Marriage convalidation joy for 47 couples

PENAMPANG – Brimming with joy and gratitude, 47 couples from Penampang and Kota Kinabalu had their marriage finally convalidated according to the Catholic Church law at St Michael Church on 29 Aug 2018.  The ceremony was blessed by Fr Wiandigool Runsab and assisted by Deacon Gilbert Marcus.

Most of the couples were married above five years.  The longest married was 30 years, while the most recent about a year ago. The majority of them were married under the native and civil law, while some through other Christian denomination services.

Fr Runsab urged the newly blessed couples to reflect on the meaningful event which they had just experienced.  They were encouraged to see it as not just a way of gaining recognition in the Church but rather a turning point of growing closer in communion with the bigger family of the Church.  One way of realizing this was to be involved in Church activities or services, which could contribute to the strengthening of their faith.

The almost two-hour packed service was attended by family members who witnessed the signing of the marriage vows of the newly blessed couples.  The festive joy continued to overflow at the reception at the adjacent church hall.

The next registration has been scheduled on Oct 13-14 this year. Couples, who are desirous of having their marriage convalidated, are advised to contact the Penampang Parish office for further information @ 088-711009. – SOCCOM Penampang


Benedictine priest Fr Ned Columba dedicates sabbatical leave to serve Penampang parish

PENAMPANG – Benedictine priest Fr Ned Columba Moujing from the Monastery of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, England, who is on a four-month leave, spent the entire time serving at the Penampang parish of St Michael. He hails from Kg Kuai, Kandazon Monsopiad.

A seventh generation descendant of the legendary pagan warrior ‘Monsopiad’, Fr Columba joined the Benedictine community at Ampleforth in 2003 where he studied for five years to be a monk.  But God had other plans for him and after pursuing his studies at Oxford University for a further three years, he was ordained a priest in June 2014.  Since then he was put in charge of the infirmary at Ampleforth Abbey.

After serving for many years in England, he was recommended for sabbatical leave.  The timely long leave enabled him to go back to his tiny home village of Kg Kandazon to enjoy his well-deserving rest.

The monk however made use of the resting period to serve his home parish instead.

‘”For me, to rest is to serve the people. Since Penampang area is so vast, and there are only two priests available, I volunteer to serve in the parish until it is time for me to return to Ampleforth on Sep 30,” Fr Ned explained after celebrating a requiem Mass at St Michael’s Church recently.

The Gregorian chanting priest has been tirelessly visiting churches and community gathering to celebrate Masses, and was warmly welcomed by the people of Penampang.

He cherished the wish to visit remote areas such as Terian and Tiku villages if circumstances permit before his departure. – SOCCOM Penampang

Good Shepherd Manggatal emerges as champion team of Solidarity Cup 2018

INANAM – The subparish of Good Shepherd Manggatal creates history by winning the Solidarity Cup 2018 with 6-5 scores against St Edmund Kota Belud through a penalty kick in the final round. Both teams failed to score the goal during the 30 minutes games in the final.

The Solidarity Cup 2018 hosted by St Catherine Inanam attracted 19 teams, one of which was a team made up of Priests and Seminarians.  It was held at the SUKMA football field on 10 September 2018.

Good Shepherd players played aggressive games from the start and won their quarterfinal against Holy Rosary Limbahau.  They then proceeded to eliminate St Catherine in the semi-final.

Offering no mercy to the mostly injured and aging St Catherine’s players, their efforts bore fruit when Adrian Jack scored a solitary goal beating Laurentius Kopong, the St Catherine goalie who happened to be the organizing chairman for the Solidarity Cup Tournament 2018.

Besides winning the Championship, they also won the Best Player Award through Adrian Jack and Best Goalkeeper award through Paulinus Aloysius.

The second place went to St Edmund who won 1-0 against St Theresa Kota Marudu in the semi-final whereas the third place went to St Catherine.  Besides winning the third place, St Catherine also won the “highest goal award” through its midfield player, Ian Lo who scored 4 goals in the 2018 tournament.

The “Joint Champions” for 2017 Solidarity Cup, Holy Nativity Terawi and St Peter Claver Ranau failed to defend their title. Both teams kept their hope alive up to the quarter final before Holy Nativity lost 0-1 to St Catherine, and St Peter Claver lost to St Theresa in a 2-3 penalty kick.

The Priests Team, despite their high spirit and  strong motivation by Team Captain Fr Rayner Bisius, only managed to complete their games in the preliminary round.

As for St Paul Dontozidon team, they failed to pass through the Priest Team, losing to a solitary goal by Fr Frederick Raymond in the preliminary rounds.

Tournament 2018 was officially open and closed by Fr Mitchelly Kiun, who was appointed as the spiritual advisor for this year’s tournament. At the close of the prize presentation, Fr Kiun announced that Solidarity Cup 2019 will be hosted by St Joseph Papar. – SOCCOM St Catherine/Michael Guntili

Fr Jerry challenges Archdiocesan staff

KOTA KINABALU – Fr Jerry Rosario, SJ or internationally known as the ‘barefoot priest’ challenged the Archdiocesan staff Sep 12 to stand up for Gospel values if they want to belong to the 5% category of ‘Special Catholics’.

He said the 5% are “special” because their internal life reflects three Gospel values.  They stand for ‘Justice’ – for creation, socially and cosmically. They practise and recognize ‘Freedom’ – for every individual, and they ‘Love’ – the society including the enemies and wrongdoers.

“Something like this should come into your life if you want to belong to the 5% ‘Special Catholics’” said Fr Jerry.

He listed three other categories of Catholics and asked the staff to identify which group they belong to.

First is the 30% ‘Simple Catholics’ who do not know details, do not contribute.  They enjoy the Catholic identity but have no thirst for mission.

Second is the 55% ‘Settled Catholics’, also known as ‘routine Catholics’. They do not allow any challenges to come as they are not ready for them and they do not entertain any more mission to be done. To this type, Fr Jerry said, “If you only take one challenge in life today, it will be the one revolution of your life.” He encouraged the staff to listen to the inner voice of the Spirit.

Third is the 10% ‘Scandalous Catholics’ who abuse the Church hierarchies. He said admitting fault is important in order for the Church to grow.

He set the tone of the staff recollection based on Luke 12:49 and following verses “I have come to set the world on fire…” and said this should thrust our thirst for the Gospel mission.

In order to live up these values, Fr Jerry emphasized on three qualities that pose as a further challenge to the staff; being positive, being proactive and being productive that produces 30, 60 and 100-fold.

He concluded by leading the staff to pray for the graces of dynamism and enthusiasm in living these challenges. LE

You are Peter

THE Holy Father is at the center of controversy. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony, which claimed that Pope Francis knowingly made a sexual abuser into an important adviser, has shocked the world and the Church.

For two reasons, I have not been quite as shocked as some people. Firstly because there is still room to disbelieve Archbishop Viganò: If he has defamed the pope, he would have to be a world-class liar, but it is not impossible. Secondly because, to be honest, the doctrinal confusion of this pontificate has already challenged me enough.

In both cases, there is a perfectly logical answer to the challenge. The papacy does not depend on the qualities of the men who take office: Church teaching sets definite limits on the pope’s authority and allows for the possibility that he will make colossal blunders. If Viganò’s central allegations are true, it is no refutation of Catholicism, any more than Alexander VI’s lechery and corruption. If the doctrinal chaos is as bad as it looks, it does not disprove the Faith, any more than John XXII’s battle to impose his false teaching on theologians.

All entirely true and logical. But those who find it a little harder to persuade themselves to go to Mass, those who are hovering at the threshold of the Church and wondering if they have been led up the garden path, may need more than logic. They need figures like Bishop Kung, who show that it is worth giving up everything to remain in communion with the Holy See. In 1955, just before he was locked away, the bishop was dragged before a crowd of thousands to confess his crimes. He confessed something else: “Long live Christ the King! Long live the Pope!” From 1955 to 1984, there were five popes; but Bishop Kung’s loyalty, like that of Thomas More and John Fisher, did not depend on who happened to be in office. If it is not rash to suggest this, maybe divine providence has raised up so many Chinese martyrs and confessors of papal supremacy partly to help Catholics through a crisis of the papacy.

I read about Archbishop Viganò’s allegations while sitting in a tent in the English countryside. I thought I had escaped the news cycle, but I switched on my phone’s data to get the weather forecast, and saw emails referring to some major event. As I digested the story, some other campers were saying Morning Prayer outside the tent. One of them was reading the Gospel for the day in his soft Northern accent:

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Many Catholics, if tempted against the Faith, have no better answer than “To whom shall we go?” Peter is Peter, whatever else he might be. And nothing can prevail against the Church, not even the mistakes of a pope. – Dan Hitchens @ First Things

Serving hearts

KOTA KINABALU  – A catechesis was held on Aug 16 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre for the newly elected and nominated Parish Pastoral Councils for Sacred Heart Cathedral and St Paul Dontozidon, and the Pastoral Committees of Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI), Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak and St John Kopungit.

The new councillors and committee members were asked a pertinent question by Archbishop John Wong “What are the similarities shared between the priests and the councillors?” to which he gave answer: “We are all here with serving hearts.

The catechesis on “What is a Parish Pastoral Council and a Pastoral Committee?” was facilitated by Dominic Lim.

The new councils and committees for the term 2018-2021 would be lined up before the congregations during the Masses on their selected days (Aug 25-26 or Sep 2-9) and introduced to the parishioners before being commissioned.

It would only be at their first meeting that election for the key posts as well as appointments of sub-committees be conducted.

Fr Paul Lo and Fr Maximilliano Hontor were also present to give their support to the new councils and committees. – Catholic Sabah

St Catherine PPC takes their oath

INANAM – Newly elected and nominated members of St Catherine Church here took their oath for a new term 2018-2021 and pledged their commitment to serve the Church to the best of their abilities on 26 Aug 2018 before assistant parish priest Fr Mitchelly Kiun.

The 36 pastoral councillors will be headed by Paul Augustine who retained the Chairman post and will be assisted by Deffrey Ubin as the new Deputy Chairman. Former Deputy Chairman Michael Kimin Guntili is now Chairman of SOCCOM for St Catherine Parish. Miss Paula George and Paul Chong retained the Secretary and Treasurer post respectively.

Prior to their commissioning, they attended a half-day catechesis together with the newly elected Pastoral Committee members of Good Shepherd Manggatal, Holy Family Telipok and Church of Divine Mercy KKIP on 25 Aug, which was conducted by Fr Kiun.

The catechesis was aimed to familiarize the new members with their roles as parish pastoral council or pastoral committees, and how to assist the Church in her pastoral programs.

The program was officially closed by parish priest Fr David Sham. –  St Catherine SOCCOM/Michael Guntili


SYCC installs its third presiding elder

SANDAKAN – 18 August 2018 was a day of special significance for the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC) as they celebrated the 34th year of their existence in the parish here.

On this auspicious occasion, the community witnessed the passing on of the baton to its new Presiding Elder in the person of Philip Mosinoh by Michael Lee, who would remain in the eldership to serve the community.  Mosinoh would be SYCC’s 3rd presiding elder since its inception.

Mosinoh, who is one of the existing four elders in the body of eldership, has accepted in obedience to God the calling to shepherd the community.

SYCC was established and formed in 1984 by the Emmanuel Covenant Community, Brisbane.  The first Presiding Elder to helm the community was Henry Solibun, with a membership of 30.  Today the community has 70 members.

Of notable Interest, the membership included the late Fr Tobias Chi, and Franciscan Sisters Carmen Cordova and Tina Basil who were single members before answering the call to religious life.

The community members has since grown in maturity as one of the lay ecclesial movements in the parish, strengthening their faith formation during their general community gathering every Friday, at 8.00 pm at the parish hall. Besides, they serve the parish in the church liturgy, outreach to Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM), Sekolah Seni and Monfort boys monthly fellowship, Single Adult Fellowship, organizing Life in the Spirit Seminars, etc.

A thanksgiving Mass, presided by Bishop Julius Gitom, marked the anniversary celebration, followed by a dinner at a local restaurant.  The invited guests included Bishop Gitom, parish priests Fr David Garaman and Fr Sunny Chung, PPC chairman Pilis Malim, religious sisters, as well as  friends of the community.

During his speech, outgoing presiding elder Michael Lee shared about the lifestyle of SYCC for the past 34 years that has united members to serve the Lord and to love one another.

He underlined “It entails great commitment to the Lord and to one another through the challenges and difficulties that demand daily conversion, sacrifice and the constant work of building relationship with members coming from different walks of life, different background, races, age, profession as well as culture.”

“Fellowship and sharing are essential to strengthening the bond as Jesus gathers the community as one body,” he added.

Lee encouraged members to recommit to each other as the people of God, which ultimately contributes to effective team work albeit in different ministries.

He reminded that the foundation of community living is built on righteous living and holiness of life, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the community is enabled to help and serve the parish and the Church at large.

Lee ended on a grateful note to the elders and members who have rendered him assistance and support during his term of service.

He then announced the appointment of Philip Mosinoh as the next Presiding Elder of SYCC, and Michael Tivit as a full Elder. Fr Garaman witnessed Mosinoh signing his acceptance, and ventured to bless him by laying of hands. – Susanna Cordova

Mt Rosary pilgrimage site draws thousands

RANAU – Over two thousand Catholics from across Sabah as well as the neighboring state gathered for the Mt Rosary pilgrimage in Kg Toboh Baru Ranau after walking in a procession for more than two kilometers here on Friday 31 Aug 2018.

Ranau parish priest, Fr Nicholas Stephen told those who came that miracles do happen everyday, but the real miracle that happened on this Friday event was that people from all corners were able to come to Mt Rosary.

“Not all people who have money, cars and possessions could come here if it is not for God who called them. That is why today, you are the miracle, because out of everyone else, you came here today.

“We are fortunate today because we are given time to take part in this procession as we carry along with us the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which was also processed across the villages in Ranau last year.

“Through the procession last year, many prayers were answered, families that were separated by all sorts of circumstances were united together, and many people who have lost their faith were reconciled and found their way home,” he said.

During his homily at Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick spoke about how as Christian believers, we are called to embrace the cross of Jesus, which others viewed mockingly.

One of those met during the pilgrimage, Hillary Henry Ripan from St Theresa Parish, Serian Sarawak said the Mt Rosary pilgrimage is an experience that he would not forget.

Such was the experience of joy and blessedness shared by those who came, from far and near.  To top the blessings, the Lord has also blessed the pilgrims with fine weather throughout the pilgrimage journey here.

For another pilgrim, Rustina Amburus and her group from St Anthony of Padua Nunuk Ragang, Ranau Parish, their love for Jesus brought them here despite many obstacles that would have weakened the hearts of others.

“Truly our journey here was blessed because of many obstacles that came our way. Firstly, the only car we could find for the journey was a faulty car. For example, while traveling uphill, the engine stopped a few times.

“In spite of the problematic transportation, we could not contain the growing excitement within us because of our longing for Christ, and belief that He has called us to be here,” she said.

After a 2.5 kilometer procession with the statue of Our Lady from Kg Tambiau to the Mt Rosary in Kg Toboh Baru, many pilgrims admitted that they were uplifted beyond their expectation.

Pamela Esther Mosinoh from St John Tuaran said she was impressed by what the little community here has done in transforming the area within a short span of time to become a place of worship and devotion.

“I believe that this Mt Rosary will one day become an important pilgrimage site. I sense that this will be a place where the faith of many today as well as in the future, will be restored,” she said.

After Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick signed a plaque symbolizing the opening of the Mt Rosary Kg Toboh Baru Ranau as a pilgrimage site for all, and those who are interested to know more could contact the SPCR office at 011-26271801. – Clarence Dol

Fraternal fellowship, privilege place of encountering God and one another

LABUAN – About 200 members of eight Malaysian Covenant Communities converged for their annual fraternal gathering, or called the Fellowship of Malaysian Covenant Communities (FMCC), at Tiara Labuan Hotel here from 30 Aug to 2 Sep 2018.

Traditionally, a community will take turn to host the annual get-together, which this year fell to the island community of Labuan known as the Marvellous Light of Yahweh Covenant Community (MLYCC).

FMCC is a joint initiative of the existing nine Malaysian Covenant Communities to promote and foster fellowship and communion among the communities, besides updating, encouraging networking, sharing of resources, and exchanging of experiences.

FMCC this year was blessed by the presence and keen interest of Archbishop John Wong, who was invited to preside the Opening and Closing Masses, as well as to share his insight and encouragement for the reflection of the communities.

In his written message to FMCC, he believed that the annual fellowship would be a good time for the communities “to share, update, listen and discern where you are within your own dioceses, and to see how your existence could contribute to the overall growth of your local churches”.

He also cherished the hope that they would continue to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them towards ‘holiness’ in the various journeying in their respective dioceses.

Referring to the Holy Father’s most recent Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be Glad”, the prelate highlighted to FMCC members that the Call to Holiness as a suitable response to faith which God has gifted to each in their calling/mission as covenant community.  “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness.” (GE. 19)

Explaining further the mystery of their call, Archbishop Wong said “The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.  He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.” (GE.1)

Aware of their struggles in their faithfulness to their calling, the prelate proposed four stages to holiness: 1) Stop, 2) Listen, 3) Look (Search), and 4) Gaze (into the mystery).

With this and more insights, Archbishop Wong suggested the ways and means the Covenant Communities could grow in holiness so as to be used by God, to serve God/Church/community.

One major purpose of the FMCC was to enable the Elders of the various covenant communities to meet for sharing, updating and discernment.  As was the norm, they met a day earlier ahead of the general gathering which included women and youth.

In his update on the Charismatic Renewal and the Catholic Fraternity of Catholic Covenant Communities (CFCCCF), FMCC chairman Anthony Lim announced to the gathering of the proposed establishment of “one service for one current of grace” to be called CHARIS, mandated by Pope Francis, which will become effective by Pentecost 2019.

In a practical sense, the future of the Covenant Communities is in CHARIS, which will exist to promote the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Charisms of the Holy Spirit, as well as to promote the service of the Church through one current of grace.

Rounding up his update, Lim explained that FMCC will gather for its General Fellowship Gathering, to be held once in two years, instead of annually, beginning from now. The next General Fellowship Gathering will be in 2020. However, the Elders will continue to meet annually for updating and discernment.

Meanwhile, the women had their separate breakout sessions, enriching one another with their testimonies of faith and experiences.  This year saw a further enrichment with sharing of community exposure by Celine Lim and Christine Liew who had the privilege of visiting the Alleluia Covenant Community in Augusta, Georgia during their husbands’ attendance at the 18th International Conference USA at the end of June this year.

The youth, in synergizing the Praise Rally for the outreach to youth in Labuan, touched many with their ministry by their preaching and ministering.

In wrapping up FMCC for this year, Lim put it in a nutshell “Listening to their (youth) preaching, and witnessing to their joint ministry at the Rally, I am convinced that the future of Covenant Communities in Malaysia is in safe hands.” – Catholic Sabah


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