The Catholic Church has had a presence in Brunei for over 90 years. Its three Catholic schools are especially an area of contribution, and 60% to 70% of their students are Muslim, Sim said.
Cardinal-designate Sim and his three priests serve the roughly 20,000 Catholics who live in Brunei. Catholics can freely practice their faith within the church compounds and at home, but public displays of the faith are restricted.
A majority of this small Catholic population, about 70%, are migrant workers from the Philippines. Another 20% are migrants from other countries such as Indonesia, India, and Malaysia. The remaining 10% are indigenous Bruneians.
The Catholic Church in Brunei must work to "provide a home away from home" for its large immigrant community, Sim told Vatican News. It supports these migrants in times of illness or death and provides financial aid and food programs.
For Catholic natives, the Church must build their faith to help them be "more conscious and more willing to be engaged" in supporting the Church.
Young Catholics, Sim said, draw their views from their counterparts in their "own world" of social media and their relationship with authority is different from that of previous generations.
For Sim, the Church cannot simply be a subculture: "as a Church we are not one little group of people, all isolated on our own in our little bubble."
Rather, the Church cuts across boundaries of race, color, social status, or migrant status because "all of us are children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ," he said, adding "you cannot have God as your Father unless you have the Church as your Mother."
Pope Francis named Sim a cardinal Oct. 25. He and 12 others, including Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, will officially become cardinals at a Nov. 28 consistory in Rome. Nine of the 13, Sim among them, are younger than 80 and will thus be eligible to vote in a conclave.