KUCHING – St Joseph’s Cathedral Parish bade a fond farewell to its Parish Priest Fr Nicholas Ng with a grand dinner and a solemn Mass on 29 December 2009 and 1 January respectively. The two functions were attended by thousands of parishioners, a sure sign of the appreciation and love the people have for Fr Nicholas. At the same time, the Parish also welcomed its new Parish Priest, Fr Simon Poh. The farewell dinner held at the Christian Ecumenical and Worship Centre was an evening of fellowship and fun as the parishioners expressed their gratitude and sentiments through dance and songs.
In his speech delivered in three languages, Fr Nicholas reiterated his gratitude and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood, to the two Archbishops for his appointment to the Cathedral Parish, to his fellow priests and the numerous collaborators in the Parish. He also expressed his thanks to the different Parish Councils for working together with him for the growth of the Parish. He said that when he arrived at the parish nine years earlier, he brought nothing with him and that as he leaves; he will bring the love of the people with him to his new parish.
The incoming Parish Priest, Fr Simon Poh, also spoke briefly at the dinner. He said that he was appointed to St Joseph’s Cathedral not to replace Fr Nicholas but to continue the good work started by him. He prayed that under his leadership, the Parish will continue to grow and serve the people of God well.
The installation of Fr Simon as Parish Priest was held during the Mass to honour Mary the Mother of God on the 1 January. The Church also celebrated World Day of Peace on the same day.
In his homily, the Archbishop touched on the message of the Holy Father for World Day of Peace 2010 titled ‘If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.’
“The Holy Father calls on humankind to ‘exercise responsible stewardship over creation, to care for it and to cultivate it’,” he said. “He reminds all that ‘nature is a gift of the Creator’ who has entrusted to man the responsibility to till and keep it. Unfortunately, as he points out, the negligence or refusal of many to exercise this responsible stewardship has resulted in a ‘growing phenomenon of environmental refugees – people forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it, and often their possessions as well,” the Archbishop added.
“Measures to overcome the growing environmental crisis we are facing must pay serious attention to ‘human ecology,’” he said.
“‘Human ecology’ touched on ‘our duties towards the person, considered both individually and in relation to others.’ It affirms the distinctive identity and superior worth of the human person over all living creatures. It forcefully upholds the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family,” the Archbishop explained.
After the homily, Archbishop John Ha presided over the simple ceremony in which he confirmed the appointment of Fr Simon as Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish. Fr Simon then accepted the appointment and read out the Profession of Faith.
At the end of the Mass, the Archbishop thanked Fr Nicholas Ng for his dedication, hard work and commitment and he said that he was confident that Fr Simon Poh will do just as well.
Fr Richard Ng