SIBU: A High Mass was held Thursday evening to re-dedicate the renovated Sacred Heart Cathedral and to mark its 30th Consecration Anniversary.
The church, built in 1985, has undergone a RM6 million facelift to accommodate the growing Catholic population here.
Thousands of faithful attended the Mass which began with a procession from the conference room of the cathedral to the cathedral hall.
This was followed by a group photo session and the symbolic opening of the main door of the cathedral.
Bishop of Sibu Right Reverend Joseph Hii celebrated the Mass.
The occasion was graced by the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, Bishop Emeritus Rt Rev Dominic Su, Miri Diocese rector Rt Rev Bishop Richard Ng, and the Archbishop of Kuching Most Reverend Datuk John Ha.
Delivering the message of Pope Francis, His Excellency Joseph Salvador congratulated Bishop Hii and his team for the great development they had brought to the Sibu Diocese.
In his closing remarks, Bishop Hii described the re-dedication as very meaningful as it was in this very church that he served as an altar boy.
“Back then, Sacred Heart Church was considered as among the biggest in this region. Now, after the re-dedication, it is even more beautiful. I hope when it is re-dedicated 30 years from now, it will be even more beautiful (than now),” he said.
The Mass also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Monsignor Michael Lee Hock Chai.
Bishop Hii said Monsignor Lee was the first priest to be ordained in the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The renovated Cathedral has a seating capacity of 3,200.
The upper level alone can take in about 900 people.
The entire project, which took two years to complete, included the suspension to the church compound.
Meanwhile, Mill Hill Missionary priest Reverend Father Ferdinand Vergeer will be returning to Holland after having served in Sarawak over the past 56 years.
Last Wednesday, a banquet was held at SMK Sacred Heart Centenary Hall here to bid farewell to him.