Category Archives: Latest News

Franciscan Sister Eithne (Felicity) McCarthy called to eternal life

File picture of the old St Francis Convent Karamunsing where Sr Felicity (Eithne McCarthy) lived and taught in the late 1950s and 1960s.

PENAMPANG – Franciscan Sister Eithne (Felicity) McCarthy was called to eternal life on 4 March 2018 at the Convent of St Francis, Blackrock Road, Cork. She was 87.

Eithne McCarthy was born on 18 June 1930, the seventh of eleven children of Maurice and Annie McCarthy, in Co Donegal, Ireland, where her father had been temporarily assigned. The following year the family returned to Cork, where Eithne grew up. She is survived by her sisters Maureen and Sister Ursula and her brother Declan who lives in the United States.

Seeking direction about her vocation, Eithne made a novena to the Little Flower in the SMA Church near the convent. The Sisters had been making the novena for a postulant. At the close, on the Feast of the Little Flower, Eithne followed the Sisters to the convent and expressed her desire to enter.

Eithne entered the Congregation on 11 February 1951 in Blackrock Road and exactly one year later she entered the Novitiate at Altrincham receiving the name Sister Felicity. She made First Profession on 29 June 1953 and five years later she made her Perpetual Profession also in Altrincham.

Sister Eithne was trained in business studies, bookkeeping, shorthand and typing when she entered but after profession she was sent to do teaching training at Mount Pleasant Teacher Training College in Liverpool. She worked hard and qualified in 1958 and left for Borneo the same year. She taught in Jesselton (St Francis Convent), Tawau and Seria and was a popular teacher. Her file contains an email sent through Sister Ursula from a past pupil who wrote “I was a distracted student and most teachers had given up on me. You refused not to believe in me and you inspired me and turned me round academically. Your impact on me was immeasurably positive and I am so grateful to you for altering my life.”

When the Sisters were expelled from Borneo Sister Eithne spent some time teaching in Rochdale and Blackburn before being appointed as assistant superior and novice mistress in Broughton Hall. In 1983 she went to do a theology course in Maynooth, Ireland and was then appointed to Leyland as a parish Sister where she stayed for five years. She is lovingly remembered there today.

In 1989 Sister Eithne returned to Ireland and after three years in Prague House she moved to Dublin where she spent nine years in parish work. During this time she was also community leader and on three occasions she was elected as a Regional Councillor. Sister then returned to Blackrock where she was to spend the rest of her life. When her sister, Maureen, become too frail to live alone Sister Eithne went from Monday to Friday each week to stay with her and returned to the community at weekends. In time her sight and hearing deteriorated badly and when she became unable to continue, Sister Ursula took over the care of Maureen.

Almost blind and almost deaf Sister Eithne remained cheerful and active. She had a beautiful smile and a good sense of humour. She walked up and down the stairs and all around the house to keep mobile and at last she had the time she had often craved for prayer and reflection. She prayed every day for the General Leadership Team to be guided in all their decisions. She was always grateful for the least thing anyone did to help her

On Sunday Mar 4, Sister Eithne joined the community for Mass and lunch and was her normal self. After lunch she made the Stations of the Cross. When she did not go to the kitchen as she usually did to fetch her supper around four o’clock Sister Mary Coyne went to see if she was alright and found her dead in her room. She died as she had lived, quietly and with no fuss.

The funeral Mass for Sister Eithne was held at the Convent of St Francis on March 8 at midday followed by burial at St Oliver’s cemetery. – FMSJ website

Stephen Hawking: a longtime member of Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Pope Francis greets Stephen Hawking during an audience with participants attending a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican on 28 Nov 2016. Hawking, the British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist and popular author died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)

VATICAN CITY – Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who said he did not believe in God, was still an esteemed member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and fostered a fruitful dialogue between science and faith.

The academy, which Pope Pius IX established in 1847, tweeted, “We are deeply saddened about the passing of our remarkable Academician Stephen #Hawking who was so faithful to our Academy.”

“He told the 4 Popes he met that he wanted to advance the relationship between Faith and Scientific Reason. We pray the Lord to welcome him in his Glory,” @CasinaPioIV, the academy, tweeted March 14.

The Vatican observatory, @SpecolaVaticana, also expressed its condolences to Hawking’s family.

“We value the enormous scientific contribution he has made to quantum cosmology and the courage he had in facing illness,” the observatory tweeted in Italian.

The British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist and popular author died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster tweeted, “We thank Stephen Hawking for his outstanding contribution to science. As a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, he will be missed and mourned there, too.”

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury tweeted, “Professor Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding. His was a life lived with bravery and passion. As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace.

Blessed Paul VI named Hawking a member of the papal academy in 1968. The academy’s members are chosen on the basis of their academic credentials and professional expertise – not religious beliefs.

Blessed Paul, the first of four popes to meet Hawking, gave the then 33-year-old scientist the prestigious Pius XI gold medal in 1975 after a unanimous vote by the academy in recognition of his great work, exceptional promise and “important contribution of his research to scientific progress.”

Pictures from the academy’s archives show the pope kneeling before Hawking, who was seated in a motorized wheelchair, to present him with the medal and touch his head.

Hawking had most recently met Pope Francis when he delivered his presentation on “The Origin of the Universe” at the academy’s plenary session on science and sustainability in 2016.

In interviews and his writings, Hawking asserted that God had no role in creating the universe.

Yet his avowed atheism did not keep him from engaging in dialogue and debate with the church as his work and contribution to the papal academy showed.

He also debated on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in 2010 with Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer — a philosopher and educator — over the scientific underpinnings of the beginning of the universe and the theological arguments for the existence of God.

Vatican astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, who has studied both physics and philosophy, told Catholic News Service in 2010 that “the ‘god’ that Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe in is one I don’t believe in either.”

“God is not just another force in the universe, alongside gravity or electricity,” he added. “God is the reason why existence itself exists. God is the reason why space and time and the laws of nature can be present for the forces to operate that Stephen Hawking is talking about.” – Carol Glatz, Catholic Herald

Miri bishop visits Sibuti Iban longhouse

The welcomers in traditional attire pose for the camera while waiting for Bishop Ng and Fr Durrant to come, 10 Mar 2018, Sibuti.  Credit: Dennis Ng

MIRI – Bishop Richard Ng, accompanied by Father Liam Durrant,  visited Rumah Entebang and celebrated Mass there on 10 Mar 2018.

The Iban longhouse is an old wooden building built in the late 1940s under Tuai Rumah Empading Ak Lambor and has 62 doors.  It is located at Sungai Bakas Sibuti Bekenu, about 63 km from Miri.

Around 150 people attended the Mass and the welcome dinner at the longhouse.

The next day, March 11, the bishop and the priest concelebrated Mass at the Townhall, Dewan Rumah Nawin Ak Lu at Kg Penempatan Bukit Peninjau Sibuti.

Around 300 parishioners participated in the Mass.

The Chapel Gerija Indai Maria, Bukit Peninjau, currently under renovation, is just 800 meters away. – Ben Chang, Miri newsblog.

Marian pilgrim statue and Holy Family Icon return to base

KENINGAU – The pilgrim statue of Mary and the Holy Family Icon which have visited the whole diocese returned to St Francis Xavier Cathedral here on 26 Feb 2018.

The 30-day pilgrimage was one of the activities to prepare for the silver jubilee of the diocese.  The diocese turns 25 on May 6.

The closing of the pilgrimage began with the rosary recitation at the Solidarity Hall by the Legion of Mary before processing to the cathedral for a concelebrated Mass presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong, four priests and Deacon David Gasikol.

In his homily, the bishop touched on the role of the Blessed Mother in Salvation History.  He urged the faithful to have a strong devotion to her so that they can overcome challenges in their families and to pray for a fruitful diocesan silver jubilee celebration.

Stella Kinsik, Keningau Parish Pastoral Council chairperson, thanked the organising team and the Legion of Mary for their collaboration in organising the closing of the pilgrimage.

Maria Kuntiou, president of the LOM comitium, said they were happy to organise the closing Mass.

After the Mass all adjourned to the thanksgiving fellowship at the parish hall.  A slideshow  of the pilgrimage around the diocese was screened. – KOMSOS KENINGAU

Around 250 attend SHC parish assembly

Abp Wong gives his address to the attendees of the first of two parish assemblies at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing, 13 Mar 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Around 250 representatives from all the groups/ministries/communities attended the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Assembly on 13 Mar 2018 at the parish centre here.

The objective was for the 60 plus groups/ministries, communities from both Sacred Heart Cathedral and Church of Mary Immaculate to report on what they have done to tackle the three issues raised at the 2015 PAX Assembly: apathy, Islamisation, and secularisation through the threefold movement of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Thrust of “Go Inward, Go Smaller, and Go Outwards.”

In his introduction, Archbishop John Wong related the words of Pope Francis to the arch/bishops of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei during their ad limina visit on 4-9 Feb 2018.

He told the assembly that the pope told them to be men of prayer so that they will know and do the will of God and also told them to pray “for” him and not “against” him.  He expressed the hope that this event will bring the groups to move towards unity as a parish family.

The assembly split into groups by language – English, Mandarin, BM – for the reports.

Later, the groups returned to the plenary assembly for the briefing of the second assembly on Apr 9.

The reports would be collated and summarised to be presented to the parish PAX committee as well as the parish pastoral council for further action.

The Apr 9 assembly would be more of an open dialogue geared towards formulating a parish report for the May 1 Archdiocesan Pre-PAX Gathering at the same venue.

The SHC parish assembly is part of the collective movement in all parishes in consolidating their reports for the pre-PAX gathering in May.

Belatik grotto blessed by Papar pastor

The faithful pose for remembrance after the blessing of the grotto by Fr Thomas Yip, St Peter Belatik Papar, 9 Mar 2018.

BELATIK, Papar – The Marian grotto outside St Peter Belatik here was blessed by Father Thomas Yip on 9 Mar 2018.

The blessing took place after the Way of the Cross around the compound outside the chapel with the some of the people carrying the statue of Our Lady.

The statue was then affixed inside the grotto followed by the rite of blessing.

After the rite of blessing, the Eucharist was celebrated.  In his homily, the priest said that commitment towards one’s family and community must be prioritised and based on God’s guidance who has given us life through Christ.

After Mass, all adjourned to the community hall (former chapel) for dinner fellowship.

In his speech, Clarence Ponsoi, the community chairperson, thanked everyone involved in realising the construction of the grotto with the hope that it will be helpful in their faith formation.

The grotto was built on top of a large boulder located at the right side of the chapel through the initiative and help of the local people.  The project under John Jinal Hussin started on 29 Sept 2017 and completed on 9 Mar 2018.

Both the chapel and statue were sponsored by Datuk Victor Paul.

The chapel was blessed by Archbishop John Wong on 30 Dec 2014. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

Papar women’s day celebration receives unexpected response

PAPAR – St Joseph Parish Women’s Day celebration on 10 Mar 2018 received an unexpected large turnout at the Mother of Mercy open hall.

Father Rayner Bisius led the opening prayer followed by the cake-cutting with members of the Catholic Women’s League headed by Rosalind Lohindun, Franciscan Sister Juanah Saliun and the novices, and some of the women parishioners.

In his address based on the theme Press for progress, move forward in Christ, Fr Rayner stressed the need for faith in Christ in order to move into the uncertain future, just like Abraham’s faith in God.

During the fellowship dinner, the attendees enjoyed the stage presentations by the various groups both local and outstation.

The event ended with a closing prayer by Sr Juanah.– William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)


Sandakan youth leaders camp draws 148 participants

TAWAU – The 6th Youth Leaders Camp (YLC 6) drew 148 participants from across the Sandakan Diocese.

Tawau hosted the 4-night-5-day event on 7-11 Feb 2018 at Holy Trinity Parish here.

The theme was taken from the 33rd World Youth Day: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30).

In his message to the participants, Bishop Julius Gitom said that the Church looks upon the youth with hope as they hold the key to the next generation. To achieve that, they have to begin now.

The prelate urged them to learn from the Blessed Mother what self-sacrificing love means and the readiness to do God’s will.

The event featured several inputs interspersed with praise and worship, testimonies, games and other activities.

The objectives of the YLC 6 were to (1) help the participants to encounter the Lord; (2) deepen the sense of belonging in their respective ministries; and (3) strengthen the bond of friendship and communication among themselves. – Sandakan diocesan newsblog

Kuching Archdiocesan Youth Day 2018 officially launched

KUCHING –  Over 100 youths from the different parishes in the archdiocese gathered at St Joseph’s Cathedral to witness the reception of the Cross for each Parish Youth Ministry and Youth Groups.

The opening ceremony for Kuching Archdiocesan Youth Day 2018, with the theme taken from Luke 1:30 “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God,” was held on 24 Feb 2018.

After the Mass, each Parish Youth Ministry and Youth Group in the archdiocese received a mini cross as a symbol of Christ reaching out to the youth in their respective parishes.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Simon Poh, with Father Larry Tan SJ, Chaplain Kuching Campus Ministry, concelebrating. kchadyouth

Two ordained transitory deacons for KK Archdiocese

Classmates five – Deacons Dominic Tan, Russell Lawrine, Gilbert Marcus, David Gasikol, Simon Lau – pose obligingly for the camera after the Mass, 11 Mar 2018, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU — Two seminarians were ordained to the diaconate at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 11 Mar 2018.

Over 1000 people including family members and friends witnessed the diaconal ordinations of Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus by Archbishop John Wong.

Born and bred in Tenghilan, thirty-one-year-old Russell is the eldest son of the late Lawrine M Samin and Mdm Russe bte Kumpas. Russell underwent his primary and secondary education  in the government schools of Tenghilan.  Prior to entering aspirancy in 2008 in Kota Kinabalu, he worked as a housekeeper at the Grand Borneo Hotel KK and as a clerk at the Environment Department.

His companion, Gilbert, 36, is the 8th child in a brood of seven boys and four girls born to the late Marcus Dompok and the late Cecilia Gissong of Inobong.  He underwent his basic education at SRK St Theresa Inobong and SM St Michael/SMK Datuk Peter Mojunting Penampang.  He worked for eight years in various government institutions before entering the aspirancy in 2010 following the footsteps of his brother Florian who was ordained priest in 2011.

Representing the two of them, ne0-ordained Deacon Gilbert thanked everyone who has helped them in their priestly formative journey.

At the end of the ordination Mass, Abp Wong echoed the thanks of the deacons to those who have helped to make the event possible.

The new deacons will continue to serve in their respective parishes (Russell at the cathedral, Gilbert at St Michael Penampang) until further notice.

Among the concelebrants (mostly local priests) were Abp Emeritus John Lee, two Korean priests and three deacons: Dominic Tan and Simon Lau of Kuala Lumpur (ordained Jan 23) and David Gasikol of Keningau (ordained Feb 25).

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