Daily Archives:November 8th, 2017

Philippine Church observes day of prayer for victims of extrajudicial killings

Abp Socrates Villegas among the people

MANILA – The Church in the  Philippines observed “Lord Heal Our Land Sunday”  on 5 Nov 2017, to pray for victims of extrajudicial killings.

President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Archbishop Socrates Villegas participated in a march with thousands of worshippers in Manila and called on the police and troops to stop the violence.

Preaching during the  Mass held at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, also known as the Edsa Shrine in Quezon city,  the Archbishop urged the country’s military and police to stop the violence, drug-related killings, and adhere to the rule of law. He said both institutions must aim at justice rather than revenge in the battle against crime and lawlessness. He made them aware of their duty to serve their countrymen and to obey and return to God.

The “heal the nation” campaign brought many people at the Edsa Shrine on Sunday to pray for peace. Masses for the same intention were also held in the provinces for people who were not able to go to the Edsa Shrine.

The Lord Heal Our Land Sunday started another month-long period of praying for victims of extrajudicial killings.  The period will end on December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. – vatican radio

SH Deaf Ministry organises Sign Language Mass

The deaf community poses with Friar Rowland after Mass, 10 Sept 2017, CMI Bukit Padang.

BUKIT PADANG – A Sign Language Mass was celebrated at the Church of Mary Immaculate here on 10 Sept 2017.

It was organised by the Sacred Heart Ministry to Deaf People (SHMDP) of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Kota Kinabalu.

Franciscan Friar Rowland Yeo of Singapore, a deaf priest, presided at the Mass using sign language.

Around 60 hearing-impaired and 30 hearing parishioners turned up for the Mass.  Among them was Javier, who was new to the sign language.

“It’s such a new interactive way to experience Mass,” he said.

A deaf student from SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin said, “Friar Rowland used a lot of gestures, facial expressions, and body language apart from hand signs to convey his messages, which is the way deaf people communicate,” she said.

The deaf members in the ministry hoped that they would be able to experience more integration with hearing parishioners in all pastoral and non-pastoral activities.

SHDMP hoped that with integration, more hearing parishioners will be encouraged and inspired to get to know the deaf community, their culture and their special needs, especially religious needs.



In conjunction with the International Deaf Day, the Deaf Ministry will also be organising a Thanksgiving Mass in October.

This day is celebrated worldwide on the initiative of the UN on the last Sunday of September, in honour of the establishment in 1951 of the International Federation of the deaf.

The beginning of the formation and development of societies of deaf people in many countries has been made possible thanks to the meetings and associations of graduates of schools for the deaf.

Charles-Michel de l’Epee (1712-1789) founded the first public school for the hearing-impaired in France. He devoted his life to developing the world’s first sign alphabet for the deaf. Epee is also credited with creating a systematic method of teaching the hearing-impaired. His manual alphabet, which he called French Sign Language, was adapted into American Sign Language a few decades after his death.

On the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the great Frenchman in 1912, many deaf people from different countries were invited, and it became the first international meeting of the communities that initiated the contact.

One of the upcoming events will be the 2nd Asian Catholic Deaf Conference (ADCC) to be held in Tagaytay City Philippines on 27 Nov-2 Dec 2018 under Father Min Seo Park of South Korea, the first deaf priest in Asia.

Fr Park was one of the three deaf delegates appointed to the Steering Committee to look into the spiritual needs of the Asian Deaf Community at the 6th South East Asian Conference for Pastoral Workers for the Deaf held in Kota Kinabalu in October 2010. The other two were Melina Sylvia Ann of Kuala Lumpur and Patrick Anthony of Singapore.

In March 2014, Pope Francis held an audience with the Deaf and the Blind. He encouraged them to be witnesses of Christ and asked them to build a culture of encounter. Pope Francis is also urging more and more that we make an inclusive Church, welcoming the people who are on the margins: and the deaf people truly are on the margins. (Source: CNA/Asia’s first conference for deaf Catholics*)

As to the Asian Conference, Father Peter Teerapong Kanpigul, chaplain of the Deaf Catholic Association in Thailand explained during the 1st ADCC “The aim is to promote better understanding and network with dioceses, interpreters, and sign languages, which vary from country to country, so as to foster and strengthen the apostolate of a participatory Asian Church to bolster the new evangelisation”. (Source: CNA*) – Charlton Gomes

18 couples convalidate their marriages

Laminin (L) and Indom (R) are among the 18 couples who convalidated their marriages, St Michael Penampang, 26 Sept 2017.

PENAMPANG – Eighteen long-time married couples convalidated their marriages on 26 Sept 2017 at St Michael’s Church here.

Father Wiandigool Runsab,  the assistant pastor, officiated the convalidation ceremony.

“We have been married for 29 years with five children, and now expecting a grandchild.  As a Catholic, I am very happy because we have finally convalidated our marriage in the Church.  It has been my longing to receive the Body of Jesus Christ again. My husband is now a catechumen in the RCIA class,” said Laminin Tambaukung, 53, after the ceremony.   Her husband, Indom Baulon, is 67 years old.

Jidi Suhai, 46, said,  “I am so happy because I can now receive Holy Communion.  For 19 years I was not able to receive the Body of Christ. Thanks to God and to the teachers who guided us towards this blessing.”  He has been married to Rozi Marius, 42, for 21 years with seven children.

The process towards marriage convalidation is facilitated by the Penampang Parish Pastoral Committee on Family Life. It includes talks and seminars where couples are led to understand the Christian marriage, the roles of husbands and wives, effective communication, spiritual healing in marriage, and  building up the family for God.

Canon law – the law of the Church – requires that Catholics enter into marriage by free mutual consent that is witnessed in a church by an authorised bishop, priest, or deacon and at least two other witnesses. Marriages in which one or both parties are Catholic and which are not witnessed by an authorised bishop, priest, or deacon, or which do not receive proper permission to take place in another forum, are considered invalid in the eyes of the Church. – Soccom Penampang

Penampang family life committee organises inaugural family life conference

Participants listen attentively to Romo Agung in one of the sessions, 23-24 Sept 2017, Penampang.

PENAMPANG – The Family Life Committee of the St Michael Parish here organised a two-day conference on family life on 23-24 Sept 2017.

The inaugural conference was held at Jud’s Hall at St Aloysius Limbanak on the first day and continued at St Michael Parish Hall on the second day.

The conference drew 162 participants – mainly married couples.

The main speaker was Romo (Father) Bernadinus Agung of Indonesia.

In his talk, Romo Agung said that the Gospels “help us to understand that every Christian family can become a privileged place to experience love and the joy of forgiveness…where there is love, there is also understanding and forgiveness.”

Among the topics were 1) Originality of Man and Woman; 2) Meaning of Faith in Life; 3) Faith: Source of Life in Marriage; 4) Faith Parenting for Children; and 5) Family as the Domestic Church.

The talks were followed by workshops.

Retired nurse Vinicah Unsoh, 56, from Ranau, shared her experience that comes from understanding the importance of a strong husband and wife relationship born out of a communion of faith.

“As the couples were invited to embrace and renew their vows, I could not hold back my tears,” she said.

Dennis Dahangat, 60, a retired teacher with two grown-up children, from Kg Terian, Penampang believed that the seminar has fulfilled its objectives through the many inputs on strengthening the family institution with the emphasis on faith.

“I am so taken up by the role of the family as the domestic church in evangelising our own family, … the source for building up a strong Catholic Christ-centred community bearing the fruits of unity, humility, love, and forgiveness,” said Dahangat.

The conference concluded on a positive note that encouraged the committee to plan for a similar seminar on an annual basis. – Soccom Penampang

Dontozidon parish culminates months-long family life celebration

Abp Wong presents a Holy Family Icon to Kg Mogoputi Catholic community during pastoral visit 15 July 2017.

DONTOZIDON – St Paul Parish here culminated its almost eight-month long parish family life celebration on  17 Sept 2017.

In its fourth year, 72 Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) from St Paul Dontozidon, Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak, and St John the Baptist Kopungit took part in the celebration.

Based on the theme Christ, the Joy of My Family, the observance began with a recollection on Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia on Feb 11, BEC formation in March, My Family and I seminars between April and September, family reconciliation with Mass, renewal of marriage vows, and closing dinner at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association Centre Penampang on Sept 17.

At the dinner, Archbishop John Wong reminded all present that when a family life is centred on Christ and offers all their joys and sorrows to Jesus, they will experience peace in their hearts as promised by Jesus to those who believe in Him.

The prelate hoped the Family Day celebration would spur every family in the parish to deepen their faith in Jesus.

Since its inception in 2008, the Dontozidon Family Life Ministry has tried in various ways to reach out to the families in the parish to strengthen their faith and family relationships so as to stand firm and counter challenges to their Catholic faith.

Visits to Catholic communities in 2012 were spearheaded by then pastor Msgr Primus Jouil and the Family Life Ministry.

This first grass-root community outreach paved the way to the more personalised home visits in the following years, reviving the missionary spirit of the founding fathers of the early church where families gathered as one community and later to celebrate the Eucharist together on their home ground.

The “My Family and I” seminars were conducted at BEC level, targeting parents, youths and young children.  These seminars were aimed to bring about understanding of each other, the importance of communication and the need for reconciliation in order to create a peaceful, loving and resilient family environment.

All these led to the inaugural Parish Family Day celebration on 23 Sept 2013 with participation from the youth and children.

The home visits, also coined as ‘Jelajah Iman Keluarga’ (Family Faith Reconnoitre) become the platform for the parish family life ministry to strengthen family ties and unity, with full support from the pastoral leaders.

The Parish Family Day gave the parishioners the opportunity to rediscover the true meaning and purpose of family life in the midst of silent suffering, brokenness, struggle, division, and the many uncertainties assaulting the domestic church.

Although only nine couples responded to the call to renew their marriage vows, they took centre stage at the beginning of the celebration alongside the pastors and religious as a sign of hope to remain faithful to their marriage vocation.

The evening concluded with the song “We are the world” led by Fr Maxmillianno Hontor.  – Jenifer Majalap

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