Visitors of all faiths throng Roman Catholic Church’s Christmas Open House

Uggah (centre) greeting Archbishop Emeritus Datuk John Ha upon arrival at the open house. Poh is at second right.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 25: Christmas, like many other cultural festivals celebrated in Sarawak, unites people across all faiths and walks of life as they come together to celebrate and share the great joy of the festive season.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching the Most Revd Simon Poh greeted and welcomed the crowd to the Roman Catholic Church’s Christmas Open House at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg here today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and state Legal Counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong were among the distinguished guests to visit and extend season’s greetings and best wishes.

Poh (centre) enjoying Christmas lunch with guests. Also seen are Abdul Karim (third left) and Uggah (fourth left).

Poh emphasised that this festive celebration meant continuing the tradition of open house, which is something truly unique and special to Sarawak and Malaysia.

“Christmas is here and we open our house to our friends from all faiths. This open house welcomes everyone. We have Hindu, Buddhist, Baháʼí, and Muslim friends here (with us this morning) as well as other religions who come to join me in celebrating this festivity.

“We will visit them during other festivals. We share with them and they share with us. This is where we build friendship and get to know each other,” he said.

Poh thus pointed out that this open house culture and tradition, which Sarawakians have long-observed, can be presented to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for inscription to recognise the culture as intangible cultural heritage.

“This is something truly unique to us Sarawakians.”

Poh (fourth left), joined by Uggah (centre) and guests from all faiths, beliefs and cultures, cutting a cake to mark the Christmas celebration.
People from all walks of life enjoying the food at the Christmas open house.

He reminded those present that the good tidings of Christmas was what the angels had proclaimed — peace and goodwill from God to mankind.

“We have many friends who desire to do good for society and all humanity and that is precisely what we are celebrating here. This is how we build our Kuching community, Sarawak in general and the whole of Malaysia, to create a society that focus on the common good of everyone.

“I want to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas filled with love, joy and peace. We also pray for 2020 be a year of blessing for everyone,” he added. — DayakDaily