Daily Archives:August 30th, 2017

PAS discusses inter-faith ties with Catholic leaders

JOHOR – Several PAS leaders met leaders of the Malacca-Johor Catholic Diocese on 21 August 2017 to discuss issues related to religious harmony in Malaysia, including the recently passed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

This marked the inaugural meeting between the PAS political leaders and the Malacca Johore Diocese under the leadership of Bishop Bernard Paul.

Chairman of Lajnah Dakwah PAS Central, YB Nik Mohamad Abduh bin Nik Abdul Aziz commenced the dialogue session by introducing his delegation and explaining the misunderstanding regarding the PAS party using religion for political gain. When explaining the objectives of Lajnah Dakwah PAS Central, he said that politics cannot be a priority when religion is directed towards maintaining the welfare of the citizens. PAS Central is aware of this and rejects conflicts caused by political differences amongst the Muslim community. At the same time, it is also building relationships between PAS and the non- Muslim community.

YB Nik Abduh quoted a Quranic verse Surah Al-Maidah 5:82 to explain the main intention of their visit to MAJODI Centre as a beginning. “You will find the nearest in love to the believers who say: ‘We are Christians.’”

Bishop Bernard Paul introduced the invitees to those representing the Diocese and the representatives of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Taoism (MCCBCHS). He briefed the guests on the history and formation of MAJODI Centre and presented demographical facts of the diocese.

Father Edward Rayappan introduced Shaykh Imran Angullia, who is actively in dialogue with the diocese through Hidayah Centre, Johor.

While there are differing doctrines between Islam and Christianity regarding Jesus (Isa), Hj Hussin Ismail, the Permanent Chairman of PAS Central said that a Muslim is not regarded a faithful if he does not place Jesus in the highest position of honour. In fact, all of mankind awaits Jesus’ return. He shared that Prophet Zulkifli had similarities with the Buddha from his experiences in Nepal.

During the exchange of views session, many matters of concern were raised, from religious unity to legal and political issues.

Calvin Ohsey, a staff from the Diocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, questioned PAS’ action in raising Act355 (RUU355) that stifled the discussion on Hudud and the position of the non- Muslim community under Syariah law.

In answer to the question, YB Nik Abduh assured all present that the Syariah Court Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 – Act 355 is applicable to Muslims only. He reiterated that the issue is related to the Enactment of Syariah Criminal Code 1993, amended in 2015 but was not implemented subject to Act 355. To enable the implementation of the Enactment in Kelantan, Act 355 has to be amended according to the democratic process in the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat).

Commenting on Act 355 which is said to open the way to full implementation of hudud laws, YB Nik Abduh said the Act was intended to bolster Syariah laws. In observing the circumstances in Malaysia, Act 355 cannot be fully implemented without the agreement of Malaysian citizens in general.

Sister Susan Dulang SSFS, as Head of the Diocesan Bahasa Malaysia Ministry, voiced her concern regarding the issue of seized Bibles, using the term “Allah” and other religious restrictions on the Christian community and asked PAS to state its stand.

In reply to Sr Susan, YB Nik Abduh mentioned that Islam does not forbid the Christian faithful from using “Allah.” All related issues originated from the irregularities in implementing Islamic law. The Islamic religion forbids such intolerant actions. He promised Sr Susan he will look into the matter with the government, if the opportunity arises.

Father Thomas George asked regarding the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164). YB Nik Abduh emphasised PAS’ firm stand to bring all stakeholders, namely, the government, both the ruling and opposition politicians, including eminent religious scholars, for discussions before tabling the amendment in parliament as the matter is complicated because it involves religion and children’s custody rights. When Act 164 amendment was brought before Parliament, PAS objected because it contradicted Section 88A and opposed the Federal Constitution regarding Islam.

In concluding the dialogue session, Bishop Bernard stated that the roles of leaders of political parties and religious leaders are vital towards ensuring that the prosperity and harmony of society are preserved. He continued, “We must always ensure that our loyalty is to one law only and that is the law of love, the law of our Lord God. Religion, when practised well, benefits everyone; it protects the rights of the minorities, builds bridges and includes everyone and we enjoy blessings from our Lord God.” – heraldmalaysia.com

Sandakan parishioners prepare themselves for 134th feast day celebration

Outdoor Mass and blessing of Meditation Hut cum Chapel on top of Marian Mount Sandakan by Bishop Gitom, 12 Aug 2017.

SANDAKAN – Parishioners of St Mary’s Cathedral here prepared themselves for feast day celebration through a series of spiritual activities.

It began with a novena of Masses on 4-12 Aug 2017 at the cathedral including a Mass for the sick, the poor, the needy and the suffering of the parish.

The organisers were delighted with the increased average attendance of around 800 people per night, with different intentions per Mass.

Formation talks and Marian catechesis based on the theme for the 134th Parish Day: My Soul Magnifies the Lord (Lk 1:46) conducted in Chinese by seminarian Raymond Lee, BM by Father Stanley William and English by Father David Garaman.

On the ninth day, a rosary rally was held – a 12-hour rosary recitation by the parish groups, communities, and ministries.  It started five years ago.  Held outdoors along the Rosary Corridor, it was halted temporarily at 10:00 am at the peak of the Marian Mount to give way for an outdoor Mass and solemn blessing of the opening of the Meditation Hut cum Chapel for visitors.

Bishop Julius Gitom officiated the rite of blessing before presiding at the Mass.

The rosary recitation continued after the Mass until the last group recitation concluded at the cathedral half an hour before Sunset Mass.

The cathedral parish celebrated its feast day on Aug 13. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

Over 200 East Malaysian Catholic women gather for 9th conference

Mdm Anita Tunggolou (2nd L) and Mdm Mildred Yii of Kuching (2nd from R) hold the host banner at the handing over ceremony, witnessed by Abp Wong (C) and heads of women groups in other arch/dioceses, 29 Aug 2017, Bukit Padang. Kuching will host the 10th conference in 2020.

PAPAR – Over 200 East Malaysian Catholic Women gathered for their 9th conference at the Pace Bene Retreat Centre here on 26-30 Aug 2017.

The 234 women came from the three arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan in Sabah and from the three arch/dioceses of Kuching, Miri and Sibu in Sarawak.

The conference, themed Challenges of the Catholic Family in the Present Time, kicked off with the opening Mass presided by Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, and concelebrated with Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau and Father Claudius Andrew of Keningau on Saturday, Aug 26.

The opening ceremony took place after dinner.

After the welcoming speeches by Mdm Anita Tunggolou, head of the KK Women Commission cum organising chairperson, and by Abp Wong,  the prelate beat the gong nine times to mark the opening of the conference followed by the inevitable cake-cutting ceremony and stage performances by the delegates.

A day of recollection followed, facilitated by Abp Wong, on Sunday, Aug 28.

On Monday morning, Aug 29, Anthony Lim of Kota Kinabalu and his team facilitated three sessions on the theme.

In the afternoon, the heads and chairpersons met and shared on their respective ministries.  They also came out with a mission statement at the end of the day.

On the last day, Tuesday, Aug 30, the women visited the nearby Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens and celebrated the Eucharist at Holy Rosary Church Limbahau.

Some 1000 people including Abp Emeritus John Lee and Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan gathered for the closing ceremony and dinner at Putera Theatre Ballroom at Bukit Padang with stage presentations by the different delegations.

In her speech, Tunggolou said the theme of the 9th conference was aptly chosen because the family is the “foundation of society and we need to look deeply into ensuring that our families are deeply rooted in the faith as crisis of different types are presently springing up everywhere in the world and families are faced with so many trials and challenges in life.”

Recognition Awards were given to ten recipients who have attended all the conferences held so far: six from Kuching, three from KK and one from Sandakan.

Tokens of appreciation were also given to Abp Emeritus Lee and Bp Gitom for their encouragement and spiritual support down the years.

As Kuching will host the 10th conference in 2020, the host banner was handed over to Mdm Mildred Yii by Tunggolou.

The idea of Catholic Women of East Malaysia coming together was mooted by then Father John Ha of Kuching (now retired archbishop) and Mdm Anita Tunggolou, head of the KK Women’s League Commission.

With the backing of then Bishop John Lee of Kota Kinabalu (now retired archbishop), the first conference was held on 12-16 June 1993 in the KK Diocese with the objective of establishing and fostering good relationships and understanding among the women of the two states through gathering in prayer and sharing of ideas.

The conference would be held on a rotational basis in the participating dioceses every three years.

In its 25th year now, the conference was held in 1993 (KK), 1996 (Kuching), 1999 (Sibu), 2002 (KK), 2005 (Keningau), 2008 (Kuching), 2011 (Sibu), 2014 (Sandakan).

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