SIBU – Msgr Joseph Hii Teck Kwong was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Sibu on 1 May in a solemn High Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Msgr Hii was ordained by the Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. Assisting him were Bishop Dominic Su and Archbishop John Ha. Eleven other Archbishops/Bishops joined in the ordination Mass together with over 50 priests.
The Mass was attended by over 5000 Catholics who had come from far and near. A CCTV was set up to allow the thousands who were seated outside to participate more meaningfully in the ordination Mass.
After the singing of the ancient hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ invoking the Holy Spirit, the rite of ordination began with the reading of the Papal Bull (mandate from the Pope) by Fr Alphonsus Tang. The congregation gave their consent with a thunderous applause.
This was followed by the homily of Archbishop Pennacchio who reminded the Bishop-elect that the title of Bishop is one of service, not of honour, and to love all whom God has placed under his care.
The examination of the Bishop-elect on matters of the faith was followed by the Litany of the Saints. The Archbishops and Bishops then laid their hands on the Bishop-elect followed by the prayer of ordination. This action is a sign of the admittance of Msgr Hii into the College of Bishops.
The newly-ordained Bishop was then anointed with chrism and presented with the Book of the Gospel. This was followed by the handing over of the ring, the mitre and the staff. The ring signifies the Bishop’s fidelity to the Church, the mitre signifies his resolve to pursue holiness, and the staff signifies his duty to watch over the whole flock.
Then the newly-ordained Bishop was led to his chair and the ordination rite concluded with the kiss of peace by all the Archbishops and Bishops present.
Before the final blessing, Bishop Hii spoke and thanked everyone for their presence, prayers and support. He also asked the Apostolic Delegate to convey the love and support of the Church of Sibu to the Holy Father.
The celebrations continued with a grand dinner in the evening at the Sacred Heart School Hall in which the different parishes and groups presented items of entertainment. The Apostolic Delegate also presented a token of appreciation to Teresa Wong, the mother of the new Bishop. His father, Paul Hii, had passed away in 2003.
Bishop Hii comes from a big family of eight. After his schooling, he entered St Peter’s College in 1986 and was ordained priest on 25 March 1993 together with Fr Alphonsus Tang and Fr Andrew Tan.
He served in two parishes before being sent to Rome for further studies in 1997. After successfully obtaining a licentiate in spiritual theology, he returned two years later and was posted to Kapit where he worked diligently for eight years. He was also responsible for building the new church in Kapit. On 25 January 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Sibu.
The Diocese of Sibu was erected in 1987. It is made up of 11 parishes with over 100,000 Catholics, 18 priests and five seminarians.
Bishop Hii is the second Bishop to be ordained from St Peter’s College, Kuching. The first was Bishop Julius Dusin of Sandakan. Bishop Hii is currently serving in St Francis Xavier’s Parish, Kanowit.
Here are some comments about the ordination:
“It was definitely a proud and happy moment for me! It reflects the continuing growth of our diocese which currently has more than 100,000 Catholics served by 11 parishes.” Bishop Dominic Su
“I am very touched by this occasion. I experienced the joy of God’s love for us. I am also proud that Bishop Hii is the parish priest of St Francis Xavier, Kanowit.”
Tony Benjamin, parishioner from Kanowit
“For the past eight and a half years that he has served us in Kapit, Apai Hii, as he is better known, has brought about lots of positive changes. I am happy to hear that in his maiden speech, the new Bishop promised humble service to the people of God. In this manner, he will be able to serve the people well and be a loving and caring spiritual father to all of us.” Jacky Ling, parishioner from Kapit
Fr Richard Ng
Description of the Coat of Arms
of Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Hii Teck Kwong
1 The “chief” of the shield is in blue (Azure) which symbolises the separation from the worldly values and the ascent of the soul towards God; therefore the run of the Celestial Virtues which raise themselves from the things of the earth towards the sky from where the Holy Spirit (the dove) comes to us. The dove is sided by the Morning Star, symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary and by the fleur de lis (the lily in heraldic shape) symbol of St Joseph; this to emphasise the marriage and the family.
2 The key and the sword recall St Peter and St Paul and the stand on a red (gules) background; this is because red is the colour of the blood of martyrdom.
3 The enflamed spear recalls St Theresa d’Avila and comes from the words said by her during the mystical ecstacy with the Angel while the tongue of fire symbolises St John of the Cross these two Saints, both Doctors of Spirituality, underline the spiritual life of the Church, the vocation to Holiness.
4 In the saints’ iconography, the rose stands for St Theresa of Lisieux and the gold (or) and black (sable) checker field comes from the coat of arms of St Francis Xavier; these two saints emphasise the missionary aspect of the Church.
ECCLESIA SPONSA CHRISTI
‘CHURCH, BRIDE OF CHRIST’