Keningau kindergarten staff attend recollection

KENINGAU – Around 34 staff and associates of the Keningau Parish Kindergarten attended a recollection on 10 Mar 2018 at the Holy Family Pilgrimage Centre Nulu Sosopon here.

The recollection began with a talk by Deacon David Gasikol on commitment and happiness in life.  It closed with a Mass presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong.

In his homily, the bishop said that teaching is not just a job but a way of bring the children to encounter Jesus.  Therefore, teaching is a vocation, a calling from God.  He exhorted the attendees to pray often and to ask the Holy Spirit to help them in their ministry.

After Mass the attendees adjourned to the canteen for a fellowship lunch with the bishop. – Keningau diocesan blog



86 Keningau catechists attend recollection

KENINGAU – Eighty-six catechists from Keningau Parish attended a recollection on 16-17 Mar 2018 at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre here.

The event began with a friendly football match at the Keningau Prison field.  The team led by Father Rudolf Joannes won the match 6-5 against the ream led by catechist Alexius Tawasin.

This was followed by the recollection facilitated by Fr Rudolf on the need to face various challenges in life with eyes fixed on Jesus through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of the Blessed Mother.

The recollection ended with a fellowship meal at the Holy Family Pilgrimage Centre canteen. – Keningau diocesan blog

Fr Byron’s 10 digital ‘commandments’

Pope Benedict memorably described the Internet as a new Digital Continent in 2009. I had a very enjoyable evening the other night discussing with university students how to be ‘Digital Missionaries‘ in this new continent. We looked at various topics together such as digital discernment, digital navigation and how to avoid digital rocks (so as not to be shipwrecked).

In the end, we all agreed, as we are on a steep learning curve, we need to teach each other how to use these new technologies wisely. Maybe even set up a ‘Digital Accountability Group’ to share ideas etc.

As a group we came up with 10 Digital ‘Commandments’ – here they are:

1 Thou Shall not Text / Message or Comment when you are drunk
No huge explanation needed here, suffice to say that the internet has not learnt to forget or forgive.

2 On the Sabbath day, thou shall take a rest from the digital life
It was agreed that addiction was a real problem, Facebook and Snapchat seem particularly immersive environments where too much time is spent and wasted, non-digital perspectives are increasingly valued.

3 Honour thy friend and ask permission before you tag
With the all-pervasive camera, people’s understanding of what is private and what is public varies wildly, just as we should never assume consent, similarly we should never assume permission. There was a good debate about how realistic this could be.

4 Thou shall cut down on multitasking
This came from a very interesting discussion on Nicholas Carr’s book ‘The Shallows’ – and we all agreed at the end of it that multitasking is junk food for the brain – and the web needs more quality not quantity.

5 Thou must slow down and pause
Practicing digital impulse control is very important, particularly when getting sucked into a flame-war, it is very disedifying to a be a self-righteous Catholic cyberbully (particularly if you are a priest) there’s enough hate out there, let’s not be a counter-sign.

6 Thou shall not gamble/spend online money you do not have
This led to the most heated debate of the night. Some of the students had heard horror stories of people blowing student loans etc. Also as one pointed out, ‘Unless you are looking at leaving uni with a 50k debt, you stop taking credit seriously until the bailiffs knock on your door.

7 Thou shall prioritise speaking to real friends
We discussed the problems of social isolation, particularly acute withdrawal, which is a growing problem on big campuses. We agreed that it is much more effective concentrating on sharing our problems with a few real friends – face to face – over a cup of tea. The students were particularly interested in the MIT professor Sherry Turkle’s writing – such as ‘Alone Together – why we expect more from technology and less from each other’

8 Thou shall avoid ‘false intimacies’
All seemed to agree that when you are lonely, which we all can be, trying to fill the void online led to all sorts of dark places and the risks of blackmail or manipulation seemed to be increasing. This was something where the ability to digitally discern was important.

9 Thou shall be true to thyself
Many friends are projecting false images and lifestyles into their digital lives …. which leads to jealousy, comparing yourself all the time. To be a digital missionary was about integrity, not using a false name, not doctoring images etc.

10 Thou shall be an online peacemaker
There’s a lot of anger out there and we don’t need to add to it!fr tim byron sj /

‘We are the church of hope’ – Vatican youth delegates speak up

Pope Francis at the Vatican’s pre-synodal youth meeting.  Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

VATICAN CITY – Young people from around the world have begun a meeting at the Vatican by voicing their hopes and expectations from the Church regarding the challenges they face and the questions life poses.

Specifically, they have said they want to know they are taken seriously, and they want the Church to talk to them about difficult issues, among them same-sex marriage, euthanasia and the role of women in the Church.

The young people are delegates to a special pre-synod meeting of youth, which is taking place March 19-24 and has drawn some 300 representatives from around the world to talk about key themes ahead October’s Synod of Bishops on “Young People, Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”

CNA spoke with several young participants at the pre-synod meeting, hailing from Japan, Australia, Mexico, Iraq and the United States on 20 Mar 2018.

They spoke about issues important in their countries of origin, including persecution, the refugee crisis, suicide and drugs.


For 22-year-old Angelas Markas, a Chaldean Catholic living in Australia, youth need to “move forward, we need to be brave in addressing topics like same-sex marriage, euthanasia, sexuality – what does it mean to embrace our sexuality as Catholics, and the role of women – how important are we, how empowered are we?”

Markas was one of five young people to give testimonies in front of Pope Francis during the March 19 opening session.

In her speech, she highlighted, among other things, her life as part of the Iraqi Chaldean diaspora, her work with indigenous communities in Australia, and her hope that the Church would engage with young people on important issues, especially the role of women, who she said “need to feel our sense of empowerment.”

In comments to CNA, Markas said these are all the topics she wants to discuss during the event, and voiced hope that the stories and experiences she shares “will be embraced.”

On the role of  women, Markas said she believes they are already “embraced and empowered” in the Church, but thinks this sense of empowerment should be “more obvious.”

She also spoke of the tragedy of clerical abuse — which has plagued Australia for years and tarnished public perception of the Church — saying that while it is a problem, she trusts the Church “is going to find her path in this.”

“We are a Church of hope, if we aren’t a Church of hope, how are we really going to grow from this?” she said. “We are the witnesses of the Resurrection, so we have to have hope that this will all heal and we have to work toward it.”

Markas also voiced appreciation for Pope Francis’ appeals on behalf of migrants and refugees, which hold special significance for her because of her own heritage. The Pope, she said, “is so great in that he always addresses the littleness, the smallness of the youth from wherever we come from.”

“He’s doing such a brilliant job,” she said.  Recalling a brief handshake with Francis after giving her speech, Markas said she was still in disbelief: “I can’t believe I shook his hand and kissed his cheeks, I’m not going to wash my face! It was brilliant.”

Francis has a dynamic way of engaging the youth, she said, noting that many young people still crave connection with the Church, especially those who lack hope or who have experienced suffering or loss.

She challenged the Church to listen and engage more with young people, calling for a “transformation” of approach. This isn’t something that will happen immediately, she said, “but we are meeting this culture that desires to be connected and we need to address it in a more universal and listening way.”

The pre-synod gathering, she said, “is the perfect example” of how this connection and listening can take place. “It’s a real change, it’s not something that is delusional or a fantasy. Young people want to feel a sense of value and purpose, they want to hear and understand and be able to understand.”


Shaker Youhanan Zaytouna, a 24-year-old seminarian from Iraq, told journalists March 20 that one of the biggest challenges the local Church faces is that many young people are leaving the country, opting to move abroad due to the threat of extremist violence and the country’s ongoing political instability.

This presents a unique challenge for the future of the country, he said, explaining that “it’s very hard to tell the Church to not allow youth to leave Iraq.” Security is a big problem, he said, because one can ask the youth to stay, but there’s no guarantee that they won’t be killed later.

A Chaldean Catholic studying in Rome, Zaytouna said the Church has a big role to play in encouraging youth to stay in Iraq and helping provide the conditions for them to stay. However, “the problem is that the government needs to initiate this step.”

Iraqi youth are being welcomed into other countries, but many want to return, he said. “[And] if the government isn’t helping the heart, if they aren’t providing that security, how can these youth return?” he said, adding that finding work is also a problem for many young families.

The seminarian also voiced concern over the fact that many young people, from various religions, are becoming either atheist or agnostic, calling it “a [big] a problem” for the future that will have to be addressed.

He also touched on the topic of vocations, saying the Church “must commit herself more to listening…and not only, but to learn to accompany.”

Noting that he is still a young seminarian himself, Zaytouna said better accompaniment is needed, because “if the bishop doesn’t accompany us, if the priests don’t accompany us, or someone else, how can I stay on this path?”

At times parents try to prevent children from pursuing consecrated vocations, he said, noting there are cultural pressures that make it difficult to accept or follow such callings. However, he said there have also been times when formators pressure someone discerning, telling them they are not cut out for religious life.

Those discerning need to be encouraged and accompanied, Zaytouna said, explaining that “listening comes first; learn to listen, accompaniment comes and then the discernment.”


Also participating in the pre-synod meeting is Yoshikazu Tsumuraya, a Japanese Buddhist from Fukushima who currently lives in Rome and works with the Japanese Buddhist Lay Movement. Before coming to Rome, he taught in a Buddhist seminary.

In comments to CNA, Tsumuraya said his organisation has strong ties with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and was invited to participate in the meeting as a representative of the Buddhist community.

“When I received this invitation, I was really happy, because having a knowledge of Christianity, it pushed me to get to know Christian youth,” Tsumuraya said, explaining that he has worked with a lot of Christians and is very committed to interreligious dialogue.

Tsumuraya said he came primarily to listen and understand the different realities of youth from around the world.

In the case of Japan, he said the major challenges for youth are a widespread competitive and consumerist mentality, as well as the immense cultural pressure to be successful. And if youth don’t give in to this way of thinking, they might feel estranged from their peers or that they don’t fit in, Tsumuraya said.

In cases when this happens, young people react in a variety of ways, he said, explaining that one big problem is that youth who feel that they don’t quite fit in “are no longer able to go to school,” due to the stigma they face, “so they stay home closed in their rooms.”

Other major problems for Japanese youth are premature death due to “excessive work,” he said, as well as suicide, which is a common phenomenon among teenagers in the country.

Tsumuraya voiced appreciation for Pope Francis’ frequent references to the problem of teen and young adult suicide, which “is not just a Japanese problem, but it’s a global problem.”

“So thinking about this phenomena which affects the whole world, we must face it, above all in knowing the reality, then to think about how to accompany youth to avoid this terrible [phenomena],” he said.

The Americas

Nicholas Lopez, a 27-year-old campus minister from Dallas, Texas, is also participating in the meeting as one of three representatives from the United States.

Lopez gave his testimony during the opening session, pointing to various challenges young people have faced during his experience working with youth on campus.

In comments to CNA, Lopez said the major topics he wants to bring to the table during the pre-synod meeting are “the concerns of the Hispanic Americans in the United States, and the solidarity between us and them.”

The topic is particularly timely in the US as concerns continue to mount over President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies. Many, including a high number of college students whose parents are immigrants, have voiced fear about deportation.

In addition to issues affecting the Hispanic community, Lopez said he also plans to discuss mental health issues, the higher education system in the United States and “the way young people are impacted on college campuses.”

Also participating in the meeting is 25-year-old Corina Fiore Mortola Rodriguez of Mexico. She came with a large group of other youth from Latin America, which is one of the youngest and most Catholic continents in the world.

In comments to CNA, Mortola Rodriguez said the message she wants the Church to hear this week is that young people like herself are “valid interlocutors,” and they need to be listened to and helped to go deeper in finding solutions to the problems they face, such as drugs, violence, poverty and unemployment.

Pointing to Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico in 2016, she said his encouragement to youth and his appeals to avoid hopelessness and the allure of gangs was “a call not of tension, but to action.”

Her reflection echoed the Pope’s March 19 opening speech, in which he told youth they need to approach problems with a “head, heart, hands” mentality. The call to “think, feel and act,” Mortola Rodriguez said, is also a call to be “unified” and to make concrete resolutions in confronting the problems they face.

As an example, Mortola Rodriguez said she helps lead a theatre workshop for incarcerated youth in Mexico, which has helped them to “heal the wounds that have caused through the crime they committed.”

“[Through us] they can heal this pain that they have in order to be able to return to society and find a new form of work,” because healing is essential for a person’s reintegration into society, she said.

Speaking of the contribution of the Latin American Church, Mortola Rodriguez said one thing she hopes her continent can offer the universal Church is “joy,” because Latin Americans are “ known for our joy.”

“I think youth should be more joyful,” she said, and noted how there are many young people who reflect what Pope Francis says when he talks about youth who seem old because they have lost their joy and happiness.

Another topic Mortola Rodriguez said she wants to discuss is vocation, because many people think of their vocations as only the choice of a state of life.

“But no. The vocation is a call, a call today, to the present, to be active, to be happy and to do concrete actions that benefit my society,” she said, and voiced her desire to fight against social evils such as human trafficking, and to fight to “stop the things that harm us.” – Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Reflection for Passion/Palm Sunday B


Gospel at the Procession with Palms
Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
Jesus enters Jerusalem as the crowds shout, “Hosanna!”

First Reading
Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord’s servant will stand firm, even when persecuted.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 22:8-9,17-18,19-20,23-24
A cry for help to the Lord in the face of evildoers

Second Reading
Philippians 2:6-11
Christ was obedient even to death, but God has exalted him.

Gospel Reading
Mark 14:1—15:47 (shorter form: Mark 15:1-39)
Jesus is sentenced to death and crucified. The centurion who witnessed his death declared, “This man was the Son of God.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday, called Palm or Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday are called the Triduum—three days that are the highlight of the Church year. There are two Gospels proclaimed at today’s Mass. The first Gospel, proclaimed before the procession with palms, tells of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Riding on a borrowed colt, Jesus was hailed by the crowds as they blessed God and shouted “Hosanna!” This event is reported in each of the four Gospels.

At the Liturgy of the Word on Palm Sunday, the events of Jesus’ passion are proclaimed in their entirety. In Lectionary Cycle B, we read the passion of Jesus as found in the Gospel of Mark. We will hear these events proclaimed again when we celebrate the Triduum later in the week. On Good Friday, we will read the passion of Jesus from the Gospel of John.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ passion and death are presented as the consequence of the tension between the Jewish authorities and Jesus that had been building throughout his public ministry. This tension reached its breaking point when Jesus drove the merchants and moneychangers from the Temple. After this event, the chief priests and scribes began seeking a way to put Jesus to death, and yet, this is only the surface explanation for his death.

When Jesus was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin—the council of Jewish priests, scribes, and elders—he was charged with blasphemy, citing his threat to the Temple. When he was brought before Pilate, however, the religious authorities presented his crime as a political one, charging that Jesus claimed to be king of the Jews. In continuity with a theme of Mark’s Gospel, the messianic claim of Jesus is widely misunderstood.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples are rarely models of faith and do little to invoke confidence in their capacity to continue his ministry after his death. They fare no better in Mark’s narrative of Jesus’ passion and death. At the Last Supper, the disciples insisted that none among them would betray Jesus. When Jesus predicted that their faith would be shaken in the events ahead, Peter and the other disciples protested vehemently. Yet in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus returned three times to find them sleeping. Jesus prayed in agony over his impending fate while his disciples slumbered through the night. Just as Jesus predicted, Peter denied Jesus, and the disciples were absent during Jesus’ passion and death. Only the women who had been followers of Jesus in Galilee are said to have been present at the Crucifixion, but they remained at a distance.

Throughout this Gospel, Mark challenges the reader to consider the claim with which the Gospel begins: Jesus is the Son of God. When we read Mark’s account of the passion, we begin to comprehend the deeper theological statement being made about Jesus’ death. In Mark’s telling of the passion narrative, Jesus understood his death to have been preordained, and he accepted this death in obedience to God’s will. Jewish Scripture is quoted only once, but there are several references to the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Jesus understood his anointing in Bethany as an anticipation of his burial, and he announced that this story would be told together with the Gospel throughout the world. Jesus predicted his betrayal by Judas as well as Peter’s denial. At his arrest, Jesus acknowledged that the preordained time had arrived. Jesus was both confident and silent before his accusers. After he was sentenced to death, Jesus did not speak again until his final cry from the cross. The bystanders misunderstood and believed that he was calling for Elijah. The Roman centurion, however, affirmed what Mark has presented throughout this Gospel: Jesus is the Son of God. Nowhere was this revealed more fully than in his death on the cross.

During Holy Week, we prayerfully remember the events of Jesus’ passion and death. As we meditate on the cross, we ask again and anew what it means to make the statement of faith that Jesus, in his obedient suffering and dying, revealed himself to us as God’s Son. –








BM Elect undergo recollection

KOTA KINABALU – Ninety-two BM speaking Elect attended a recollection facilitated by Deacon Russell Lawrine on 17 Mar 2018 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.  The spiritual exercise was to prepare the Elect for the reception of the Easter Sacraments on Apr 1.  The preparatory rites will be held on Holy Saturday morning Mar 31 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral at 8 am.

CMI altar servers commissioned for the first time

BUKIT PADANG – Some 27 altar servers of the Church of Mary Immaculate here were commissioned over the weekend of 17-18 Mar 2018.

Fifteen were commissioned by Archbishop John Wong during the Chinese Sunset Mass Mar 17 while another 12 were commissioned also by the prelate at the 9 am English Mass Mar 18.

It was a historic first in the history of this church that will mark  25 years of existence in October this year.

Altar servers are a post-Trent innovation in parish churches. Formerly, ordained acolytes performed these functions.  When priestly training developed in seminaries, professed acolytes were no longer available in parishes. In the parishes, only men and boys served at the altar.

In 1994, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments clarified that service at the altar is to be considered one of the liturgical functions (such as those of lector and cantor) that, according to canon 230 §2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, lay people, male or female, may perform. At the same time the Congregation pointed out that this canon of the Code of Canon Law is only permissive and does not oblige to admit female altar servers.

The term “acolyte” is sometimes applied to altar servers, but in the proper sense means someone who has been received the ministry of that name, usually reserved for those who are to be promoted to the permanent or transitory diaconate. These must receive the ministry of acolyte, which formerly was classified as a minor order, at least six months before being ordained as deacons.

The altar server ministry is very important and is open to any boy (or girl) at least 9 years old who has made his first communion.  Like all calls to ministry, it is God who makes the invitation. The server is the priest and deacon’s right hand helper. Servers are to perform their duties in a sincere and reverent manner. This is rightly expected of them by God and his people.

Although the procedures vary from church to church, the main duty of altar servers is to assist the priest during the Mass. This includes:

  • Processing with the cross and candles down the aisle to signify the beginning and end of the Mass.
  • Processing with candles to light the Gospel.
  • Delivering the Book of Gospels to the priest.
  • Helping the priest/deacon prepare the altar for the Eucharist

Altar servers typically wear  an alb . This garment is worn over the clothes and tied with a cincture at the waist.  The cincture is the name for a braided cord that is tied around the waist. When tied properly, it is adjustable. The loose ends should always hang on the left side.

Altar servers have to get to church 5-20 minutes early, depending on the church.

Pope responds to young people’s questions at pre-synodal meeting


VATICAN CITY – At a pre-Synodal meeting on Monday, 19 Mar 2018, Pope Francis responded to five questions about issues faced by young people from around the world.

How can young people help victims of human trafficking?

Pope Francis was clearly moved by the first question which addressed the reality of sex trafficking. He referred to the stories he has heard from trafficked women about the dangers they face trying to escape their captors. The Pope described this abuse, and even torture, as the “slavery of today.” The Pope went on to denounce the evil of exploiting women. He had especially strong words for baptised Catholics who pay for prostitutes. This is a “crime against humanity,” he said. Pope Francis called on young people to fight for the dignity of women, and concluded by asking forgiveness for all the Catholics who take part in these “criminal acts.”

Where should a young person look for guidance in making life choices?

Pope Francis responded to a young French student seeking direction in his life, by suggesting we confide in those who possess wisdom, regardless of whether they are young or old. “The wise person,” he said, “is the one who is not scared of anything, but who knows how to listen and has the God-given gift of saying the right thing at the right time.” The Pope warned that when young people fail to find their “path of discernment,” they risk shutting themselves off. This can become like carrying a “cancer” inside, he said. And this risks weighing them down and taking away their freedom.

How can we teach young people to be open to their neighbour and to the transcendent?

Pope Francis said education should teach three basic languages: those of the head, the heart, and the hands. The language of the head, he said, means thinking well and learning concrete things. That of the heart means understanding feelings and sentiments. The language of the hands is making use of the gifts God has given us to create new things. The key, he said, is to use all three together. Pope Francis went on to criticise what he called the “isolating nature” of today’s digital, virtual world. Rather than demonise technology, the Pope called it a richness that must be used well with a “concreteness that brings freedom.”

How is a young person preparing for the priesthood to respond to the complexities of present-day culture – like tattoos, for instance?

Pope Francis used this question from a young Ukrainian seminarian to reflect on the priest as a “witness to Christ.”  Clericalism, on the contrary, said the Pope, is “one of the worst illnesses of the Church,” because it confuses the “paternal role of the priest” with the “managerial role of the boss.” He also spoke about the relationship between the priest and the community and how this relationship is compromised, and can be destroyed, by “gossip.” Responding specifically to the question of tattoos, Pope Francis recalled how different cultures have used them to distinguish and identify themselves, so “don’t be afraid of tattoos,” he said – but don’t exaggerate either. If anything, use the tattoo as a talking-point to begin a dialogue about what it signifies.

How can young women religious balance the dominant culture in society and the spiritual life in accomplishing their mission?

The Pope responded to this final question saying that an adequate formation throughout religious life needs to be built on four pillars: formation for an intellectual, communitarian, apostolic, and spiritual life. Having only a spiritual formation leads to psychological immaturity, he said. Even though this is often done to protect young religious from the world, Pope Francis said it is not protection, it is “deformation.”  Those who have not received affective formation are the ones who have ended up doing evil. Allowing people to mature affectively is the only way to protect them.

Pope Francis spoke at the opening session of the 19-24 March 2018 pre-synod meeting, which has drawn some 300 youth from around the world to talk about major themes for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on “Young People, Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”

Youth in different states in life are in Rome to participate in the event. Priests, seminarians, and consecrated persons are also participating. Special attention will also be given to youth from both global and existential “peripheries,” including people with disabilities, and some who have struggled with drug use or who have been in prison.

At the end of the gathering, notes of the various discussions throughout the week will be gathered into a comprehensive concluding document, which will be presented to Pope Francis and used as part of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” or “working document,” of the October synod. – Vatican News/CNA

Pre-synodal meeting purposes proposed

VATICAN CITY – Final preparations are underway for the 19-24 March 2018, Pre-Synodal Meeting in Rome, organised by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in collaboration with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

The Pre-Synodal Meeting will be an important part of the consultation phase before the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme Young people, faith and vocation discernment, scheduled for October 2018.

During a press conference at the Press Office of the Holy See on 15 Mar 2018, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, reviewed the purposes of the Pre-Synodal Meeting:

  1. This is an event in which the young will be the actors and the protagonists. We will not only talk about “them”, but they will be telling themselves, with their language, their enthusiasm, and their sensitivity. The next Synod of Bishops wants to be, in fact, not only a Synod “on” young people and “for” young people, but also a Synod “of” young people and “with” young people.
  2. A keyword, repeatedly repeated by the Pope, is “listening”. In this Pre-Synodal Meeting we will listen to young people “live”, “live”, to try to better understand their situation: what they think about themselves and adults, how they live their faith and what difficulties they encounter to be Christians, how they plan their lives and what problems they find in discerning their vocation, as they see the Church today and how they would like it, etc.
  3. Among the young people to be listened to, there will be in particular those that come from situations of hardship and from the “existential outskirts”, young people who often do not have the opportunity to be heard to make their situation and their expectations known. Then there will be young non-Catholics, not Christians and non-believers because listening to young people will be realized as much as possible “at 360 degrees”.
  4. The Pre-Synodal Meeting will be an opportunity to put ourselves in step with the young: keeping in mind that the Synod is by definition a “journey made together”, we want to show what it means concretely to walk together with young people, to all young people excluding.
  5. Walking with young people also means identifying specific pastoral paths, which enable the Christian communities to consolidate their youth pastoral projects, adapting them to the needs of today’s young people.
  6. At the Pre-Synodal Meeting, together with the young people, some parents, educators, priests, pastoral workers and experts of the youth world will take part, to listen to those who live next to the young and have the “tools” to read from the inside and in depth. their situation.
  7. In this way we also want to propose a method of intergenerational exchange and collaboration, fostering dialogue between young people and adults, who often struggle to communicate with each other in everyday life.
  8. The Pre-Synodal Meeting intends to arouse participation dynamics based on the encounter between cultures, living conditions, faiths, and disciplines, developing a model that can be repeated in the different ecclesial realities.
  9. We will ask ourselves how to help young people to seek and find the meaning of their life, in the light of the specific vocational perspective that Pope Francis wanted to give to the Synod journey.
  10. Finally, the Pre-Synodal Meeting will come to elaborate a shared document, which will be delivered to the Pope on Sunday 25 March and, together with the other contributions received, will merge into the Instrumentum laboris, the document on which the Synodal Fathers will meet in October.

While the Pre-Synodal Meeting will have about 300 “in-person” participants, youth from around the world can participant via internet.  More information is available on the meeting

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

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.