Fr Guido Gockel mhm
I’d like to begin this letter by wishing you happy Christmas and happy New Year.
It has been about 6 months since my last update. Again, a lot has happened. There was the celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. My parish, being assigned the pilgrimage church, has been flooded with pilgrims from all the parishes in the diocese. Usually, their program consisted of a talk (given my me) about the meaning of the Holy Year, the Holy Door and making a Pilgrimage. This was then followed by praying the rosary, during which people could go to confession – I sat for hours listening, counselling and seeing beautiful conversions. It once again dawned upon me that to recognise one’s sins is a grace of God. The pilgrimage would usually conclude with a Mass.
Also during this Jubilee Year, a Jubilee Cross was brought to all the parishes where there were services held focussing on the mercy of God. My parish received this cross for 3 weeks in October. Not only did we have series in the church in the form of prayer meetings, Taize meetings, and adoration, we also carried the cross to the old and sick peoples in their homes (46 (of them). We thus wanted to assure them of Jesus’ presence in their suffering and pain, and thanking them for their service to the community through their suffering and prayers.
Another important event during this time was the 40th anniversary celebration of the Diocese. It was a most enjoyable event held in the stadiums of Miri town. People from all the parishes participated in the Eucharistic celebration (attended by about 6000 people) in the indoor stadium , and a family day event in the outdoor stadium. For the family day event, each parish had a stall where they displayed the history of their parish, showed artefacts peculiar to their parish and tribes, and where people could buy food again peculiar to each parish. In the afternoon there where all sorts of family games such as sack running, passing a ring on straw held by your nose and lips etc. We all had great fun.
To conclude the Holy Year we organised a conference on the family and invited Fr. Gino Henriques, a famous charismatic Redemptorist speaker and priest in the healing ministry. The attendees where spellbound as this 80-year old man shared his priestly ministry experience for the benefit of married and family life. They were deeply touched and many received both physical and inner healing at the conclusion of the conference.
On a personal note: I ask for your prayers. In October I had a little scare – a series of strokes and TIA’s. I was in need of a better blood-thinning medication to help me battle blood-clotting in one of the heart chambers caused by Arterial Fibrillation. Thanks be to God, all is well again, and I have no more ill effects as a result of these strokes and tias. God was very merciful to me! May he grant me many more years in fruitful labour here in Miri. That is what I ask you to pray for in this season of hope and joy!
Once more happy Christmas and happy New Year!
Guido Gockel mhm