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Pastoral Visit to St Michael Parish, Batu Niah and Rumah Friddie Soel, sungei Engkeririn, Suai 28th - 29th September 2019

St Michael Parish, Batu Niah is 53 years old first established in 1966.  The parish now serves 67 longhouses and plantations all come under Subis district.  The Rector is Monsignor Reverend Fr. Francis Kuleh who has served 41 years in the Diocese of Miri this coming 19th November 2019.  The Rector is assisted by two priests Fr. Anup Lakra and Fr. Anthony Livin serving St Michael parish.

On Saturday 28th September 2019, Right Reverend Bishop Richard Ng, Monsignor Fr. Francis Kuleh, Fr. Anup Lakra and Fr. Anthony Livin celebrated sunset Mass at Rumah Friddie Soel with some 150 parishioners.

Rumah Friddie Soel a 31-door Iban longhouse majority Catholics is situated at sungei Engkeririn, Suai 48 km away from Gereja St Michael, Batu Niah including 13 km palm oil plantation gravel road. The distance one way Miri to the   longhouse Rumah Friddie Soel registered 131 km.  The late Fr. Matthieu Knapen was the missionary Mill Hill priest who evangelized the Iban community in mid 60s when the longhouse was first named Rumah Dasu, then later named Rumah Guntor and todate Rumah Friddie Soel.

In honour of St Michael's Feast Day on 29th September 2019, Right Reverend Bishop Richard Ng, Monsignor Fr. Francis Kuleh and Fr. Anthony Livin celebrated Mass 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time at Gereja St Michael, Batu Niah with 500+ parishioners where His Lordship Bishop administered Sacrament of Confirmation to 90 candidates students and adults.

Gereja St Michael was built by the late Fr. Matthieu Knapen the missionary Mill Hill priest who came to Batu Niah in 1965 to establish the church near the river bank of sungei Niah which was known as sungei Kebara near to an Iban longhouse Rumah Pasang.  Gereja St Michael 39 years old was rebuilt in 1980 to cater for some 200 Catholics at that time, now the numbers have increased more than 3 times with 250 pax seated inside the church and another 300 pax seated outside the church during Sunday Mass.

The Late Fr. Matthieu Knapen began evangelization in mid 60s serving the local community and brought them to the Catholic Faith.  The church leader Dominic Majit mentioned "God is working in us in Batu Niah."

Arrival at Rumah Friddie Soel, sungei Engkeririn, Suai






Sunset Mass at longhouse Rumah Friddie Soel








Presentation and group photograph at Rumah Friddie Soel






Gereja St Michael mid 60s & today






Feast of St Michael 29th September 2019











90 confirmants at Gereja St Michael during Mass St Michael's Feast Day















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