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“Seasonal" Mission in the Diocese of Sandakan (Malaysia)

From 12 March to 7 April 2024, Fr. Pankras Olak sscc finds himself in the Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia, responding to the invitation of Rt. Rev. Yulius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan to assist in the parish of St Dominic's, Lahat Dato. This idea, initially discussed with the former parish Priest of Saint Dominic, Fr. Simon Jiwidi Kontou, surfaced when Fr. Pankras acompanied Fr. Abel Nelo and Fr. Felix Govan for their first masses with their families in Malaysia. Through the present Parish Priest, Fr. Stanley Matakim, the Provincial was invited to help out in this Parish in order to get to know the reality and situation of the parish with a view to discussing a possible commitment between the Diocese and the Congregation. At this present moment, Saint Dominic Parish is located within a huge Sawit plantation, has around 30 stations and is served only by one priest. Around 4 thousands Indonesian are working in the sawit plantation, mostly coming from the East Part of Indonesia.

After having some experience through offering assistance during Lent and Easter in around 15 stations, the Provincial met with Bishop Gitom on 2nd April, 2024 to discuss and agree a form of collaboration between the Diocese of Sandakan, Malaysia and the SSCC Indonesian Province. Both parties are happy to enter into this particular agreement and commitment. It was agreed that SSCC Indonesia will make available one or two priests to assist the Sandakan Diocese for Christmas and Easter. The Bishop also asked if the assisting brother could extend his service for more than one month to help out acording to the needs. Bishop Yulius explained that as of now, they have invited priests from the Dioceses of Larantuka, Maumere, Ende and Ruting to help out. He is happy to have SSCC as first Congregation to assist his diocese seasonally.

As a Congregation we are happy to extend our help for the mission in Malaysia, even if two months a year, respecting the special status of Malaysia as a Muslim Kingdom.