01/16/2020, 13.20
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Catechumens and confirmands at the 'Garden of Gethsemane' in Kuching

Some 51 people took part in the pilgrimage, which followed a course in English dedicated to the path of faith held at St Joseph parish. The Garden of Gethsemane in Bunan Gega covers almost five hectares of forest. It was inaugurated on 26 May of last year by Archbishop Simon Peter Poh Hoon Seng. “God really opened our eyes to appreciate everyone and everything around us,” said one participant.

Kuching (AsiaNews) – A pilgrimage to build a relationship with God was the latest initiative undertaken by St Joseph Cathedral in Kuching, capital of the federal state of Sarawak (Borneo), centred on adult candidates to baptism and confirmation, together with their godparents.

The group of 51 took part in the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in English, a path of faith for those who wish to become members of the Catholic Church.

The pilgrimage occurred on 4 January at the Garden of Gethsemane in Bunan Gega (Serian), 64 km from Kuching.

The pilgrimage centre, almost five hectares of forest, is located a few hundred metres from St Jude parish church; it was inaugurated on 26 May of last year by the local archbishop, Mgr Simon Peter Poh Hoon Seng.

The visit to the Garden of Gethsemane was an idea of ​​Fr Larry Tan, assistant parish priest and vice rector of the St Joseph Church; Sarah Marimuthu, coordinator for faith education; and Tony Teo, head of the English-language RCIA programme.

One of the pilgrimage’s goals was to give candidates the opportunity to forge an even closer bond with their godparents, far from their busy working life.

Some of the activities carried out by the group during the pilgrimage included the recitation of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Via Crucis and the Mass celebrated by Fr Prince Carneelyes Arockiam, pastor at St Jude.

Before the pilgrimage ended, participants visited the church. Patrick Parameswaran, who was accompanied by the family, was one of them.

“This experience has truly been a huge blessing, not only for me but for my family,” he told Today’s Catholic, the official publication of the archdiocese. “We experienced so many little blessings, from having the perfect weather to having enough food for everyone to enjoy,” he added.

More importantly, “God really opened our eyes to appreciate everyone and everything around us, no matter how big or small. We enjoyed everyone’s presence being together and we hope for more activities like this to be organised in the future.”

Patrick Jee was also present. He took the “opportunity to thank the organiser, Brother Kelvin and his team and Brother Tony for making this trip a success to expose our new brothers and sisters in Christ to the passion of our Lord. This centre with its serene, lush forest brings us back to nature and [allowed us to] experience God in contemplative attentiveness, staying with the Lord in prayers peacefully.”

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