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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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