Cardinal Fernandez, the empowering catalyst

Malaysian Catholics have been saddened by the demise of His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez. Our dear Cardinal Fernandez needs no introduction as many of you would have heard about him or would have even had the chance to meet him during his service as the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.

Fondly known for his humility and simplicity, Cardinal Fernandez always brought a fatherly warmth to all he met. He was a pioneer in showing the clergy and laity that the actual call of service is beyond the gates of a church building. 

I am given to understand that Cardinal Fernandez strongly supported and empowered lay persons to build the local Church. He encouraged and enabled the development of social communications in the Archdiocese and country.

This was evident when he appointed a lay person to head the Archdiocesan Social Communications Ministry, during his service as the Archbishop. This appointment was indeed a first-time purposeful departure from the norm of selecting clergy as ministry heads.

As Archbishop, His Eminence gave importance to meeting journalists and media practitioners from the mainstream media for the annual World Communications Day. He supported and encouraged regional cooperation with international organisations such as SIGNIS and CAMECO.

In many ways, Cardinal Fernandez was a testimony to the teachings of the Faith: from being a good shepherd and leading by example, to supporting and empowering the marginalised and developing programmes for them, to championing human rights and being unafraid to denounce injustice.

With an eminent track record, his legacy will live on in the continuing service of the Church to the people.

Cardinal Fernandez will long be cherished and honoured in those he has touched, enriched and empowered.

Karen Arukesamy
SIGNIS Malaysia | 30 October 2020