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Archbishop John Wong was born on 6 June 1968 in Sandakan. He was ordained priest on January 21, 1999. As a priest, he has served four years at the cathedral parish. Later, after returning from his studies in Rome where he obtained a licentiate in spirituality, he became the director of the aspirants at the Catholic Diocesan Centre and vice-director of the Initiation Year of St Peter’s College Karamunsing. He has also served as the spiritual adviser to the Bible Commission from 2006 to 2007. Up until his episcopal ordination on 1 October  2010, he was serving as the spiritual adviser to the Youth Commission, exercising his priestly ministry at the cathedral and its subparish Church of Mary Immaculate, especially among the Chinese-speaking parishioners. He was 42 at the time of his episcopal ordination. This made him one of the youngest candidates ever to have become a bishop in the Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Region.  He was installed second archbishop of Kota Kinabalu on 24 January 2013.



The shield = This forms the central part of the armorial bearings. The shield symbolises the need to rely always on the amour of God, carrying the shield of faith so that it can be used to put out the burning arrows of the evil one.

The white dove = It signifies the everlasting presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church, giving strength, power and inspiration to the Archbishop and the People of God in the local Church to remember and abide by the laws, decrees and statutes of God the Father in accordance with the teachings of His Son Jesus Christ and the rich traditions handed down by His apostles.


Coat of Arms

The red FIAT = The Latin word Fiat means Let it be done; the attitude of Mary in accepting the Word of God, resulting in the Word becoming flesh in her. Its prominent position serves as a constant reminder to the faithful in the Archdiocese to emulate the example of the Blessed Mother to obey and trust God explicitly in carrying out the Mission of building up the Local Church and proclaiming His Word of Salvation to all.

The mountain = The outline of Mt Kinabalu signifies the location of the Diocese in Sabah, Malaysia. It symbolises  Mt Zion the mountain where God has constituted Jesus Christ as King.

The two-barred Cross = This is placed behind the shield. It relates to the processional cross and the jurisdiction it symbolises. Besides being just a symbol of Christianity, the cross is to honour and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Heart = This image of the heart is taken from the official emblem of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kota Kinabalu, the seat of the Archbishop. The heart comes in two parts: the red side represents the Sacred Heart of Jesus while the blue side represents the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The twin hearts signify the richness and depth of their inner lives, especially their love for the Father and all His creatures. May this close bond between Jesus and Mary be an inspiration for all people to live a life of holiness and to have a selfless love for God and neighbour.

Hat and Tassels = Traditional signs of the Office of the Metropolitan Archbishop. The intertwining of the cords that link the hat with ten tassels reflects the close unity of the local Church with the Universal Church; depicting the local Church being always in communion and in obedience to the Holy Father.

The Pallium = A circular strip of white wool, about two and one-half inches wide from which two short bands, made of same material, hang down over the chest and the back, ending with black silk pendants, is decorated with six crosses of black taffeta, four placed in the circle and the two others in the hanging bands. Besides indicating a superior episcopal authority and dignity, it is also a symbol of communion with the Church. Placed on the shoulders of the prelate, it symbolises the profound humility of the Saviour and the erring sheep that the Good Shepherd places on his shoulders to bring back to the flock. The four crosses symbolise the cardinal virtues of justice, fortitude, temperance and prudence; the two hanging bands symbolise the active life of Martha and the contemplative one of Mary. It is displayed below the shield.

Motto = The prelate’s motto is based on the three theological virtues of Christian life – faith (iman), love (kasih) and hope (harapan). It is a reminder to him to see that the faithful would live, grow and persevere in faith to the end, nourishing it with the word of God, working through charity and abounding in hope, rooted in the sacraments and rich traditions of the Catholic Church and at the same time, fulfilling the Mission and Vision of the Archdiocese.


Green: Official colour of the Metropolitan Archbishop, signifies the rich traditions and teachings of the Church kept alive by the Holy Spirit throughout the ages until the present age and time.

Gold: (two-barred cross) illustrates the glory that comes to those who are faithful to the message and values of the Kingdom of God.

Red: (fiat and Mt Kinabalu) courage to preach the Gospel in all situations and under all circumstances

Light Blue: (background of the upper part of the shield) colour of the Blessed Mother

White: associated with the Holy Spirit often depicted in the form of a dove; purity of heart, the process of sanctification of the people through the power of God.

Yellow: (background of the lower part of the shield) signifies the glory of God that is everlasting and that wraps round Mt Kinabalu, an image of the Rock from whom the faithful of the Archdiocese draw their power and strength.


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