The announcement by Pope Francis of the elevation of Cornelius Sim, Apostolic Vicar of Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei, to the cardinalate is a tremendous joy for all those Mill Hill missionaries who have worked in the Diocese of Miri.
When he was ordained a priest at the age of 38 in 1989, Brunei was still part of Miri Diocese. Thus he can be considered a Mill Hill Missionary ‘alumnus’.
When I congratulated him this morning, he was still baffled and said: “It’s all a mystery to me. He is strange in all his ways.”
In his elevation to the cardinalate, maybe we get a glimpse of the importance Pope Francis attaches to the dialogue with Islam.
Our newly elevated Cardinal Cornelius Sim, who is of Chinese and Dusun origin, will appreciate our prayers for this work in Brunei, where Islam is the state religion, and although freedom of religion is guaranteed, the rights of the tiny Christian community are severely limited.
Fr Guido Gockel MHM