A group photo with Bishop Richard Ng after the inaugural AGM

By William Gan

Mar 25 2024

MIRI — Saturday Feb 3, 2024 was a historic day in the Diocese of Miri when over 40 representatives, led by Bishop Richard Ng, convened in St Francis Centre, Miri for the first-ever gathering and Annual General Meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC).

All 14 parishes were represented at the AGM by their Parish Rectors, Chairpersons, Secretaries or Treasurers of the Parish Councils. In addition, Catechists, Chairmen of eight Diocesan Commissions, and representatives of Religious Sisters were also in attendance.

The day started with an Opening Mass at the nearby Carmelite Chapel at 8.00 am. Appropriately, the readings of the day were about King Solomon asking God for an understanding heart to discern between good and evil, and about Jesus taking pity on “sheep without shepherd” and setting out to fulfil this need despite already being so tired.

The meeting convened immediately after Mass. Bishop Richard called to order the inaugural AGM of the Miri DPC with an opening prayer. All participants introduced themselves and Bishop Richard provided the history and context of the DPC, explaining that this council is mandated by the Church’s Code of Canon Law.

The aim of the Miri DPC is “to project and concretise the vision of the local Church as a communion of God’s people with their active participation in the life and mission of the Church”. The DPC has a consultative vote in accordance with Canon 514 and its main role is to study and make proposals for resolution of issues for the Bishop to deliberate and decide.

The Bishop then presented the Statutes of the DPC. The Statutes (with a small addition relating to Care of Creation) were approved by the Bishop, which was supported by a majority show of hands. Election of the office bearers to the DPC by secret ballots followed, with the following outcome for the term of three years:

President – Bishop Richard Ng (ex-officio)

Deputy President – Vicar General Msgr Francis Kuleh (ex-officio)

Chairperson – Jude Juda (from St Dominic Parish, Taman Tunku – appointed by Bishop)

Vice Chairperson – William Gan (from St Joseph Parish, Miri)

General Secretary – Amy Lee (from St Joseph Parish, Miri – appointed by Bishop)

Honorary Treasurer – Henry Layu (from St Anthony Parish, Bintulu)

After a short tea break, the delegates re-convened to discuss two projects for the diocese, guided by the theme given by the Bishop, “Into the Deep” (Lk 5:1-11). Four breakout groups brainstormed over the theme for ideas for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Diocese in 2026 and the Pastoral Plan of the Diocese in line with its Vision and Mission statements.

The delegates then re-grouped in a plenary session where the various proposals were presented and recorded for subsequent deliberation by the Board of the DPC at a later date.

The AGM ended with a closing thanksgiving prayer and blessing by Fr Joseph Ding, Rector of Sungai Asap Parish. After lunch, delegates headed home to their respective parishes. – Today’s Catholic