Feb 21, 2014

An Episcopal Ordination: Joy with a tinge of sadness

It was the very first episcopal ordination I witnessed, of a priest I know not-very-well-but-well-enough. And being able to be there as a photographer, although not the official one, I give thanks to God. I am even more grateful as it was the ordination of our ex-'boss' (he was the advisor of Social Communications Committee).

Episcopal Ordination of Fr Richard Ng
According to organisers, it was a super-mammoth Mass Miri has ever had. It wasn't just another ordinary Mass for the people in the Diocese of Miri, but a significant event even for the laity in the Archdiocese of Kuching.

More than 400 people from Kuching were there. If that wasn't the proof of their love for this priest and friend, then I am not sure what other reasons were there that they were willing to travel so far just to witness the ordination.

And yes, I was there too, assigned by the office to bring back some shots of the ordination, and also to accomplish my own personal mission: to get the best shot of Bishop Richard.

As long as I have been with the Media Office, I have never had the chance to take the photos of Fr Richard (now Bishop of Miri). Partly because I did not find him very interesting - he seldom smiled. At least not when he met me. But when he did (well, he would usually give me that sly smile when he was cycling around the Cathedral compound in the evening), I did not have the camera with me.

When I received the news of his appointment as the new Bishop of Miri, my heart sank - to be honest. Well, I was more concerned of the one to take over his post as the next advisor. I never like changes. Who does? Especially when we need to get used to the new way things are done, when we are already comfortable with the old ways. The unknown is always scary - at least for me.

While I am glad the Diocese of Miri has finally a new bishop, I am a little sad at the same time to say goodbye. Probably because I still cherish those memories of the kindness he has shown me - buying me lunch as we worked overtime, offering to send me home even though it was out of his way, and remembering that I love JPII and bought me souvenirs from Poland. I did not even say "Thank you" to him before he left for Miri. I thought perhaps I could somehow improve that working relationship from "superior-subordinate" to friendship (the kind of working relationship that is more ideal in the church - in my opinion).

But coming to think of it, can a servant expect the master to invite him to sit at the table together for meals?

Dear Fr Richard (please allow me to call you that for one last time), I am not going to say goodbye because I know our paths will cross again somehow. We will pray for you. Quoting the words of Archbishop John Ha "Miri is your Church, Kuching is your home", do come back once in a while to visit us. Don't forget to smile, because you have a beautiful smile!

And thank you, thank you for those moments when you turned and smiled at me when you could completely ignore me.