Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam
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|Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei
Apostolicus Vicariatus Bruneiensis
Kerasulan Vicariate Brunei
The Vicariate Logo
|Ecclesiastical province||Brunei Darussalam|
|Area||5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi)|
|(as of 2010)
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||21 November 1997 (As Prefecture Apostolic of Brunei)
20 October 2004 (As Vicariate Apostolic of Brunei)
|Cathedral||Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Bandar Seri Begawan|
|Episcopal Vicars||Cornelius Sim|
|Website of the Apostolic Vicariate|
The Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Bruneiensis) is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdiction covering the territory of Brunei and headed by an apostolic vicar, currently Bishop Cornelius Sim.
The present Catholic community in the country finds its roots in the ministry of the Missionary Society of St. Joseph (Mill Hill Missionaries). The origins of the Roman Catholic population of Brunei is traced to the influence of the Spanish missionaries coming mainly from neighboring Philippines, who also converted the Kadazans in Sabah. Throughout the years, the local Church was administered by various ecclesiastical jurisdictions centred in Labuan, Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu), Kuching and Miri, cities in neighbouring Malaysia.
The separation of Bruneian territory formerly under the Diocese of Miri-Brunei (now simply known as the Diocese of Miri) created a distinct Bruneian Church. This separated territory was designated as an apostolic prefecture in November 1997, to be headed by then Msgr. Cornelius Sim (who was the Vicar General of Miri-Brunei, and a Bruneian priest) as its first apostolic prefect. On 22 February 1998, the Apostolic Prefecture of Brunei Darussalam came into being with the proclamation of the papal bull to the faithful and the installation of the apostolic prefect. On 20 October 2004, less than seven years after it was formed, the apostolic prefecture was elevated to an apostolic vicariate. Msgr. Sim was appointed the first apostolic vicar, carrying the dignity of a titular bishop: his episcopal ordination took place in January 2005.
The vicariate does not operate a distinct chancery, nor does it have a designated cathedral. However, one of the parishes, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, unofficially hosts both functions, as it is the residence and office of the bishop, and is the most populous parish in the vicariate.
There is no official priests' council, although the clergy do hold meetings occasionally.
The vicariate is administered pastorally through commissions responsible for liturgy, catechetics, finance, education, the youth, evangelisation, family life, migrant welfare, the Bible apostolate and social communications. The commissions are directed by appointed clergy, and see representation from the parishes. The role of these commissions are to foster a more aligned vision and direction among the parishes in the various aspects of Church life.
It is estimated that there are around 21,000 Roman Catholics in Brunei. The majority are expatriate Filipinos; others are Chinese, South Asian or indigenous people.
The Vicariate consists of 3 parishes, all located in major towns. The parishes are:
- Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Bandar Seri Begawan
- Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Seria in Seria
- St. John's Church in Kuala Belait
There is also a Roman Catholic community in the remote district of Temburong, although there is as yet no parish established there. There are four diocesan priests, which includes the bishop, himself a parish priest.
Part of its social ministry is Bethany House, a home for senior citizens which was built, paid for and operated by the vicariate.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul is also active in 2 parishes of the vicariate, where they gather monetary and physical aid and distribute to those in need.
There are 3 schools under the ownership and management of the vicariate, all providing elementary and high school education. All the schools are coeducational.
- St. George's School in Bandar Seri Begawan
- St. John's School in Kuala Belait
- St. Angela's Convent School
The schools are not subsidised or aided by the government, and thus run on a full fee-paying basis.
As the government does not allow catechism lessons during school hours or within school premises, Sunday (and Friday) school is conducted for this purpose.
- Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam
- GCatholic.org on Brunei Darussalam
- Catholic Hierarchy Profile of Apostolic Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam