Category Archives: Catholic Sabah

Two MCYMC members attend Laudato Si’ workshop in India

Representatives from Malaysia, Thailand and China pose for remembrance, Laudato Si Workshop, India, 21-25 May 2017.

BANGALORE, India – Malaysia Catholic Youth Ministers’ Committee (MCYMC) sent two of its members to attend the Laudato Si’ In Action Workshop on 21-25 May 2017.

The workshop was held at the Indian Social Institute (ISI) Benson Town here, with the objective to create awareness among the young people on active responsibility towards the environment within Asia Pacific communities.

The workshop is addressing the ecological crisis in Asia Pacific with the aim to build capacity in Asia’s students to be critical and analytical educators as well as advocates of environmental justice. It was organised by Asia Pacific Council (APC) of International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, together with the local organiser All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF).

Laudato Si’ in Action is a programme inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ and Special Pastoral of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference on climate change, food sovereignty, global warming and ecology.

Youth participants were given an in-depth explanation on the encyclical, exposed to climate change issues and food sovereignty in Asia Pacific, brought to assess its causes through exposure and suggestions of strategy to solve.

Among the talks given at the workshop were Laudato Si’ In Action (Fr Jojo Fung SJ ), Climate Change Research in Asia (Dr Noelyn Dano), Climate Change and Food Sovereignty (Ms Myrna Dominguez), Global Warming (Fr Rayappa Kasi), Environment Conservation Strategies (Mr Leo Saldanha), Citizen Journalism (Prof Mark Rasquinha), Exposure and Eco Spirituality (Fr Robert Arthical SJ).

In the five-day workshop, topics of creation were discussed in relation to its Creator, and Science and Technology in a theological context where at the end, participants were invited to make a Declaration of Commitment as their own personal way to “care for our common home.”

The Malaysian representatives were Alexander Paulus Jiran and Dwana Andrew.  Both are in the youth campus ministry serving in institutes of higher learning as well as at parish and archdiocesan level.

Other representatives were from Indonesia, India, China, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Togo, Africa. Alexander / Dwana

Kuching prelate urges faithful to reach out to the poor more extensively

Abp Poh officiates the rite of blessing at the Catholic Services Centre Kuching, 16 July 2017.

KUCHING – Archbishop Simon Poh urged the laity to reach out more extensively to help the poor and the needy in society.

He said this at a blessing ceremony held on 16 July 2017 at the Catholic Services Centre here that functions as a rest centre for rural visitors, a food bank and soup kitchen.

The prelate told those present to look to Mother Teresa of Calcutta as their model and emulate the example of Pope Francis in being genuinely charitable and loving towards others, especially those who are suffering.

He also encouraged more Catholics to volunteer their time, effort, material or financial resources to help those in poverty, those who are suffering physical illnesses or handicaps, and those who are unable to fend for themselves.

“This centre has volunteers who prepare daily food packs for distribution to some 244 poor and needy families and individuals.  The centre is working with St Vincent De Paul Society and Society for Kuching Urban Poor in food distribution,” he added.

Catholics, he said, must play a role to bring God’s mercy and kindness to those in need.

About RM1 mil is needed by the Catholic church to run charitable projects in the Kuching Catholic Archdiocese every year.

The archdiocese also has homes for the elderly.

The St Vincent De Paul Society helps poor students with school items and school bus fare as well as tuition.

Abp Poh said a fundraising run will be organised on Sept 9 by the Catholic Welfare to try to raise RM2.5 mil for future charity causes. – STAR

Apostolic Nuncio imposes pallium on Kuching prelate

Abp Marino imposes the pallium on Abp Poh, 18 July 2017, Kuching.

KUCHING – Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, imposed the pallium on Archbishop Simon Poh at St Joseph’s Cathedral here on 18 July 2017.

To many lay faithful, if not all, this was the first time to witness such an occasion as it has never been done before in the archdiocese.

Earlier, Abp Poh has received the pallium from Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica Vatican City on 29 June, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, together with 36 new metropolitan archbishops from around the world.

However, since 2015, the investiture of the pallium is to be done at the new archbishop’s home diocese by the apostolic nuncio.

“I received from the Holy See the mandate to impose on Archbishop Simon the pallium which he brought from Rome,” the apostolic nuncio explained before the Mass for the Investiture of the Pallium.

The nuncio said it was the pope’s explicit desire that while he would give the pallia to the archbishops, it would be imposed on them his representative in a ceremony at the cathedral so as to give honour to the local Church.

Addressing Abp Poh, the nuncio reminded him of the words of Pope Francis:

Dear Archbishops who today receive the pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  The pallium is a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other bishops of the world.

Abp Poh then knelt before the apostolic nuncio as he made the Profession of Faith, following which Abp Marino placed the pallium on the shoulders of Abp Poh.

Returning to his seat with the pallium, Abp Poh led the congregation in singing the Gloria.

In his homily, the Kuching prelate explained the significance of the pallium. The pallium is woven from the wool of two lambs blessed by the Pope on the Feast of St Agnes. Once these pallia are made, they are placed below the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the first pope, and are taken from there on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul to the Pope for him to bless and distribute to the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops.

When worn, the pallium also signifies the archbishop’s role, who like Christ, carries the sheep on his shoulders. It serves to remind the wearer that all power and authority come from Jesus, the Lamb of God. It also signifies the communion between the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope, with the metropolitan archbishops and the bishops throughout the world.

Abp Poh acknowledged with gratitude the foundations laid by his predecessors, Archbishop Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, and pledged to continue to build up the good works begun by them.

The prelate also requested the faithful to continually pray for him to be a good shepherd after the heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Over 2000 parishioners, including Abp Poh’s family and friends, witnessed the ceremony.

Concelebrating with him at the Mass were more than 40 priests, six arch/bishops and Cardinal Soter Fernandez who was making his first official visit there as a cardinal.

A thanksgiving dinner was held on July 19 on the theme  Celebrating God’s Steadfast Love. 

Also present at the event was Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Malaysia Ambassador to the Holy See. – Today’s Catholic

KK prelate laments slow birth rate in the archdiocese

Father Wilfred Atin (in black) and Abp Wong (R) cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the parish day, 26 July 2017, Minintod.

PENAMPANG – Archbishop John Wong lamented the slow birth rate in the archdiocese, especially in Penampang Parish.

Abp Wong urged young married couples to have at least five children in the family while officiating the annual Parish Family Day celebration in the predominantly Catholic Penampang District on 26 July 2017 at St Marcellinus Church Minintod, one of the nine zones under St Michael Parish.

He exhorted the parishioners to heed his second follow-up call on the archdiocesan concern.

The prelate stressed the importance of strength in the family institution and to define it not only as a domestic family but in a wider perspective, at the parish and zone levels, growing together as children of God and continuing to bear fruit since the Good News took root on this bountiful land many years ago.

Interestingly, the theme chosen for this year, “I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16), resonated with what the prelate desired for his faithful.

Aware of the negative economic impact and the global trend of couples’ inclination to have small family citing work commitment and financial limitation as reasons, the archbishop remained optimistic that three factors, namely, to be positive in hope, family centred in Christ, and continuity of prayer, would motivate young couples.

Earlier before the Mass, Lawrence Bisuil,  parish pastoral council chairman, briefed the prelate on parish activities, while Ernest Mojikon, head of the parish finance and property committee, reported on financial matters, particularly on the status of the renovation of the church.

Bisuil said that July 26 was chosen as the date for the parish day in memory of Msgr August Wachter who was appointed prefect apostolic on that date in 1927.  This was mooted by then pastor Father Alex Sipanul in 2010 and was duly accepted by then Archbishop John Lee.

In 2016, then pastor Father Fundes Motiung made it a parish family day incorporating all the zones under the parish.  Each zone will take turns to host the event.

Bisuil also assured the archbishop that the parish will continue with its outreach programmes to the village communities, helping them to understand the true meaning of the Eucharistic Celebration, Easter Triiduum, Rosary, Evangelisation, etc.

In his turn, Mojikon updated the prelate on the progress of the renovation works at St Michael Church, which would be completed within the estimated schedule. Included in the RM1 million major facelift project were installation of air-conditioners, new flooring, total electrical rewiring, artwork, repainting, etc.

The church re-dedication will be held on 18 August 2017, with Archbishop John Wong as presider.

Some 500 people turned up for the event, which included a welcoming ceremony for the new pastor, Father Wilfred Atin.

St Theresa of the Child Jesus Church Kolopis Zone will host the 2018 parish family day celebration. – SOCCOM Penampang

LJCCC welcomes 47 new members on 34th anniversary

The elders witness the signing in of one of the new members, SHC, 30 July 2017.

KOTA KINABALU  – The Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (LJCCC) welcomed 47 new members into its fold on its 34th anniversary celebration on 30 July 2017 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.

“God continues to show His faithfulness on our anniversary celebration and through the people He brings into the community and confirming those whom He has called,” said Anthony Lim, LJCCC presiding elder.

Lim reminded the community of their identity and affirmed that “God wants to be our God, and He calls us to be His people.”

He called on the community to accept those whom God gives to the community, “We thank and praise God for all the people He adds to the community today.”

LJCCC marked the occasion with a signing-in ceremony for three categories, namely, the Associates, the Underway, and the Full Covenant, coming from the three-language pastoral units (English, Chinese and BM), before Mass presided by Father Maxmilliano Hontor at the cathedral.

Fr Max, in his homily, spoke of the “hidden treasure and the pearl of great price,” referring to the Matthean Gospel, and asked the community “What is your real treasure? Have you found it yet, or are you still searching for it? What is your reaction in finding it? Are you happy, filled with joy, or are you dissatisfied?”

He underscored that the Kingdom of God is offered to us, at times in the forgiving of an enemy, of one another in community living; at other times, in giving our time to a needy person; thus embodying that the Kingdom of God is to be found in the living out of the community lifestyle in all its fullness.

Altogether 47 participated in the “signing in” ceremony, comprising 10 Associates, 7 Underway and 4 Full Covenant from the English unit; 5 Associates and 1 Full Covenant for the Chinese unit; and 5 Associates, 7 Underway and 8 Full Covenant from the BM unit.

In signing in, the Associates indicate that they would like to answer the call of the Lord by following the Covenant lifestyle. Those taking the Underway commitment indicate that they have decided to take a step closer to follow the Lord in the Covenant way, while the Full Covenant makes a full commitment to live the covenant lifestyle, and observing the constitution of the community.

Following the ceremony and Mass, all adjourned to a high tea fellowship at the hall. About two hundred members were present, including children of all ages. – CS

LIFE community organises grief seminar

KOTA KINABALU – LIFE Community–Companions of ICPE Mission Sabah- organised a seminar on understanding and coping with grief  on 21-22 July 2017 at Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.

The event was attended by 56 participants from various age groups, ranging from a teenager to retirees.

The speaker for this seminar was Esther Saldanha who has worked for the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand as the coordinator and trainer for a programme to help people through grief. In the two-day seminar, Esther shared on how she acknowledged her own grief. Esther’s experience in grief comes directly from the death of her loved ones.

Esther is originally from India. She was a missionary with the ICPE Mission in Poland, Rome and New Zealand for ten years, actively involved in mercy work in the prison, soup kitchen and hospice. Currently, Esther is at the end of her Masters in Counselling and works in a drug treatment unit at a men’s prison as an alcohol and drug practitioner.

At the seminar, grief is presented as “a complex mass of human emotions that a person experiences following a major change or loss; it is normal and a part of life.”  Among the experiences of grief are the death of a loved one, moving home, loss of health, innocence and childhood, separation and divorce, redundancy and more.

Some of the highlights of the topics presented on the first day were identifying the three foundations that are shaken when a person goes through grief. They include love and belonging, meaning and control. Esther stressed that the four walls that are affected by grief are our mental and emotional being, our behaviour, our social being and our spiritual being. After sharing her own grief timeline, Esther invited everyone to reflect on their own grief and to draw a grief timeline. In between sessions, there were also small group sharings on how we can connect with what was presented from the front to our own personal journey of grief.

On the second day, participants were given input on how to deal with emotions that come with grief. Feelings of guilt and shame are the usual ones when one faces loss. We are to have self-compassion and care for ourselves in the time of loss. The seminar ended with the question of who do we have on our boat to journey with us. We are to identify people whom we can trust and allow them to be with us in our difficult season.

For the participants, the most beneficial topic was the grief time line. By doing such activity, many came to recognise griefs in their lives. Some thought that it was just a rough time in life, but after this activity, they found it easier to name other emotions besides just sadness and depression.

The topic on how to deal with the emotions that come with grief got the participants looking forward as many were intrigued by it and group sharing picked up momentum. Many shared that the group sharing helped them to be in tune with their own grief and emotions.

The facilitating team discovered that the seminar was very important among those who were caught in grief which includes a whole range of experiences. The seminar has brought insights and hope for the need to have a support group in sharing grief stories with the hope of encouragement and support.

What participants say

Jercy Ng: Having gone through the sudden loss of a loved one recently, I enrolled in this seminar because I wanted to find out if I was going through the normal process of grieving. Besides, in view of the nature of the voluntary works that I was involved in, it would also help to keep me abreast with how to cope with grief. I questioned myself if I was in the right frame of mind to move on or to actively help others in their pains. From my past and current role as being a listener and someone who is normally in control of situations and problems, the seminar got me playing a totally reverse role. It definitely did help to lighten my emotional pain and has taught me a lot and indeed it was a very enriching experience. It is a very practical seminar and hopefully, the parish will run more seminars like this to cater to the needs of the church members.

Resentia Alias: I learned how to identify and differentiate what grief is, and also how to deal with it step by step.

Katlinah Marcus: I realised grief is a normal part of life. Everyone encounter grief and one should be able to overcome it. It makes our life more meaningful and in a way deepens my faith towards the Almighty. I feel great that I know my grief level and I will be able to manage it somehow. – Datina Laban

Heaven is an acquired taste

There is a tendency today to forget that Heaven is an acquired taste; not everyone wants what God offers. While everyone wants to be happy, often happiness is conceived of in an egocentric way. Heaven is thought of as a personally designed paradise where we will be happy on our own terms.

But that is not what Heaven is. Heaven is the Kingdom of God in all its fullness. Its values and qualities are manifold but include many things that are not immediately desirable to those who live with hearts and minds that are worldly and sinful.

The Kingdom of God features ideas that are often unpopular: love of one’s enemies, generosity, love of the poor, and chastity. Heaven features God and His teachings at the centre, not me and what I think.

Yes, Heaven is a place where every aspect of God’s law is perfectly manifested. Yet many find some of these things not only undesirable but downright obnoxious; some even call them hateful and intolerant. To those in darkness, the light seems harsh.

Yes, Heaven is an acquired taste. This helps to explain that the existence of Hell is not due to a “mean” God trying to remove people whom He doesn’t like from His presence.

It is a respectful acceptance by God of the free decision made by those who do not want what He is offering. They do not want to think differently or even be told what to think. They do not want to give up their favourite sins or have their hearts purified of unruly or disordered appetites. In the end, God will not force us to love what and whom He loves. He will not force us to live in His Kingdom.

In his book The Great Divorce, CS Lewis makes this very point. In it, many people come to “tour” Heaven, some of whom do not like what they find. Some struggle to adjust, others are resentful and say, in effect, “No thanks.” If you have not read it, I strongly encourage you to do so; it is an important book to read and ponder.

In Matthew 13:44-46, the Lord inquires after our hearts by giving us the images of buried treasure and a pearl of great price. The one who finds them goes and sells all he has in order to obtain them. Does this describe your heart? Does it describe the hearts of our family, friends, and compatriots?

Often, the answer is no. Most people are not willing to give up everything for the Kingdom of Heaven. Our hearts are disordered. We easily desire things that are sinful and harmful, and not so much those that are good, holy, and lasting. We prefer apparent goods to true goods.

If we are faithful, the Lord can get us to that disposition of heart—but it takes time. Let Him create a desire in you for the very things He is offering. In the end, Heaven is an acquired taste, more so than we commonly imagine. Let God give you a taste for better and higher things. – Msgr Charles Pope

Local bishops urged to make the church’s mission more effective in the lives of the people

JOHOR BAHRU – At the 100th Plenary Session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (CBCMSB), eleven arch/bishops of the region were urged to “to make the mission of the Church effectively more present in the daily lives of the people entrusted to our care.”

For that to happen, the Church herself must constantly reform and purify herself, said Archbishop Joseph Marino, Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei.

He added,  “This is to ensure that nothing stands in the way, hinders or complicates the relationship between the Lord and His people for whom we are shepherds.”

Archbishop Marino, who opened the bi-annual meeting of the CBC, held at Majodi Centre, Plentong on 10-14 July 2017, directed his address to his audience based on the Holy Father’s reflection on reform dedicated to the Roman Curia in December 2016.

The pope said that this logic has been the theological basis or foundation for the reform of the Roman Curia (RC), adding that, “to assure that no one, as a result of the institution or its organisms, would feel removed, distant or even worse unable or impeded to approach the Lord himself.”

First, the Holy Father said, it should be interpreted as “conforming” itself to the Good News, the Gospel, which must be proclaimed joyously and courageously to all, especially to the poor, the least and the outcast (RC).”

The nuncio stressed that the Curia and by extension all institutions of the Church must conform to the signs of the times and to all human achievements, so that, as the Holy Father said, we can “better meet the needs of the men and women we are called to serve.”

Second, the Church structures are understood as assisting the bishop in his office as pastor, and therefore must be guided by an ecclesiology of service and care for the salvation of souls.

Reform then, the nuncio said, requires a sense of conversion and represents a sign of life in the Church, both at the universal level and the local level.

Pope Francis, he said, affirmed that the Curia “is not an immobile bureaucratic apparatus” but something that must always be changed as the Church walks on her pilgrim way.

The same is true for the local offices, structures and even programmes and pastoral approaches. No part of the Church is free from constant evaluation and reform.

To begin with, such institutions must be staffed by people who themselves are renewed and are open to change and conversion and purification. In any institution, “without a change in mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain” (RC).

Simply put, reform, which is based on conformity to the Gospel and an ecclesiology of service for the good of souls, requires “an ongoing personal and structural process of conversion” (RC).

An authentic reform of the structures of the Church makes them more apt to serve the Gospel and the people of God.

After giving the theological/philosophical foundation for the reform, the Holy Father then listed twelve principles that have guided his reform of the Roman Curia, and they are: individual responsibility, pastoral concern, missionary spirit, organisational clarity, improved functioning, modernisation, sobriety, subsidiarity, synodality, catholicity, professionalism and gradualism.

The pope further sub-defined the groups of principles under headings such as personal conversion, pastoral conversion and Christocentrism, which are rooted in His Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.

The nuncio dwelt at length into the principles of pastoral and missionary conversion, personal and communal conversion, administrative and pastoral approaches, evangelical spirit, Gospel-centred and service-centred, path of synodality, etc (details found in The Joy of the Gospel).

Concluding his address, Abp Marino said it is the hope of Pope Francis that “we will move from remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe.”

He added, “What should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.” – Vincent D’Silva

Over 200 youth attend 5th TIM youth camp

Finding the Sheep – one of the activities organised at the TIMYC, 24-27 June 2017, Kg Kironggu.

INANAM – Over 200 youth attended the 5th Telipok-Inanam-Manggatal Youth Camp (TIMYC) on 24-27 June 2017 at St Catherine Church here.

Out of the 246 participants were some Chinese-speaking youths who joined for the first time.

The theme of the camp was “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49).

The camp opened with Mass presided by Father Rayner Bisius with Father Paul Lo as the homilist.

In his homily, Fr Lo used the examples of Mother Mary and St Joseph who were chosen by God for His mission, which led them to leave life’s comfort and to face many challenges.

He said that the devil would try to drag us from the Mighty One with many temptations and rewards. Many would fall into temptation due to their own problems. He then gave the example of how Mother Mary lived her life following God’s will without fear and doubt.

He told the youths that life is full of difficulties and challenges, and that we wouldn’t know God’s future plan, but we need to continue to trust and stand with him no matter what lies ahead of us.

Among the activities held were a welcoming session, Lectio Divina, theme-sharing session, screening of Mary of Nazareth movie, various talks by speakers, and compline (night prayer).

Serena Wong guided the youths to know themselves and to know God, the virtue of gratitude, and to identify their own dreams in a talk entitled ‘Who Am I?’

In her session, Franciscan Sister Elizabeth Munggai urged the youths to take Pope Francis’ advice to face the world’s challenges with courage and not to give up in the face of problems. She illustrated her talk with the life of  Mother Mary in following God’s will.

As many of the participants were students,  Dorin Peter introduced the Keep In Touch Always (KITA) programme to help them see the reality of campus life and how it will affect their faith.

The outdoor activities were held in Kg Kitobu, Inanam.  They went there by bus but had to make a two-km trip on foot as well.

At the site, they were given a pack of beans signifying faith. They carried the pack of beans along while  crossing a river, using a rope bridge, prostrating commando style, balancing wood crossing, making a fire using only three matches and building a fortress.

These challenges ended at Kg Kironggu, where they stayed for the night. At Kg Kironggu, the games continued with Finding the Sheep, The Longest and Paper Plane Flying challenge.

A Solidarity Night themed ‘A Night to Remember’ at Kironggu saw each group presenting a bible-based performance in the presence of invited guests and villagers.

All activities in Kg Kitobu and Kg Kironggu were handled by KUK St Michael Kg Kironggu and assisted by the TIM YC organising team.

On the last day, the participants hiked up the Kironggu Hill as early as 5.30 am to go back to St Catherine Church. The hike consisted of a rosary walk led by Kg Kironggu KUK. At the top of the hill, Fr Rayner led the prayer and praise and worship session, followed by breakfast.

Back at St Catherine, the participants attended the closing Mass celebrated by Fr Paul. He urged the youths to appreciate God’s gift to them through the camp. The Mass also saw four young men accepting God’s call to enter the priesthood.

At the closing, a flashback video was screened, alongside the sharing session and filling in evaluation forms. The organising team expressed their gratitude and appreciation to all who have sponsored and helped in the preparation of the camp and during the four-day camp. TIM YC Publication and Documentation Team

Familis FC wins friendly football match over diocesan aspirants

Friendly match between diocesan aspirants and families fc Inanam, 2 July 2017, Padang Wisma Wanita Jalan Tuaran.

KOTA KINABALU – On Sunday afternoon, 2 July 2017,  the diocesan aspirants were invited to a friendly football match with a team from Inanam, team Familis FC, held in Padang A, Padang Wisma Wanita Jalan Likas off Tuaran.

The friendly match was a part of the aspirants’ activities to promote vocation to the priesthood and as outreach to the public.

The team Familis FC comprised footballers with a few members from the State football team and some from St Catherine Inanam football club.

Both teams played well. It was a high-spirited game of skills and endurance as both teams employed their various skills and strategies to score the goals.

Familis FC proved to be stronger as they skillfully weaved through the aspirants’ defenses to score goals for their team. The aspirants fought valiantly and constantly strategised their attacks and defenses.

In the end, Familis FC won the match with the score 9-2 after a long battle.

After the friendly match, both teams exchanged gestures of good sportsmanship and goodwill as brothers-in-Christ.  Timothy G

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