New Year, New Beginnings

In the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, the clergy transfers this month is the most anticipated event and a new beginning for many parishes.

Jan 08, 2022

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Faithfully Speaking - Julie Lim Seet Yin

Here we are at the beginning of another year. We always look forward to a new year because it is a new beginning and an opportunity for positive things to come. In the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, the clergy transfers this month is the most anticipated event and a new beginning for many parishes.

Clergy Transfers
Many of us were aware that a major clergy reshuffle was due in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Towards the end of 2021, when no announcement was made yet, parishioners, especially those who’re active in ministries, were eager to know who their incoming parish priest would be. Rumours and speculation were rife. Finally, when the Chancery Notice was published on November 19, 2021, all uncertainties were laid to rest.

Parishioners who were fond of their parish priest bid their pastor farewell with sadness in their hearts. They organised farewell luncheons or dinners for their priest, presented him with gifts, tucked cash-filled ang pow packets into his pockets, and gave him a grand send-off for being a good shepherd to the flock.

On the other hand, some parishioners are only too happy to see a priest leave. They may have their own reasons (which I shall not dwell into) and for those who have stopped serving in their parish for one reason or other, this is an opportunity for reconciliation, healing and to make a comeback.

Clergy transfers and reshuffles are part and parcel of how any diocese rolls. This is something we must accept as part of the process. Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Rev Julian Leow said that priest transfers were necessary “so that good pastors may be shared with other parishes too.”

In-coming parish priest at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist where I currently belong, is Fr Gerard Theraviam or ‘Fr GT’ as he is popularly known as. He used to be Administrator at the Church of St Anne in Port Klang where I grew up. A stone’s throw away, at the Church of St Anthony in Pudu, Fr Eugene Benedict is its in-coming assistant priest. Fr Eugene used to be Administrator at my childhood parish too. As a young adult under his tutelage, I learned a lot from him about pastoral matters. It was a pleasant surprise to read about their appointments in the Chancery Notice and I am blessed to have them as my parish priests again. This development highlights the importance of forging and maintaining healthy relationships with everyone because we never know when or how our paths may cross again. Don’t burn bridges.

All clergy transfers in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur are to take effect on Jan 10, 2022. As you read this, the clergy should have already completed the handover process and have moved to their new parish.

Clergy transfers are a great experience and learning opportunity, especially for priests who are being transferred from urban parishes to rural parishes, and vice versa. I suppose the learning curve could be steep, as managing and administering pastoral care in rural and urban parishes pose different sets of challenges. Assistant priests who are now ‘promoted’ to parish priests may feel jitters as they now have to manage on their own. Even though they no longer have a senior priest to look out for them, this is an opportunity to implement new ideas and to learn from the experience.

So, for this month, let us welcome our priests, continue to pray for them, and support them in their new appointment. New relationships are waiting to be built.

What the year holds for us
As at the start of every New Year, we don’t know how the year will pan out. At this point, we’re still battling the COVID-19 virus and there’s no end to this health threat. Some of us may have other things on our mind: Will there be job opportunities in the current economy? Will I be able to secure a job and provide for my family? Will there be natural disasters like the major floods in December that ravaged the Klang Valley and other states? With all these questions and uncertainties, we must find hope in God’s precious love and trust in Him that a great year lies ahead of us.

“During this new year, I resolve to begin a new life. I do not know what will happen to me during this year. But I abandon myself entirely to you, my God. And my aspirations and all my affections will be for You. I feel so weak, dear Jesus, but with Your help, I hope and resolve to live a different life, that is, a life close to You.” – St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

(Julie Lim Seet Yin believes that a satisfied life measured by one's heart, mind and soul is better than a successful life measured by worldly yardsticks. She works for a Japanese bank and is responsible for its Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. She serves in various church ministries and charities and can be reached at:

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