Reflection on the Second Sunday of Advent (A)


First Reading
Isaiah 11:1-10

A descendent of Jesse will usher in a time of peace.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17
The Messiah will bring justice and peace to the nations.

Second Reading
Romans 15:4-9
Both Jews and Gentiles glorify God for the salvation found in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist appears in Judea preaching a message of repentance.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In this week’s Gospel Reading and next week’s, our Advent preparation for Christmas invites us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. In this week’s Gospel, Matthew describes the work and preaching of John the Baptist.

John the Baptist appears in the tradition of the great prophets of Israel, preaching repentance and reform to the people of Israel. In fact, the description of John found in this reading is reminiscent of the description of the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8). In this reading, John directs a particularly pointed call to repentance to the Pharisees and Sadducees, parties within the Jewish community of the first century.

John marks the conversion of those who seek him out with a baptism of repentance. Other groups in this period are thought to have practised ritual washings for similar purposes, and John’s baptism may have been related to the practices of the Essenes, a Jewish sect of the first century. John’s baptism can be understood as an anticipation of Christian baptism. In this passage, John himself alludes to the difference between his baptism and the one yet to come: “I am baptising you with water, for repentance . . . He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11).

In this reading, John makes very clear that his relationship to the Messiah yet to come (Jesus) is one of service and subservience: “. . . the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals” (Matthew 3:11). In the context of Matthew’s Gospel, today’s passage is followed by Jesus’ baptism by John, an event that is attested to in all four of the Gospels and appears to have been the start of Jesus’ public ministry.

John’s preaching of the coming of the Lord is a key theme of the Advent season. As John’s message prepared the way for Jesus in the first century, we, too, are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming. We respond to John’s message by our repentance and reform of our lives. We are also called to be prophets of Christ, who announce by our lives, as John did, the coming of the Lord. –


Advent Penitential Service 2016


Date Church Time
Fri Dec 02 St Aloysius Limbanak

St Augustine Kinarut

6:30 pm


Mon Dec 05 St John Tuaran 6:30 pm
Tue Dec 06 Divine Mercy KKIP

Holy Family Telipok

7:30 pm


Wed Dec 07 Holy Rosary Limbahau

St Simon Likas

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Fri Dec 09 St Joseph Papar 6:30 pm
Mon Dec 12 St Michael Penampang 6:30 pm
Tue Dec 13 Stella Maris Tanjung Aru 6:30 pm
Wed Dec 14 Holy Nativity Terawi 6:30 pm
Mon Dec 19 St Catherine Inanam 7:00 pm
Tue Dec 20 Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:30 pm
Wed Dec 21 Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:30 pm

Fr Sipanul to mark 40 years of priesthood



Fr Sipanul poses with the LOM Comitium officials, 7 Nov 2016, Inobong.

PENAMPANG – Father Alexander Sipaul will mark 40 years of priesthood on 31 Dec 2016 but its celebration will be two days earlier on Dec 29 at the Catholic Church in Kg Madsiang at 6:30 pm.

Born in Limbahau on 13 June 1948, Fr Alex is the youngest in a brood of three boys and one girl born to Emanuel Sipanul and Elizabeth Andreas.  He had his primary school at St Mary Limbahau (1955-1962) and secondary at La Salle Tg Aru (1963-1967).  He entered St Francis Xavier Minor Seminary Singapore in 1968 and his philosophical and theological studies in Rome (1971-1976). He was ordained priest by Bishop Simon Fung at Holy Rosary Limbahau on 31 Dec 1976.

After ordination, he served in Penampang, Tanjung Aru/Labuan, Tambunan, Toboh, Inanam/Manggatal/Telipok before taking up licentiate course in canon law in Rome (1992-1994).  After licentiate studies, he went back to serve in Inanam/Manggatal/Telipok, then Penampang and currently in Inobong.

Aside from being pastor, he also serves as a member of the College of Consultors, the Archdiocesan Finance Board, and as spiritual director of the Legion of Mary Comitium since 1998.


Telupid to host its first ordination ceremony

Deacon Christopher poses with Bp Gitom and family members

Deacon Christopher poses with Bp Gitom and family members

TELUPID – Come Dec 28, St Martin Parish here will host its first ordination ceremony.

Deacon Christopher Ireneus has been accepted for priestly ordination by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom.  The ceremony has been set at 4 pm on Wednesday 28 Dec 2016.

This will be a milestone in the history of the parish as it will be its first time to host such an event.

Telupid is a small landlocked town located in the district of Beluran in the centre of Sabah.  By road, it takes two and a half hours to reach there from Sandakan and about four to five hours from Kota Kinabalu.  It is a peaceful area surrounded by forested mountains.

The Christian community first started in Labuk with the help of catechist Linus Gumak of Kg Gambaron in 1961.  The first priest to evangelise the area was Fr Oestdyke mhm (1966-1967), who built a school and boarding house.  He was followed by Fr Jan van Velzen (1968-1969), who built the first church.  It was completed and blessed in early 1971.  The community was placed under the pastoral administration of St Peter Claver Ranau.  The hall was built in 1985.  In September 1994 the church was demolished and a new church was built under Fr Bruno Yasun’s supervision.  It was opened and blessed by Bishop John Lee on 12 Nov 1995.  Now, 21 years later, the parish has the blessing of seeing one of its sons being raised to the altar.

Born and bred  in Kg Kiabau Telupid, 35-year-old Deacon Christopher is the fifth child in a brood of five boys and one girl born to Ireneus Anun and Rosinah Saleh.  He had his primary schooling at SK Kiabau (1988-1993) and secondary at SMK Telupid (1994-1997) and SMK Sandakan (1997-2000).  He took his BSc in Sports Science and Recreation (Hons) at UiTM Shah Alam (2005-2007).

He taught for three years before entering the aspirancy for diocesan priesthood at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang in 2008.  The following year he was accepted into Initiation Year KK before proceeding to St Peter’s College Kuching for his philosophical and theological studies from 2010 to 2016.  He was ordained deacon about six months ago, on July 18, at St Mary Sandakan by Bishop Gitom.

SH Daily Massgoers celebrate assistant pastor’s 11 years of priesthood


KOTA KINABALU – Daily Massgoers of Sacred Heart Cathedral here celebrated one of their assistant pastors’ 11 years of priesthood on 1 Dec 2016.

It is part of this group of people’s desire to show appreciation to the people of the cloth on their ordination anniversaries.

Around 50 of them turned up for the thanksgiving breakfast in honour of Father Wilfred Atin whose actual ordination date falls on Dec 3.

Born on 25 Oct 1972 in Ranau, Atin was ordained priest in 2005.  After ordination he served at the cathedral before being sent to Rome to take up licentiate studies on dogmatic theology (ecclesiology).  Upon his arrival from Rome in 2010, he resumed his service as assistant pastor at the cathedral.  He continued this service even after being appointed director of the Aspirants Formation House located at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang in 2011.  Aside from these duties, he is also the vocation director for the archdiocese as well as the auditor for the Kota Kinabalu Office of the Peninsular Malaysia Ecclesiastical Tribunal (2013).

When asked how he felt about his anniversary, the honouree said he felt as if it were “only yesterday” that he was ordained and he wondered whether ” he has done anything in the past 11 years.”

Over 500 attend blessing and opening of Hamin Tokou Potuki


POTUKI, Penampang – Over 500 people attended the blessing and opening of Hamin Tokou (Our Home) St Francis Xavier Orphanage Home here on 28 Nov 2016.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing while YB Tan Sri DSP Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Infrastructure and Development declared it open. Kitingan is also the patron of Hamin Tokou Sabah.

In his speech, the deputy chief minister assured the management association of the Hamin Tokou Orphanage Home Sabah under the chairmanship of Lawrence Jakil that he will do his best to see to the relocation of the village road that divides the  land to the boundary of the land so that future development projects may be undertaken without hindrance and for the safety of the future residents.

Present at the event were several members of the Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae South Korea including Rev General Liborius Park Hye Sik, local priests, religious sisters, representatives of Montfort Youth Training Centre Kinarut, and the Carmelite Seculars.  There were also visitors from Sibu, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The home, run and financed by the Clerical Society was the brainchild of Fr Leo Choi Sangki, who saw the need to build a home for needy orphans in the state after serving  the Korean community here in the last ten years or so. He is the spiritual director, project consultant and architect of Hamin Tokou Sabah projects.

The home is named after St Francis Xavier, the patron of the missions, and Father Francis Xavier Tjeong, who founded  the society in 1976.

Initially, it was to be built first in Tambunan.  But as things turned out, Potuki became the site for the home after the management committee managed to obtain the two-acre land here with the consent of Abp Wong who saw it as part of God’s call to the South Korean clerical society.

Operations will begin towards the end of  2017.

Pauline Family organises inaugural mini bazaar in conjunction with Founder’s Day

Thumbs up from some patrons at the Paulines Mini Bazaar, 27 Nov 2016, Daughters of St Paul Convent Karaminsing.

Thumbs up from some patrons at the Paulines Mini Bazaar, 27 Nov 2016, Daughters of St Paul Convent Karaminsing.

KOTA KINABALU – The Pauline Family – Daughters of St Paul and the Association of Pauline Cooperators – ogranised their inaugural mini bazaar in conjunction with their Founder’s Day on 27 Nov 2016.

The event was held at the compound of the sisters’ convent at Jalan Sang Kancil Satu Karamunsing.  Friends and collaborators came to give a hand at the bazaar.

Though there was not much publicity, the event saw many friends and benefactors patronising the delicious home-cooked food, bread, pastries, biscuits and pickles.  Plants, vegetables, fruits, and dried goods were also sold along with secondhand clothes, bags and shoes, kitchen utensils and religious items, books and 2017 calendars.

At the good response, the Pauline Family decided to make this an annual event.

SH Cathedral Parish receives over 100 into Order of Catechumens

rite of acceptance 2016

Father Hontor prays over the catechumens during Rite of Acceptance SHC, 26 Nov 2016.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here received over a hundred inquirers into the Order of Catechumens over the weekend of the First Sunday of Advent, 26-27 Nov 2016.

Around 37 adults and children were accepted as catechumens through the Rite of Acceptance at the beginning of the Sunset Mass Nov 26 while another 150 were accepted at the beginning of the BM Mass Nov 27.  A further 21 will be accepted at the beginning of the Chinese Mass Dec 4.

The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens (Rite of Acceptance) is the first of the “threshold rites” of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and the first public liturgical ritual. In the Rite of Acceptance, a change of identity takes place: those previously known as inquirers become catechumens. They are officially welcomed by the Church as disciples, members (albeit not yet full members) of the household of faith. The text calls this rite “the first consecration by the Church”1 of those seeking Christian initiation. They are literally marked with the cross of Christ as God’s own.

The Rite of Acceptance may be celebrated several times in the course of the year. When planning their annual calendar, each parish should fix at least two, and often three, times for celebrating this rite, so that as inquirers are deemed ready, they may be welcomed in a timely manner.

After the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance, the names of the catechumens are to be duly inscribed in the Register of Catechumens (different from the Book of the Elect which is signed later), along with the names of the sponsors and the minister, the date and place of celebration.

CMI English Choir gets vocal training


BUKIT PADANG – The Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) English Choir engaged a professional vocal coach and choral director to teach its members  the right vocal techniques and to help them discover their voices on 8 Sept 2016 at the church here.

Mr Adsone, who is a trained vocal coach and choral director, spent two hours assessing and providing vocal strategies in which they could use to improve themselves not only as individual vocalists but also as a choir.

The first section of the night focused on the more technical aspect of vocal training; registration, resonance and breath management. Individually they have developed vocal habits of their own and very often these habits need some readjusting in order to realise a healthy vocal technique.

Adsone’s approach to vocal training began with listening and observing each member’s vocal abilities particularly on registration. Registration, the balance between the head voice and the chest voice, is an issue that needs addressing in vocal training.

Head voice helps develop a much better use of air and engaging in head voice for higher pitches can also prevent the strain caused by using chest voice. It is also critical to ensure in-tune singing as the muscles used in producing head voice helps in regulating pitch.

After observing their singing individually and the specific strengths they bring, Adsone directed their attention to the ways they use their individual voices while helping them recognise the unconscious choices that they are making as well as presenting them with different techniques to improve.

Another aspect was resonance,  the distinctive tone produced by the sound waves from the vocal chords  through the throat and mouth. The overall sound of a choir is heavily impacted by the individual singers’ resonant qualities; hence choir directors will seek for uniformity in a choir’s sound.

Adsone pointed out a few ways to resolve this issue; firstly by focusing on bringing awareness to each member’s vocal qualities, and secondly by building the awareness of the way they shape their mouths and throats as well as the feel and sound of their singing.

Breath management is also an essential vocal technique that is often neglected. Adsone explained that breath is the source of power in one’s voice. Effective breath support is an integration of the entire vocal system that includes resonance as well as registration. Singing in head voice helps to coordinate airflow and pressure and once a singer is able to achieve this combination, they will be able to sing without straining their vocal chords. Exercises for a more healthy and efficient breath managements are quick and easy and when done repeatedly, are helpful for establishing a more sustained airflow.

The second section of the night focused on the sound of each choral parts; soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Adsone helped explain the roles and significance each of these parts.   Once all the participants understood their  parts,  Adsone used a hymn to guide them.

Adsone ended his lesson with one simple advice: never start singing without  proper vocal exercises.

Discovering new possibility in one’s singing is definitely exciting but it is more important to have the willingness to seek knowledge and to learn rather than just simple being told to change. – CMI English Choir

Aspirants join in blood donation drive


PENAMPANG  – The aspirants of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Formation House here joined in a blood donation drive at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre (CAC) here on 22 Oct 2016.

The centre organised the drive as one of its Corporal Works of Mercy, with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) staff in attendance. The half-day drive managed to collect 11 pints of blood that were donated to QEH blood bank. This was the second drive organised by CAC which also saw its director, Fr Wilfred Atin, donating blood that day.

Bible Class students choose to do outreach on Graduation Day

stella-marisKOTA MARUDU – Thirteen Bible Class students of Stella Maris Parish Tanjung Aru chose to celebrate their graduation day by an outreach trip to St Theresa Hostel here on 27 Nov 2016.

The students did their fundraising for the trip through selling of cupcakes, henna painting, photo booth, selling of drinks and others.

On the day itself, they brought with them something that they could share with the students there such as boxes of goodies, clothes, stationery, stuff toys and many other things. Their parents were part of the giving as well.

The journey to Kota Marudu was filled with joy, prayer and excitement, some of them woke up at 4 am to prepare themselves. They reached Kota Marudu about 10:30 am and were warmly greeted by Sr Jossekah. They were also welcomed by the hostel students, all in green,  with a welcome song.

Teresa Alberto, PPC Chairman who also joined the trip, said she saw joy and sadness in the children. Joy when they played, danced and sang with them. Sadness when they spoke about their families. Some who are just about six years old have not met their family for over a year.

The Bible Class graduates said  they were amazed that everyone in the hostel, from aged six above, can speak English, sing and dance well, well disciplined and through their smiles brought lots of love to anyone who visited them even for the first time.

The graduation ceremony  took place on the beach in Kota Belud. The students were quiet as they reflected not only on their journey of catechetical formation of 11 years but feeling so blessed that they are able to see their loved ones everyday, that they have almost everything provided for by their loved ones, and so blessed that they are able to give. Teresa Alberto

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