Category Archives: Latest News

Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia join hands to fight extremists

MANILA – The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their region.  Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts gathered in Manila with top security officials Thursday to discuss a joint plan of action amid a disastrous siege of southern

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts gathered in Manila with top security officials on 22 June 2017 to discuss a joint plan of action amid a disastrous siege of southern Marawi city by militants aligned with the Islamic State group that has left about 369 combatants and civilians dead.

As the IS loses territory in Syria and Iraq, Southeast Asian governments worry that battle-hardened Asian fighters, including those from Indonesia and Malaysia, may return to exploit social restiveness, weak law enforcement, a surfeit of illegal arms and raging insurgencies to establish a foothold.  Many worry that the month-long siege in Marawi could draw in the returning jihadis.

“We expect that those who will be displaced there will go to Asia and because of the Marawi uprising, the Philippines is like a magnet,” said Philippine military chief of staff Gen Eduardo Ano, who took part in the closed-door security conference.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi condemned the attack in Marawi and said her government was ready to help.  “Your challenges are Indonesia’s challenges and your challenges are also the challenges of the region,” she said in her opening speech, adding that the threat of terrorism is imminent and that “no action is not an option.”

The three neighbours expressed concern over the recent incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in their countries and their desire to plot joint strategies to combat it.

On May 23, about 500 militants, including about 40 Indonesian, Malaysian and other foreigners, stormed the business district of Marawi, a lakeside centre of the Islamic faith in the largely Roman Catholic country’s south, taking a Roman Catholic priest and other hostages, occupying buildings and installing IS-style black flags.

Of the 276 militants who have been killed, at least three were Malaysians and one came from Indonesia, Ano said, adding that the arrest in Malaysia last week of an unspecified number of militants who were suspected to be bound for Marawi showcases the crossborder cooperation needed to secure the region. – Vatican Radio  

Miri embarks on Wisma St Joseph fundraising campaign

MIRI – Miri has embarked on a massive fundraising campaign entitled  Wisma St Joseph since 2016.

Wisma St Joseph project comprises a new Cathedral, a Pastoral Centre at its current location, Holy Spirit Chapel in Permyjaya, and the bishop’s residence at Tanjong Lobang.

The old cathedral built in 1973 could only cater for 500 people. It was enough in those days but now due to the rural-urban migration, many Catholics are living in the city and thus the cathedral is very congested.

Facilities available in the new cathedral would include a seating capacity for 2,000 worshippers, gallery, day chapel, adoration room, columbarium on ground and first floors, funeral parlour, basement car park, offices, meeting rooms, multi-purpose hall, gift shop and canteen, grotto, garden and priests’ residence.

Diocesan Bishop Richard Ng said the new cathedral alone is estimated to cost RM20 – RM25 million with construction to start in 2019 when at least RM15 million or 70 per cent of the total cost is raised.

The first fundraising dinner held in Bintulu in 2016 garnered around RM3.4 million.  The second fundraiser in Miri raised RM1.5 million.

The bishop said they need to raise RM5 million each year from 2016-2019.  Various activities to be held include lump sum donation, monthly pledges, monthly second collection in church, sponsoring of building materials, sponsoring of specific items like pews, meeting rooms, sound system, grotto and garden, fundraising dinners, food fairs and sales of items, jogathons, concert and spiritual support.

The bishop expressed his hope that Wisma St Joseph would be ready by 2021.

He said the proposed Wisma St Joseph is in tandem with the development of Miri City, the rapid rural-urban migration and also one that befits Miri as a diocesan centre.

Miri Diocese forms 53 per cent of Sarawak – stretching from Belaga District in Kapit Division to Bintulu, Miri and Limbang Divisions with a population of 97,000 Miri alone has 12,000 Catholics.

Those wanting to donate can write a cheque in favour of: ‘The Bishop of Miri – Wisma St Joseph’ to Public Bank account No 3199675833. For enquiries call +60142778308 or email to – various sources

Penampang lass takes final vows as Augustinian sister

The neo professed poses with her family members after the Mass, Cumbria, 4 June 2017.

CUMBRIA, England – Penampang lass Sister Florence Suimin took her solemn vows as a member of the Order of St Augustine of Hippo on Pentecost Sunday 4 June 2017.

The event took place at Boarbank Hall chapel, Allithwaite Grange-over-sands Cumbria England in the presence of her religious family as well as her family members.

In his homily, Bishop Michael G Campbell OSA of Lancaster said,

Sister Florence, by offering yourself to the Lord today through final religious profession, you are responding to a particular gift of grace, to a charism from the Holy Spirit, given to you for your own personal sanctification and for the benefit of the whole Church. Congratulations on responding so generously to Christ’s call to follow him as an Augustinian sister, though as St Augustine himself would remind us, we first need God’s grace to respond to God’s grace!

By your profession of vows today you are witnessing eloquently to the primacy of charity, for your life as a religious will be in the service of others, especially the sick, the frail, and those burdened in any way. A ministry of this kind, we are told, is a ministry offered to the Master himself. You will have been taught, Sister Florence, of the importance of the community as an Augustinian sister, and the central place of the common life. St Augustine notes in his rule that when we put the interests of others first, then we can be sure that we are making progress in the spiritual life. A religious community is a powerful witness to the ideal of the Christian life, and your contribution to that cannot be underestimated.

Sister Florence hails from Kg Totoikon Ramayah Penampang.  She joined the order some 10 years ago in England.  Currently, the community has 12 Augustinian Sisters and two Benedictines.


Infant Jesus Sister Eugenie called to eternal life

KOTA KINABALU – Infant Jesus Sister Eugenie Fernandez was called to eternal life on 20 June 2017 in Cheras Kuala Lumpur.  She was 73.  The funeral will be held on Friday June 23 at 10 am at Cheras Convent, Kuala Lumpur.

Sister Eugenie belonged to a congregation dedicated to education and the training of underprivileged schoolchildren.  It was founded in Rouen France in 1666 by Blessed Nicolas Barre (1621-1686) who had gathered some young women for the free instruction of the poor in 1662.

Today, the Infant Jesus Sisters and their lay volunteers have a presence worldwide through social projects and schools. They are also known as Dames of St Maur, from the address of their major house in Paris.

The congregation spread its wings to then Malaya in 1852 and to Sook in Keningau Diocese in 2002.  Sister Eugenie was one of the two pioneer sisters who established the house in Sook.  She served there for nine years (2002-2011).


Cathedral parish kicks off weeklong observance of titular feast day with triduum

A section of the audience engrossed in the talk on Michelangelo’s Last Judgment by Jeffrey Goh, SHPC, 19 June 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here kicked off its weeklong observance of its titular feast day with a triduum of Holy Hours and Masses from 19-21 June 2017.

As in the past few years, the theme of the celebration was Oneness in Heart and Spirit as a Parish Family.

It began with Mass at 6 am in English at the main church followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 6:30 am to 11:45 am at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  Benediction was given at 11:45 am followed by the noon Mass at 12:15 pm.

Of note was that the monstrance used for the exposition was newly bought by the parish from Vietnam.

Different language groups took turns to lead the adoration and the Mass: BM (June 19), Mandarin (June 20), and English (June 21).  Masses were celebrated in the respective languages by Father Max Hontor on Monday, Father Joshua Liew on Tuesday, and Father Mitchelly Kiun on Wednesday.

Talks were given in the evening at the parish centre by Jeffrey Goh of Kuching in English on Monday (Michelangelo’s Last Judgment: Mercy and Justice of God); Matthew Lo in Mandarin on Tuesday (Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion), and Fr Hontor in BM on Wednesday (Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion).


Cathedral parish marks assistant pastor’s anniversary with a simple dinner

Family members join Fr Max to pose for the camera, SH canteen, 18 June 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish marked its assistant pastor’s priestly anniversary with a simple dinner per request of the honouree on 18 June 2017.

Over 200 people turned up for Father Maxmillianno Hontor’s third priestly anniversary dinner at the parish canteen including members of his family.

It was organised by the social committee of the parish pastoral council.

In his welcoming remarks, Jason Joenoi, PPC chairman, explained that the event was held at the canteen at the request of Fr Max himself.

The occasion was graced by Archbishop John Wong, the other three assistant pastors – Fathers Rhobby Mojolou, Mitchelly Kiun and Joshua Liew – and Msgr Nicholas Ong of Sandakan Diocese.

In his brief speech, Fr Max thanked the organising committee and all those present for commemorating his anniversary.  He asked them to continue praying for him as they journey together as a parish family.

Born in 1977, the honouree was ordained priest on 15 June 2014 in Inanam by Abp Wong.  He is the second priest from Inanam; the first is Fr Patrick Erik Jerome who is serving at St Peter’s College Kuching.  In September this year, another son of Inanam, Deacon Leslie Bingkasan will be ordained a Jesuit priest at St Catherine Inanam.


SHC celebrates Corpus Christi with candlelight procession

Fr Mojolou carries the monstrance as the procession moves from the cathedral to the parish centre, Corpus Christi, 17 June 2017, SHC.

KOTA KINABALU –  Sacred Heart Cathedral here celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) with a candlelight procession on 17 June 2017.

The procession started after the post-Communion prayer from the cathedral to the parish centre via the back lane through the two kindergartens.  Benediction was given by Father Rhobby Mojolou after a period of silent adoration.

Joining Fr Mojolou were Father Max Hontor, the extraordinary ministers of holy Communion (EMCs) who have just renewed their commitment to serve for another year after the homily, the LJCCC choir, and all the faithful present for the Sunset Mass.

Of the 32 EMCs, 13 serve during the cathedral’s Sunset Mass, 13 the Sunday Morning Mass, and six at the Morning Mass at the Carmelite Chapel.  Those serving in the Chinese and BM Masses would renew their commitment the next day at the 7 am Chinese Mass and 10:45 am BM Mass respectively.  Those serving in Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang would renew their commitment at the 9 am Mass.

Before Second World War (1939-1945), the Corpus Christi Procession was a grand annual affair and an open witness of the faith in many mission stations.  Everyone took part in it.  The religious, nurses, boy scouts and girl guides, students, groups, each dressed in their uniforms, would take part in the solemn procession.  This was replicated in the 1950s and 1960s.

Now in most churches, the procession is confined only to church premises.

KL leads on online sharing of resources among dioceses

Participants pose for remembrance, ACCPC Kuching, 14 June 2017.

KUCHING – Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese led the sharing of online resources among the dioceses during the Regional Commission on Social Communications (RCSC) meeting on 12-14 June 2017.

Participants came from Kuala Lumpur (KL), Kota Kinabalu (KK), Kuching Archdioceses and from the dioceses of Sandakan, Miri, Melaka-Johor, Penang and from the Brunei Vicariate.  There were no representatives from Keningau, Sibu and Singapore.

Before the opening Mass, Archbishop Simon Poh welcomed the participants to Kuching for their annual meeting and then left for another function.

Bishop Cornelius Sim, the episcopal president, presided over the opening Mass at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre.  Joining him at the altar were Fathers Thomas Madanan (KK), Robert Leong (Brunei), Felix Au (Kuching), and Peter Anthoney (KL).

In his keynote address based on the pope’s World Day of Communications message (Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time), Bishop Sim called on the members to use the Jesus lens to see peoples and events as “compassion is colour blind,” and to have more human-interest stories in their media reports and posts.

The participants listened to three talks pertaining to Islamisation Strategies and Media Usage (Father Felix Au), Youth and Social Media (Ralph Balan), and Laudato Si (Margaret Chan), with group discussion on the last two topics.

Of interest was the visit to the Archdiocesan Gallery on the history of Christianity in Sarawak with Fr Au as guide before the talks on youth and social media and on Laudato Si.

The first day ended with the viewing of “Wonder Woman” at Viva City Mall, with its many Christian themes relevant to the communications ministry.

On the second day, Karen Arukesamy shared on Signis Malaysia Journalism Desk and encouraged the representatives to apply for Signis funding.  The groups then presented the summary of their discussions and plans of action.

The election of office bearers 2017-2019 took place before lunch.  The assembly unanimously retained Father Madanan as chairman, elected Sister Anna Yap fsp (KK) as deputy chairperson, Ignatius Krishnan (KL) as secretary, and Joyce Ting (Kuching) as assistant secretary.

After lunch, each arch/diocese/organisation presented its report on the various activities carried out.

After presenting his report, Krishnan offered his expertise and online resources to the other participants so that together they can harness the communications media for evangelisation.

In his closing remarks, Bishop Sim proposed the icon of the Samaritan Woman representing those looking for living water which has been entrusted to the Church.  He said Catholic media can bring seekers to the font of the living water in the digital world.

The bishop also thanked the participants for their presentations and said this year’s meeting was an eye-opening event, enabling them to move forward to the next level.  He called on the new office bearers to find ways to meet together (either through video conferencing or another way) to plan for the next meeting.

He then thanked the outgoing office bearers – Fr Madanan, Frank Saing and Clement Josos- for their services and welcomed the new office bearers.

The Brunei prelate also expressed his thanks to Kuching SOCCOM headed by Stella Chin for hosting the event.

The meeting ended with a closing Mass presided by Abp Poh and a fellowship dinner at the Sarawak Club.

The next meeting will be hosted by Keningau Diocese on 18-21 June 2018.




SH new members encouraged to join parish groups and ministries for ongoing faith formation

RCIA facilitator Charles Tibok sits with some of his students, SHPC, 11 June 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – All the newly baptised (Easter) and confirmed at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here were encouraged to join any of the parish groups, ministries or communities for their ongoing faith formation, Bible study/reading, and receiving the sacraments frequently.

Both Archbishop John Wong and Parish Pastoral Council chairman Jason Joenoi gave this encouragement in their respective speeches at the fellowship night on 11 June 2017 at the parish centre.

The 196 newly baptised (adults and children) received their certificates while the 300 confirmands (adolescents) received their gifts – the latter will receive their certificates at yearend.

The function was also graced by Abp Emeritus John Lee and all the assistant pastors were present to help distribute the certificates and gifts.

The new members were accompanied by their family members, sponsors and godparents.

Earlier in the day, Abp Wong and his assistants administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the 300 candidates who came from their respective language classes (Chinese, English, BM), including 13 from CMI.

Aside from receiving the gifts and certificates, the new members responded by giving three presentations in skits and choral singing.

CMI organises send-off gathering for assistant pastor

Father Mojolou cuts the commemorative cake, witnessed by CMI PPC chairperson Clarice Moiji and MC Philomina Engsun (in red).

BUKIT PADANG – The Church of Mary Immaculate here organised a send-off gathering for one of its assistant pastors on 11 June 2017.

Around 50 people attended the gathering for Father Rhobby Mojolou at the canteen.  The honouree will be going to Rome for a four-year licentiate course on Sacred Scriptures on June 25.

In his brief address, the priest thanked the organisers for the gathering and everyone for their presence.  He said that he has enjoyed serving in CMI, a subparish of Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu, for five years.

He also said that he has mixed feelings regarding his next assignment: looking forward to it and yet having a sense of fear as well as he has to learn five languages in the course of his studies.  He then asked all to continue praying for him as “I do for you.”

The 35-year-old priest hails from Penampang and was ordained to the priesthood in 2014.

A day before, on June 10, the Sacred Heart Morning Massgoers, organised a two-in-one breakfast for Father Max Hontor  (3rd priestly anniversary) and for  Fr Mojolou (send-off).


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