The joyful and colourful ordination of Rev. Elvost Lunchi was a landmark and historical event. This is the second ordination of a Malaysian Mill Hill Missionary and indeed the first to be held in the land of Sabah. Presided over by the Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, Rt. Rev. John Wong, who encouraged Rev. Elvost to witness to the Lord’s love with gladness, it was well attended by many priests of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, Mill Hillers serving (and some who have served) in Sarawak or have journeyed with Elvost at one time or another in his vocation journey, the religious, Mill Hill Family (as Friends of Mill Hill are known in Malaysia), parishioners, Elvost’s family members, friends and relatives. Fr. Bernie Luna who is Councillor for Asia represented the General Council and encouraged the Church in Sabah to give support to their missionaries, most importantly through prayers.
Significantly, the ordination took place at Holy Rosary Church, Limbahau, which is in Papar. This place is significant since Papar was the first mission station in Sabah. When Mill Hill Missionaries first arrived in Borneo in 1881, Fr. Daniel Kilty MHM was sent to British North Borneo (as Sabah was known then) and he made Papar his first mission station. In 1888, Limbahau Church was built by Fr. Bernard Kurz MHM. And 135 years later, Papar has now produced the first Mill Hill Missionary to go and share the message of the risen Christ with the whole world.
Though there are no more Mill Hill Missionaries serving in Sabah, the ordination of Elvost brings a ray of hope and is a manifestation of the maturity of the Sabah church which is now ready to send Missionaries to foreign lands.
Let us continue to pray for Fr. Elvost as he prepares to take up his appointment among the loving Kutchi Kohli people of Pakistan.
George Omuto MHM