Monthly Archives: May, 2017

New SOCCOM logo presented at Inanam WCD celebration

Caterine Musa carries the Catholic Sabah Masthead while Gideon Abel carries the new ADKK SOCCOM Logo at the Presentation of Gifts, Inanam, 28 May 2017.

INANAM – The new logo of the Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission (ADKK SOCCOM) was presented during the Presentation of Gifts at the 51st World Communications Day (WCD) celebration at St Catherine Church here on 28 May 2017.

Depicting a dove (Holy Spirit)  carrying an olive branch (peace) over Mount Kinabalu (steadfast faith), the logo was carried by Gideon Abel (commission member on parish liaisons) along with other media symbols offered by other commission members and Inanam parishioners.

The Mass was presided by Father Paul Lo, assistant pastor for Inanam, Manggatal and Telipok, and concelebrated with Father Thomas Madanan, spiritual adviser of the commission.

In his homily, Father Lo pointed out that Catholic media should be as creative in presenting the Good News as secular media in selling their news.

A brief video clip on the papal message “Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time” produced by the commission was screened after Communion.

Then Fr Madanan gave a special blessing to those working in the communications media.

After Mass, all adjourned outside for the opening of the WCD celebration by releasing colourful balloons by the two priests, Joseph Leong, chairman of the commission, Paul Augustin, Inanam PPC chairman, and Francis Ten, Liturgy Committee chairman.

Then all proceeded to the parish hall for the programme.

The PPC chairman welcomed those present while Fr Madanan introduced the commission members and informed the audience of over 200 people, mostly young, about the functions and objectives of the commission.

In his address, Fr Lo challenged those present to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to communicating the good news and significant events.  He also told them to focus on Jesus and his Gospel in a world that is evolving very fast.

The Children’s Liturgy of the Word presented a short skit on the WCD theme Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time as well as a medley of songs.

The celebration was enhanced by the creative use of posters and photos in two billboards in the hall.

The event closed with a fellowship lunch.

Limbahau marks combined priestly and religious jubilees with a simple celebration

The diamond jubilarians, Sr Rosalind (2nd from L) and Sr Regina (3rd from R) pose with silver jubilarian Fr Aloysius (2nd row with yellow stole), Abp Wong, other priests, religious and laity after the Mass, Limbahau, 27 May 2017.

LIMBAHAU – Parishioners of Holy Rosary (HRL) here marked the silver jubilee of Father Aloysius Fidelis and the diamond jubilees of Franciscan Sisters Regina Majakil and Rosalind Thien with a joint simple celebration on 27 May 2017.

Archbishop John Wong presided over the Mass.  Joining him and the silver jubilarian at the altar were Fathers Paul Mikin of Keningau (classmate), Jerome Juleng of Kuching (classmate), Ambrose Atang, Thomas Yip and Thomas Madanan.

Over 300 people attended the event including members of  Papar and Limbahau Pastoral Councils,  family members and relatives of the jubilarians, Superior General Sister Grace Deosing, and members of the Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception.

In his homily, Abp Wong remarked that the three jubilarians are “still full of zeal” after 25 years in the priesthood and 60 years in the religious life respectively.

He said, “They are a model to us all and we must always open our heart and accept God’s presence in our lives, and through our lives, we can evangelise God’s good news to others. Thanks be to God for their ministerial and religious vocations.”

In turn, HRL-PPC chairman Sylvester Joseph Gunsoi thanked God for being able to host the combined silver and diamond jubilee celebration during the Fatima centenary.  He likened the jubilarians to the three seers – Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta –  which drew laughter from the audience. He invited the faithful to pray for the parish youth that they may answer God’s call to the priestly and religious life.

Seeing that the jubilarians live in Purak –  Fr Aloysius as chaplain of the Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens where Sr Regina is also residing,  and Sr Rosalind at Pace Bene – the parish decided to organise a combined celebration in recognition of their presence and service to the church.

After the Mass, all adjourned to the parish hall for a simple reception and entertainment by various groups.

Born on 20 Jan 1957, Aloysius was ordained priest on 13 June 1992.  He served in Kota Kinabalu, Dontozidon and Penampang before taking a diploma in spirituality at the Angelicum in Rome in 2001.Upon his return, he served in Ranau, Telupid before being assigned as parish priest of Limbahau and Papar for eight years (2006-2014).  He then served in Tanjung Aru, Kepayan and Labuan before his assignment in Purak in 2015.

Sr Regina (Noemi Majakil Tendahal) was born on 15 Nov 1935 in Kg Mahau Limbahau.  She entered the congregation in 1954, took her first profession on 11 Feb 1957 and made her final vows on 15 Aug 1962.

Three years younger than her fellow jubilarian, Sr Rosalind (Mary Thien Siew Yun) was born in
Tenom 0n 17 Apr 1938.  She entered the local congregation in 1955 but took her first vows on 4 Oct 1957 and final vows on 20 Dec 1962.

Papar organises 3-in-1 celebration for the archbishop’s pastoral visit

The confirmands pose with the clergy after the Mass, 21 May 2017, Papar.

PAPAR – For the archbishop’s pastoral visit, St Joseph Parish here organised a three-in-one celebration on 20-21 May 2017.

The celebration consisted of the meeting with the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), Mass with Rite of Confirmation and a mini-bazaar in aid of St Macarius Sumbiling Bongawan Chapel’s renovation.

The morning began with Archbishop John Wong having light breakfast with Father Thomas Yip and PPC members before having a brief meeting with them chaired by Johnny Sitamin.

At the meeting, the prelate shared on the latest development of the archdiocese, that is, the new archdiocesan centre building project to be sited on the old Shan Tao Primary School along Sang Kancil Tiga Karamunsing, and its planned fundraisers.

The highlight of the visit was the concelebrated Mass preceded by a procession of representatives of the parish committees and communities in traditional attire and carrying banners, accompanied by the beating of gongs.

In his homily, the prelate reminded the congregation to adhere to Jesus’ commandment to love God and to love each other.  He also exhorted them to remember Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit to be with them always.

During the Mass, 164 candidates received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

After the Mass,  Sitamin thanked Abp Wong for his pastoral visit,  the parishioners for their response and support for the bazaar, and for the collaboration among communities in preparing for  the event.

The chairman also noted the prelate’s visit to St Anne Penampang Baru the day before and presiding at the sunset Mass there.

In turn, the prelate exhorted the parishioners to keep alive their Easter faith,  encouraged the 164 confirmands to be active in the parish or outstation chapels, and advised the parishioners to discuss any pertinent issues with their pastors as his pastoral visit are limited in length.

After his speech, the prelate officiated the opening of the mini bazaar and visited the various stalls.– William Charles Mindus /SOCCOM Papar Limbahau

Limbahau-Papar celebrate Fatima centenary with procession

The procession from the grotto to the church, Limbahau, 13 May 2017.

LIMBAHAU –Parishioners of Limbahau and Papar thronged Holy Rosary Church here for the centenary celebration of the Fatima Apparitions on 13 May 2017.

The evening began at the grotto with a catechesis by Father Thomas Madanan, assistant pastor, on the six apparitions of the Blessed Mother to the three young shepherd children, Lucia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto at a little village of Fatima Portugal in 1917.

Fr Madanan said that in all the apparitions, Mother Mary was calling for constant prayers, reparation for sins and sacrifices so that fewer souls would go to hell.

He added:  “When we really pray the rosary, there will be many Catholics returning to the Church. As a result, others will gradually repent and find a new purposeful life ahead.”

The priest then blessed the newly donated Our Lady of Fatima statue and rosaries before leading the parishioners in reciting the rosary during the short procession to the church for the sunset Mass.

In his homily, Fr Madanan said that Jesus is a good shepherd, wanting to unite us with God the Father. Christ is our focal point in life and hence Mother Mary “has a special place in our hearts, our families and our church.”

He invited the faithful to pray especially for the youth, who are the main target of worldly temptations.

The priest said that with the looming Sabah Youth Day (SYD5) to be jointly organised by HRL and St Joseph Papar in 2020, both parishes want to stress the importance of “My Family, KKD (BECs) and My Church.

A greater pastoral challenge, the priest added, is the fact that out of the 67 BECs, only a few are active ones.

After Mass, the statue was lifted and placed on a pedestal erected at the church’s main entrance.  Then all went to the Fr Augustine Amandus Hall for a fellowship meal. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar Limbahau)

 

CAC staff gather for their second Kaamatan celebration

Juanita leads the sumazau dance, CAC, 26 May 2017.

PENAMPANG – The staff of Catholic Archdiocesan Centre (CAC) at Taman Hiburan here gathered for their second Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) gathering on 26 May 2017.

They had their inaugural celebration last year.

The 20 aspirants joined them at the Holy Mass presided by Father Wilfred Atin celebrated prior to the fellowship lunch and entertainment.

Archbishop John Wong joined them for lunch shortly after.

Some of the 20 aspirants left immediately after lunch for the Kaamatan holidays (May 30-31) while others would only leave in the next few days.

Many of the staff and aspirants belong to the Kadazandusun tribe and they enjoyed singing their popular harvest festival songs and dancing the sumazau.

They also had fun participating in the games organised for the occasion after lunch.

May-born staff and one aspirant were feted and there was a cake-cutting ceremony for them before lunch (mainly native dishes) was served.

 

Priest is among hostages of extremists in the Philippines

VATICAN CITY – Muslim extremists have taken a Catholic priest and more than a dozen churchgoers hostage in an attack on a southern Philippine city, during which they burned buildings, ambushing soldiers and hoisting flags of the Islamic State (IS) group, officials said on 24 May 2017.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the southern third of the nation and warned he would enforce it harshly.

The violence erupted on the night of May 23 after the army raided the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf commander who is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists with a reward of up to $5 million for his capture. The militants called for reinforcements from Maute, a group allied to IS, and some 50 gunmen managed to enter the city of Marawi.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said the militants forced their way into a cathedral in Marawi and seized a priest, 10 worshippers and three church workers.   The priest, Father Chito, and the others had no role in the conflict, Archbishop Villegas said.

“He was not a combatant. He was not bearing arms. He was a threat to none,” the archbishop said of the priest.  “His capture and that of his companions violates every norm of civilized conflict.”   The Philippine bishops’ president said the abductors have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled.

UCANEWS reported that Father Teresito ‘Chito’Suganob, vicar-general of the Prelature ‎of ‎Marawi, and several staff of the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians, which was set on fire, were taken hostage.‎  The ‎United Church of Christ in the Philippines also reported that the main building, science ‎laboratories, ‎and library of Dansalan College, a Protestant school, were also set on fire.‎

Bishop Edwin de la Peña of Marawi Prelature said he received a call from a militant, who introduced himself as “a member of the ISIS,” and demanded for a “unilateral ceasefire”. The bishop said, “They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi.  Otherwise, they will kill the hostages.”  The bishop said he was able to talk with Fr  Chito to make sure that “their demands are clear with me”.

Hapilon, an Arabic-speaking Islamic preacher known for his expertise on commando assaults, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014. He is a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group and was wounded by a military airstrike in January.

Duterte who along with Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana were on an official trip to Moscow on Tuesday cut short his visit to head back to the Philippines.  Duterte declared martial rule for 60 days in the entire Mindanao region, the restive southern third of the Philippine archipelago.

He had vowed to be “harsh,” but human rights groups have expressed fears that martial law powers could further embolden Duterte, whom they have accused of allowing extrajudicial killings of thousands of drug suspects in a crackdown on illegal drugs.

Martial law allows Duterte to harness the armed forces to carry out arrests, searches and detentions more rapidly.     While pursuing peace talks with two large Muslim rebel groups in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, Duterte has ordered the military to destroy smaller extremist groups which have tried to align with the Islamic State group. – Vatican Radio

Devil prefers comfy, business-savvy church that overlooks truth, pope says

Popr Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta, 23 May 2017.

VATICAN CITY – The devil would like to see a church that never takes any risks, never speaks out with the truth and just settles on being wishy-washy, comfortable and business-savvy, Pope Francis said.

God’s prophets always were persecuted because they created a disturbance, much like those today who denounce worldliness in the church and get ostracised, the pope said on 23 May 2017 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

However, “a church without martyrs gives rise to distrust; a church that takes no risks gives rise to distrust; a church that is afraid to proclaim Jesus Christ and cast out demons, idols and the other lord that is money is not the church of Jesus,” he said.

The pope’s homily looked at how Paul and Silas ended up in prison in Philippi after Paul cast a spirit out of a slave girl, and he and Silas were accused of disturbing the city and promoting unlawful customs.

The day’s first reading (Acts 16:22-34), the pope said, shows that after helping the possessed girl Paul understood that even though people in the city accepted Christ’s doctrine, their hearts had not been converted “because everything stayed quiet” and easy. “It was not Christ’s church,” he said.

The history of salvation is filled with similar stories, he said. Whenever the people of God were undisturbed, didn’t take risks or started serving, “I won’t say idols, but worldliness,” then God would send a prophet to shake things up.

“In the church when someone denounces many kinds of worldliness, he or she is given the stink eye, ‘This won’t do, better they be removed,'” he said.

The pope said he could recall “many, many men and women, good consecrated (religious), not ideological,” in Argentina who spoke out about what the church of Jesus was meant to be, but who would be accused of being communist and sent away and persecuted.

And “think of Blessed (Oscar) Romero, no? What happened for speaking the truth,” the pope said, referring to the Salvadoran archbishop who spoke out against poverty, injustice and disappearances, and was assassinated by a suspected death squad. The one-year anniversary of his beatification was May 23.

There are many men and women like this in the history of the church, the pope said, “because the evil spirit prefers a peaceful church, without risks, a business church, an easy church, in the comfort of warmth, lukewarm.”

“When the church is lukewarm, tranquil, everything organised, there are no problems, look where the deals are,” he said, because the devil always comes in “through the pocket.”

The path of daily conversion requires going from an easy, carefree life and “a religiosity that looks too much at earnings” to the joyous proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Lord.

This is how the Lord, “with his martyrs,” moves the church forward and gives it “renewed youth,” he said. – CNS

TPBP Labuan makes silent retreat to prepare themselves for the year ahead

KIULU – TPBP Labuan made an annual retreat at La Foresta House of Prayer, Franciscan Hermitage, here 10-12 Feb 2017. The objective is to prepare ourselves spiritually before we start our yearly programmes.  It was our

The objective was to prepare themselves spiritually before they start their yearly programmes.  It was their second retreat at La Foresta and this year they chose to have a silent retreat.

Their facilitator, Franciscan Sister Joan,  focused on the role of Mother Mary in the ministry, and her total submission to God’s work.  also reflected on the thirst of the Lord, His ministry on earth, the humility, joy, suffering, loneliness, love and betrayal that He had experienced. It was a silent mindfulness retreat and we experienced the Lord’s presence in the midst of us.

They also reflected on the thirst of the Lord, His ministry on earth, the humility, joy, suffering, loneliness, love and betrayal that He had experienced. It was a silent mindfulness retreat and they said they experienced the Lord’s presence in the midst of them.

One of the participants, Jonathan Chua, shared that his experience at La Foresta House of Prayer was “very relaxing and peaceful to the body, mind and soul.”  It was his second experience and he found that he could “really communicate and listen to the voice of God within me in the silence of the surroundings.”

“It is a great place to have a short break from the stressful daily routine. With the serene surrounding and rushing stream flowing through, we can have deep reflective thoughts and ask God to be with us in facing issues during our ministry as youth leaders,” Chua added. – TPBP Labuan

Over 200 singles attend REST conference

PETALING JAYA – The Youth of the Fellowship of the Malaysian Covenant Communities (FMCC) in collaboration with Archdiocesan Single Adult and Youth Office (ASAYO), organised a REST conference on 30 Apr 2017 at St Ignatius Church here, catered specifically towards single adults aged 18-39 in which nearly 250 single adults participated.

The inaugural REST conference challenged the youth of today to the greater calling of God, that is, to be still in His presence.

The theme of the conference “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you,” the famous quote of St Augustine of Hippo fleshed out the participants’  deep longing to Rely Entirely and Surrender Totally (R.E.S.T.) to the will of the heavenly Father.

Father Gregory Chan, director of ASAYO, illustrated the vehement need of man to fall in love with God. He expounded on the concerns of people with an attachment to worldly desires, specifically, man’s need to work long hours, making money the exclusive of their lives.

He further spoke about the ardent need of single adults today to redirect themselves from being “content with ourselves to being content with God” since he said, God is infinite goodness, therefore in Him one may find delight and rest.

Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur showed up at the REST conference during the Praise and Worship session, which was followed by the testimonies and skit.

Resting, effortless as it may sound, is indeed a journey. Jessica D’cruz and Rachel Gomez from the FMCC Youth committee touched on the restlessness of the mind, and highlighted the need to resonate the thoughts in our heads and the desires of our hearts to the will of the father. The speakers explained the steps of the Lectio Divina, as a means of walking with the Lord to our journey of rest.

The climax of this conference is the exhortation by Christopher Felix, based on the story of the road to Emmaus followed by the Eucharistic Adoration by Fr Greg and Aline Lim, which brought forth that deep desire and experience of resting with God before the Eucharist. The adoration was further accentuated by a REST skit which beckoned young adults to rest in God and His Word.

Monica William, a participant of the conference, openly shared, “For me, the REST stirred my heart in a few areas. The reminder of a Father’s love that is unchanging and eternal was something that I needed to hear. It was a reassurance that recharged my conviction in a God who is Love. It has been a trying year for me, and rediscovering the message of hope, gave me the strength that I needed.”

The REST conference was indeed an avenue where participants discover the holiness of resting with the Father. As Marishka, a participant at the conference, attested, “Having to juggle between so many things, this REST conference really made an impact in my life. The conference touched me in many ways because I managed to spend some quality time with Jesus and the sessions really made me learn more.”

Another participant, Sonia Anne, also expressed, “The REST conference was the first of its kind. It was encouraging for me to see my fellow youth so energised in praising God. It has encouraged me to be more active in praising God, and spreading His Word. All in all this conference made me feel like God is calling me to spread His Word.” Michele Peter

Joint working committee formed to deliberate on MoU between Education Ministry and Mission Authorities

KUALA LUMPUR  – The Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education Malaysia and Mission Authorities on Cooperation in Education has yet to be formalised.

During the meeting on 10 April 2017 between the representatives of Mission Authorities and the representatives from the Ministry of Education Malaysia, it was decided to form a joint working committee to deliberate on the MoU based on the verbal agreement made between the government and mission authorities in 1971.

Present at the event were the heads of Mission Authorities from the Churches including the representatives from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, and Minister of Education YB Dato’ Seri Mahdzir, who was accompanied by YB Datuk Paul Low, and other representatives from MOE.

Archbishop Julian Leow of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, in his introduction, explained that the reason for the Mission Authorities to be present for the meeting was an expression of their concern of the current state of affairs in the Mission Schools today.

One such concern was the maximum consultation between the Government and the Church regarding the appointment of School Heads.  Another concern was regarding the sanctity of ownership of church lands and buildings used by government-aided schools, for which a written document in print is to be formalised.

Other areas of concern touched on federal grants, maintenance and refurbishment of the schools, enrolments of students, fundraising projects by schools, the academic management of schools, the need for a liaison officer from the MOE, etc.

Archbishop Leow clarified that the formation and establishment of the FCCMSM in 2009, which was consented to by the Prime Minister, was to look after the interests of Mission Schools and to act as a liaison between the Mission Schools and the Government.

The objective of the MoU is a desire of the Mission Authorities to continue to work in partnership with the Government in providing affordable, accessible education of children of all racial, religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Formalising and documenting the arrangements reached between the parties would go a long way to addressing the recurring issues and problems faced by both the Government and the Mission Authorities.   It would also enhance cooperation in education efforts to meet the changing needs of the nation.

It also sets out the understanding of the Mission Authorities and the Government on the position of mission schools within the national system of education.

It defines the relationship between the Mission Authorities as owners of the school land and building, and the Government which runs the schools, in particular, the sanctity of land ownership and the rights of owners, the preservation of the character and ethos of the mission schools, and the renewal of leases and other relational matters.

Archbishop John Wong was represented by Franciscan Sister Rita Chew at the meeting. – CS

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