Category Archives: Catholic Sabah

Over 50 participants complete Alpha Course

PENAMPANG – Over 50 new participants from Penampang have completed the Alpha Course recently.

In its fifth round, the course was organised by the Penampang Evangelisation Pastoral Committee from August to October 2017.

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, typically run over eleven weeks. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone’s welcome. It runs in cafés, churches, universities, homes.  No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation

Lewis Juit presented the certificates to the participants in a simple ceremony at St Michael Parish Hall on Nov 7.

Rose William described the course as very easy to understand, not boring and consistent in its time duration.

“Even though I did not complete the whole programme because I came in at the half-way point through the invitation of a friend, I felt as good as having completed it during the weekend programme,” she said.

Another participant, Callistus Majalang said the programme was interesting and flexible.  He said he did not really experience it in a spiritual way but looked forward to explore it further in the next round.

Agil Bajarai, organising chairman, said the follow-up course will be held early next year for those who have attended the basic course. – Soccom Penampang 

Tg Aru EAM marks 20th anniversary with yearlong activities

The members pose with Bishop Cornelius Piong at the Tatal Retreat Centre Keningau.

TANJUNG ARU – The Eucharistic Adoration Ministry (EAM) of Stella Maris Parish here marked its 2oth anniversary on 8 Dec 2017 with yearlong activities.

The programme began with a retreat on Jesus the Eucharistic Healer facilitated by Putri Karmel Sister Maximilliane Soon at Pace Bene on 10-12 March 2017 with 100 attendees.

On June 18, the members celebrated the anniversary Mass at the parish church during which they renewed their commitment to spend an hour a week before the Blessed Sacrament.  A Eucharistic procession was held after the Mass.

Over 200 members, families and friends attended the anniversary dinner on June 25 at a local restaurant.

The concluding activity was an overnight visit to the Holy Family Pilgrimage Centre Nulu Sosopon Keningau on July 29.  They had a guided tour of the church, Cross Tower, the statues of Mary and of the Holy Family.

They had fellowship with the Betania Komuniti Adorers who hosted a lunch for them and took them to visit Bishop Cornelius Piong at the Katedral St Francis Xavier.

The Keningau prelate celebrated Mass for the visitors, inspiring them with further insights of Eucharistic Adoration.  The day ended with a fellowship dinner where the visitors presented tokens of appreciation to the bishop and the Betania Komuniti Adorers.

The visit concluded the next day with a visit to the Gethsemane Garden in Tambunan.

The ministry was initiated by then pastor Father Francis Tsen.  It was officially launched by Bishop John Lee on 8 Dec 1997 with an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Since then there has been a committed adorer every hour, Monday-Saturday, 5:00 am-10:00 pm. Members are committed to spend an hour a week to adore the Lord, but some are committed to more than an hour a week.  Some have been coming for 20 years.

For those who wish to commit themselves,  please contact Elizabeth Chia @ 012-828 0409 and Cindy Tsen @ 016-817 5169 for further details. – EAM Stella Maris

Telipok youth launches first book “Our Journey”

Helena Rimau, TPBP coordinator, presents a copy to Fr Sham at the launching, 21 Oct 2017, Telipok Parish Hall.

TELIPOK – The first publication of the  Youth Ministry Team of Holy Family Parish here was launched by Father David Sham on 21 Oct 2017 at the parish hall.

Entitled Our Journey, it records the journey of the parish youth starting with the arrival of the Sabah Youth Day cross in 2015 until the end of Year of Mercy in Nov 2016.

Some 200 guests attended the simple launching ceremony including Father Mitchelly Kiun, assistant pastor, Father Paul Lo, former assistant pastor, and Franciscan Sister Terry Loukang, coordinator of the Archdiocesan Youth and Pastoral Team.

Fr Sham said this is one of the good ways for the youth to share their faith journey through pictures and stories documented in the book. He encouraged every family to purchase a copy as a way to share the good news with their family members and communities.

The book is now on sale at RM30 and there are still about 60 copies left (at the time of printing) since the launching. Those who are interested to get a copy may contact Leo Chong at 016-8231993. Leo Chong


KK High School organises seminar for Catholic students

The participants pose with the speakers and organisers at the end of the seminar, KK High School, 27 Nov 2017

KOTA KINABALU – Kota Kinabalu High School (KK High School) ogranised a faith-deepening seminar for the Catholic students on 27 Nov 2017 at the school hall.

Sixty students – mostly Form Five – attended the seminar.

The main speakers were Franciscan Sister Dora Obod and Ms Imelda from the Archdiocesan Youth Commission and Father Paul Lo of Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

The objective of the seminar was to help soon-to-be school leavers to deepen their faith so that they will still attend Mass when they leave home.

Sr Dora and Imelda handled the first session on the meaning of Mass.  The sister led the students to reflect on their blessings and their purpose in life while Imelda shared her experiences as a student.

In his session, Fr Lo explained the important areas of Catholic Apologetics. This was followed by a question and answer session.

He urged the students to truly understand the faith they are embracing and to live it out. In that way, only then can they answer any questions with a strong conviction and firm belief. Grace Phan Yiing Ling

299 Limbanak confirmands urged to bear fruit

LIMBANAK – Archbishop John Wong urged the 299 newly confirmed to go and bear fruit in being true witnesses of Christ.

The candidates were conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation by Abp Wong on 10 Oct 2017 at St Aloysius Church here.

Reminding them that they have received the most important gift in their life, he encouraged them to make good use of the gift they have received to grow deeper in their faith, and be awakened to a sense of belonging by participating actively in their respective parish or outstation community.

The church was packed to capacity to accommodate additional faithful who came especially to witness the confirmation of candidates who could not receive the sacrament due to flash floods on Sept 29 at St Michael’s Church.

The candidates came from zones encompassing Penampang, Kinarut, Limbanak, Sugud, Kolopis and Sukang-Madpai. – Soccom Penampang

Papar-Limbahau delegates share how AMOS-3 broadens their minds on migrant ministry

Abp Wong (with dark glasses) and Dominic Lim (2nd from R) pose with the Papar delegates at the AMOS-3 conference held, 21-23 Sept 2017 in Sandakan.

PAPAR – Some of the Papar and Limbahau delegates to the recent AMOS-3 conference shared on how the conference has broadened their minds on the migrant ministry.

Present at the 21-23 Sept 2017 conference in Sandakan were five delegates from Papar and six from Limbahau.

Papar has a significant population of migrant parishioners mainly from Indonesia and some from the Philippines.

William Charles Mindus spoke about the importance of eradicating negative perception towards migrants.

He lamented that because the migrants are being perceived as a threat, they are, in many instances, being alienated in pastoral activities.

“We need to soften our hearts and open the eyes of our heart to imitate Jesus Christ in His humility and mercy towards the poor and marginalised,” said Mindus.

Recalling that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were once migrants in the land of the Gentiles, and so did the early missionaries in foreign land, “we need to remind ourselves of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church on how to treat others fairly and justly, especially migrants irrespective of their racial and religious backgrounds,” he added.

Mindus also reminded lay and church leaders to foster solidarity and inclusiveness in all aspects of the Church ministries: choir, youth, warden, women’s league, BECs (KKD), etc instead of reserving the migrant brothers and sisters to serve only during Migrant Sunday or on special occasions.

Mary Jimit shared that prior to AMOS-3 she was somewhat blurred on what AMOS is all about, and even unsure of her role in the PHDC.

AMOS-3 helped her to realise God’s calling and enable her to grasp the objective and the vast scope of migrant ministry.  She opined that the conference had instilled an awareness within her to touch others through the migrant ministry, and so to begin to ‘walk the talk’ the social teaching of the Church.

She hoped to serve in the PHDC more from an understanding of it as Christ’s mission, not only in the migrant ministry, but also in other pastoral ministries as well.

Imelda Hayon reckoned that AMOS is part of her personal struggle as a Catholic serving in St Joseph Church.

She expressed her hope that the ministry members would serve in unity and share with others what they have learnt and experienced during the conference.

Sylvester Joseph commented that this conference was his second exposure, and shared that AMOS has created awareness in him in the migrant ministry, and to accept the migrant brothers and sisters as part of the church community.

He hoped that both parishes could always collaborate and contribute toward unity in migrant ministry and PHDC-related activities.

Though Limbahau parish rarely sees a high influx of migrant parishioners compared to Papar parish, he still envisioned the need to develop the migrant ministry by involving the migrant members in various pastoral activities such as rosary prayers and the BECs. – SOCCOM Papar-Limbahau

SHC Filipino community marks 31 years of existence

The organising committee poses with founder Julita Chok and Spiritual Adviser Sr Rose Santos at the 31st anniversary celebration, D-Junction Penampang, 8 Oct 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – The Filipino Community at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here marked 31 years on existence with a dinner at a local restaurant on 8 Oct 2017.

In her speech, Julita Ceralde Chok, founder of the community, said that the community has helped in bringing up the name and reputation of Filipino parishioners.

It has, she continued, now become an integral part of the cathedral parish, and she expressed the hope to continue to serve God and parish through this community in helping to achieve the mission and vision of the archdiocese.

Aside from enumerating the activities of the community, Chok said that the community has played a very important role in rescuing Filipino girls from vice in the past.Cheryl Fernandez, the incumbent

Cheryl Fernandez, the incumbent chairlady, encouraged the guests who participated in the event to become members if they wished to accord God a more meaningful worship. “Together we become a

“Together we become a spirit-filled people bringing the love of Jesus Christ to ourselves and to the people around us,” said Fernandez.

The Filipino Community was formed in 1986 when six Malaysian Filipino members started a prayer group to help fellow Filipinos coming to Sabah to be good followers of Jesus Christ.

This year the theme for the anniversary event was taken from the title of the hymn “Jesus Saves” to the tune of the song ‘Pearly Shells’, which provided for the Hawaiian party and Hawaiian fancy dress ideas.  – Victoria Matakim

Stella Maris Parish launches its vision and mission

The Boys Brigade (11th Stella Maris KK Company) carries the statue of Mary Star of the Sea during the entrance procession, 28 Oct 2017, Stella Maris Tg Aru.  Photo: Ben Wong

TANJUNG ARU – Stella Maris Parish here launched its vision and mission statements on 28 Oct 2017 during the Sunset Mass.

The day was held with prayers and talks by Father Peter Abas, and sharings about the Vision and Mission by Arthur Asai, Sister Carmen Cardova FSIC, and Comeswell Egol, followed by the rosary prayer led by the Legion of Mary and a procession of the statue of Mary, Star of the Sea carried by the Boys Brigade. It was a simple, beautiful and meaningful launching of the Vision and Mission.

The next step would be the drawing up of objectives sometime in November.

In August 2017, Fr Abas, assistant pastor, called for a meeting to brainstorm to “create a vision that is being inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

The objective of the first workshop on Aug 26 was to work on the Vision. Seventy-six parishioners representing 25 ministries, groups and families came to brainstorm. The workshop was guided by Dominic Lim. He gave the guidelines on 1) how to go about it, 2) what is the meaning when we create a vision, and 3) how do we put across our ideas and what is/and is not important.

After some debate, the group came out with the following statement:

A Christ Centred Parish Family journeying together – strengthened by the Holy Spirit and empowered by the Word of God in creating an evangelising community.

The Mission Statement stated below came out during a meeting on Sept 30:
“We, the Parish Family commit ourselves to a life of:
1)    Ongoing personal and communal renewal
2)    Proclaiming Christ, empowered by the Word of God, and guided by the teachings of the Church
3)    Nurturing the parish family life through prayers and Sacraments
4)    Evangelising missionary spirit, promoting unity in communities, and respecting the values of other faiths

Below are some comments by those involved:

Sr Carmen Cordova: The Vision and Mission challenge us to achieve unity, and be a better Catholic.

Arthur Asai: We will know our direction with this parish Vision and Mission.

Comeswel Egol: As a parish family, we will be stronger with the Vision and Mission, and as a youth leader, it will help me to guide the youth and to show them the direction to go. – Teresa Alberto/Jeremy Chin


Limbanak pastoral leaders learn of inaugural education forum through archdiocesan fortnightly

Abp Wong addresses the pupils during assembly, 4 Oct 2017, St Aloysius Limbanak.  He was there to bless the newly constructed columbarium.

LIMBANAK – The pastoral leaders of St Aloysius’ Church Limbanak Penampang learnt of the inaugural Christian education forum held at Sacred Heart Parish Centre, Kota Kinabalu which was attended by some 400 participants on 13 May 2017 through Catholic Sabah.

Challenges highlighted at the forum, such as “funding for kindergartens” and “fear of school heads to practise and uphold the ethos, character and traditions of mission schools” are not unfamiliar at Tadika Suriaku and SK St Aloysius both in Limbanak, and have been discussed extensively during many meetings.

Archbishop John Wong and Father Wilfred Atin, parish priest of St Michael Penampang, were in Limbanak on 4 Oct 2017 on the occasion of the blessing of a newly constructed columbarium when the Board of Governors of Tadika Suriaku and SK St Aloysius took the opportunity to bring them to tour the church and the school complexes.

During this impromptu session with the students and teachers, the archbishop and rector were briefed on the development of the schools which enabled them to have a better appreciation of the teachers’ passion and commitment in the mission schools.

The teachers and students were thrilled by the unassuming archbishop and rector who spent time with them unhurriedly.

Those who were present shared how they could actually feel the atmosphere of a truly Catholic school alive. – Blasius Binjua

Tripartite gathering discusses pastoral care for Indonesian migrants in Sabah

MATALOKO, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) – The 5th biennial Tripartite Pastoral Gathering to discuss issues on pastoral care for Indonesian migrants working or residing in Sabah took place at Khemah Tabor here on 2-5 Oct 2017.

In his opening remarks, Romo Eduardo Raja Pr, the organising chair from the Archdiocese of Ende, explained that this fifth pastoral gathering was part of the tripartite partnership between the sending dioceses in Flores, the transit diocese in north-east Kalimantan and the receiving dioceses in Sabah. It has been established since the first encounter in 2011 between the bishops of Sandakan and Tanjong Selur. Since then more dioceses have joined in.

The three dioceses in Sabah sent a contingent of 10 delegates (four from Kota Kinabalu, four from Sandakan and two from Keningau). There were 44 local delegates from the three Flores dioceses of  Ende, Larantuka and Ruteng. Tanjong Selur in north-east Kalimantan has two representatives while for the first time there were representatives from the Diocese of Denpasar. Two observers from the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia were also present.

In line with the call of Pope Francis to care for one another, especially for the weak and vulnerable, the Tripartite Pastoral Gathering has chosen the theme “Becoming a Church that is increasing her concerns about Migrants and Itinerants.” The theme was in line with the Holy Father’s call to be “a Church that is bruised, hurt and dirty because it has been out on the street to serve.”

The gathering expounded on the issues related to migration, reviewed the agreements spelt out in the previous gatherings, and added on new areas of co-operation; all these with the aim to enhance the tripartite partnership on pastoral care to migrants in the dioceses involved.

Among the recommendations by delegates for the consideration of the sending, transit and receiving dioceses are: (a) to establish migrant parishes and migrant desks, (b) to initiate economic empowerment of migrant families, (c) to intensify catechesis on safe, dignified and legal migration, and (d) a set up a half-way house and advocacy work by the transit diocese.

As for the receiving dioceses in Sabah (Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Keningau), aside from the need to establish migrant desks to facilitate pastoral care to migrants, other proposed recommendations are to train more catechists among locals and migrants to be pastoral caregivers, to pay special attention to the third generation migrants by networking with relevant authorities such as the Indonesian Consulate, to strengthen networking and cooperation with the sending and transit dioceses, and to collate data on the profile of the migrants.

The recommendations in the form of a Final Statement serve as a committed effort to address the problems faced by migrants in the receiving dioceses, which among others are the shortage of pastoral personnel for migrants, conversion to other faiths, decline in faith, discriminations, counterfeiting documents either for church or official uses, undocumented, issues related to homebound journey (either alive or dead), and health issues among distressed migrants.

The gathering concluded with the closing Eucharist, which was presided by Msgr Gilbert Engan of Keningau – AHDC

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