New archbishop on a mission to help the people

Archbishop Julian Leow hopes to build up the church, society and perhaps play a small part in building up a peaceful and united nation.

Archbishop Julian Leow hopes to build up the church, society and perhaps play a small part in building up a peaceful and united nation.

PETALING JAYA: The new Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Most Rev Father Julian Leow Beng Kim’s (pic) first mission is to help four groups of people – the last, lost, least and the little.

“The last and the little are the youths, who should be given the tools to think, as we now live in a world where people are told what to do instead of thinking for themselves,” he said.

“The lost are those who have lapsed in their faith, while the least are migrants and the poor whose rights have been trampled upon,” he said.

Fr Julian added that he would view things “from the inside out” and get opinions and advice of the people around him before making any drastic changes.

“In order for us to be united and live in a peaceful country, everyone has to work together; and inter-religious dialogues to foster good ties with Malaysians of all races and religions, must continue,” he said.

In churches, he said, the congregation would be reminded to encourage and support children and young adults to better understand and commit themselves to the work of the church.

Fr Julian said this prior to his Episcopal Ordination and Installation as the 4th Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur today at the Church of the Holy Family in Kajang.

He replaces Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, who stepped down last year when he turned 75, the Catholic church’s retirement age as prescribed by Canon Law. He served for 10 years.

When told that Pope Francis has appointed him as the next Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Fr Julian said he was dumbstruck.

“I knew that my life would change forever.”

Fr Julian, 50, was born in Seremban and has two sisters and a brother.

At 12, he became an altar boy and was involved in several youth activities in church.

In Lower Six, he applied to study abroad but delayed his trip as he felt a calling to the priesthood.

“I found myself coming up with excuses not to go as I didn’t want to waste my parents’ money,” Fr Julian recalled. “However, I finally decided to go abroad after speaking to a La Salle brother.

“His advice to me was: If God wants you, he will get you sooner or later.”

With that, he left for Sydney for seven years and earned a degree in Building and even worked there.

Fr Julian said both his parents, who were initially unhappy about him being a priest, later grew to accept his decision.

On April 20, 2002, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and years later, was given the opportunity to teach at a Penang seminary.

On his new responsibility, Father Julian said he would accept it after dwelling on it through prayer.

He decided that he would take it one day at a time and meet his priests, be there for them and work with them.