Pope Francis has praised the ‘faithful witness’ & ‘generous service’ of Malaysian Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, who passed away this week.

He did so in a telegram of condolence for the death, on Oct. 28 of Malaysia’s first cardinal to the current Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Julian Leow Beng Kim, expressing his sadness to him, the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, who are grieving the late cardinal.

ZENIT English’s Senior Vatican Correspondent sat down with Cardinal Soter in Casa Santa Marta when he was named cardinal in 2016. Her conversation with the warm and kind church leader left an impression, whose being a good shepherd was immediately apparent. The humble prelate even insisted after the interview to go for an espresso on Via della Conciliazione with Lubov and his assistant, among the tourists and pilgrims. She also remembers the sweet, gentle cardinal sweetly taking her hand during the consistory when she was greeting the new cardinals. During subsequent trips to Rome, he always gave greetings and also remembered the correspondent’s wedding, even bringing something from Malaysia for her and her husband with a card. During the most recent visit, the Malaysian Cardinal told her “this may be my last visit to Rome,” but encouraged her to visit Malaysia.

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