BSC KUCHING: The Catholic community reacted with much grief and sadness when news broke of the passing of Rev Fr Dato Lawrence Chua at 7.13pm on 24 October, at the Normah Medical Centre in Kuching.

Prayer groups, many from Blessed Sacrament Parish, had been holding prayer vigils and online prayer sessions for him since the announcement that he was diagnosed with COVID-19 several weeks ago while in Mukah, and later transferred to Bintulu General Hospital. By the grace of God, Fr Chua recovered well enough to make the trip back to Kuching where he had wished to continue his treatment.

Fr Lawrence Chua was born in Mukah, Sarawak, Malaysia on 5 September 1935 to William Chua Thamby and Josephine Eyaw Chai Luan. His fateful decision to continue his secondary school studies in Kuching led to his vocation to the priesthood.

He was ordained a priest by the Vicar Apostolic of Kuching, Bishop John Vos, D.D.C.B.E. on 13 December 1964 in his hometown of Mukah, becoming the first Sarawak local-born to be ordained a priest. To celebrate this historic and memorable occasion, Fr Chua’s family chartered an MSA twin pioneer aircraft to ferry the Vicar Apostolic, 13 Mill Hill priests, and 13 Franciscan nuns to accompany him to his hometown.

Fr Lawrence Chua officially retired from active ministry in 2017 after serving 53 years in the Lord’s vineyard, although his doors remained open to serve whenever there was a need for it. He had served as Rector of Blessed Sacrament Church from 2003 until his retirement in 2017.

PROFILE of Fr Lawrence Chua
Date/Place of Birth: 5 September 1935, Mukah, Sarawak, Malaysia
Citizenship : Malaysian
Domicile : Sarawak
First Language: Chinese (Hokkien) mother tongue
Written : English, Latin, Bahasa Melaysia
Spoken : Mandarin, Hakka, Melanau, Bidayuh, Iban
Studied : Italian

Primary : Sacred Heart School, Mukah, Sarawak
Secondary : St. Joseph’s School, Kuching
Overseas Cambridge Junior School Certificate 1953
Overseas Cambridge Senior School Certificate 1955
Overseas Cambridge Higher School Certificate (Private Candidate, Singapore) 1958
St. Peter’s Preparatory Seminary, Kuching 1952 – 1955
Tertiary : St. Francis Xavier’s Minor Seminary, Singapore, 1956 – 1958
Preparatory studies for Roman Catholic priesthood
General College, Major Seminary Penang, Malaysia: 1959 – 1960
Philosophy, Sacred Scripture and allied subjects: 1961-1964
Theology (dogmatic & Moral), Sacred Scripture, Law & allied subjects

Ordination: Graduated – December 1964
Ordained Priest – 13 December 1963

Fu-jen Jesuit Chinese Language Institute, Hsinchu, Taiwan: 1969, 6 months’ Course in Mandarin

Jesuit Gregorian University, Rome Italy: August 1975 — June 1977
Graduated 1977 (June) with Masters (Hons.) in Theology (Oral & Written Examinations) & Teaching Licentiate (STL)

1965 – 1966 : Vice-Rector, St. Teresa’s Church, Serian, Sarawak covering 2nd Division (Bandar Sri Aman)
1966 – May 1967 : Assistant Rector, St. Joseph’s Church, Kuching
1967 – 1969 : Vice-Rector, St. Anne’s Church, 10 Mile, Kuching
School Supervisor, St. Lucas’ School, Kuching
1970 – 1971 : Rector, St. Peter’s Church, Padungan, Kuching
1971 – 1972 : Rector, St. Peter’s Preparatory Seminary, Kuching
1972 – 1975 : Rector, Holy Trinity Church, Kenyalang Park, Kuching covering 7 Mile area
1974 (May) – 1975 (July): Vicar-General to Bishop Charles Rieterer
1975 – 1977 : Pursued Masters degree in Theology (STL) Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome, Italy
1977 (Sept.) – 1979 (Aug.) : Vicar-General & Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Kuching
1979 (Aug.) – 1981 : Professor of Theology (Ecclesiology & Homiletics) General College, Penang, Malaysia
1982 – 1984 : Vice-Rector of and then Rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching, Sarawak
1984 – 1986 : Member of State of Sarawak Social Planning Board, appointed by the Chief Minister of Sarawak
1985 – 1986 : Missionary service in Diocese of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, based in St. John’s Church, Tuaran, Sabah
1986 – 1988 (May) : Professor of Theology (Ecclesiology & Christology) St. Francis Xavier’s Major Seminary, Singapore
1988 (June) – 2002 : Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Kenyalang Park, Kuching, Sarawak
1997-2017 : Chairman, Board of Management St Joseph’s School, Kuching
2003 (February) : Rector, Blessed Sacrament Church, Kuching
2017: Retired, Blessed Sacrament Church, Kuching

1979 (Dec.) : Sijil Khidmat Bakti ( State Board of Adult Education, Sarawak)
1982 (June) : ABS (Ahli Bintang Sarawak)
1988 (August) : PTJ (Pingat Terpuji Jubli Perak)
1995 (September) : JBS (Johan Bintang Sarawak)
2007: PSBS (Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak)

The urn, containing Fr Lawrence Chua’s ashes lays in state at his much treasured ‘Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto’ which he had lovingly erected at the Blessed Sacrament Church, in honour of the Blessed Mother Mary. Parishioners can follow the Wake Prayers for Fr Chua via live-streaming videos from the grotto.

Live – streaming schedule:

Wake Prayers

25 Oct
YouTube:  FB:

26 Oct

27 Oct

Funeral Mass & Burial from St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching

28 Oct

A special Virtual Condolence Book has been set up here:

You may also like to view Fr Lawrence Chua’s Retirement Dinner again:

By Ivy Chai