JOHOR BAHRU: Msgr Anthony Bernard Paul from the Diocese of Penang has been appointed the new Bishop of Melaka-Johor Diocese by Pope Francis on November 19.
The Holy Father accepted the resignation presented by Bp. Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ from the pastoral governance of the diocese of Melaka-Johor, Malaysia, in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law, and appointed Rev. Anthony Bernard Paul, presently parish priest of the Cathedral and Vicar for Pastoral Care of the Diocese Penang, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Melaka-Johor.
Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia made the announcement at 7.00pm.
Msgr Bernard was born in Kuala Lumpur on July 6, 1953. After completing his education, he entered the seminary in Penang and was ordained a priest on July 21, 1989.
He has served in almost all the states in the Penang Diocese except for Kelantan. After his ordination, he was posted to St Mary’s Church Tapah as assistant parish priest. Three years later, he was appointed parish priest of the same church. In 1995, he became the parish priest of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Butterworth.
In 1998, he became the administrator of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Penang and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kulim, Kedah. One year later, he was the parish priest of Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Kulim until 2005.
Then he served for five years as the Parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes in Silibin, Ipoh.
From 2010 until now he has been the parish priest of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang.
Besides his tenure as a parish pastor, Bishop-elect Bernard has also served as the Vocation Director in 1996 and in 2006 as the Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission.
He was appointed Vicar-general of the Diocese under two bishops. His first was under Bishop Antony Selvanayagam from 1997-2000 and later under Bishop Sebastian Francis from 2012 until present.
In July 2014, Msgr Bernard celebrated his 25 sacerdotal anniversary at the Holy Spirit Cathedral.
Pedro Geronimo, the PPC chairman of the parish described Msgr Bernard as “a man of vision and highly organised. Through his vision for our parish we have run many effective and powerful programmes. Our youth are also blessed to have a parish priest who is caring and friendly.
Bishop Sebastian has described him as “a Father, Priest, Shepherd, Friend, Confessor, …” an Enabler, a Disciplinarian and a Fun Guy.
For many, the bishop-elect is known as a humble and open priest. – Herald Malaysia