Thought for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time C


First Reading
Genesis 18:20-32
Abraham pleads with God to save the innocent people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 138:1-3,6-8
Lord, on the day I cried for help, you answered me.

Second Reading
Colossians 2:12-14
You were buried with Christ in Baptism and also raised with him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13
Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Luke gives more attention to Jesus’ teachings on prayer than any other Gospel writer. He also mentions Jesus at prayer more than the others. In today’s reading, from the beginning of Chapter 11 of his Gospel, Luke presents the core of Jesus’ teaching on prayer. It consists of Jesus teaching a prayer to his disciples, a parable on the persistent neighbor, and assurances that God hears our prayers.

The disciples notice Jesus praying “in a certain place.” They ask him to teach them to pray just as John the Baptist had taught his disciples. Jesus teaches them a simple version of the most famous Christian prayer, the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew’s version shows signs of being shaped by public prayer. Luke’s version is probably closer to the original form that Jesus taught. Stripped of much of the language we are used to, Luke’s version seems simple and direct. We pray that God’s name will be recognised as holy and that his rule over all will be established. This is followed by petitions for our needs for bread, for forgiveness, and for deliverance. Luke uses the more theological language of “sins” rather than “debts,” which is used in Matthew’s version.

Having taught his disciples a simple, daily prayer, Jesus goes on to reassure them that God answers prayers. First he tells a parable about a persistent neighbour who asks a friend for bread at midnight. The friend is already in bed and has no desire to disturb his family by opening the door. But because the neighbour is persistent, the sleeping man gets up and gives him all that he needs. If a neighbour is willing to help us if we are persistent enough, how could God not respond to our requests?

This teaching concludes with the reminder that if we seek, we will get a response. If a human father, with all his faults, knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will our heavenly Father give us? Instead of good gifts, however, Luke substitutes the word Holy Spirit. This foreshadows the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is central to Luke’s theology and who will play an important role in the growth of the early Church after Pentecost.

The parable and the concluding teaching in this section should not lead us to think of prayer as a series of requests presented to God. Rather, as Jesus teaches in his model prayer, prayer consists in recognising God’s holiness and his rule over all things. –



Third deacon ordained in Sandakan Diocese

diaconal ordination 2016, christopher ireneus

SANDAKAN – A third deacon was ordained for Sandakan Diocese recently.

Seminarian Christopher Ireneus of Kg Kiabau Telupid, 35, was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom on 18 July 2016 at St Mary’s Cathedral here.  Among the 11 concelebrants were Fr Terry Burke mhm of St Peter’s College Kuching, Fr Charles Chiew of Keningau (the candidate’s retreat master), and Fr David Garaman (semestral break).  Over a thousand faithful across the diocese turned up to witness the event.

The first to be ordained deacon (March 2010) and priest ( December 2010) was David A Garaman; followed by Stanley W Matakim (deacon 2015, priest 2016).  Both are from Lahad Datu.

The Rite of Ordination began after the Gospel proclamation.  Fr Thomas Makajil called the candidate by name and presented him to the bishop.  After the election by the bishop with the consent of the people, the bishop preached the homily.  The homily touched mainly on the deacon’s duties and responsibilities: proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the sacrifice, distributing the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.  He will also exhort believers and unbelievers alike and to instruct them in the faith.  Moreover, he will preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and conduct funeral rites.

After the homily, responding to the bishop’s queries, the elect resolved to do what is required of him and promised obedience to the bishop and his successors.  Then all knelt for the Litany of the Saints.

The high point of the rite was the laying on of hands by the bishop on the head of the elect in silence.  With hands outstretched, the bishop prayed the Prayer of Ordination.  After the prayer, Fr Jasery Gabuk, pastor of St Martin Telupid, put on the neo-ordained the deacon’s stole and dalmatic.  The new deacon then went and knelt before the bishop who placed the Book of Gospels in his hands, signifying his preaching ministry.  The rite ended with a fraternal embrace from the bishop.  The new deacon then took his place beside the bishop in the sanctuary.  The Eucharist went on as usual with the deacon assisting at the altar at the proper time.

In his speech after Communion, Deacon Christopher thanked all those who have journeyed with him in his formative years.  He added, “We often hear that the Church is the mystical body of Christ. In this body, we tend to think of the priest as the head, the leader, and the shepherd. However, it is possible that sometimes we may be so eager to lead that we forget that there are always those who follow. In the Gospel of Luke 22:14-20, 24-30 we heard just now, Jesus reminds us, “the greatest among you must behave, as if he were the youngest, the leader, as if he were the one who serves.”

He continued, “I say these things to remind myself and all of us, that ordination to the diaconate is not an honour that I deserve to earn, or bestowed as a reward upon those who responded to the call, nor on those who live a just moral life. If that were the case, I would not be standing here. Like the Holy Eucharist, it is a gift which you and I are called to participate in. It is a call of grave commitment despite my mountains of imperfections. As far as I can remember, I have heard this call within my heart.  In spite of  my many sins and shortcomings, the call remains. Today I pledge to continue answering this call to the best of my ability, knowing that nothing is possible without God.”

In his turn,  the bishop also thanked all those who have helped the neo-ordained in his journey to the priesthood.  He encouraged the faithful to continue journeying with the young deacon but warned them not to spoil him.

The reception was held at the parish hall with the usual cake-cutting ceremony and entertainment programme by the various groups/ministries.

The new deacon holds the distinction of being the first from Telupid to be ordained to the diaconate.  He will continue to serve at the cathedral where he was assigned before his diaconal ordination.  Two days earlier, on July 16, his fellow townmate, Novice Maria Natalia (Decvianney Julius), 24, took her first vows as a Putri Karmel Sister in Kaingaran Tambunan.

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.



CMI bids farewell to assistant pastor

cmi bids farewell to fr jeffri

BUKIT PADANG – The Church of Mary Immaculate here organised a farewell meal to bid their assistant pastor au revoir on 17 July 2016 at the church canteen.

The event was organised by the Parish Pastoral Council for Fr Jeffri Gumu who would be taking a three-year-break for licientiate studies on canon law at the Pontifical University of Sto Tomas Manila, Philippines.  Fr Gumu has been serving them since his ordination in 2012.

In his homily during the Mass, the priest said he was struck when one of the youths told him not to forget to pray during his studies.  That is because normally it would be the priest who gives that advice to the faithful.  He said it was a sign of spiritual maturity on the part of the youth.

In an interview, he said he is happy to be given a break and looking forward to his studies in Manila.  Currently, Fr Clement Abel of Keningau is taking up MA Philosophy at the same university and has another two and a half years to go.

Over 30 people – members of the various groups/ministries – turned up for the fellowship.  Parish priest Abp John Wong graced the occasion as well, lending support to the honouree.

Elias Carmelites welcome six new members into their family

pkarm/cse professions 2016

The neo-professed: first profession (L) and final professed (R) pose with the clergy after the Mass.

KAINGARAN, Tambunan – The Elias Carmelites – Putri Karmel Sisters and Carmelitae Sancti Elias Brothers – welcomed six new members, three temporarily professed and three perpetual professed, into their respective institutes, recently.

The professions took place on 16 July 2016, Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, their titular feast day, at St Mary Magdalene Chapel here.  Bishop Cornelius Piong officiated the two-in-one three-hour long event, concelebrated with five priests from Kota Kinabalu, Keningau, Sandakan and Zimbabwe.  Over 300 people turned up for the event.

In his homily, the bishop touched on commitment and the challenges it faces.  He said that religious commitment (same as priestly and marriage commitment) entails knowing what one is doing and getting into.  It touches one’s deepest desire.

The bishop then gave four points on how to sustain one’s commitment: (1) consistent relationship with Jesus; (2) reliance on the Holy Spirit’s power; (3) community life; and (4) imitate Mary’s example.

After being called and examined, Novices Mary Odilia (Theresa Matilda Binidi of Kinarut), 34; Maria Natalia (Decvianney Julius of Telupid), 24; and Fierry Febry Faver (Jepson Taurin of Toboh), 23, took their vows for one year before their respective superiors, Sr Maximilliane Soon, and Br Theresius, one by one.  After the acceptance of the vows, each went to the altar to sign the document individually, witnessed by two professed members of their respective congregation.

After the signing, each newly professed received the scapular and respective Constitution from the bishop.

The rite of perpetual profession followed the rite of first profession.  After the calling and examination, the Litany of the Saints was sung.

Then Srs Mary Nicholeta (Rita L Jair of Ranau), 45; Mary Alberta (Gisella CJ Lengis of Tuaran), 29; and Bernard Marie (Ronnie Jenis of Keningau), 29, made their perpetual vows individually before their respective superior and signed the documents on the altar.  As a sign of their commitment, they were given the spousal rings.

After the neo-professed had sung their thanksgiving song, the Eucharist followed as usual.

The Invocation to the Holy Spirit and Consecration to Mary took place after Communion.  Sr Alberta gave the thanksgiving speech on behalf of all the neo-professed, followed by speeches from Sr Maximilliane and Bp Cornelius.  Both shared on how the Holy Spirit and the maternal help of Mary helped them through the early years of priesthood and religious life.

After the speeches and photo sessions, all adjourned to the basement hall  for a fellowship meal and a programme of songs and cultural dances.


Former CEO of 2002 WYD Fr Rosica reflects on WYD Cross

wyd cross

At the heart of every World Youth Day is a very simple, powerful, ancient Christian symbol: two large planks of wood, known as the World Youth Day Cross, that many have called the “Olympic Torch” of the huge Catholic festival of young people. The World Youth Day cross has many names: the Jubilee Cross, the Pilgrim Cross, the Youth Cross. In 1984, at the close of the 1983 Holy Year of the Redemption at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II entrusted to the young people of the world a simple, twelve-foot wooden Cross, asking them to carry it across the world as a sign of the love which the Lord Jesus has for humankind and “to proclaim to everyone that only in Christ who died and is risen is there salvation and redemption.” Since that day, carried by generous hands and loving hearts, the Cross has made a long, uninterrupted pilgrimage across the continents, to demonstrate, as Pope John Paul II had said, “the Cross walks with young people and young people walk with the Cross.”

The cross does not journey alone. Since 2003 it has been accompanied by an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a copy of the Icon of our Lady known as the ‘Salus Populi Romani’. The original from which this Icon has been copied is considered by some to be from the eighth century, and is housed in a chapel in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome. Pope John Paul II entrusted to the youth an icon of the Blessed Mother that would accompany the cross. “It will be a sign of Mary’s motherly presence close to young people who are called, like the Apostle John, to welcome her into their lives.”

The World Youth Day Cross and Icon speak to us of the two focal points of the message of Christianity: of the Cradle and of the Cross; of Christ who was born of Mary, and of Christ who was crucified for us; of Christmas and Good Friday; of the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery. The Icon and Cross, therefore, are potent symbols of the joy and suffering that we experience in our Christian pilgrimage.

The memories of the World Youth Day 2002 Cross Pilgrimage throughout Canada continue to stir many hearts and evoke wonderful memories many years after the great pilgrimage began in our land on 11 April 2001. The WYD Cross literally touched the three oceans that border Canada. It visited our cities, towns, and rural areas, inviting throngs of people into the streets for processions, prayers, all-night vigils, tears, and moments of reconciliation, healing, and peace.

Such expressions of popular piety had been absent for far too many years from the Canadian ecclesial landscape. In the midst of the carefully orchestrated pilgrimage throughout the 72 dioceses of Canada, the Cross took a detour in February 2002, which was not part of the normal World Youth Day preparations in previous host countries. A convoy of buses left Toronto early on a cold Sunday morning, accompanied by representatives of Canadian police, ambulance, and fire fighters, and set out with the WYD Cross in tow for 48 hours in New York City.

After a Sunday evening Mass in Manhattan’s St Patrick’s Cathedral and an early morning Mass with the Vatican’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, we carried the cross to Ground Zero, into the “pit,” to pray for the victims of the September 11 tragedies at the World Trade Centre and elsewhere throughout the United States. The visit, which received international media coverage, was a sign of hope, consolation, solidarity, and peace to the people of America and the entire world, struggling to understand the evil, terror, violence, and death-dealing forces that humanity experienced on 11 September 2001.

The journey into Ground Zero was for us a very public act of defiance and courage. Six young people from the World Youth Day 2002 National Team carried the large cross up to the special platform built for the families of the victims of the World Trade Centre tragedy. While they processed with the cross, the rest of us sang the Taizé refrain: “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.” As the cross was placed in its metal stand at the edge of the huge crater where the twin towers once stood, the singing grew louder. It was an act of defiance because there, in a place that spoke loudly of destruction, devastation, terror, and death, we raised up a wooden cross – an instrument of death that has been transformed into the central life-giving symbol of the Christian faith. The significance of the action was lost on no one.

The Cross of Jesus Christ blessed and marked World Youth Day 2002 in an extraordinary fashion. Each catechetical site was graced by a replica of the World Youth Day Cross. It was present at each of the main ceremonies. It led our processions, called us to prayer and reflection, healed us, reconciled us, and touched our hearts. Its memory lingers among us several years later.

Who can ever forget the hauntingly beautiful images of the World Youth Day Cross leading over half a million people – mostly on their knees – in the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening, 26 July 2002: up Toronto’s majestic University Avenue, passing before its court houses, the American Consulate, Government Buildings, hospitals, the university, Provincial Parliament, and various museums? A principal street of a great city was transformed into a contemporary Via Dolorosa, while over a billion people watched the scenes of this modern-day passion play unfold via satellite and television.

During the closing Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, 28 July 2002, the Holy Father presented to young pilgrims in the crowd of more than 850,000 people gathered with him small wooden crosses, hand made by young people living in the poorest barrios of Bogotá and Medellín in Colombia. World Youth Day 2002 chose to have the crosses made in a land that has had its share of cross over the past years.

Because we follow a crucified Christ, we enter into solidarity with the world’s suffering masses. We experience the power and love of God through the vulnerable and suffering. The Cross teaches us that what could have remained hideous and beyond remembrance is transformed into beauty, hope, and a continuous call to heroic goodness.

At the conclusion of the closing Eucharistic liturgy, the elderly Pontiff told young people not to be afraid “to follow Christ on the royal road of the Cross! At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent.” He invited his young friends to “learn from that cross.”

When all the commotion and frenzied activity of World Youth Day was over, I was convinced that one of the lasting memories that would remain in our country was that simple, wooden Cross, which was such a huge blessing and source of consolation, healing, strength, and peace to the hundreds of thousands of people who embraced it, touched it, kissed it, learned from it, and allowed themselves to be touched by the awesome message and memory of the One who died upon it.

To celebrate the Triumph of the Cross is to acknowledge the full, cruciform achievement of Jesus’ career. Jesus asks us to courageously choose a life similar to his own. Suffering cannot be avoided nor ignored by those who follow Christ. Following Jesus implies suffering and a cross. The mark of the Messiah is to become the mark of his disciples.

Fr Rosica was National Director and CEO of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada.

Sabah Shariah Court declares a Roman Catholic woman a non-Muslim

syarianKOTA KINABALU – The Shariah High Court here has allowed a Roman Catholic woman’s application, declaring she is not a Muslim.

Judge Nawawi Diman said he was satisfied that Ervinna Chua Soo Kea @ Ervinna Abdullah, 39, did not fall within the meaning of “Orang Islam” under Section 2 of the Majlis Ugama Islam Negeri Sabah 2004 Enactment.

In deciding whether the plaintiff was a Muslim under Section 2 of the Enactment, the judge referred to Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution and the Federal Court’s decision in Subashini A/P Rajasingam v Saravanan a/l Thangathoray and other appeals.

The Borneo Post reported that the judge held that based on the evidence, Ervinna’s religion followed her mother’s as her father had not taken her with him when he converted to Islam. This, Nawawi said, was enough to prove that her father wanted her to remain in her Christian religion.

During the trial, which commenced on 29 March 2016, her father had testified that Ervinna had not been converted to Islam and that she was at all times been taken care of by her non-Muslim mother and grandmother.

Nawawi further held, according to the Borneo Post report, that there was no evidence that Ervinna’s Muslim father, when he was living with her prior to the divorce, had raised her as a Muslim by teaching her prayers, fasting or other Islamic practices.

The judge took into account the fact that she had not practiced the life of a Muslim throughout her life, said the report.

In arguing her case, Ervinna, who was born on 1 June 1976, pleaded that she was born to a Christian family and that her father had converted to Islam on 9 March 1977, and he did so alone without taking her or her mother for the same purpose.

Ervinna, who was represented by counsel Hamid Ismail, also said after her parents divorced, she stayed with her mother and grandmother who are non-Muslims. She said her problems started when she lost her identity card in 2008.

Ervinna said the National Registration Department (NRD) issued her a Temporary Identity Document in which her religion was clearly stated as Christian. When the said document’s period expired, the plaintiff went to renew it at the NRD.

However, the NRD requested her to check with the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS) about her religious status because her father’s name was Abdullah.

Ervinna said the NRD had written a letter to JHEAINS about the matter and that the latter had confirmed that her name was not listed as a Muslim.

Nevertheless, the NRD issued a new Temporary Identity Document with the religious status as “Tiada Maklumat” (No information).

On 12 August  2009, Ervinna filed an application in the Shariah High Court seeking a declaration that she was not a Muslim. The application was dismissed and the Shariah High Court declared that she was a Muslim.

After failing in another bid to have her religion reinstated as “Christian” at the Shariah High Court, Ervinna appealed to the Shariah Court of Appeal, said the Borneo Post report.

On 2 December 2014, the appeal was allowed and the appellate court ordered that the application be tried before a different judge and the earlier order be set aside. – FMT

Counsel the doubtful: A meditation on the third Spiritual Work of Mercy

counsel the doubtfulAt first glance, counseling the doubtful may seem rather similar to instructing the ignorant. However, instructing has learning as its goal while counseling aims to assist with decisions. Certainly giving counsel often includes some aspects of instructing or teaching, such as providing information and perspective, but its primary purpose is to assist a person in coming to a decision. This distinction is contained in the root meanings of the words “counsel” and “doubtful.”

The English word “counsel” comes from the Latin consilium (con (with) + silium (a decision)). So to counsel means to assist someone in the act of deciding, not just to give vague or generic advice.

As such, counsel is connected to the virtue of prudence. Prudence is that virtue which directs particular human acts toward a good end.  In modern usage, prudence (and by extension, counsel) has often been equated with caution. But prudence is not caution per se; it is a virtue that sees the best way forward given the goals in mind. It is true that both prudence and counsel would avoid rash decisions until things have been properly considered. But of itself, the “prudent” response to a situation is not always the cautious one. Sometimes the prudent thing to do involves a bold or zealous response. Prudence and counsel seek the best way forward toward a goal based on the situation and the available options.

However, since we are speaking here of counseling the doubtful as a spiritual work of mercy, the goal in this case refers to that which is moral and rooted in our final end of holiness and salvation. The spiritual work of mercy to “Counsel the doubtful” is concerned with holiness and our goal of dwelling with God in Heaven forever.

The work of giving counsel here is directed to the “doubtful.” Here, too, we need to rescue the word a bit from modern notions, which often associate doubt with skepticism. While a doubtful person may be skeptical of certain truths, “doubt” here is understood in a way that emphasises the need to make a decision.

So we have come to a more precise description of the spiritual work of mercy we call “Giving counsel to the doubtful.” It is that work which helps the undecided (or those of two minds on something) to come to a good and upright decision rooted in the call to holiness and the goal of attaining Heaven by God’s grace.

Counsel of this sort is an integral part of prudence. According to St Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica II-IIae 47-48), an act of prudence involves three things: taking counsel (looking about for the means suited in the particular case to reach the goal of moral virtue), judging soundly the fitness of the means suggested, and commanding its employment.

What a beautiful work of mercy it is to help better orient others toward their heavenly goal by assisting them in choosing the most virtuous and holiest way forward in a difficult or puzzling situation! Clearly, though, if we are to be equipped to provide this beautiful work of mercy, we must first be docile to the will and mind of God. We must be well instructed in heavenly wisdom, which is often paradoxical to the worldly-minded. The capacity to give spiritual counsel grows out of a deep prayer life, the study of Scripture, and the experience (and suffering) of living as a faithful Christian in the world.

Though in rare cases the gift to give counsel can be infused (i.e., poured into the soul by God), in most cases the gift deepens over time, assuming one is prayerful and attentive and docile to divine teaching. And thus our prayer, study, and life experiences are not only for our own sake, but for that of others as well.

St Paul gives some wise counsel to those of us who would strive to accomplish this spiritual work of mercy:

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness … (2 Tim 3:14-16)

Similarly, St Paul exhorts Titus to show forth the fruit of such devoted learning:

And as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. … In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach (Titus 2:1, 7-8).

And thus we are equipped to counsel the doubtful, to assist them (and ourselves) to become more deeply rooted in the decision to follow Jesus, to choose the Lord and the things awaiting in Heaven, to leave behind double-minded ways and duplicity, to decide for what is right, good, noble, and holy.

This is a great and wonderful work of mercy. –

Peacemaking and Christian unity

opinion2Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to Armenia on 24-26 June 2016. The official motto of his journey was “Visit to the First Christian Nation,” a reference to Armenia’s being the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in 301 AD, a matter of great national pride. Only a small percentage of Armenians are Roman Catholics; more than 90 percent belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a member of the Oriental Orthodox communion. Yet Francis received an enthusiastic reception from the Armenian Church hierarchy, the government, and the everyday people who crowded his public events. It’s worth focusing on the reasons for the warm welcome, and on the diplomatic and ecumenical significance of his journey.

The pope’s visit was a welcome sign that the outside world, and especially the West, has not forgotten Armenia. Even more, in Armenia, Francis once again went out of his way to use the word “genocide” to describe the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I. Indeed, the last time Francis mentioned the genocide, in April 2015, Turkey withdrew its Vatican ambassador in protest for almost a year. Francis came to this troubled region as a peacemaker; at a prayer service in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, he prayed for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, and for an end to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh.  And this is why his reference to the genocide is so important; it is not possible to understand the conflicts in the region without acknowledging its history.

Francis’s visit also had an ecumenical component. Unlike some Orthodox Churches, the Armenian Apostolic Church has had a very cordial relationship with the Vatican over the past decades. Theological disputes that date back centuries won’t be resolved overnight, but significant progress has occurred, including a joint declaration on Christology, the original cause of the schism in the fifth century. The good relations result in part from the sad history of the genocide itself.

But much of the goodwill is owed to Francis himself. In his words and actions in Armenia, Francis repeatedly demonstrated a humility that greatly advanced the cause of Christian unity. Compared to the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church is small and beleaguered. It has only around eight million communicants worldwide. Yet Francis went out of his way to show it deference as a sister church, an ancient Christian communion worthy of respect.

The visit culminated in a joint declaration of the two patriarchs, which also called for “deeper and more decisive collaboration not only in the area of theology, but also in prayer and active cooperation on the level of the local communities, with a view to sharing full communion and concrete expressions of unity.”

Powerful words. In the end, though, words will do much less to advance Christian unity than the very warm memories Francis leaves behind. – For full text

Mission kindergarten perks up with first BOG-HT Conference

conferencePAPAR – “I know many of you have your own family to take care but you chose to come here!  It is a sign of your care and concern for your mission kindergarten. It is also a sign that you are interested in the mission of the church in taking care of the young through early childhood education!”

With these words, Archbishop John Wong opened the first Archdiocesan Early Childhood Education Committee (AECEC) Conference for mission kindergarten Board of Governors and Head Teachers. The conference was held over two days on 17-18 June 2016 at the FSIC Centre for Spiritual Formation and Retreat, Pace Bene here.

The archbishop went on to emphasise that the age of 4 to 6 years old is the most critical stage of a child’s human development. He elaborated that what the child experiences at this tender age will shape what he or she will become.

He reminded the conference delegates that the core of the Vision and Mission of AECEC is faith formation of children in mission kindergartens guided by the five pillars of beliefs:

  1. Compassion for the poor and weak. Special attention and care to those suffering from any aspect of poverty: financial, moral, cultural, spiritual, cognitive, physical or emotional.
  2. Education that is person centered. Each child is a unique individual made in the image of God and endowed with distinctive character, aptitudes and abilities, and is worthy of love, respect and acceptance.
  3. Discipline with love.
  4. Prayer and the presence of God to encourage the child to live a God-fearing life.
  5. Work with passion and perseverance driven by the spirit of dedication and sacrifice.

About 90 members of the Board of Governors and Head Teachers from 26 mission kindergartens, as well as members of AEC/AECEC attended the conference. The presence of Fr Jalius Sading (AECEC Spiritual Director), Fr David Sham (Inanam parish priest overseeing five mission kindergartens) and Sr Rita Chew (Archdiocese Education Commission Head) was appreciated by the delegates as it was a clear indication of their commitment and support.

Drawing from the theme of “Sharing of Best Practices,”  the conference covered topics of kindergarten management guidelines, accounting guidelines for kindergartens, service expectations as board members, staff training and roles and responsibilities of Head Teachers.

In his address, Fr Jalius cautioned the delegates as they give their service to the Lord “When we serve others, we are serving the Lord. Likewise, when we neglect others, we are neglecting the Lord.  Be thankful always that you are given the chance to serve others. Be witnesses to God through our service to others”.

The conference concluded with the BOGs and HTs taking home plans of practices to adopt. – Ephraim Kouju

New trilingual Kadazan dictionary ready to be adjudged

kd2LIMBAHAU – On 22 May 2016, the new trilingual English-Kadazan-Malay dictionary was launched at the Fr Augustine Amandus Hall at the Holy Rosary Church here by Datuk Cosmas Julius Abah @ Eddol.

During the launching of the new Kadazan dictionary, Abah, the author, in his own admission, said that though lacking the linguistic and lexicographical knowledge, he took the courage to accept the challenge of Fr Aloysius Gossens to enrich and expand his Kadazan vocabulary.   Fr Gossens, a Dutch priest, had expressed his hope and desire that someone would enrich and expand his vocabulary.  He had compiled the first-ever bilingual Kadazan vocabulary comprising of 6000 English entries and glossed in Kadazan (Tangaa, Papar) which was published in 1924. Gossens died in 1935 and was buried in Limbahau.

After the death of Fr Gossens, 92 years later, a new Kadazan dictionary which was compiled in Kadazan (in Tangaa, Papar) root words, and registering about 5000 entries glossed in Malay and English took almost four years to complete, said the author.  He added that the dictionary, which would be critiqued and judged, made him nervous!

For the occasion, Sylvester Joseph Gunsoi, Chairman of Holy Rosary Limbahau Pastoral Council thanked Abah for appointing Holy Rosary Church Limbahau as the sole distributor of the dictionary and his (Abah) generosity for donating all the future sales from the book to the Limbahau Church Building Fund.

Eddol, as he is fondly called in Papar, was born in kampong Novoung on 18 September 1947. He graduated with a Diploma in Civil Engineering/Surveying at the Technical College, Kuala Lumpur in 1971 and BSc (Hon) in Civil Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1978. He served in the Sabah State Government Service, the Public Works Department and later with the Water Department from 1968 until 2003. He retired as the Director of Water Department in 2003.

Abah also recorded his appreciation to Fr Thomas Yip and Fr Jalius Sading for their support, and Gunsoi and his committee for agreeing to launch his dictionary during the Limbahau Parish Kaamatan celebration.

He concluded his speech with the hope that more Kadazan root words would be added to enrich and expand so as to produce a full-fledged trilingual Kadazan dictionary. – Gideon Mosito

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