SLOVAKIA – A 16-year-old peasant girl will be beatified as a martyr in Slovakia, seven decades after she was shot in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier.
Anna Kolesarova “embodies the faithful layperson living in their family, regularly receiving sacraments, praying the rosary and approaching God through good works. Her heroic testimony, drawn from a sincere spiritual life, is something every Catholic and believer can aspire to,” Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia, told Catholic News Service.
He said honouring Kolesarova, whose “reputation for holiness” had inspired young Slovaks, would give the local church a unique chance for spiritual growth.
“The story of 16-year-old Anna Kolesarova offers a strong message, of course, for the younger generation,” he said.
“Celebrating the divine grace which was present in her life will enable us to gather the faithful, but also to reach the wider civil society,” Archbishop Bober said. “Her story provides a spiritual response to today’s nostalgia for purity. It’s a message not confined to the younger generation, but one to move all faithful people.
“Servants of God who gave their lives for Christ in modern Slovak history were the victims of a totalitarian communist regime which suppressed religious freedom, and this will be the first layperson declared blessed,” he added.
Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, was to beatify Kolaserova in Kosice on September 1. At least 30,000 Catholics are expected to attend the beatification in Lokomotiva Stadium.
Kolesarova was born 14 July 1928, at Vysoka nad Uhom, near the present Slovak-Ukrainian border. When Kolaserova was 13 her mother died, so she took over household duties and regularly attended Mass and rosary services with her father and elder brother.
When the Red Army captured the village on 22 November 1944, witnesses said Kolasarova had donned her mother’s black dress to disguise her youth; she took refuge in the cellar. Asked to find food when a drunken soldier entered the house, Kolesarova broke free when he tried to rape her. She was shot twice through the head in front of her father and neighbours.
The 16-year-old was buried at night in a makeshift coffin but was given a formal funeral a week later by Father Anton Lukac, who recorded that she had received confession and Communion before her death and made a “sacrifice of holy purity.”
In a website statement, the Kosice Archdiocese said accounts of her testimony had been secretly gathered in the 1950s by Jesuit Father Michal Potocky. The statement said her grave had become a place of pilgrimage only after the 1989 collapse of communist rule.
In a pastoral letter, read in churches on 19 August 2018, the Slovak bishops’ conference said Kolesarova had been “fully aware, despite her young age” of what awaited her, and had instinctively “followed the voice of conscience” rather than “having time to think and philosophise.”
“Today, the temptations against purity are much greater than before — they weigh on the young soul from every direction, via the internet and media,” the letter said.
“We are tempted to ignore or succumb to manifestations of our imperfect human nature and the fragilities which characterise us as sinful people. In the light of faith, however, we are called to observe limits and boundaries, to be greater and more persistent.” – Catholic Herald
DENVER, Colo – By the time he passed away, death was familiar to Joe Doak.
Doak was a devout Catholic, and a veteran, who died July 29 at 96 years old. But before his own death, Doak had spent days and nights sitting beside dying men and women in a hospice, offering them a word of comfort and the encouragement of prayer.
In 2011 Doak became a vigil volunteer for Hope-West hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, he would comfort the dying with prayers, hymns, discussions, or just the consolation of his silent presence.
A devout Catholic, Joe told the Daily Sentinel in May 2018 that he wanted to be a source of hope, letting those patients know that someone would be with them during their last hours.
“The main thing is to tell them that they’re not alone. They’re not dying alone,” he said. “I just hope that I’ve comforted and consoled them and given them hope,” he added.
Doak was an electrical engineer and raised six children with his wife Phyllis, getting married about 10 years after World War II, when he served as a communications officer in the United States Navy.
His family eventually moved to Gunnison, Colorado, where Doak owned an electronic store specializing in computers. He then moved to Montrose, where the Catholic engineer spent a large portion of his retirement time volunteering.
He volunteered in a variety of community activities – he taught seniors computer skills, he aided immigrants in their English, and he helped children with their reading skills. He was also a driver for Meals on Wheels.
“That is the makeup of my dad. He wants to help people, wants to comfort people that may be alone. He is a very religious person, so I think this played into him being a devoted Catholic,” his son, Roger Doak, told Colorado Public Radio.
Doak was inspired to hospice ministry after caring for his wife Phyllis during a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. After she died in 2011, he saw an ad for the vigil volunteers and decided to use his experience with Phyllis for other people.
Each time Doak received a call about a person dying, he would go to introduce himself, usually to a complete stranger. Doak would sit with patients, offering his hand, making conversation, and singing Christian hymns. A favorite of his was “Open my Ears” by Jesse Manibusan, the Daily Sentinel reported.
Roger Doak told Colorado Public Radio that his father had most likely died alone, but expressed hope that the people he comforted were there to receive him in the end.
“I’d like to think that all those people that my dad had comforted when they died, were actually there with him when he died.”
KKIP, Telipok – Over 200 faithful from Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang and Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) Karamunsing made a pilgrimage to the Church of the Divine Mercy here on 22 Aug 2018 in conjunction with the CMI silver jubilee (CMISJ) celebration.
The event was organised by the CMISJ committee as part of its activities to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the church in October.
Led by Father Paul Lo, SHC rector, the pilgrimage began with Morning Prayer (Lauds) in CMI before proceeding to KKIP in three buses.
Fr Lo briefed them on the meaning of a pilgrimage and told them for any first visit to any holy place, church or shrine, they are allowed to make three requests a) for the people of the place b) for those who have asked them for prayers and c) for their own needs.
And on this pilgrimage there were many first timers since the church was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop John Wong on 21 Oct 2017.
At KKIP Fr Lo presided over the bilingual (Eng/Mand) Mass followed by a potluck fellowship meal.
It concluded with the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the journey home.
A pilgrimage to any holy place or shrine reflects the reality that the People of God are a pilgrim people on their way to their heavenly homeland.
PENAMPANG – Deacons Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus will be ordained priests by Archbishop John Wong in November this year.
Russell, 31, will be ordained on Sat Nov 10 at St James Tenghilan while the ordination of Gilbert, 36, will be on Tue Nov 20 at Sacred Heart Church Inobong.
The two were ordained deacons by Abp Wong on 11 Mar 2018 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.
Although Russell entered the aspirancy earlier in 2008 and Gilbert in 2010, both of them entered initiation year in 2011 and thereafter onward to St Peter’s College Kuching from 2012 to 2017.
Russell is currently serving in Sacred Heart Cathedral while Gilbert is having his pastoral ministry in St Michael Penampang.
KOTA KINABALU – The Alumni of La Salle and Sacred Heart marked 60 years of La Salle Brothers’ presence in Sabah at their 57th annual dinner on 18 August 2018 at the Port View Palace Hall (Hakka Hall) Tanjung Lipat here with the theme Achieving our Dreams Together – Animo La Salle.
In his message, Guest of Honour Anthony John Wong said: “Tonight we are not only having our annual dinner, but are also celebrating and commemorating 60 years since the La Salle Brothers took over the running of the Sacred Heart Secondary School from the Mill Hill Missionaries.”
He noted that among those who came were some former Sacred Heart teachers and some of the first La Salle 1958 Form Five students – of whom he was one.
In his turn, Brother Justin Mobilik, patron of the alumni association, lauded the alumni members’ spirit of collaboration. “Achieving dreams together is still working because of the [Lasallian] spirit…The spirit must live on,” he said.
Meanwhile, alumni president Herman Yee added a backgrounder in his speech. He touched on the arrival of Brothers Charles O’Leary, Raphael Egan, and Thomas Carney in 1958.
“We are indeed indebted to the pioneers and all the La Salle Brothers who came after them for giving us the opportunity and privilege to be educated in the holistic Lasallian way,” he said.
He urged all members to be more committed in paying it forward by giving back to their alma mater.
Yee added that the alumni’s dream of acquiring the Sri Murni apartments which began in 2009 has finally been achieved this year. He thanked all donors and contributors for making it possible.
Among the forthcoming plans of the alumni are the future relocation of the primary school, the setting up of an English Learning Centre, and a scholarship fund for deserving poor students.
KOTA KINABALU – The Council of Religious in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese held election of office bearers after six years on 14 July 2018 in a meeting at a local venue here.
Seven members were able to make it to the meeting during which the office bearers were elected for the term 2018-2021.
Elected were Brother Thomas Paul SG (chairman), Father Andrew Kim SST (vice chairman), Sister Magdalene Chong FSP (secretary), Sister Joan Michael FSIC (treasurer).
They took over with immediate effect from the outgoing council: Sister Christine Henry Sundin FSP (chairperson), Sister Rita Chew FSIC (secretary), Sister Alice Lopez FSIC (treasurer).
Other members present were Sister Lilian Unsoh FSIC (representing Sister Frances Mani FSIC), and Sister Grace Deosing FSIC. There were no representatives from the La Salle Brothers, the Marist Brothers, and the Good Shepherd Sisters.
With the encouragement and guidance of Bishop John Lee, the Council of Religious (COR) was formed in August 1997 in the diocese. The elected office bearers were: Sr Aquinas Voon FSIC (chairperson), Br Justin Mobilik FSC (vice chairperson), Sr Agnes Wong FSP (secretary), Sr Angeline Lau RGS (treasurer), Sr Grace Deosing FSIC (member), and Sr Cecilia Liew FSIC (member).
The objectives of the COR are:
There are now four women religious institutes and four men religious institutes serving in the archdiocese: Order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD), Daughters of St Paul (FSP), Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC), and Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS); Brothers of St Gabriel (SG), Brothers of the Christian School or La Salle Brothers (FSC), the Marist Brothers (FMS), and the Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae (SST).
KUALA LUMPUR – The Catholic Church in Malaysia has collected a sum of RM1,143,653.10 for the Tabung Harapan Malaysia according to the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocesan Media & Communications Office on 14 Aug 2018.
This was the collective amount from various parishes throughout Malaysia during the Masses of June 22-24 and was a gesture of solidarity towards helping alleviate the debt of the country.
The Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese will represent the other arch/dioceses of Malaysia in handing over the contribution to a representative from the Ministry of Finance.
Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur thanks the faithful for their kind generosity on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia.
KOTA KINABALU – Another Daughter of St Paul returned to serve in the archdiocese recently.
Sister Bibianah Dunsia replaces Sister Anna Yap as webmaster of the Archdiocesan Website as of 24 Aug 2018.
She was appointed by then Bishop John Lee to head the first Social Communications Commission in 2001 and was tasked with the publicity of the Diocesan Silver Jubilee celebrations in 2001-2002.
Born in Kg Lokos Tamparuli in 1965, Sr Bibianah entered the congregation in January 1986 in Petaling Jaya. In June that same year she continued her formation in the Philippines. She made her first profession in 1990 and took her final vows in 1998.
She served as superior of Petaling Jaya from 2008 to 2013.
JOHOR BAHRU – Papal nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino was granted an audience with the Sultan of Johor at Istana Pasir Pelangi here on 15 Aug 2018.
Abp Marino spent nearly 90 minutes with Tuanku Sultan Ibrahim Ibn Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
During the audience, the American-born archbishop conveyed an invitation on behalf of Pope Francis for the sultan to make a state visit to the Vatican City.
He also presented a special silver medallion from the pope to the king, who reciprocated with a memento to the nuncio.
Accompanying the nuncio on the visit were Father Vjekoslav Holik from the Vatican Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and local liaison officer Mr Vincent D’Silva.
Also present was Deputy Johor Mufti Dato’ Yahya Ahmad.
Abp Marino arrived in Malaysia in 2013 following his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI. He is the first resident apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, which established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in July 2011. – Royal Press Office Johor