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KUCHING, Oct 24: Reverend Father Dato Lawrence Chua passed away at 7.13pm at Normah Sarawak Medical Centre here today, at the age of 86.
Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Fr Simon Poh, in an obituary notice earlier, said Fr Chua was admitted to Mukah Hospital in early September as a Covid-19 patient. He was subsequently transferred to Bintulu General Hospital and eventually to Normah Sarawak Medical Centre.
“The Archbishop of Kuching and the clergy of the Archdiocese would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family members of the late Fr Dato Lawrence Chua in this time of loss and are united with them in fraternal prayer and support.
“We invite the clergy, religious and faithful to remember Rev Fr Lawrence Chua in your prayers,” he lamented.
The schedule for wake prayers and masses for Fr Chua, in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be announced after all arrangements have been finalised.
Born on Sept 5, 1935, Fr Chua grew up in Mukah and completed his secondary school education at St Joseph’s School, Kuching after which he entered the Preparatory Seminary in 1952.
From there, he studied for the priesthood at St Francis Xavier’s Minor Seminary, Singapore (1956-1958) and completed his seminary formation in General College Major Seminary, Penang, in 1964.
He was ordained as a priest on Dec 13, 1964. After his ordination, Fr Chua served in many parishes before he left Kuching in 1975 to pursue a Masters’ degree in Theology (STL) at Jesuit Gregorian University, Rome.
Upon his return from Rome in 1977, he assumed responsibilities as Vicar General and Rector at Holy Trinity Parish and St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching. He taught as Professor of Theology in College General Penang (1979-1981), followed by missionary service in St.John’s Church, Tuaran in the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu (1985-986) and then as Professor of Theology in St Francis Xavier’s Major Seminary, Singapore (1886-1988).
Fr Chua left his mark in the last two parishes in Kuching that he had faithfully served — Holy Trinity Parish, Kenyalang Park (1988-2002) and Blessed Sacrament Parish, BDC (2003-2017). He retired from active ministry in 2017 and continued to reside at the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Kuching.
For his contribution to the Church in Sarawak, among the awards received from the State government, he was awarded the Penglima Setia Bintang Sarawak which carries the title, Dato’. Fr Chua will be greatly missed and remembered by many. — Dayakdaily