Monthly Archives: September, 2017

Tambunan holds fundraising concert dinner for building project

Fr Anthony Mikat sings “How Great Thou Art” at the inaugural fundraising concert dinner in aid of St Theresa Tambunan building project, 23 Sept 2017, KDCA Penampang.

PENAMPANG – St Theresa Tambunan held its first fundraising concert dinner for its building project at the KadazanDusun Cultural Association Centre here on 23 Sept 2017.

Over 800 people turned up in support of the event.  Among them were Father Anthony Mikat, the current pastor, Father William Poilis, former pastor, and several religious sisters.

The event organising committee was headed by Pontius Otigil.

In his speech, Building Committe head Daniel Kinsik explained that the inaugural fundraiser is to help build a new RM4.5m church as the existing church cannot be extended anymore to accommodate increasing members.  The target date for completion is 2019 in time for the centenary of the parish.  Once the building is completed, the existing church will be renovated to become the parish hall.

The Tambunan choir – past and present – gave many stirring performances in English, BM and Kadazan.  There were also performances from the Labuan youths.

Fr Mikat did his bit too with his rendition of “How Great Thou Art” to the delight of the diners.

CFC-HOLD’s 8th echo conference focuses on faith journey

KOTA KINABALU – The Couples for Christ – Handmaids of the Lord (CFC-HOLD)’s 8th echo conference focused on faith journey was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre on 23 Sept 2017.

An Echo Conference is a local duplication of the annual HOLD International Conference (ICON) held in April in Manila attended by some of the key members.  These members then return to their respective countries and organise similar conferences.

This year’s theme was My Heart in Your Hands (1 Cor 16:13-14).  The conference began with rosary recitation and Holy Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel presided by Father Paul Lo, CFC Spiritual Adviser.

In the conference, divided into five sessions comprising talks, testimonies and creative expressions, the 160-strong participants were brought to awareness the different stages in the faith journey.

In Session 1: Journey of Faith, Teresa Michael-Majanil presented the different stages in the journey of faith using Thomas Cole’s four paintings entitled The Voyage of Life.

In the second session, Crisis in Faith, Wendy Chin elaborated on the many challenges faced by the Church in Corinth and in society today such as division, lax morality, power struggle, desire for self-aggrandisement, secularism, moral relativism, materialism, and rationalisation as well the reality of the culture of death and killing.

The third session, Staying the Course, Ivy Henry Majanil touched on spiritual warfare and the tactics used by Satan: deception, division, diversion, and discouragement.  She said the CFC theme of standing firm in faith points out the ways to counter the devilish tactics through understanding well the catechism lived and learnt through the basic prayers, sacraments, church and family traditions.

In the fourth session, Warriors on Our Knees, Karen Sigawal spelt out the vocation of the laity to holiness lived out in daily life.  She pointed out that courage/endurance is needed to do God’s will and to receive what He has promised.  The obstacles to courage are excessive fear, sloth or laziness, fatigue and loneliness and their antidotes are magnanimity, patience, humility and determination.

In the fifth and final session, My Heart in Your Hands, Anne Labadin-Majanil showed the participants how love is the weapon in God’s plan of attack in spiritual warfare – love for God and for others in concrete actions – as depicted in Joshua 6.  It was Joshua’s love for God that won the battle of Jericho – a love that trusted, did not question but simply obeyed.  She led the participants to place their hearts in God’s loving hands – wounded hands that will hold their hearts close to His own heart, entailing a deep prayer life, total obedience to Him, union with Him in Holy Communion, and a life of service to Him and others.

The one-day conference ended with a praise fest.

The Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) target mature women, regardless of status, or situation, from ages forty-one (41) and above. The ministry has a three-fold mission: personal transformation, evangelisation to bring her family and others especially women to a renewed life in the Lord, and wholehearted service to bring glad tidings to the poor. It provides a strong teaching track, special teachings for women in different states of life, and a leadership programme to equip leaders to be more effective and better servants. The mission promotes the missionary spirit among leaders to realise its vision.

Sandakan English Sunday School organises retreat at Fr Mulders Centre

SANDAKAN – The English Sunday School organised a retreat for the students on 26-29 Aug 2017 at the Fr Mulders Catechetical Centre here.

The retreat combined fun, team building activities, teaching sessions, faith sharing, group discussion with prayer experiences, journaling, praise and worship. The retreat also helped the participants to enter into the timelessness of God and see Christ in their past, know Him in the present, and follow Him into eternity.

The retreat was a collaborative effort between the Sunday School (English) and Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei and his team of experienced facilitators, Jen, Jerlyn and Bridget (Aunty B).

Some parents were concerned whether they have made the right decisions in sending their children to the retreat and missing their tuition, extra class in school, etc, but the joyful faces of their children at the end of the retreat said it all. –

KL Archdiocese establishes deaf ministry

PETALING JAYA – A ministry for the deaf has been established in the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese. With the support of Archbishop Julian Leow, a Catholic group of hearing sign language interpreters and the deaf have set up a channel to bring deaf Catholics back to Christ. This channel is called “Catholic Ministry for the Deaf” (CMDeaf).

The core objectives of CMDeaf are three-fold:
1. Demographics on the whereabouts of the deaf Catholics in the KL archdiocese.
2. Reaching out to the deaf by inviting them into the CMDeaf family.
3. Journeying with the deaf for their faith growth.

To facilitate an effective channel of communication, the group has started a website,, for the deaf to read more about them. Once a deaf Catholic logs on, she/ he will need to fill up a survey form. CMDeaf will then extend an invitation for them to get to know other deaf Catholics who are already in their community.

Currently, there are activities that have been made available for the deaf to live their faith fully.
They are:
1. RCIA — The class is conducted in sign language by trained catechists.
2. Monthly Signed Mass — The entire Mass is celebrated in sign language.
3. Weekly Interpreted Mass.
4. Preparation for the Sacraments, like Marriage and Confession.
5. Monthly Faith Formation Programme
6. Social Gathering.

In the website, there is also a two-minute video on some of their activities.

There is also a facebook page “SFX PJ reach deaf connection” to help the deaf understand the weekly gospel reading explained in Sign Language.

Brochures on the group and its objectives have been placed in the church racks.

The team is appealing for help in identifying deaf Catholics in any part of the KL Archdiocese.

They sincerely hope that with this initiative, they can bring more deaf faithful back to the Catholic Church. – herald

Ranau parish receives RM210k from Rome for kindergarten

RANAU – St Peter Claver Church (SPCR) here received a donation of RM210,000 from the Vatican Foundation to build a kindergarten (Tadika Kasih Bonda), currently located in the old church building (Fr Salm Hall).

Father Nicholas Stephen shared the good news during the Ranau Parish Day event officiated by Archbishop John Wong on 10 Sept 2017.

The Kasih Bonda Kindergarten, which uses English as its introductory language, started operating in 2015. It now requires its own building as a result of the very encouraging response from Christian students in this area.

To accommodate the construction of the building, the church needs an allocation of RM750.000, besides the donation from the Vatican Foundation through the courtesy of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. The contribution of all the people is needed to realise the completion of the building.

Meanwhile, Abp Wong also announced the construction of the Catholic Centre to be built near  Sacred Heart Cathedral building Kota Kinabalu that requires an allocation of RM9.6 million.

To complete this centre, the archdiocese is seeking the generous contribution of all Catholics from the 22 parishes and sub-parishes in the archdiocese.

If every single person contributes just RM10.00, then the allocation of RM150,000 donated by the Ranau parish for the construction of the Catholic centre will be easy, the prelate said.

For that purpose, the archbishop launched the special Donation Fund from Catholics in the district. He personally led the donation into the fund followed by Father Stephen, Father Francis Tsen, Father Bruno Yasun and local church leaders.

During the ceremony, he also held a groundbreaking to officiate the construction of the kindergarten building at the back of the church.

Among the events at the Parish Day were the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation for 265 candidates, exhibitions from 21 church committees, lunch with Archbishop, lucky draws,  and cake cutting. – herald

ILO, WFF, IOM report on modern slavery and forced child labourers in 2016

NEW YORK – In 2016,  over 40 million people were treated as slaves and about 152 million children were forced to work according to two reports released on 19 Sept 2017 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the Walk Free Foundation (WFF) in partnership with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (12-25 Sept 2017) here.

According to experts, at least 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, as forced labourers as well as sex and domestic workers.

With respect to children, most of those aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labour were found in Africa (72.1 million), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (62 million).

“Forced labourers produced some of the food we eat and the clothes we wear, and they have cleaned the buildings in which many of us live or work,” the groups said in a report released on Tuesday.

Forced marriage, which is widespread in Muslim majority South Asian countries, is included for the first time in worldwide statistics.

Some 15.4 million people, mostly women, are forced into marriage, a figure that probably underestimates the problem. More than a third of them are underage at the time of marriage.

The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall figure.

Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of the sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.

An estimated 25 million people were in forced labour at any moment in time in 2016. Out of them, 16 million people were in forced labour exploitation in the private sector such as domestic work, construction, agriculture.

The causes of exploitation range from poverty to the need to repay debts. The report notes that the problem is widespread in all countries.

The second report released Sept 19 on child labour contains frightening figures: 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labour and account for almost one in ten children around the world.

Approximately one-third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labour are outside the education system, 38 percent of children are in hazardous work aged 5 to 14 and almost two-thirds of those aged 15-17 work more than 43 hours per week.

These kids cannot get an education and build a better future for themselves.

On Sept 12, Msgr Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, said: “It is time to move from law to action because contemporary forms of slavery, servitude, human trafficking and forced labor, must be addressed at the root.  New forms of slavery must be abolished just like the abolition of slavery in the ancient world: adopting a new vision of the human being and of its dignity through laws, education and the conversion of minds”.

Msgr Jurkovič concluded his speech by saying that “we must all be aware of these dramatic situations and work to eradicate the new and atrocious forms of human slavery. It is increasingly evident that today we are faced with a global phenomenon.”

The 72nd United Nations General Assembly will celebrate the concluding session on Sept 19-25. –AsiaNews/agencies/

Maxican bishops offer prayers for earthquake victims

Mexican rescuers search for survivors at a flattened building after a powerful quake in Mexico City on 19 Sept 2017.  A devastating quake in Mexico on Tuesday killed more than 100 people, according to official tallies, with a preliminary 30 deaths recorded in the capital where rescue efforts were still going on. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican bishops’ conference have offered their prayers for those affected by the earthquake that hit Mexico City and the state of Puebla on Tuesday.

“We unite ourselves with the pain for the victims of the earthquake that happened today, September 19, 2017, in various places in our country,” they said in a statement.

“Thousands of hands have formed chains of life to rescue, feed and do their bit in these emergencies.”

 The number of fatalities has climbed to over 200, with one of the most desperate rescue efforts at a school in southern Mexico City where a wing of the three-storey building collapsed onto children.

The quake came on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands, and came just hours after Mexicans held earthquake drills to mark the date.

The bishops pledged to work with authorities and charities to offer their assistance.

“We ask for the consolation of our Mother Mary of Guadalupe, so that through her intercession she may help and strengthen us in the reconstruction of our homeland.” – catholic herald

How the Liturgy is healing medicine for strident times

One of the most concise and cogent descriptions of these often strident times came from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 1986. It is contained in, of all places, his treatise on the theology of sacred music in a book called The Feast of Faith (Ignatius Press, 1986). His comments have been republished in a larger compendium of his works, Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2014, Vol 11).

It is hard to describe our times as anything but contentious. Loud, strident protests often predominate over reasoned discourse and thoughtful argumentation.

To be sure, every era has had, and has needed, protest and public opposition to injustice. There is a time and a place for loud protest and the use of memorable sound bites.

However, it is the predominance of loud protest and civil disobedience that stands out today. Sound bites, slogans, and simplistic “war cries” have to a large extent replaced thoughtful, reasoned discourse. Volume, power, and visually flashy techniques are prized; they are being used more and more. Such approaches too frequently produce more heat than light.

Consider, then, this remarkable analysis by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, written back before the Internet and social media had turned up the volume even more. Ratzinger paraphrased an insight of Gandhi’s, applied it to his analysis of our current times, and then proposed a healing remedy to restore balance:

Gandhi refers to the three habitats of the cosmos and how each of these provides its own mode of being. The fish live in the sea, and they are silent. The animals of the earth scream and shout; but the birds, whose habitat is the heavens, sing. Silence is proper to the sea, shouting to the earth and singing to the heavens. Man has a share in all three of them. He carries the depths of the sea, the burden of the earth, and the heights of the heavens in himself. And for this reason, all three properties also belong to him: silence, shouting, and singing.

Today – I would like to add – we see only the shouting is left for the man without transcendence, since he only wants to be of the earth.…

The right liturgy, the liturgy of the Communion of the Saints, restores totality to him. It teaches him silence and singing again by opening him to the depths of the sea and teaching him to fly, the angels’ mode of being. It brings the song buried in him to sound once more by lifting up his heart. . ..

Right liturgy … liberates us from ordinary, everyday activity and returns to us once more the depths and the heights, silence and song … Right liturgy … sings with the angels … is silent with the expectant depths of the universe, and that is how it redeems the earth (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Collected Works, Vol 11, Theology of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, p 460).

For indeed, only in the worship of God do we find our true selves. Only in the liturgy is our true personality formed. The human person in his glory unites the material and spiritual orders. We are capable of pregnant, expectant silence; of the joyful shout of praise and the Gospel going forth; and of the song of Heaven.

As Ratzinger pointed out, though, we too often are preoccupied with and value only one aspect: the shouting of the earthbound creatures of this world. But the liturgy – good and proper liturgy – trains us in all three and accomplishes the balance that is so often lost today. The liturgy is a training ground, not only for our heavenly destination, but also in what it means to be truly human. Msgr Charles Pope

Pope sets up new institute for marriage and family sciences

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis has set up a new pontifical institute for the study of marriage and the family, replacing the organisation set up by his predecessor in 1981.

In a Motu Proprio, published on 19 Sept 2017, the Vatican announced that the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences is being established to carry forward the work of the two recent Synods of Bishops and the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Noting the important work that has been carried out by the original institute, founded in the wake of the 1980 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis said the Synods of 2014 and 2015 have brought a renewed awareness of “the new pastoral challenges to which the Christian community is called to respond.”

Contemporary anthropological and cultural changes, the pope said, require “a diversified and analytical approach” which cannot be “limited to pastoral and missionary practices” of the past.

Instead, he said, we must be able to interpret our faith in a context in which individuals are less supported than before as they deal with the complex realities of family life. Faithful to the teachings of Christ, the pope said, we must explore these “lights and shadows of family life” with realism, wisdom and love.

Like its predecessor, the new institute will continue to work as part of the Pontifical Lateran University. It will also be closely connected to the Holy See through the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Academy for Life and the new Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.

The institute, which comes into effect immediately, will offer students courses leading to a diploma, a license and a doctorate in marriage and family sciences. – Vatican Radio

State government allocates RM31m to non-Islamic bodies, schools for 2017

KOTA KINABALU –  The Sabah government has allocated RM31.44 million in financial aid to non-Islamic bodies and schools throughout the state this year.

The financial assistance will benefit 551 religious bodies, including churches, Chinese temples, Hindu and Sikh places of worship, and schools.

Of the sum, RM14.005 million is allocated for schools and another RM17.435 million will be distributed among the non-Islamic organisations, of which RM11,870,000 is for churches, RM5,295,000 for Chinese temples, and RM270,000 for Hindu and Sikh temples.

Aman said he was pleased to receive feedback that past allocations have been used efficiently, allowing places of worship and schools to make necessary repairs and extensions among others.

“We acknowledge that we cannot meet the amount for the total sum, which the schools and religious bodies have requested for, but let me assure you we have done our best to allocate what we can.

“With prudent financial management, the state government has been able to steadily increase this annual allocation,” he told attendees at the ceremony at which he handed over the 2017 financial assistance to the schools and non-Islamic bodies at the Hakka Hall here on 19 Sept 2017.

He noted that the special financial aid from state government has increased over the past 13 years.

According to records, the government had disbursed RM7.085 million financial aids to non-Islamic religious bodies and schools throughout Sabah in 2004. Last year, the government allocated RM31.398 million.

Musa handed over RM16.832 million to representatives of schools and non-Islamic religious bodies from the west coast division and RM1.22 million to the lower interior region.

“Along with Islamic bodies, you play an important role in promoting positive values in society,” he pointed out to the beneficiaries.

“I also encourage you to keep up your good work and to continue serving your schools and religious institutions to the best of your abilities,” he said.

Among those present were Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Melter Tais of Sabah Council of Churches, Deputy Chief Ministers Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, other Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers, and other community leaders. – various sources

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