Sebastian Francis installed as Bishop of Penang


Close to 10000 people from all over the country flocked to Bukit Mertajam this evening to witness the episcopal ordination of Sebastian Francis as the fifth Bishop of the Penang Diocese.

They came as early as six hours before the ceremony many of them arriving in chartered buses.

The crowd broke out several times in spontaneous joyful applause when Sebastian was consecrated and anointed as their new Bishop in the presence of Archbishop of KL Diocese Murphy Pakiam, Johor-Malacca Diocese Bishop Paul Tan and outgoing Penang Bishop Antony Selvanayagam. Also present were Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez, who had once served as the third bishop of Penang, and priests and members of religious orders from all over the country.

The ceremony was meticulously organised by the parish of St Anne’s in Bukit Mertajam, the only church in the diocese with premises large enough to accommodate the crowd.

But even then, the organisers were overwhelmed by the the multitude that turned up: one of them said they had prepared dinner for 6000 people after the service, but 8000 had turned up for the occasion. A couple of observers each estimated the crowd inside and outside the church at 10000.

Choirs, brought in from Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church in Pulau Tikus, led the singing of lively popular hymns, accompanied by an organist from the same church.

One of the gifts at the offertory was the scales, symbolising Justice that comes from above. A powerful orator, Bishop Sebastian made stirring references to justice and peace and reminded the congregation of Jesus’ words: “I have overcome the world”.

In a nod towards inclusiveness, the new Bishop reached out to differently abled group using sign language and acknowledged the presence of people of other faiths.

Towards the end, Bishop Sebastian delivered a special Raya greeting to Muslim friends and added, “Maaf Zahir dan Batin”, an early indication that his tenure could see openness towards inter-religious dialogue.

A few thousand people packed the church while outside on the church grounds and corridors, thousands more followed proceedings from afar.

One Johor resident said after the Mass, “No matter who you ask, few people will have anything negative to say about the new bishop.”

Among those in the congregation were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and federal Deputy Minster of Information, Communication and Culture Maglin Dennis D’ Cruz.

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John Benet

1. Congratulation to Penang Catholic – Sebastian Francis installed as 5th Bishop of Penang
2. Nice to see Rt. Rev. Bishop Dominic Su represent Sibu Diocese
3. To Bro. GK, please repent


Dear GK, I have to thank you for your comments on me. Anyway, if there is no debates no solutions. You are excercising your fundamental rigths to express your point of view as I already mentioned earlier, no one hurts when we comment on other religions and their religious values. I think you are psychological effected by my comments, that is why you state derogatory remarks on me by saying i am stupid, I am sorry if my words are disturbed your mind and soul. Bro, there is no surrender from me, your derogatory remark made me feel more constant… Read more »

Gerakan K

Don’t know whether the commenting system is Ok or not, anyway this is a reply to @williameethiah williameethiah: “No one in this world has seen GOD” I don’t know about you but your comment looks stupid and dumb. One god theory always puzzles me. Stop hiding in your coconut shell. Stop talking nonsense. Stop repeating what other western people theories. Stop insulting the mediums capable to see and act on behalf of god. Maybe my god is not your god. And please visit chinese temples to broaden your knowledge. Or visit temples in Thailand. Real world experiences need physical efforts… Read more »


My Greetings to GK, my beloved brother, If you are a un-educated man and no knowledge of other religion then i agree that you are not sure of other religion as well as thier values. No one is perfect, of course we all need comments in order to adjust and to correct our mistakes, but i see no single mistake in the recent FS ordination as bishop of Pinang. Brother GK, it is not only a great occasion but it is also a divine vocation for FS and he was chosed and declered in the name of divinity and it… Read more »


Personally Sebastian Francis has no significance to me, he is just another person serving his God in his capacity as Bishop. The comments drawn though, especially on the event treading on others’ religious sensitivity, border on absurdity and ridiculous moronic reasoning. Whose sensitivity has the ceremony of Ordination of a Catholic Bishop offended? Being held in a Church NOT a PUBLIC place with NO ONE being forced to attend, what is insensitive about the event ? Present were only Catholics and practicing faithfuls. Looks like narrow minded extremism and improperly educated folks with religiously narrow intolerance is still prevalent in… Read more »


My comment will have nothing to do with the above article. Just want to share this concept . The name is Zero Baht Shop found in Bangkok’s Prawet district (On Nut Soi 14 ) which allows customers to exchange recyclable waste for consumer goods. “It is to encourage people to separate their garbage , lessen the amount of garbage and to reduce costs of living “-Sompong Tancharoenpol of the Thailand Institute of Packaging and Recycling Management for Sustainable Environment And if implemented in Malaysian towns, drug addicts will not be scavenging garbage bins making the area messy and Alam Flora… Read more »


The huge crowds that turned up to witness Bishop Sebastian Francis installation as the new Bishop of Penang is an indication of the yearning for change among the lay people in the Penang Diocecse.They were overjoyed with the hope that things would be better for them in the coming years with their new bishop. There is so much to be done to return the Church as the church of the people where the people’s needs will be given top priority in keeping with the teachings of Jesus as contained in the Beatitudes. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit… Read more »


Dear Gerakan K,

Your comment suggest that you may not be familiar about the custom and believes of the Catholic people and meaning the ceremony represents to us. The Diocese of Penang is indeed blessed with great leaders, both in the past and now, and this is cause to praise and thank the Lord for His graces which He has poured out on our churches.

Andrew I

The only god he believes in is his own ego.

Gerakan K

OMG please don’t say like that !!!

See, I mention OM’G’. I do believe in god but that S.F. is not.

I believe religious things should be carried out in moderate fashion as we are in multi-racial + multi-religious society.


Would you dare tell that to your fellow M……. brother….


Ha you believe in god my goodness. Yes believing and becoming a wannabe to get the benefits and privileges that come with it. That is the lowest of low that you are even worse than an atheist.

Andrew I

Do not use God’s name in vain. Maybe you could start your own religion or join Boy George’s Church of the poisoned mind. Google it.

Gerakan K

Agama sesat ???


Agama sesat better than a wannabe with lies to his god

Gerakan K

Eh, just accept and never question ??? How about sensitivity of others ???


Are they not sensitive enough when they do it in their own church premises. You stupid idiot….

Andrew I

Are you asking and answering your own question?


Hey gerakan K “how about sensitivity of others”? WHAT … SENSITIVITY ARE YOU REFERRING TO ? …

Gerakan K

Sometimes it is difficult to talk to plain innocent mind like small children and you. The world is so ugly and wild. Yes, in real world there are groups waiting to exploit it for whatever agenda they have in mind. Election is coming. Take care of yourself.

Andrew I

With you it’s not just sometimes, it’s all the time.


Gerakan K

Sadly but very clearly our education & other Govt-set systems have miserably failed if they produce some one with a narrow degenerate mind-set like yours. Now everyone can see the need for God when there are twits like this around.
Please dun try to ‘threaten” with: ‘Election is coming Take care of yourself’
You some kind of gangster?
Pleeeese …

Gerakan K

Tone down please. Why make this as celebrity event ???


GK The people has a right to their own celebration and custom and to celebrate wholehearted together whatsoever. Whether they make it into a celebrity event is their own business and none of yours as long as it does not interfere into others affairs.

Are you against others religion and race after becoming a wannabe. If not then shut up and dont act like an idiot.For your info I am not a Christian but a Buddhist and I will respect their religion and custom

anne sally

It is mass celebration and not a concert. So its best you keep your comments to yourself if you do not understand the significance of this holy event.

Gerakan K

So modern and democratic, eh ???


GK, Who should be toning down. Almost everyday I get that headache from your kind of tone. You know what I mean

Augustine Maha

Bishop Sebastian Francis-right man for the job! The diocese will benefit tremendously from his leadership and pastoral care. May God inspire, lead and guide him always in laying the foundations for a strong faith and good works for the greater glory of God and the welfare of the faithful.