Category Archives: Jan 2018


Archbishop Simon Poh presenting the mock cheque to Carmelite Mother Prioress Sr Marie Evelyn

KUCHING — A total amount of RM513,870.04 was presented to the Carmelite nuns of the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 16 December. Out of the sum presented, RM213,870.04 came from the fundraising dinner raised on 15 October and the grant of RM300,000.00 from the State Government. Another RM300,000.00 is still needed.

The fundraising dinner in aid of the rebuilding of the Carmelite Monastery in Kuching was successfully held at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) on 15 October. It was organised by Christ the King OCDS Community (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites) and Friends of Carmelites headed by Datin Sri Annie Fong OCDS. Tickets were sold at RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM1,000 per table respectively. Archbishop Simon Poh, Archbishop Emeritus John Ha, Fr Kenneth of the Cross, OCD who represented the Carmelite Friars, priests, religious brothers and sisters from the Archdiocese of Kuching together with well-wishers attended the dinner.

During the dinner, Archbishop Simon Poh explained the revised cost for the rebuilding. “When the rebuilding of the termite infested Carmelite Monastery was mooted quite a few years ago, the simple estimate was that RM4 million should be sufficient. By the time the drawings were ready for tender in 2016, the cost of materials had gone up, government service tax had to be added and the Ringgit had depreciated. When we calculated the allocation for interior furnishing, kitchen equipment and utensils, etc, the total budget ballooned to RM5.9 million to complete the whole Monastery,” said the Archbishop. He further informed all present that there was still a shortfall of RM1.1 million.

Fr Charles Serrao OCD, a former Definitor General whom the nuns know well for 25 years, was invited to the dinner. However, he could not make it due to other commitments in his Province back in India. His speech was pre-recorded and played that evening. He highlighted the charism of the Carmelite nuns and explained why it is necessary to rebuild such a big Monastery for them.

In another video, Mother Prioress Sr Marie Evelyn OCD addressed all the present and thanked them for their support towards the rebuilding project of the nuns. The video also featured the cloistered life of the nuns, the making of altar bread and the progress of the construction work of the new monastery. They also had the privilege to hear the sweet voices of the nuns, who sang for them towards the end of the recorded video.

All invited guests together with the working committee and OCDS members took part in the cake cutting ceremony to mark the Solemnity of St Teresa of Jesus and the 17th Anniversary of Christ the King OCDS Community. Thereafter, the Secular Carmelites led in the singing of the song “Salva Regina”. The working committee also entertained all present with a song entitled “I will follow Him”.

The nuns of Kuching Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and organisers would like to thank each and every one for their presence and contribution towards the success of this first ever fundraising dinner. The rebuilding of the new monastery is scheduled to complete by June 2018. Contribution towards the rebuilding project can still be made by using the Brown envelope or directed to the Archbishop’s Office.


Article reproduced from Today Catholic online


KUCHING — The blessing and ground breaking ceremony by Archbishop Simon Poh for the construction of the Columbarium at St Peter’s Church took place on 5 December 2017. About 50 people consisting of consultants, contractors, parish councillors, members of a Humanitarian Foundation and some parishioners attended the auspicious occasion.

In his welcoming speech, the Archbishop thanked the councillors, parishioners and benefactors, especially the Humanitarian Foundation, to have made this project possible. He said that the Columbarium is a sacred place for keeping the cremated remains of the departed. Through the Humanitarian Foundation, some of the niches will also be made available for the needy and poor Catholics as their final resting place.

A columbarium is a building where ‘niches’ are placed to house cremated remains of the deceased. The name derives from an Italian word ‘columba’, which means ‘the dwelling place of a dove’. Niches are spaces in the walls of the columbarium for the inurnment of human remains after cremation.

When asked why the parish decided to build a columbarium in the parish compound, the rector of St Peter’s Church, Fr Vincent Chin, explained that they are trying to restore an old tradition of the Church. “The old tradition of the Church was to have a cemetery next to a church to make sure that those who passed away were close to the believing community. So all those while, wherever there was a church, there was always a cemetery next to it,” he said.

The proximity of the cemetery to the church makes it convenient for church-goes to visit and pray for their departed loved ones as often as they go to the church. It also serves as a reminder that it is their responsibility to pray for those who are gone, and that they too would be laid there one day. It is also to show that there is nothing to fear about the dead.

With the current scarcity of land in Kuching and the government regulations on burial places, having a cemetery near a church is next to impossible. That is why Catholic cemeteries are located further and further away. The nearest cemetery in Kuching accessible to most Catholics is the one at 13th-1/2 Mile.

“In this kind of situation, people would probably only go to the cemetery twice a year, once during the death anniversary of the person, another on All Souls Day,” remarked Fr Chin. “Other than that, they (the dead) are mostly forgotten,” he said. “The presence of the columbarium will bring that old tradition back.”

“When we decided to have this columbarium, we make it our responsibility and commitment to include the departed on every All Souls Day and every Friday in November and in their death anniversary month, regardless if their families offer Mass for them or not,” said Fr Chin. He said a lot of parishioners are worried there is no one to pray for them when they passed on because their children are overseas and they have no other relatives or friends in town. “We assure them that they will be taken care of,” he added.

The document Ad resurgendum cum Christo, an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation” issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 15 August 2016, mentions that although the Church prefers burial at cemeteries, she has no doctrinal objections towards the practice of cremation. “Cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life,” the instruction says.

Instead, the Church is more concerned about the proper handling of the cremains. “In the past there was no ruling or guidelines, and so people just simply threw the ashes away,” Fr Chin explained. The document highlighted three points: firstly, the ashes must not be scattered anywhere; secondly, no subdividing of the cremains; and thirdly, the cremains are not allowed to be kept at home.

The practice of scattering of the ashes into the natural environment is a Buddhist practice, he pointed out. “The Buddhists believe that when we die, we enter into nothingness. The ashes are no longer important, and so you can do whatever you like with them,” he said. “However, for us, Catholics, once a person is cremated, the cremains is still the remains of a person, just like the remains of a person who is buried in the ground. So the Church emphasises that proper respect to the ashes must be given,” he added.

On why the Church forbids keeping the ashes at home, Fr Chin said, “Your children may respect you and hence, they would want to keep the urn properly. But for the subsequent generations who do not know you, the chances that the ashes are not properly cared for are high.”

One of the reasons for building a columbarium is that the local church still does not have a decent place for Catholics who opted for cremation. As a result, their ashes have to be interred at Buddhist columbaria. “This is not a good reflection on the church,” he said. “If we allowed for cremation, we must also have a proper place for them too.”

Asked on the procedures to secure a desired niche at the new columbarium, Fr Chin said parishioners can give a specific donation. The donation will be used to build the columbarium, while the excess will go to pay for the construction of the new parish church. “In appreciation of the donation, we offer the donors a space in the columbarium. They don’t own the space. Everything is still owned by the church,” he said.

Such arrangement is made so that, if in the future, should the columbarium need to be relocated to make way for a more important development, or the government suddenly wanted to take back the land where the columbarium is, the church would not need to ask permission from every family whose family members’ remains are kept in the columbarium.

“When that kind of unforeseen circumstances arise, we will relocate the whole columbarium to another new place at our own expense,” said Fr Chin. “The family may choose to bring back the urns or continue to let the church does the safekeeping for them without extra payment,” he said. “The placing of the urn is as permanent as the cemetery.”

There are two types of niches offered, for married couple and single person. The donation for single ones range from RM5K – RM8K, while the donation for married couples range from RM8K – RM13K, depending on the levels. There will be six levels of the niches. The two-storey columbarium can house approximately five thousand people.

Those who are interested to secure a space would need to contact Fr Vincent Chin personally at his office.

The whole contract sum of the project is RM4.028 million. The parish is very grateful to the Humanitarian Foundation headed by Dr Jeffrey Goh, which kindly sponsored RM3.666 million for the building project.

The construction of the columbarium is expected to complete by December 2018.


Article reproduced from Today Catholic online

31st Anniversary of the Erection of Diocese of Sibu

 SIBU: Bishop of Sibu Right Reverend Joseph Hii calls on all Catholic to continue to evangelise and to bear witness to the truth in this world.

In his homily during the 31st Celebration of the Diocese of Sibu at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 6, he said that Catholics in Sibu had been given a diocese to carry out evangelization works. He pointed out that all Catholics are call to bear witness to the truth.

“Thirty one years ago, we had our ‘Merdeka’ from the Archdiocese of Kuching, that is how we have the diocese of Sibu and this is how the church can grow and advance.“God put us into this diocese so that we may continue to evangelise and bear witness in this world,” he said. He also pointed out that evangelization also means to give blessings to people. Meanwhile, he said that the diocese also celebrated the 31stanniversary of Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Emeritus Dominic Su who was ordained as the first bishop of Sibu 31 years ago.

Bishop of Sibu Right Reverend Joseph Hii blesses students after the mass.

On education, he pointed out that family was the first home for education and faith formation. The school, he said was second home for education and faith formation. He also urged people to pray for the schools that they may continue to form characters among the children.

Article reproduced from Diocese of Sibu

Rigional Bishops ask for prayers for ad Limina visit

Sibu: The Cardinal, Arch/Bishops from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei will make their ad limina visit to Rome Feb 4-9, 2018.

Bishop Francis Sebastian of Penang, president of the bishops’ conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, in a letter to all the bishops of the conference, has asked for prayers from all the faithful in the three countries, for this event.


Eucharistic celebration for Sibu Diocese will be on 2nd February (The Presentation of the Lord) in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Sibu at. 7:15pm.

The last ad limina visit was made 10 years ago in June 2008.

The Ad Limina visit is formally called “ad limina apostolorum,” which means “to the thresholds of the apostles” Peter and Paul, who were martyred in Rome. This visit is made by the Ordinaries of a Region (Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei), which include the Cardinal; Archbishops and Bishops in charge of a Diocese.

Traditionally, this visit serves as an occasion for the Shepherd of each diocese to draw inspiration as well as guidance from the Universal Catholic Church in which Pope Francis; the Supreme Pontiff is the successor of Peter, the Apostle. The Archbishop and Bishops as successors of the Apostles, work in collaboration and communion with the Pope.

Below is the  full text of the letter:

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei’s Ad Limina visit is set on the 4th to 9th February 2018.

The Ad Limina consists of three parts.

1. The first part entails a personal visit to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. This is a very spiritual and inspiring time of the Ad Limina because it
connects the present Successor to the Apostles (Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinal) to the two major Apostles credited with the spreading of the faith. They draw strength and renewal from this visit to the tombs.

2. The second part is a visit and interview with the Holy Father which will be held on the 8th February, 2018. This is a time when the Cardinal, Archbishops and Bishops renew their obedience and loyalty to Pope Francis who is the successor of Peter, and receive his teaching in the form of reflection and they render oral reports on the state of their individual Arch/dioceses. This gives the Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinal a chance to be in solidarity with the Pope and each other.

3. The third part is the scheduled visits to the various offices of the Roman Curia, presenting the written report which is presented to the Secretariat of
the State. Each diocese is sent a questionnaire of the information being requested by the Vatican. This quinquennial (5 year) report provides statistical and written descriptions of all the priests, deacons, religious, and laity serving in the diocese; the state of the sacramental life of the diocese; the financial health of the diocese as a whole; the types of programs being offered which can range from prison ministry to evangelization to family life to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue; the process of catholic education in Catholic Mission Schools and at parishes; evangelization efforts to the active, inactive and unchurched; and the current status of our priestly vocations. This report also presents the successes and challenges since the last report given.

It is in the same light that the Gospel today speaks to us as in “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” The Good News today is the blessings of the Ad Limina visit which will be fulfilled in God’s time. The Ad Limina visit is the seed of the Kingdom of God that is near, close to us in which the Cardinal, Archbishops, Bishops, the Emeriti as well as all the people of God will receive through the shower of God’s Word and the warmth of God’s love. These graces will be experienced tangibly through the seat of Peter, in the encounter with our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

The call to repent can be seen as the journey of going Home where the seat of Peter is and it is also a call for renewal, a change of perception and a new experience of meeting Christ through the Holy Father and through meetings with other offices which remind us of our universality as the one body of Christ. This unity plays a very important role in the Church. It brings to life the words of St.John in chapter 17, 22-23 which states, “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Believing that God’s kingdom in our midst is an act of faith and thus, we continue to proclaim the Good News of our encounter with Jesus. This encounter will spur us to go out, to see and call the others to form communities of faith wherever we are. Ultimately, the daily encounter with Jesus will transform us in becoming missionary disciples of hope.

In conclusion, we wish for all Catholics, through prayer and solidarity, to feel a part of the Ad Limina visit, which confirms and celebrates that which we profess each week when we express our belief in the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’. Our faith was handed down to us from Jesus through the apostles and as Archbishops and Bishops we are charged with the enormous responsibility of continuing that tradition. The Ad Limina visit is an important physical and spiritual milestone in the carrying out of that ministry. May the Holy Spirit empower us and May Mary our Mother intercede for us!



Article reproduced from Diocese of Sibu


The birth of a new Parish – Long Lama 2018

Welcome Dance at Long Banyok

Pastoral visit of Bishop Richard to Long Banyok, Baram. on 20th Jan 2018

The Most Rev Bishop Richard  Ng made a pastoral visit to Long Banyok, a Kenyah Longhouse in middle Baram. This is also the longhouse of Msgr Francis Kuleh, the Vicar General of Miri Diocese. The bishop celebrated Sunset mass for about 200 people at the Church of Yesus, Juruselamat and later blessed a statue of Christ the Redeemer at the entrance of the church.

On Sunday 21st Jan 2018, he proceeded to Long Lama and elevated the church into a parish. He installed Fr Lazarus Swinie, a priest from Kuching as rector of the new parish of Blessed Sacrament, Long Lama. About 500 people from the different longhouses attended the installation mass at the Dewan. Long Lama was formerly under the care of Lapok Parish. The new parish has over 30 longhouses and a few schools under its jurisdiction.

Photograpy – Bishop Richard Ng and Jason Kho
Story by – Bishop Richard Ng










































































Article reproduced from Dioccese of Miri

55 Kuching single women attend first retreat

Fr Albert Jacobse celebrating the anniversary Mass for the Single Women Ministry prior to the retreat conducted by Wendy Louise (inset)

KUCHING — The Catholic Singles Women Ministry (CSWM), formed in August 2016, headed by their spiritual advisers Father Jerome Juleng and Sister Marie Celine SSFS, had their first retreat themed ‘Daughters of Light’ on 18 -19 November 2017. 

Wendy Louis, the speaker, is the Executive Secretary of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Office, Singapore. She has been a formator and trainer for over 20 years. Her rich experiences in working with various church organisations and speaking from the perspectives of a lay person yet in total conformity with church teachings, makes her a good speaker.

Wendy took the 55 retreatants to a new level of understanding of what it means to be beloved Daughters of Light. She shared on how to be a light to others and how to exercise the common priesthood in daily life. In other words, how to be Church with a mission.

She opened the minds and hearts of the participants to the tender gaze of God and helped them experience the joy and fruitfulness of the single life and to be a gift to others.

Wendy reminded all that there are challenges in every state of life. Nevertheless, the singles can stay engaged and connected in their lives with God through contemplative prayer, a ministry of presence and a culture of love and service.

Each lay ministry in the church must embody the four hallmarks of the church: One (united to the parish), Holy (God centred), Catholic (being inclusive) and Apostolic (servant leadership).

Retreatants were also given time for self-reflection and personal resolution.

Father Albert Jacobse MHM who presided over CSWM first anniversary Mass and the Sunday Mass preached on using one’s talents for the good of others. He reminded the daughters of light to always walk in the light of God.

The feedback from the retreatants was very positive and encouraging.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu

Fr Bingham dies at 86

SIBU – Catholics in the central region of Sarawak are mourning the loss of one of their longest-serving priests, Father David Bingham, who passed away peacefully on 27 Jan 2018 in England. He was 86.

News of his passing was conveyed by Mill Hill Missionaries to the Catholic Church here.

The late Fr Bingham had served as priest in the region for over 40 years.

A parishioner, Clement Chieng, gave thanks for Fr Bingham’s work in Sarawak.

Augustine Siaw said the late Fr Bingham had been an outstanding missionary for many years in the Sibu Diocese.

According to a statement from Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr David Bingham was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 7 April 1931 to Francis Dennis and Mary Bingham.

Fr David’s father served as an engineer in the Royal Navy and the family settled in Kenya where they took up farming.

Fr David received his secondary education with the Benedictines at Ampleforth from 1944 to 1949.

After performing compulsory military service, he studied in Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in History in 1956.

He then got a job with a shipping line in Singapore where he first made contact with people from Malaysia.

In his memoirs, Fr David wrote that through his contacts with the Church in Singapore, his Catholic faith had been strengthened and the first stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood made themselves felt.

Eventually, he applied for admittance to the formation programme of the Mill Hill Missionaries.

After a bridge-year in Osterley, he entered the Mill Hill formation programme in Roosendaal for studies in Philosophy.

In 1961, he entered St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to study Theology.

On 1 May 1964, he took the Perpetual Oath and the following year, on July 10, he was ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral.

He received an appointment to Malaysia, where he taught for two years in Sarikei followed by two years of mission work in Kanowit.

He was transferred to Simangang in 1971 and served there for some five years.

Subsequently, Fr David worked in the missions of Bintangor, Julau, Sibu, and Song.

Altogether, Fr David spent 46 years working in Sarawak.

He learnt the Iban language, reportedly with a pronounced English accent, as well as a little Hokkien.

In May 2005, Fr David started working in the British region and in October 2014, he took up residence in the Mill Hill Missionaries retirement home in Freshfield. Liverpool.

On the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 2015, it was noted that Fr Bingham had “great energy, an enquiring mind and a good sense of humour. “

In July 2001, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his mission work.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu

SHC parish catechists commissioned for another year

English parish catechists pose with Fr Max Hontor and Sem Russell Lawrine after the Mass, 27 Jan 2018 SHC.

KOTA KINABALU – Over the weekend celebrating Catechetical Sunday on 27-28 Jan 2018, parish catechists of Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) here and Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang were commissioned for service for another year.

Parish catechists refer to the volunteers serving in Faith Formation (Sunday School) and Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA).  Some of them also serve in the Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW).

Thirty-seven were commissioned by Father Max Hontor at the English Sunset Mass Jan 27 while on the next day 61 were commissioned at the Chinese Mass and 80 at the BM Mass both by Father Paul Lo.  Four were commissioned at CMI by Fr Hontor at the 9 am English Mass.

Earlier, on Jan 18, all the parish catechists prepared themselves for the event with a short programme of Holy Hour at the cathedral and reflection-group sharing at the parish centre.

The theme for this year was Christ our Hope who places his hope in us.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Bishops meet in Majodi

The 101st Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCMSB) of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei was held Jan 8-12 at Majodi Centre.

The CBCMSB, the apex body of the Catholic Church in the region, holds the Plenary Assembly twice a year to discuss the various aspects of the life of the local Church and, especially, the challenges it faces, and to evolve common action to revitalise the Church and to make the Church more effective in its service to the members and to the society at large.

The five-day long deliberations included the assessment of reports by various offices and commissions and other practical considerations.

Prior to the meeting, Vatican’s envoy to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei, Archbishop Joseph Marino opened the bi-annual meeting of the CBCMSB.

Archbishop Marino, then briefed the Arch/bishops on pontifical matters and spoke at length on the ad limina visit to Rome during which the CBCMSB will have an audience with Pope Francis scheduled for February 8.

On the second day, Bishop Sebastian Francis, the president, delivered the welcome address and chaired the session.

Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

CMI English altar servers attend formation session

The altar servers pose with Sr Laura Anggie fsp (L) and Matthew Ian (R), Daughters of St Paul Convent Karamunsing, 27 Jan 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Eight boys serving at the English Mass of the Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang attended the first formation session at the Daughters of St Paul Convent here on 27 Jan 2018.

The session, conducted by Pauline Sister Laura Anggie and Matthew Ian, 23, who works as a pilot in a local company, dealt with the history, role, and function of the altar ministry.

Follow up session on Feb 10 will touch on understanding the sacred objects and vestments while the third session on March 17 will be on understanding the liturgy, the principle of ceremony during a solemnity, a feast, a memorial and an optional memorial.

Commissioning of the altar servers – with ages ranging from 12 to 23 – will be done at the 9 am Mass on Sunday Mar 18.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu


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