Founder's Message

Looking Back

Ceclia FernandezBy Ceclia Fernandez

[Editor's note: Ceclia Fernandez is a founder member and the first President of The Catholic Lawyers' Society Kuala Lumpur]

At a gathering of the Catholic Press and journalists sometime in early 1990 at Cardign House in Kuala Lumpur to which I was invited as an observer, His Grace Archbishop Soter Fernandez seeing me remarked "The Catholic doctors have long formed their own association, why haven't the Catholic Lawyers formed one?" The seed was sown; I became interested. The question was who would take the initiative. Having sounded a few eminent catholic lawyers and not getting a positive response, I took a rather bold step at the spur of the moment.

In March 1992 after a brief discussion with Dato Dr. Peter Mooney, I wrote to about 30 lawyers with Christian names who I selected from the legal directory explaining to them the need for establishing a Catholic Lawyers' Society for the purpose, inter alia, of sanctifying our lives, our professional lives so that our service to society would have a Christian stamp, characterised by justice and truth.

At the time of writing the letter, I had in mind the challenge of the oath I took at my call to the Bar to "speak the truth and nothing but the truth" before the judge. We know too well that the Rule of Law is not always in the Spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore I felt that, we as a body of Catholic Lawyers' need to be rooted in the Word, Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Way and the Life. And we need one another, we need to unite and pray and serve one another. I found the Catholic Lawyers' Society to be a united force for the good of all the lawyers, the Church and the society.

The First Meeting

Looking back to my letter, twelve lawyers responded and attended the first meeting which was held at Dato Dr. Peter Mooney's residence on 23rd March 1992. All present at the meeting unanimously approved the establishment of the Catholic Lawyers' Society and a pro-tem committee was set up, regular meetings were held and the Catholic Lawyers' Society was registered by the Registrar of Societies on 7th October 1994. It was a great day for us. God has blessed the efforts of the 12 original members, sincere, generous in service and united in purpose.

His Grace Archbishop Soter Fernandez gave us his unstinting guidance, encouragement and above all his blessings. I am most grateful to him. More blessings; our Spiritual Director Rev. Fr. O.C. Lim SJ was once a prominent lawyer. His advice and spiritual directions given to us are invaluable.

The Future

There is much work to be done. We hope for more young lawyers to join the Society. The future of the Catholic Lawyers' Society depends on them as witnesses of Christ, working for justice and peace. The membership currently stands at about 90.


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