KOTA KINABALU: It was the ordination of a Catholic priest. But there were many Muslims in the church, all his relatives.
They turned up to share in the joy, reflecting the high level of acceptance among people of Ranau on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.
A family picture with relatives who included Muslims, taken after 35-year-old Abel Madisang was ordained, has fast gone viral on the social media.
Facebook user Japiril Suhaimin said in his posting that the ordination ceremony was attended by family and friends of different faiths.
Sabah, he said, was the best place to learn and adopt the 1Malaysia concept.
"What more is there to be said, in a family of many religious beliefs, everyone is celebrating and respecting their relative's achievements," he posted in Bahasa Malaysia,
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said one's faith was a personal matter.
"It is a message of tolerance to all Malaysians.
"The religious belief of any family member has never been a factor in the personal relationships of families," said Masidi, who is a Kadazandusun Muslim from Ranau.
Madisang's ordination ceremony on Monday was performed by Archbishop John Wong at the Church of St Peter Claver in Ranau.
The ordination mass was done in English, Kadazandusun and Bahasa Malaysia and witnessed by family members, relatives as well as friends.
Some turned up in traditional Kadazandusun costumes.
Madisang is the 11th among 12 siblings.
An elder sister is a Muslim. Many of the aunts and uncles from both his parents' sides are Muslims or Christians of different denominations.
His Muslim aunt, who came with her family for the ordination, said: "I do not see how this can be a problem."