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Pope accepts Kuching prelate’s resignation, appoints auxiliary as successor

File photo: Bishop Simon Poh (L), Abp Ha (behind) and Bp Richard Ng (R) arriving at the reception after his episcopal ordination on 24 Sept 2015, Kuching.

KOTA KINABALU – The Apostolic Nunciature in Kuala Lumpur announced that on 4 March 2017 Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Ha of Kuching and has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Simon Poh as his successor.

In a press release on the same day, Abp John Ha thanked the pope for accepting his resignation  and appointing Bp Poh as his successor.

It said that the canonical possession of the archbishop by the new archbishop will take place in St Joseph’s Cathedral Kuching on March 20, Feast of St Joseph, at 7:30 pm.

It also said that the new archbishop will receive the pallium from the pope on June 29 in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.  Archbishop Joseph Mariano, apostolic nuncio, will do the investiture of the pallium on the new archbishop on July 19 in Kuching.

Archbishop-designate Simon Poh expressed his gratitude and loyalty to the pope and pledged his commitment to the faithful, religious, and priests of the Kuching Archdiocese and to the Malaysian Church, building on the good work that has begun with Abp Emeritus Peter Chung and carried on by Abp Ha.

Abp Ha was appointed Archbishop of Kuching by Pope John Paul II in May 2003. Pope Francis appointed Simon Peter Poh Hoon Seng as Kuching Auxiliary Bishop in July 2015.

Most Rev Poh was born in Sri Aman on 15 April 1963, studied Philosophy and Theology at St Peter’s College seminary in Kuching. He was ordained priest on 31 July 1988. Since his ordination, he has served in different capacities in various churches within the Archdiocese of Kuching; which covers Kuching, Samarahan, Serian and Sri Aman Divisions. He obtained a Licentiate in Missiology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome in 1996. Later in 2015, he obtained a Doctorate of Ministry from Indiana University, USA.

Malaysia has six dioceses and three archdioceses. The other archdioceses are Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. – various sources

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