A photographic exploration. Fr Guido Gockel mhm in Miri
Fr Guido Gockel mhm returned to his first love, the people of the diocese of Miri, Malaysia, after more than thirty years of service elsewhere. Bishop Richard Ng asked him to take charge of the parish of St Dominic and the Rosary in the satellite town of Taman Tunku.
In addition to his pastoral ministry, which he clearly enjoys very much, Fr Guido was also put in charge of a fundraising project. The diocese hopes to raise 35 million ringgit (about 5 million GBP) to fund the building of a new cathedral, a new school and meeting hall, and some other projects. A tall order by any reckoning, but Guido thinks it can be done. The contrast with Europe could not be bigger. In Holland we are closing or reallocating churches at the rate of two a week…
Guido Gockel mhm
The parish of Taman Tunku is also the focal point for the ‘Road to Mercy’ pilgrimages organized in all three dioceses of East Malaysia during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. I was struck by the number of people who came to listen to a talk by Fr Guido on the theme of pilgrimage in the neighbouring parish of Lutong.
" We are a pilgrim people, he urged quoting Vatican II, we can never say we have arrived. Pilgrimage is a key theme of this current Jubilee Year of Mercy".
Each of the three dioceses gives its own content to this common theme of pilgrimage.
In the diocese of Sibu the 'Road to Mercy' pilgrimage was launched on 8th December 2015 some hours even before – taking into account the time difference – Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at St Peter's in Rome! Starting at St Teresa's cathedral in Sibu a pilgrimage cross and icon of mercy will travel to the 12 parishes of the diocese and stay a month in each. During that month each parish in turn will become the central focus of the Road of Mercy, and prayer and activities will centre around the theme of mercy.
Fons Eppink mhm