Trib­ute to a per­son­able priest

Fa­ther O.C. Lim will al­ways be re­mem­bered as a car­ing priest and friend to all.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - People - By SHEELA CHANDRAN lifestyle@thes­tar.com.my

A RE­SPECTED priest, with a voice for jus­tice, and a true friend. Those were among the words used to de­scribe the late Rev­erend Fa­ther Lim Ooi Chai, who passed away June 5.

Fondly re­ferred to as Fa­ther O.C., the well-known priest was ad­mit­ted to a hospi­tal in Kuala Lumpur early May and had been show­ing signs of im­prove­ment dur­ing his post-sur­gi­cal care.

His sud­den pass­ing was due to his ear­lier aor­tic dis­sec­tion and aneurysm.

He was 76.

Lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh said he al­most col­lapsed when he heard the news.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it be­cause I was with him five hours be­fore he passed away. I was in tears be­cause I had promised him we’d catch up again af­ter his re­cov­ery,” said Jagjit, 75.

Jagjit and Fa­ther Lim had been friends since 1969. They were cham­ber­ing stu­dents and had been the best of pals.

“Be­fore he joined the priest­hood, we used to hang out all the time. He was one per­son who res­onated the mean­ing of a true friend. I will miss him so much,” said Jagjit.

Fa­ther Lim was the el­dest son of busi­ness ty­coon Lim Foo Yong. He gave up his suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a lawyer when he re­ceived a call­ing to join the So­ci­ety of Je­sus (Je­suits) in 1985. He served as a priest with Pe­tal­ing Jaya’s St Fran­cis Xavier (SFX) church, pro­fess­ing his fi­nal vow as a priest in 1997.

Scott Ng, 32, who was pres­i­dent of the SFX al­tar boy so­ci­ety in 2005, re­mem­bers Fa­ther Lim as a priest and friend.

“Fa­ther O.C. was a spe­cial priest. Not only was he ap­proach­able, kind and friendly, he was also very in­volved in the church min­istries, work­ing well with young peo­ple.

“You didn’t feel a gen­er­a­tion gap with him, es­pe­cially since he could also talk Pre­mier League foot­ball,” said Ng, be­fore adding that Fa­ther Lim texted him every year on his wed­ding an­niver­sary.

“I was an al­tar boy in church and yet here was a priest who re­mem­bered me. He had that per­son­able char­ac­ter, al­ways mak­ing sure he kept in touch,” added Ng.

Fa­ther Lim held var­i­ous po­si­tions in­clud­ing di­rec­tor of the Catholic Re­search Cen­tre (a re­source and pub­li­ca­tion cen­tre un­der the Arch­bishop of Kuala Lumpur), ed­i­tor of Catholic Asian News, and spir­i­tual di­rec­tor of the

Catholic Lawyers So­ci­ety Malaysia.

Apart from his pas­toral du­ties, Fa­ther Lim is re­mem­bered as an out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate for jus­tice, said Catholic Lawyers So­ci­ety Malaysia past pres­i­dent Datuk Joy Ap­pukut­tan, 55.

“I met up with him not too long ago be­fore his hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion. I felt his pain when he had to use so much en­ergy to speak (be­cause of his ail­ment). I miss a friend, a con­fi­dant, a le­gal ad­vi­sor and most im­por­tantly, a priest,” said Joy, 55, who has known Fa­ther Lim for over 35 years.

Joy also wrote a five-page trib­ute – Man Of All Sea­sons – to Fa­ther Lim in The Catholic Lawyers So­ci­ety Malaysia’s web­site.

In the poignant eu­logy, Joy shared how Fa­ther Lim openly spoke up against so­ci­etal and po­lit­i­cal in­jus­tices.

“To demon­strate his sup­port against the vi­o­la­tion of var­i­ous hu­man rights, he would join can­dle­light vig­ils and ral­lies.

“In 2007, he was present at the Malaysian Bar’s Walk of Jus­tice in Pu­tra­jaya to show sol­i­dar­ity with Malaysians against op­pres­sive laws,” said Joy.

Jagjit said he will es­pe­cially miss his friend’s warm and in­fec­tious per­son­al­ity.

“You can never find a man like him be­cause he’s sin­cere and kind-hearted,” says Jagjit.

John Chin, 76, Fa­ther Lim’s Form Four class­mate at Kuala Lumpur’s St John’s In­sti­tu­tion, will cher­ish fond mem­o­ries of his friend.

“Although Fa­ther O.C. came from a wealthy fam­ily, he was never stand-off­ish. He was a friendly chap and never boast­ful.

“We kept in touch for years, even when he was un­der­go­ing his stud­ies in phi­los­o­phy and the­ol­ogy at the Ate­neo de Manila Univer­sity and Loy­ola School of The­ol­ogy in Manila. No mat­ter how busy he was, he al­ways made time for friends,” said Chin, a for­mer IT con­sul­tant.

Fa­ther O.C. Lim, 1943-2020

— Filepix

Fa­ther Lim was ded­i­cated to serv­ing the church.

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