Penang Diocese Gets New Bishop

Msgr Sebastian Francis, 61, the current vicar-general of the Melaka-Johor diocese was appointed the new Bishop of Penang on 7th July 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Episcopal ordination of Bishop-Elect Sebastian Francis is expected to be held on 20 August 2012 at the Church of St. Anne, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

Born on 11 November 1951, Bishop-Elect Sebastian Francis was ordained priest on 28 July 1977. He served as the vicar-general in Melaka-Johor diocese for 9 years under Bishop Emeritus James Chan and subsequently under Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing.

The Bishop-Elect will replace Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam, 77. Bishop Emeritus Selva as he is fondly known, has served as Bishop of Penang for 29 years until his resignation that was only accepted recently by the Holy See. The Code of Canon Law provides that all bishops are asked to submit their resignations at the age 75. However it is up to the Holy See to decide whether these resignations will be accepted.

The Penang Diocese, established in 1955 covers the northern states in Peninsular Malaysia of Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Kelantan to the east of Peninsular Malaysia.

Bishop-Elect Sebastian Francis will be the fifth Bishop of the Penang Diocese. His predecessors include the late Bishop Francis Chan (1955-1967), the late Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong (1967-1977), Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez (1977-1983) and Bishop Emeritus Selva (1983-2012). 

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