HERALD