Daily Archives:June 7th, 2017

“Mission at the heart of the Christian faith” is theme of World Mission Day message

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for the 91st World Mission Day, which will take place on October 22.

The theme of the message is “mission at the heart of the Christian faith.”

“The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away,” the Pope said in his message, which has the following sections:

  • Mission and the transformative power of the Gospel of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life
  • Mission and the kairos of Christ
  • Mission inspires a spirituality of constant exodus, pilgrimage, and exile
  • Young people, the hope of mission
  • The service of the Pontifical Mission Societies
  • Carrying out our mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelisation – catholiculture.org

MCYMC participates in international youth conference

ROME – Two Malaysia Catholic Youth Ministers Committee (MCYMC) delegates participated in an international youth conference in Rome on 5-9 April 2017.

The two were Sr Terry Loukang fsic of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese and Jacinta Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese.

The event themed From Krakow to Panama Conference: The Synod Journeying with Young People was held a the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae Rome.  It analysed the Krakow World Youth Day (WYD) in preparation for the 2019 WYD in Panama as well in preparation for the 2018 Synod of Bishops.

The c0nference was organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

The event gathered 300 delegates from 100 countries from all continents around the globe. Each episcopal conference, movement or community sent its delegates consisting of young people, priests, religious and laypeople to the conference to discuss ways the dioceses could prepare their youths for participation in the WYDs.

As for the preparation for the next WYD, the delegates were given time to speak during the conference, and the dicastery collected various experiences of evangelisation of young people in the world, as part of the ongoing synod works until 2018.

The novelty of this event was that the first two days were dedicated to the presentation of the Preparatory Document of the next Synod of Bishops.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Bishop Fabio Fabene, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, explained the Preparatory Document and the dynamics of the consultation in the local churches to the youth ministry directors of the episcopal conferences and the young people present.

On the evening of Friday, Apr 7, in the Sala Sinopoli of “Rome’s Music Park,” Gen Rosso and Gen Verde gave a concert to which hundreds of young people were invited and attended. The place was chosen carefully, as it was intended to be a “bridge” of dialogue and sharing for the young believers with all their peers.

Then, on Saturday, Apr 8, all gathered in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore together with Pope Francis for a prayer vigil in preparation for the Mass for World Youth Day, which would be celebrated at the diocesan level this year and again next year.

On Sunday, Apr 9, all the delegates participated in the celebration of World Youth Day at St Peter’s Square, where the Pope himself presided. Sr Terry L


Vocation promo draws 151 youths

KINARUT – This year’s Vocation Sunday saw a big turnout as 151 youths and visitors came for the vocation promotion talk on 7  May 2017 at St Augustine community hall here.

The event was jointly organised by the diocesan aspirants and Friends of St John Vianney (FSJV) with the theme “Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8).

Talks on diocesan priesthood with exhibitions on the priestly life were held concurrently with the talks on the consecrated life by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

FSJV, on the other hand, took the opportunity to organise a mini funfair in aid of the formation of  seminarians and aspirants.

In his homily, Father Wilfred Atin highlighted  God’s faithfulness and love as the Good Shepherd.  He urged the young people to follow the Good Shepherd by considering the call to priesthood and religious life.  He disclosed that there is still a shortage of priests to serve in the outstations and other parishes. He introduced the aspirants, and explained the role of  FSJV as benefactors of seminarians and aspirants.

Seminarian Russell Lawrine showed a video on the diocesan priesthood. He encouraged all young people to consider their calling in life.

Aspirant Xavier Maurice shared his vocation journey and his life at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Formation House. Through his involvement in church activities, he has been enabled to say “Yes” to God and enter CAC.

Aspirant Freddy shared his vocation journey as well, describing a sense of fulfillment and the fun aspect of life in CAC.

Franciscan Sister Tina introduced her congregation and its contribution to the Sabah dioceses and abroad while Sister Clara Diana of Kinarut shared her vocation story and encouraged the young girls not to be afraid to answer the call.  She joined the FSIC  in 2013 and made her first profession as a sister this year.  She asked all present to pray for her that she would persevere in her vocation.

During the Question and Answer session,  the speakers were able to satisfy the curiosity of the attendees and answered their questions on work experiences, the need for academic qualifications and late vocations. Timothy G


SH Chinese pre-Confirmation class organises LSS camp

PAPAR – The Chinese Sunday School pre-Confirmation class of Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu  organised a Life in the Spirit (LSS) Camp for the students on 29 Apr – 1 May 2017 at Pace Bene Retreat Centre here.

The participants included 32 students, seven teachers and teacher-helpers. The camp was facilitated by the cathedral’s Young Adults Prayer Group. At the camp, the students learnt about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Although it was a Chinese pre-confirmation class, the camp was conducted in English, with translations where needed. It was a great experience and opportunity for the students to encounter other youths outside their normal activities.

At first, it was slightly worrying whether the students would be able to understand English. But after a game called Captain Ball where they learned teamwork, the relationship between the facilitators and the participants took off and progressed.

The ministry session (praying over) was a new and different experience for many of the participants since they have no experience of it before. Many were confused at first, but as it continued, they soon learnt what it was.

They learned about God’s love, and experienced it, as well as His mercy and forgiveness, which moved them to tears. Many were amazed at how the Word of God spoke Truth to them.

The sessions helped the participants to connect from within, such as the parable of the  Prodigal Son, a short video clip When God Ran, and topics such as Who is God?, Who is Jesus? and Sin and Salvation. This led many to recognise their unhappiness, bondage, grief and a need for forgiveness.

The participants also learnt about the Holy Spirit according to the Bible. They were given the opportunities to ask questions, such as, How does Holy Spirit look like?, Is Holy Spirit a guy or a girl?   After the talk, the participants were led to an experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in which they once more experienced the warm love of God.

Aside from the talks, ministry time and Captain Ball, there were also other dynamics such as group sharing, praise and worship, morning and night prayer and Eucharistic Mass. There were games that tested their creativity, alertness, awareness, strategy and planning skills. These different dynamics were important to help the growing of relationships among all, especially among the students themselves.

This was also the first experience for the Young Adult Prayer Group to facilitate such a camp for the Chinese-speaking group. Many admitted that they are being called out of their comfort zone and to be more flexible. Language was the main barrier but it did not stop them from loving and nurturing the young participants. Despite the language barrier, they have experienced the joy of being led by God to walk in deeper trust in Him. Natasha Jaya Kumar

Penampang Youth Day 6 officially launched

PENAMPANG – The first stage of the Penampang Youth Day 6 (PYD6-2017), with the official theme ‘Do not be afraid’ and ‘I want to serve,’ was officially launched on 26 Apr 2017 at the Church of Assumption of Our Lady Sugud (CAOL) here.  CAOL hosted the 5th edition of the camp two years ago.

The Mass, which was celebrated by Father Wiandigool Runsab, preceded the launching ceremony, which was to officially introduce the PYD6 committee members and to unveil the official logo.  The logo was chosen from the logo contest, organised by the media team hmonths earlier.

The ceremony involved a symbolic hand-over of the banner containing the official logo between former host CAOL Sugud and the current host parish, St Michael Church Penampang.

Penampang Youth Day 6 will be held on 31 Aug – 3 Sept 2017 at St Michael Parish with an estimated involvement of 500 participants.

It is now entering a fundraising phase where the upcoming events are a 10-km PYD6 Run on June 17, a  Selfie contest as well as a Short Film contest.

Runners of the 10-km Run will only have to pay RM75 and each will get a race pack containing a T-shirt, Bib number, finisher medal and a certificate. Interested runners can contact Wendy (016-8229179), or Howell (016-8482938) or Pamila (014-3575895).

For more updates and progress of PYD6, check out its official Facebook page Penampang YOUTH’s Day 6 “2017”, and soon it will be available on Instagram as well. Join its progress with its official hashtag #donotbeafraid #iwanttoserve Wilson Stephen, PYD6 Media Team


St Catherine launches Kaamatan Festival

INANAM – Over 700 parishioners turned up for the joyous celebration of St Catherine Kaamatan Festival, which was launched by Father David Sham at St Catherine Hall on 1 May 2017.

Members of the Pastoral Council led by chairman, Paul Augustine, as well as church communities from the various chapels came in full support for the parish Kaamatan event.

The festivities began with the Thanksgiving Mass to thank God for his bountiful blessings, which was presided by Fr David and concelebrated with Father Paul Lo and Father Rayner Bisius.

Among those present were Patrick Lakuman, chairman of the Pastoral Council for Good Shepherd Manggatal, Datuk Eric Majimbun MP for Sepanggar, and the current State Assemblymen for Inanam Dr Roland Chia.

The last Kaamatan festival held at the St Catherine Hall was five years ago.  Traditionally, the host for the annual festive celebration is rotated among the various chapels. Next year the Kaamatan festival is slated to be held at St Simon Chapel, Pulau Pinampang,  one of the parish outstation chapels.

After the Kaamatan Thanksgiving Mass, Fr David kicked off the festive programme, beginning with the traditional tapai drunk through the bamboo “suki,”  followed by cake cutting. Other activities included the Sugandoi competition, best local dish competition, best tapai competition, stories telling and Bible reading in local dialect by children below the age of 12.

Another item that was much anticipated were the lucky draws.  More than 50 lucky winners walked away with prizes that day.  The happy and boisterous event lasted till late in the evening. – Michael Guntili

Likas pastor tells young people the importance of listening

KOTA KINABALU –  Likas pastor told the young people gathered for the Sunday morning Mass at St Simon Likas here the importance of listening on 7 May 2017, Vocation Sunday.

The congregation at the Mass for Children and Young People heard rector Father Cosmas Lee speak candidly about the roles of sheep and shepherd that Sunday, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.

“Should the shepherd be in front of the sheep or behind?” Fr Cosmas asked the young people, to which some said “behind.”   In surprise, the rector said: “Shepherds must be in front. How can the sheep lead the shepherd and go where they want?”

“You need to be brave to be in front. Jesus is in front. When you are young, most of the time you follow but when you grow up a little bit, you need to also be in front,” he said, citing the Junior Choir. “You see, the Junior Choir is in front today because they’re leading us.”

“The Gospel tells us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads them out. Easy to lead or not? No. Why? Every Sunday there is practice and you must be loud. To lead, you must show by example. Not easy,” he continued.

He added, “But when we are young, we are asked to follow. From young, we must learn not just to follow but to lead. If I don’t follow, how would I be able to lead?”

Fr Cosmas said it is also important to listen. “It’s very important to listen because vocation means calling. The Good Shepherd is always calling us. We must listen so that we become what the Shepherd wants us to be. We pray that many will be priest and religious.”

“First and foremost, God calls us to be good sheep,” he said, adding that to be a shepherd, one must go down to the ground and get “dirty.”

He said, “Pope Francis said ‘I prefer to have shepherds that smell’. You must go to the cattle shed.  You want to be like Jesus? You must get dirty a bit.”

“If you don’t get ‘dirty,’ if you’re not there, then all the sheep will get lost,” he said, adding that Jesus loves us and that He’s always a step ahead of us.

In his closing remarks, Fr Cosmas said Jesus as the Good Shepherd continues to lead the flock to green pastures so that one day, one of the sheep will become like Him – to lead the flock. – SSCC SOCCOM

Seminarian shares PEDAS experience

TAMBUNAN – First Year Theology seminarian Konstend Gnanapragasam, who comes from the Diocese of Penang, shares about his pastoral immersion in Tambunan:

After each year of Theology studies, all seminarians are sent for four months of pastoral work.  I was sent to St Theresa’s Church in Tambunan Sabah.

I began my pastoral immersion on 10 Jan 2017, and it was the first time I came to Sabah. To my amazement, the hilly landscape and green mountain range surrounded by paddy fields and vegetable plots truly touched my heart and brought fond memories of my childhood days when I used to live in a village (Kg Paya).

I am really impressed by the uniqueness of Tambunan culture which I have never experienced elsewhere. The community here really gives meaning to life through their fellowship by being together, sharing what they have and always giving thanks to God.

I use the Malay word PEDAS to give meaning to their fellowship and translate the acronym in English which is ‘Praying, Eating, Drinking and Singing.’ Based on my experience here with the community, they love to pray, eat together, drink ‘tapai’ a local alcoholic drink made of rice and yeast, and which ends in joyous singing. Through activities and fellowship, I was able to see people from all walks of life such as teachers and leaders who would come down to the grassroot level to be with their communities.

Furthermore, their solidarity gave me a sense of belonging as a member of their community. There were many times that I went out with youths and their families for hiking or other activities such as visiting homes. They are united, and pray for each other as encouraged by Mother Teresa: The family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love one another as God has loved each one of them. And works of love are always works of peace.  I experienced such love and peace through their fellowship and activities.

Apart from the Mass at the parish, I also went for Mass in the homes for memorial and house blessings as they focus on God on all the occasions by giving thanks and seeking strength during times of sorrow and joy. It reminds me of the early community in the Acts of the Apostles 2: 42, These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.

I realised that they have moulded me on how to mingle, how to be simple, and how to respect each other. This solidarity resembles a bridge to connect people of different status, age and mindset.

Reflecting further, I was able to understand the meaning of PEDAS with a deeper insight, which is “Prayers Ensure Deep Authentic Solidarity.”  I would like to end with a bible passage from Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together.  –Konstend Gnanapragasam

SM Shan Tao celebrates Kaamatan

KOTA KINABALU – The SM Shan Tao Likas community celebrated its monthly Student Mass at the chapel of St Simon Catholic Church Likas, here, with a Kaamatan-themed celebration on 5 May 2017.

The congregation, comprising students, teachers, parents and church ministers, led by parish rector Father Cosmas Lee, reflected on the Gospel reading for that day (John 6: 52-59).

In his homily delivered in Bahasa Malaysia, Fr Cosmas linked the consumption of physical food to the Eucharistic celebration.

Tuhan menggunakan makanan dan minuman supaya hidup kita itu makin menjadi sepertiNya. Sakramen itu kita sebut ‘Ekaristi’ (Through the bread and wine, God wishes that we could become more like Him. This Sacrament is called the ‘Eucharist’),” he said, citing Jesus’ words – ‘Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink’.

He added that it’s important for the faithful to come to the Eucharistic celebration filled with the spirit of thanksgiving.

Kerana kita bukan sahaja dengarkan firman Tuhan tetapi kita juga akan makan Yesus dan menjadi Yesus  (Because we are not only listening to God’s words but also to consume Jesus in the Eucharist and become more like Him).”

On the Kaamatan celebration, he candidly asked the students if any of them knew how to plant paddy, to which only one said “yes.”

Among the highlights of the celebration was the presentation of gifts in which the offertory bearers were led by Sumazau dancers in traditional outfit to the altar. The choir sang the traditional Kadazan offertory hymn titled “Toimoo Tuhan.

The gifts included rice (symbol of bountiful harvest during the Kaamatan season), vegetables (represent good health for everyone), colourful flowers (diverse culture living in harmony), donation from the congregation and bread and wine (Body and Blood of Jesus Christ).

The reader, cantor, choir and commentator were all students of the school. Following the Mass, the congregation held a fellowship at the parish hall. – SSCC SOCCOM

Can faith motivate environmental action?

The environmental movement includes many people who don’t subscribe to any particular faith, as well as many others who do. Caring for birds, beasts, and the natural world is a common thread running through all the world’s religions. For example, Pope Francis invoked Catholic teachings of stewardship in his 2015 encyclical calling for action on climate change and other ecological threats. And in recent days, diverse religious groups across the country are participating in Faith Climate Action Week, organised by Interfaith Power & Light.

With World Environment Day 2017 just round the corner, let us hear from four environmental advocates who talk about how their environmentalism and personal beliefs intersect.

Haley Main, a minister in her non-denominational Christian church:  Climate change, at its core, is about ethics and values, which we derive from our belief systems. We have reached this place of constant consumption and wanton destruction because we have been led for too long by our belief that the Earth is here to serve humanity instead of co-flourish with us. This belief is in direct conflict with all major world religions, which all have some concept of the Earth as created by God, or sacred, and deserving of care.

Scientific reasons alone are insufficient for successful and lasting conservation action—religious and cultural values must be part of the equation. People of faith understand this and have begun to work with secular environmental groups, as well as form their own conservation organisations. There is great hope, even as there is still great work to be done.

Purbita Saha, a Hindu:  I think the fight against climate change is non-discriminatory, in terms of belief. As more religious leaders follow Pope Francis’ lead by speaking out, religion will have the potential to provide a powerful organising principle and crucial political sway to the movement.

Chandra Taylor Smith grew up in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ:  I believe that in many ways climate change is the greatest test for how we live out our faith. All faith traditions have teachings about how to live in right balance with creation and the Earth. Our challenge is really living out what those traditions tell us about restraint, sharing our resources, loving all of God’s creation, and even loving our neighbours as ourselves.

Matt Anderson, a Lutheran:  What we do about climate change is a matter of moral conscience. I see religious communities around the country and the world stepping forward on this issue. I’m proud to serve on the national board of Interfaith Power & Light, a campaign bringing religious groups together to fight global warming. – www.auduborn.org

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