KOTA KINABALU - An investigation into a "weeping" statue of Mother Mary at a village in Penampang has begun.
It is understood that Catholic Archbishop John Wong has asked Fr Peter Abas, the parish priest of the Holy Nativity church in Kampung Tarawi, to investigate the phenomenon that reportedly began a week ago.
A Kota Kinabalu diocese official said this was because the church was the closest to Kampung Mahandoi where the statue was being kept by its owner, Michael George, in his house.
The official said Fr Peter would then be required to submit a report to the Archbishop and "he would take it up from there."
"These are the prescribed procedures in cases like this," the official said.
The statue was brought from the Philippines about a year ago by Michael's sister-in-law and was kept in her house until a few weeks ago.
Michael said he had taken the statue to be blessed by the Archbishop on Mar 1 and on the following day, his youngest son had noticed liquid droplets on the statue's face.
He said his family intended to keep the statue at their house for at least another month, until Easter, before deciding whether to hand it over to the church for it to be kept and assessed.
Hundreds of devotees have been to see the statue since the phenomenon was reported.
There have been at least 15 known cases of "weeping" statues at various countries since 1949 and many of these have remained unverified or rejected by the church.