John McAulay mhm
At the beginning of last week the Diocese of Miri celebrated 40 years of its own existence. Over 5000 people from all over the diocese, including some faraway places, gathered at the indoor stadium of Miri to celebrate the Anniversary Mass.
Bishop Richard, the current Bishop of Miri, was the lead celebrant and he was ably assisted by Bishop Anthony Lee, the Bishop Emeritus of the diocese, and by Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Papal Nuncio to Malaysia, stationed in Kuala Lumpur.
All the priests of the diocese were there and they were accompanied by seven Mill Hill priests, three of whom work in Miri diocese, and by one or two priests from the other dioceses of Sarawak. The choir, the MC, the readers, the altar servers, the church wardens, all did their jobs superbly and with great enthusiasm. The congregation participated fully in the mass and there was a great sense of joy and belonging together.
Needless to say the celebrations did not end with the final blessing. Everyone moved to the outdoor stadium after mass for food, cultural and historical displays, the sale of homemade treats, drawing and art competitions, sporting competitions and, most of all, camaraderie. It was truly a fun family day out, the family in this case being the Christian community of Miri diocese. Everyone one enjoyed themselves from the oldest to the youngest. The celebration ended with a prize draw, in which there were many winners, culminating with one lucky individual winning RM3000.00 (around €650.00).
To echo the words of Bishop Richard a special word of thanks must go to Fr Guido Gockel mhm. Fr Guido was the Chairperson of the organizing committee and the day could not have been better organized.
There was also one special moment during the celebrations. That was the moment the current bishop of the diocese, Bishop Richard, and the former bishop of the diocese, Bishop Anthony Lee, had a photograph taken together shaking hands. It was a wonderful display of reconciliation and unity. The photo spread like wildfire among the priests of the diocese and to the wider Christian community of Miri via different social websites. The photo is included with this article.
John McAulay mhm
Bishop Richard Ng and emeritus bishop Anthony Lee