Archbishop Wojciech Załuski, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia blesses the Catholic Archdiocesan Center in Kota Kinabalu on Nov 12. (Photo: Catholic Sabah)
The Vatican ambassador to Malaysia has urged Catholics in the country to generously help poor churches across Asia.
The Malaysian church’s financial aid was “generous in the development of the Church here [in Malaysia],” and they “should also continue to lend a helping hand to Catholics in poorer countries,” such as Timor-Leste, said Archbishop Wojciech Zaluski, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia and East Timor.
Archbishop Zaluski, also the Apostolic Delegate to Brunei, made the appeal while inaugurating the Catholic Archdiocesan Center (CAC) of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Nov. 12, reported todayscatholic.com, the archdiocesan news website.
The nuncio told the gathering that during his visit to Timor-Leste he came to know that some church facilities in the country were built with donations from Catholics of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
The Church leader said he was happy to learn Catholics in Kota Kinabalu contributed most funds needed for the Catholic Archdiocesan Center.
The three-storied building, equipped with a hall and chapel, cost 9.5 million Malaysian Ringgit (US$ 2.07 million).
Archbishop John Soo Kau Wong of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau, Sabah state's Deputy Chief Minister Joachim Gunsalam, and former Malaysian Ambassador to the Vatican Tan Sri Datuk Seri Bernard Giluk Dompok were also present during the event.
Archbishop Zaluski expressed hope that the archdiocesan center would “inspire and motivate the Catholic community in Malaysia to carry out the mission of the church even more enthusiastically.”
“Let this be a place to come to meet, work, discuss and motivate in the service of our faith,” said the nuncio during the event.
The center is located adjacent to the Sacred Heart Cathedral and will replace the Catholic Diocesan Center (CDC) at Taman Hiburan in Penampang which was in use since 1988. The CDC building will be repurposed as a center for priestly formation.
Archbishop Wong expressed hope that the center will aid in uniting the resources of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese and helping its various branches realize the full potential of their charisms.
The prelate also added that the CAC would help the people of Kota Kinabalu “in carrying out [their] mission as a 'caring communion of Christ-centred communities’ in this Archdiocese.”
“It is our desire to be a synodal Church that aims to walk forward in communion, carrying out our mission through the participation of the baptized,” Archbishop Wong said.
About 60 percent of 32 million Malaysian citizens are Muslims, 20 percent are Buddhists, 10 percent are Christians and 6 percent are Hindus, according to government data in 2018.
Christians are estimated to number 2.6 million and two-thirds of them are concentrated in Sabah and Sarawak states in the northern part of Borneo Island, where they make up about 30 percent of the population.
The Malaysian Church has 1.17 million Catholics in three archdioceses and six dioceses.