BINTULU – On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug 15, the parishioners of St Anthony’s Church marked the 60th anniversary of the presence of the Catholic Mission in Bintulu when Fr John van der Laar from the Society of St Joseph’s Missionary in England, also known as Mill Hill Missionaries, landed in Bintulu.
In his homily, Bishop Richard stressed that 60 years is a long time. In normal circumstances, parents who reach the age of 60 are already grandparents and surrounded by many grandchildren. He invited all present to examine themselves whether they have contributed enough to the building of the Kingdom of God in the parish. The Church first started by the Mill Hill Fathers was a receiving Church, but after 60 years, this Church should now be a giving Church. Sharing Pope Francis’ teaching from “The Joy of the Gospel”, he said all of us are called to share the good news to those who do not know Jesus. Some of them out there are just waiting for us to invite them to know Jesus. Touching on the subject on the giving Church, he explained that it is not enough to just give financial support to the Church, but to participate actively in serving the Church through joining the various ministries such as the church choir group, warden, commentator, reader, and others.
Speaking on behalf of the Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr Terry Burke shared how the Mill Hill Fathers had undergone all the suffering and hardship in the early days when they first arrived in Kuching in 1881. Looking back, he could only praise and thank God for the gift of faith and added that if those pioneer priests were to come back today, they would be shocked to see such a big Church being built here, and a people filled with so vibrant a faith.
The Mass concluded with the blessing of the 7-meter tall statue of Christ the Universal King by Bishop Richard, which was erected for the occasion, amidst a display of firework.
A grand dinner of 160 tables was held at Dinner World Restaurant Aug14. Present at the dinner were Bishop Richard Ng, Bishop Emeritus Dominic Su, Mill Hill Fathers who are currently serving in different parts of Sarawak and the Miri diocesan priests. – Thomas Seo