Blessing of the first Catholic Columbarium in Sarawak

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St Peter’s Columbarium will be officially opened and blessed on 24 March 2019. (Photo: Hobart Kho)

KUCHING  —  St Peter’s Columbarium, the first Catholic Columbarium in Sarawak has now come to fruition. Located in the vicinity of St Peter’s Church compound, the Columbarium was completed in early 2019 after a 12 months’ construction period.

The Archbishop of Kuching, Archbishop Simon Poh will officially open and bless the Columbarium on Sunday, 24 March 2019, the eve of the feast of Annunciation, with the celebration of the Eucharist at 7.30 a.m. at St Peter’s Church.

Before Mass, all the urns at the temporary holding area at St Peter’s Parish will be moved to the Church. Immediately after Mass, family members will bring the urns in a procession to the columbarium. The Archbishop will then declare the Columbarium open and bless it.

Family members will intern the urns to their respective niches. After the blessing, there will be a simple fellowship outside the columbarium. For further details on the event, please visit https://stpeterpadungan.wordpress.com

When asked why the parish decided to build a columbarium in the parish compound, the Rector of St Peter’s Church, Rev Fr Vincent Chin, explained that they are trying to restore an old tradition of the Church.

“The old tradition of the Church is to have a cemetery next to a church to make sure that those who passed away are close to the believing community. So all these while, wherever there is a church, there is always a cemetery next to it,” he said.

The proximity of the cemetery to the church makes it convenient for church-goers to visit and pray for their departed loved ones as often as they go to the church. It also serves as a reminder that it is their responsibility to pray for those who are gone, and that they too would be laid there one day. It is also to show that there is nothing to fear about the dead.

“When we decided to have this columbarium, we made it our responsibility and commitment to include the departed on every All Souls Day and every Friday in November and in their death anniversary month, regardless if their families offer Mass for them or not,” said Fr Chin.

He said a lot of parishioners are worried there is no one to pray for them when they passed on because their children are overseas and they have no other relatives or friends in town. “We assure them that they will be taken care of,” he added.

The two-storey columbarium can house roughly five thousand people. There are two types of niches offered, for married couple and single person. The donation for single ones range from RM5K – 8K, while the donation for married couples range from RM8K – RM13K, depending on the levels. There will be six levels of the niches.

For those who are interested to secure a space, please contact the Parish office at 082-429140 during office hours.

The Parish, under the pastoral care of Rev. Fr. Vincent Chin, is very grateful to all sponsors for their contributions.

St Peter’s Parish Council

1 COMMENT

  1. A cemetery next to a church is different from a Columbarium because a small urn containing just a small portion of the body in ashes is different from the whole body in the cemetery as Catholics believe in the resurrection of the body. It will be interesting to find out how many of the spaces have been reserved for the priests or Archbishops?

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