Category Archives: Latest News

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).

Newly renovated chapel blessed in Miri

MIRI – Bishop Richard Ng celebrated Mass at the newly renovated St Francis’ Chapel on  21 February 2018, together with all the other priests in the Diocese of Miri, after their monthly priests’ recollection meeting.

Over 400 parishioners, including students from St Joseph’s secondary school, were present.

Bishop Ng thanked all those who had helped in the restoration works. He announced that the newly renovated chapel and St Francis’ centre is now available for small group retreats, seminars, weddings and other church activities. The centre can also be used for meetings, conferences and talks.

Further details and bookings can be made at St Joseph’s Parish office. – Johnny Tan, Miri website

Muslims guard Kuching prelate heckled by zealous youths at Kuching court complex

KUCHING –  Archbishop Simon Poh was heckled by a group of Muslim youths, who shouted “Allahuakbar” at him, when he was making his exit at the end of a Federal Court hearing in Kuching on 27 Feb 2018.

The court dismissed the appeals of three Muslim converts and a Muslim by birth to have their apostasy cases heard in a civil court, ruling that the Sarawak Syariah court has jurisdiction to hear the apostasy applications.

Kuching district police chief Abang Ahmad Abang Julai described the verbal abuse of Bishop Simon Peter Poh by the youths, who were at the court complex car park, as a “minor incident.”

He said the youths had gotten “carried away emotionally,” and their action showed that they did not understand the issues brought before the court.

“Everything was under control. The bishop was actually shielded and protected by other Muslims, and escorted to his car,” he said.

Archbishop Poh was shaken but unhurt in the incident.

A video now making the rounds shows him walking alone, with his robe making him stand out from among a sea of Muslims who had gathered at the court complex in Petra Jaya to hear the court’s decision.

When the heckling started, Muslim youth quickly threw a cordon around him and escorted him safely out of the court complex.

“In Sarawak, we work as friends,” the bishop said in the video.

“Let us not allow emotions to overcome everything.

“I am sure the state authorities, the chief minister, is watching. We will do our best to… rebuild harmony.“I am not rattled by this (heckling incident). There were many good people… who were around me to make sure that I was okay.”

No arrests were made following the incident.

Police estimate the crowd at the court complex to number around 400.

In a statement circulated among chat groups later, Archbishop Poh appealed to Christians to “understand this case carefully.”

“This case is not the Church vs Islam but on the dispute of who has the jurisdiction on allowing a Muslim to murtad (apostatise), either the syariah court or the civil court Naturally, since we have the Syariah court to govern the Muslims, the Syariah court has the power to grant Muslims the leave from Islam according to the law. Therefore, we did not lose this case, nor did we win it. What is important, now that this is clear, where do we want to go with it?

“The court, be it the Syariah or the civil, are only to apply the law. Thus next, we should pray that the lawmakers will table a just law to face this issue. Do not lose hope. Pray, continue to pray,” he said.

Archbishop Poh added that he found the panel of judges which heard arguments on Feb 26 before announcing its decision on Feb 27 to be “very neutral and fair.” –  The Malaysian Insight

Seminarians Russell and Gilbert accepted as candidates for ordination

Russell Lawrine (L) and Gilbert Marcus (R) stand before Abp Wong to publicly declare their intention to pursue Holy Orders during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders, 9 Mar 2018, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Seminarians Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus publically declared their intention to pursue Holy Orders and were officially accepted as candidates for ordination during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders at the 6 am Friday Morning Mass celebrated by Archbishop John Wong at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 9 Mar 2018. Both will be ordained deacons at the cathedral by Abp Wong on Sunday Mar 11 at 5 pm.  Concelebrating with the prelate were Father Paul Lo  and Father Joshua Liew.

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