Hundreds of Catholics here braved the downpour on Friday night to join their brethens nationwide for the simultaneous Malaysian Catholic Bishops’ National Day of Prayer for a peaceful and glorious nation.
In Miri City, the prayer services (Mass and Holy Hour) were held at St Joseph Cathedral, Carmelite Monastery’s Chapel and Church of Mater Dei Lutong, from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.
Roman Catholic Bishop of Miri Diocese, Bishop Richard Ng, led the prayer at the cathedral and was assisted by Fr. Philip Empalah and visiting Fr. Joseph Periera from Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
As part of his homily, Bishop Richard also read the pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on the need for such prayers.
Among the highlights were prayers for lawmakers so that when Parliament convenes on March 6, they will not pass the amendments to Act 355 which seeks to enhance the punishment meted out by the Syariah Court, which could pave way to the implementation of hudud law in the country.
“We pray that they may be guided in knowledge and wisdom to discern and act for the common good of all peoples, namely, for peace, harmony, respect and justice,” it said.
The letter added “We are at a point of our nation’s history where the freedom to practise our faith we once enjoyed and the Church, as an important player for nation-building, seem to have been disregarded.”
Among the challenges faced by the Church at large are limitations of places of worship, unacceptable controls of the importation and publication of the Holy Bible in native language, restrictions on public display and expression of faith.
Bishop Richard highlighted the need for Catholics to ask in prayer the Lord to help Malaysia become a better country for all with peace, justice and equality for all, adding that currently as the country is facing a challenging time with poor economy there is rising crime, corruption, abuse of power, racial and religious polarisation.
“Christians are good citizens. We don’t challenge but of course oppose injustice, corruption, abuse of power as we want to live in peace together with all the people in the country,” he said.
He urged all to pray asking the Lord Jesus Christ for his wisdom, understanding and guidance.
“We need to have the courage to make the necessary changes and live our life according to our faiths and if everyone can do that, try our best to be fair, compassionate, fair and merciful, this country and society will be a wonderful place to live in,” he stressed.
Source : @ Borneo Post Online