Cardinal Sim laid to rest in Brunei

Cardinal Sim laid to rest in Brunei

A funeral Mass for Brunei’s first Catholic Cardinal Cornelius Sim is held at the Church f Our Lady of Assumption on June 15, 2021. SCREENSHOT/BRUNEI VICARIATE

By Patricia Escaño

June 16, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Brunei’s first cardinal, Cornelius Sim, was laid to rest Tuesday, following a funeral service attended by hundreds people.

The Mass was presided by Fr. Robert Leong, the vicariate administrator and attended by the cardinal’s family members and parishioners.

Some foreign dignitaries and other Christian leaders also attended the funeral held at the Our Lady of Assumption Church.

In his homily, Fr. Arin Sugit paid tribute to the cardinal, “who touched the lives of many of us” in his ministry.

“I guess his greatest legacy is his love for the poor… and his love for the youth,” said Sugit, the youngest of the vicariate’s only three priests.

Sim, who served the Church in Brunei for more than three decades, died on May 29 in a Taiwan hospital where he was seeking treatment for cancer. He was 69.

His remains arrived in Brunei on June 14, and a wake was held overnight.

Sin was interred at the Christian Cemetery in Kuala Belait, a town in the westernmost part of Brunei.

Born in 1951, Sim was ordained Brunei’s first local priest in 1989.

When St. John Paul II separated Brunei from the Diocese of Miri-Brunei and established the Apostolic Prefecture of Brunei, he appointed Sin as its first prefect.

In 2004, the pope raised Brunei to the rank of Apostolic Vicariate and appointed Sim as its first Apostolic Vicar.

In 2005, he was appointed bishop and in November 2020, Pope Francis created him a cardinal.

On May 6, a day before he left for Taiwan, the cardinal celebrated Mass with his flock and told them about his treatment plan, which was supposed to take 6 months.

Among his last words were: “God has opened the door and so when he opens doors, it’s better to walk through them”.

“On May 29, our good God has opened the door for our beloved Cardinal Sim to enter, and he walked through it,” said an emotional Sugit.


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