ASIA/MALAYSIA - In a book, the spirituality and missionary legacy of the first Malaysian Cardinal

Saturday, 9 April 2022 cardinals   mission   evangelization  

Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - The spirituality, the "lesson and missionary legacy" of the first Cardinal of Malaysia are contained in a book entitled: "The Cardinal: The Life and Times of His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez". The project of the publication, to commemorate the contribution left to the local Church by the figure of Cardinal Fernandez, was led by E. Samson, with an editorial staff made up of people who worked closely with Cardinal Soter, who passed away on October 28, 2020, at the age of 88. "Cardinal Soter’s vision was so pastorally oriented as leader of the Church, not only in Malaysia but also in the region. He had a vision that was so farsighted. He did not think in a singular way but thought holistically. He did not just have one focus in mind, he had many things that built up the Church", said Samson the author, at the launch in recent days, at the Stella Maris International School in Damansara.
The book contains tributes and memories from the young and old, featuring people from all walks of life and different religious backgrounds as well as those whose lives that the Cardinal touched in one way or another.
Father Clarence Devadass, Director of Catholic Research Centre, who expressed gratitude for the gift of Cardinal Soter "whose life touched the hearts of many and left memories to last a life time". "May this book not only inspire many but also be a tool to spread love, joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness. Help us all to grow closer and nurture the bonds of community, values that Cardinal Soter exemplified by his life", said Father Clarence.
In his speech, Dato' Richard Robless, Chairman of the Board of the Yayasan Tan Sri Dominic Vendargon Foundation, which manages Catholic private educational institutions, spoke about the inspiration and legacy of Cardinal Soter which was the impetus behind the formation of the Stella Maris group of schools.
"In 1987 - recalled Robless - the then Archbishop Soter had conveneda conference amongst Catholic educators, religious teaching congregations and lay persons, at the Infant Jesus Convent in Cheras, to discuss the situation and circumstances surrounding Christian mission schools, and to discern the Church’s mission and response to the changes and challenges that were taking shape. The conference resulted in the formation of the Malaysian Catholic Education Council and, subsequently, the birth of the Archdiocese’s agenda in private education". "The first Stella Maris School - he continued - opened its doors in 1994 in Jalan Robertson, Pudu. Encouraged by the success of this first school, Archbishop Soter initiated the incorporation of Yayasan Tan Sri Dominic Vendargon to control and house under one roof, all of the Archdiocese’s interests in private education. The Foundation today owns and operates four private schools, including one that offers an international curriculum,"said Dato' Richard Robless. "The schools stand brightly lit as stars born from the burning desire and quest of one man. This is his legacy. This is his testament. And while we may have lost our mentor, we look at what he has left and we stand thankful and grateful to God for this great and loyal servant of His", he added. "His vision for education was something close to his heart. And despite all the handicaps and challenges that we were confronted with, he always encouraged us on. He used to say, whatever your cross, whatever your pain, workin the Lord’s vineyard will always be very difficult. But be encouraged for He will always be with you", he concluded.
The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Julian Leow, speaking at the presentation and praising the initiative of such a publication, expressed the hope that "the book will serve as a historic legacy for the younger generation, and for those who may not have had the opportunity of knowing Cardinal Soter. Let us continue to keep alive this legacy that Cardinal Soter has left us. Let it not die but let it continue to grow and to bloom. And to take the Church in Malaysia to the next level. Inter-faith dialogue and ecumenism were foremost in Cardinal Soter’s mind, to build the Church and to contribute to the growth of this nation", concluded Archbishop Julian. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 9/4/2022)