The pastoral responsibilities in Sarikei, a large and well established parish in the diocese of Sibu, are shared by Frs James Ting and Vincent Oates mhm. Fr Vincent Oates mhm returned to Malaysia after many fruitful years of missionary service in Pakistan, Britain and India. Together they also minister to a considerable number of longhouses in the outlying district.
Mill Hill Missionaries honoured.
Fr John Mc Auley mhm Lapok is little more than a cluster of shops situated in a valley along the Tinjar river at just over and hour's drive from Miri. The village is defined by an elegantly arched concrete bridge across the Tinjar river. Fr John Mc Auley (aka 'Makuleh') serves here as assistant to Fr Andrew Lee, a young and enthusistic diocesan priest with a degree in Sacred Scripture, Working together with yet another young priest, they cover a wide area of longhouses in the surrounding district.
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.
Philip Odhiambo Obaso mhm Philip Odhiambo Obaso mhm (Kenya) serves in the parish of Bintangor. During a recent visit I asked him his view of current pastoral and missionary priorities in this parish and in the diocese of Sibu as a whole.
Onesimus Kihokolho mhm Kanowit is the oldest mission in the Rejang river. The express-boat from Kapit took just two hours to reach Kanowit. Several catechists greeted us enthusiastically upon arrival. After a short drive we shook hands with Oniz Kihokholo mhm (Uganda) at the parish house. Oniz arrived here just over a year ago and is still perfecting his knowledge of the language. He is here as assistant to Fabian Kong, a Chinese priest.
It is not a question I ask lightly: " Are you happy and fulfilled here?" The answer comes at once and without hesitation: "Yes, I am!" Mathews Olili mhm from Kenya is one of a 'new breed' of Mill Hill missionaries working in Sarawak, Malaysia. He was the first African Mill Hill missionary to come to this region when he arrived four years ago. Several others from a variety of African and Asian countries have followed him since then.
You can't get around the Home Cell Groups in the diocese of Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia. They are the life blood of the Catholic community. Functioning like Basic Christian Communities with a strongly charismatic flavour they have brought vitality and new inspiration to the parishes of the town of Bintulu in particular.
I climbed Mt Singai, the spiritual home of the Singai Bidayuh in Borneo. I had climbed it twice before, some years previously, but, this time the 1007 steps were almost too much for me and, at one point, I felt I might have to give up. However, my two seminarian companions urged me to stop and rest awhile and then together we finished the rest of the climb and reached the top. We were not alone in climbing the Singai – there were up to a thousand people altogether climbing with us – for we were climbing to remember and celebrate the 130th anniversary of the first Mill Hill Father to climb the mountain and begin the long process of bringing the Gospel to the Bidayuh, who lived there. As the Society Representative of Mill Hill in Malaysia, I was expected to take part, and so, drenched with sweat and out of breath as I was when I arrived, I was given a great welcome and was pleased to be there with them all at the place where the Gospel was first preached in that region.
For the Catholic diocese of Sibu in Sarawak, Malaysia, pilgrimage is the dominant theme for the celebration of The Jubilee Year of Mercy. The 'Road to Mercy' pilgrimage was launched on 8th December 2015 some hours even before - taking into account the time zone - 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.