‘My Work Here At St Michael’s Is Over’: Rev Fr Fundes Motiung – 1965 – 2017

The remains of the late Reverend Father Fundes Motiung are at St Michael’s Church Penampang until Thursday before they are transferred to Sacred Heart Cathedral. – Photos from Facebook Fr Fundes

PENAMPANG: My work here at St Michael’s church is over – these were some of the last words of Reverend Father Fundes Motiung last Saturday, who passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 1, at 11.44am after a short battle with leukemia.


Fr Fundes who was on sick leave for several months now, went back to St Michael’s on Saturday for three reasons; one was to witness a donation from the federal government, and another was to visit the Penampang Youth Day (PYD) celebrations that was taking place, and to taste the food being prepared by the Angat brothers, Eddie and Armando and other volunteers.

On Sunday, as he was preparing to attend mass at Stella Maris where had had once served as Rector, he slipped and fell in the bathroom. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

Many had thought that it was yet another brief stay for Fr Fundes, who had been in and out of hospital for his leukemia treatment – but this time it was not to be.

At about 9pm Sunday, he complained of breathing difficulties and those who were by his bedside called for the doctor to attend to him.

Fr Fundes with Thomas Mumpin, centre, in Singapore last week where he had gone for a short visit and to get some treatment for his ailment. – Photo credit Thomas Mumpin

His blood pressure had dropped and the doctor said he had inflammation of the lungs. He also needed blood transfusion.

When Fr Fundes breathed his last Monday just before noon, his brother Fidelis was by his bedside.

According to Thomas Mumpin, who was a close aide of Fr Fundes in the last few months, on Saturday, Fr Fundes was at St Michael’s to witness the handing over of government funding – RM300,000 to St Michael and RM30,000 to St Bernard’s Chapel.

Fr Fundes with Fr Wilfred Atin, John Ambrose and others at St Michael’s on Saturday morning.

Both cheques were handed over by John Ambrose and received by the Fr Wilfred Atin, the new Rector. The donations were requested by Fr Fundes when he served as the Rector there.

After that he spent some time with participants of PYD before joining in for a meal.

Fr Fundes and John Ambrose chat with PYD participants at St Michael’s on Saturday. Eddie Angat is seen standing at left.

“While there he told me his work at St Michael’s was finally over,” said Thomas. “The new Rector must continue his duty to serve more for the people and for the church of St Michael.

“I have done what I could and the others can improve now. It is up to them,” Fr Fundes remarked. During his time, the church underwent a massive renovation which included a new roof and a new tower and belfry.

That too was completed only recently. The blessing was held on August 18, which he attended.

Fr Fundes was 52.

The remains of Fr Fundes are now at St Michael’s church until 10.00am Thursday. Thereafter, his body will be taken to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Sacred Heart where he will lay in state.

The requiem mass will be presided by His Grace Archbishop John Wong at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Friday at 10.00am.

He was born on November 19, 1965 at Kampung Kepayan. He was ordained a priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu on July 6, 1998.

He served the Catholic Church in Sabah for a total of 19 years, with his last posting at St Michael’s church.

The late Fr Fundes Facebook account was flooded with messages of condolences and photographs as word got out of his demise.

It also spread like wildfire on social media.

Fr Fundes’ only regret was not being able to see the new church – St Catherine Laboure church at Kg Dimbaan, Putatan completed.

Late last year he had confided to this writer that he had hoped to celebrate Easter Mass at the new church, but this was not to be. It is understood that lack of funds had delayed the completion of the church, which will now only be ready by next year.

A birthday celebration with his one-time assistant Rector, Fr Wiandigool Runsab, last month.

Those who knew the late priest described him as a selfless person.

“A faithful servant who is very clear of his mission to serve and love all people of God,” remarked Joseph Leong, chairman of the ArchDiocese of Kota Kinabalu Social Communications.

“He truly fought a good fight of faith to the end.”

“God loves u more my father fundes motiung,” wrote Renney Jessney Richaed on Facebook. “Rest in peace fr hensem.”

Most of those who commented on Fr Fundes passing had more or less the same message.

Eddie, who confessed that he became more connected to the church when Fr Fundes became its Rector said: “He opened my heart to assist the people and do work in church. He encouraged me to get involved in charity work. The time with him was just too short.”

He said he was glad to share a meal with Fr Fundes which he had cooked for the PYD participants on Saturday.

The remains of Fr Fundes at St Michael’s.

Fr Fundes in a Facebook posting on April 30, 2016, said:

God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.”

Thomas summed it up all: “Despite his suffering and pain Fr Fundes never complained at all. He always wanted to get well as soon as possible so that he could resume his priestly duties. He did not want to give up the fight.”

With relatives and friends at a fellowship dinner to celebrate his 19th Sacerdotal Ordination anniversary in July 2017.

Thomas, who helped drive Fr Fundes wherever he wanted to go in the last few months, said he had lost a very good ‘Shepherd’.

Fr Fundes celebrated his 19th priestly ordination with a fellowship dinner at St Michael’s rectory after the sunset mass on July 15, which was hosted by Fr. Wilfred Atin, and Asst. Rector. Fr. Wiandigool in the presence of several parishioners.