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The gift of being welcomed in the Malaysia Catholic community

By Our Own Correspondent

Kuching, Malaysia, 1 August 2018 -- Three short days (July 28-31) of the first animation visit to the new community of Kuching was not full of rich sharing with Fr. Ramon Borja (in charge), Fr. Andre Belo and Br. Manuel Ruperez, who are again together after almost one year after their missionary expedition in Valdocco, Turin in September 2017.

During the visit of the EAO Regional councilor was organized a lot of meetings and chance to get know the vibrant local Catholic community, our first collaborators, understand better the progress and challenge on the project of incoming 'St. Joseph Institute Samarahan', that does include also the TVET entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The missionary start means first of all study the local languages - Bahasa Malaysia (Fr. Ramon) and Bidayukh - main local dialect (Fr. Andre - already preaching) and also for the last newcomer Br. Manuel it means Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. Since last visit of the FIN provincial in February 2018 our Salesians are resident in the beautiful 33.000 Catholics and 60 chapels strong parish of St. Stephen, helping the two diocesan priest within their limits.

By chance the three days were signed also by three meetings with the dynamic Archbishop of Kuching, Mons. Simon Poh, who is very closely following and helping our new community in many ways. The first encounter happen in the Bau parish on the 40th priestly anniversary celebration of Fr. Jeppy (Saturday), next day on the celebration of new parish church of St Ann (Kuching) and finally on Monday for a 'working meeting' about the St. Joseph Technical Institute concluded with lunch.

Thanks to the rather recent evangelization by the Mill Hill missionaries, not very large territory and fatherly care of the Bishops the Kuching Catholic community does witness true family spirit among all priests, religious and parish communities. A humble witness of a serving archbishop, with a close accompaniment of the faith formation of the young people (annual camps for teenagers during past 25 years) brings many fruits.

Fr. Klement was able also to visit the St. Joseph International School entrusted to the Marist Brothers, where Br. Manuel realized that he should ask to be called not a Brother (local title for the diocesan seminarians) but to be called Bruder (like in Indonesia). Non formal encounters with local faithful, youth leaders and visit to Catholic families offered rather deep insight in our future field of mission.

As a way of accompaniment the small and 'far away' community of Kuching was given few points letter, as a simple tool of accompaniment a direction on their journey. Our three missionaries are asking your prayers and looking forward to the visit of the FIN Vice-provincial and Fr. Guillermo in near future.

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