A shepherd cares for his flock: Bishop Ng blessing a baby after his ordination in Miri yesterday.
MIRI: The leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis, has extended a message of goodwill to the people here and the country and have called on Catholics, especially church leaders, to spread the message of peace and love among the people.
The Pope, in his message in conjunction with the ordination of new head of Miri Catholic Diocese, Bishop Richard Ng yesterday, said the bishop, church and the Catholics in general were to bring the love of Jesus Christ to everyone.
The message from Pope Francis was delivered by Vatican Ambassador Archbishop Joseph Marino, to the more than 6,000 people who had gathered at the Miri Indoor Stadium to witness the ordination ceremony yesterday.
Marino said Pope Francis had advised Bishop Ng and all other bishops and priests to care for the people in the manner that a shepherd would care for his flock.
“A shepherd never leaves his sheep unattended. Sometimes a shepherd walks in front and leads the sheep. Sometimes, he walks in the midst with his sheep surrounding him and sometimes the shepherd walks behind his sheep so that he can see if there are any sheep that is losing direction.
“The bishop must be like that. Pope Francis also ask me to tell the bishops in Malaysia that they must always keep their doors open to the people and to their priests.
“The doors must be kept opened 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I pray that Bishop Ng will be like that good shepherd.
“Bishop Ng, you have been entrusted by Pope Francis to play that role. I hope the Catholics in Miri Diocese will give him all the necessary support that he will need to fulfil that duty of his,” said the ambassador.
Bishop Ng, in his address to the congregation after his ordination by outgoing Miri Bishop Anthony Lee, said he felt himself “unworthy” of being a bishop but promised to fulfil the task entrusted to him.
“I thank God for this chance to serve the church as a bishop. I thank Pope Francis for his trust in me, unworthy as I am.
“I invite Pope Francis to visit us in Miri one day. I am also deeply grateful to everyone who have come – my family members, my friends from all over the state and the rest of Malaysia, neighbouring countries and even Australia, and the archbishops, bishops and priests from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines and Taiwan.
“I am especially grateful to those rural parishioners who had travelled long distances through the jungles and spent a lot of money just to come to Miri from ulu Baram, ulu Belaga, Limbang, Lawas and so many other places which I do not even know of as yet,” he said.
Bishop Ng extended his personal gratitude to Archbishop of Kuching Datuk John Ha, retired Bishop Lee of Miri and Sibu Bishop Joseph Hii, pointing out that Archbishop Ha was like a mentor and spiritual father to him.