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Pastoral visit to Bintulu- Oct 2017

Around 200 parishioners students and adults received the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Anthony's Church Bintulu on Saturaday 7th October 2017. Right Reverend Bishop Richard ng, Fr Gabriel Chiong and Fr Justiin Dan celebrated Morning Mass in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin.

Bintulu is the second largest parish in the Diocese of Miri beside Miri. It is located 205 kilometres from Miri and has a population of about 200,000 inhabitants. The name of Bintulu was derived from the local native language "Mentu Ulau" (picking heads). Bintulu was a small fishing village when Rajah James Brooke acquired it in 1861. Brooke later built a fort there in 1862.

The majority of the Bintulu population are adherents of Christian denominations due to Christian missionaries operating during the Brooke dynasty. The Catholic Mission in Bintulu started  when Fr John van der Laar from the Society of St Joseph’s Missionary in England, also known as Mill Hill Missionaries, landed in Bintulu.

Today there are two main churches in Bintulu. St.Anthony's church is located in the town center and another church Stella Maris is located at Kidurong about 3 kilometers further away.

It was on August 15, 2014 on the feast day of Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary  the parish community commemorated the 60th Anniversary Catholic Mission Bintulu. Later a newly refurbished hall was dedicated in the memory of Jan van der Laar mhm who served in Bintulu for many years. Outside a Pietà was blessed and dedicated to the memory of all Mill Hill missionaries who served in the region.

Photography: Dennis Ng
Story compiled by Ben Chang

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