Tag Archives: 2017-10

Vatican releases papal schedule for visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican released on 10 Oct 2017 the schedule of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh.   The two-nation papal visit was announced earlier by the Vatican on August 28.  ‎After visiting Myanmar, Nov 27 to 30, he will proceed to neighbouring Bangladesh,  Nov 30 to Dec 2.

He is scheduled to land in Yangon, Myanmar in the afternoon on Nov 27, where he will be given an official welcome.  The following afternoon (Nov 28) he will fly to the capital Nay Pyi Taw, where after meeting the president, government officials and the diplomatic corps, he will fly back to Yangon at night.

On Nov 29 the Holy Father will celebrate his first public Mass, meet the Buddhist supreme council and Myanmar’s bishops.  Pope Francis will wrap up his Myanmar with a Mass for young people on Nov 30 and fly to neighbouring Bangladesh in the afternoon.

After a welcome ceremony at Dhaka airport, the Pope will pay homage to Bangladesh’s martyrs and father of the nation.  He will then pay a courtesy visit to the president and address the diplomatic corps.  On Dec 1, the Pope will celebrate a public Mass with priestly ordination, meet the prime minister, the country’s bishops and representatives of various religions and Christian Churches.  On the last day, Dec 2,  the Pope will visit a home run by the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, address priests, religious seminarians and novices.  Before flying back to Rome in the evening, he will meet the young people. – vatican radio

Ranau parish conducts inaugural animal blessing

Pet owners pose with their pets and the concelebrants after the Mass, SPC Ranau, 4 Oct 2017.

RANAU –  Mass at St Peter Claver Church here was a colourful sea of snuggly animals, as over 200 people toted their favourite animals to be blessed on 4 Oct 2017, a long-time dream of Father Nicholas Stephen, the parish priest.

This scene of friends – furry and otherwise – was one of many throughout the world, as parishes celebrated St Francis’ feast day on Oct 4, in many places a week full of activities that included animal blessings, Transitus services, commemorations, festivals and special Masses.

The day before, the church celebrated the Transitus, remembering the death of St Francis. “Embracing Otherness” and “Engaging Francis” were the themes of some events that, in addition to honouring St Francis’ care for all creation, encouraged people to join social ministry projects and celebrate the colours, cultures and creeds of others, just as the patron saint would.

Fr  Stephen used the opportunity to reflect on St Francis as the patron saint of ecology. He said, “Have you ever wondered why many churches offer a special blessing for animals on the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology?”

He said, “People bring their pets for a blessing because they want to thank God for their non-human companions, for their friendship and beauty. But there is an even more important reason to bless animals, especially at this time of the unprecedented ecological crisis that we face. First, the blessing of animals reminds us that all creatures have been created and blessed by God. Their worth extends far beyond a mere commodity value that we humans ascribe to them. Second, the blessing of the animals offers us an opportunity to strengthen within us a sense of compassion for all God’s creatures. It can also reawaken in us our religious responsibility to protect them – much like Noah did – from a disaster.”

“In memory of the blessing of Francis, we give thanks, we simply give thanks, for gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Fr Stephen continued, “We thank those in all our ministries who have supported us and worked with us to help people (the poor, the missions, local works), and to pray that love will continue to live on in our lives and in our ministries as we fill our hearts with beautiful memories of Christ, of Francis, of Franciscan men and women whose work we continue into the next century.” – Friar Aiden Peter Jr OFM

Church congress on child protection in digital world issues call to action

People attend the World Congress on Child Dignity at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 3-6 Oct 2017.

VATICAN CITY – ‘The Declaration of Rome,’  the final document produced by participants at the World Congress hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University on ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’, issues an urgent call to action.

One hundred and forty participants from all continents gathered in Rome on 3-6 Oct 2017  for the first world congress focused on addressing the dangers children and adolescents face on the internet.

Organised by a UK-based global alliance called ‘WePROTECT’ and by ‘Telefono Azzurro,’  the first Italian helpline for children at risk, the congress drew delegates from countries across the world, including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Receiving participants at the event on Oct 6 in the Vatican, Pope Francis was handed ‘The Declaration of Rome’ by a young girl “on behalf of millions of young people around the world who need information and far more protection from the risks of sexual and other forms of abuse on the internet.”

“Using your own words,” she said to the Pope, “we believe that ‘A society can be judged by the way it treats its children’.”

While technology, she continued, has changed our lives in so many positive ways, it is also being used in the growing exploitation of children, millions of whom are being abused and exploited all over the world.

Explaining that increasingly extreme and dehumanising content is available at children’s fingertips, she said that some of the effects include cyberbullying, harassment and sextortion, while “online pornography is impacting the malleable minds of young children.”

Highlighting the right of all children to be protected, she called for unity and collaboration in seeking   “positive, empowering solutions for all.”

One of the main points of the document is the need for technology companies and governments to innovate to better protect children.

“This is a problem,” she said, “that cannot be solved by one nation or one company or one faith acting alone, it is a global problem that requires global solutions. It requires that we build awareness and that we mobilise action from every government, every faith, every company and every institution.”

“In this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation.  These challenges require new thinking and approaches, heightened global awareness and inspired leadership.  For this reason, this Declaration of Rome appeals to everyone to stand up for the protection of the dignity of children,” she concluded.

One of the participants at the Congress was Antoine Normand from Canada. Normand is the founder of BlueBear, a company that combats child pornography on the Internet thanks to the development of software which analyses and categorises image and video evidence files seized during child pornography investigations and that is used in collaboration with the Police.

Normand was at the audience with the Pope and sums up the content of “The Rome Declaration.” – vatican radio

Opus Dei community is now in KL Archdiocese

St John’s Cathedral Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR – With the permission of Archbishop Julian Leow, the Cathedral of St John, Kuala Lumpur has been assigned to the Opus Dei community for their activities and gatherings with effect from 1 July 2017.

Opus Dei is an institution of the Catholic Church that teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity.

Opus Dei is Latin for Work of God; hence the organisation is often referred to by members and supporters as the Work.

Founded in Spain in 1928 by St Josemaría Escrivá, Opus Dei was given final approval in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. In 1982, by the apostolic constitution Ut sit, St John Paul II made it a personal prelature — that is, the jurisdiction of its own bishop covers the persons in Opus Dei wherever they are, rather than geographical dioceses.

In St John’s Cathedral, the recollection is held every first Saturday of the month. For the women, it starts at 9:30 am and ends with Mass at 12:00 noon. The recollection for men begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 4:00 pm. These recollections are open to non-members who are interested in attending.

Related to this, Sabah has one Opus Dei priest, Rev Michael Chan Kok Vui, who hails from Tawau.  Based in Singapore, he comes monthly to give formation to some Opus Dei cooperators at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu since 2013.

For more information: please go to the official website of Opus Dei opusdei.org. – herald malaysia online / adkk soccom

Fidelity highlighted at FSIC combined jubilee celebration

The jubilarians (with bouquets and corsages) L-R Sr Regina, Sr Imelda, Sr Ignatia (on wheelchair), Sr Stella (on wheelchair), Sr Martha, Sr Rita, Sr Rosalind – pose with the concelebrants and Mother General Sr Grace Deosing (extreme L) after Mass, 7 Oct 2017, Stella Maris Tg Aru.

TANJUNG ARU – The virtue of fidelity was highlighted at the combined jubilee celebration of seven Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) on 7 Oct 2017, memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, at the Stella Maris Church here.

Archbishop John Wong stressed this quality – divine (God’s faithfulness) and human (jubilarians’ response) in his homily and reiterated it in his speech after the Mass.

He added that the more important part was the spiritual preparation (personal retreat) of the jubilarians prior to the event for it is in silence that God reveals Himself.

The celebrators were ruby jubilarian Sister Martha Jonik, golden jubilarians Sisters Rita Chew and Imelda Angang, and the four diamond jubilarians Sisters Stella Chin, Regina Majakil, Rosalind Thien and Ignatia Gomes.

Joining Abp Wong at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Bishop Emeritus Joseph Nacua OFMCap of Iligan Isabela Philippines, OFM Custodios Friar John Wong, Msgr Primus Jouil, Father Boniface Kimsin and Father Thomas Madanan.

Over 400 turned up for the event including guests from the Philippines, Singapore, Sarawak, and the three Sabah dioceses as well as members of the congregation, family members, and relatives of the jubilarians.

After the Mass all adjourned to the parish hall for the cake-cutting ceremony, lunch and stage presentations by various groups.

Born on 23 Apr 1956 in Kinuta, Margaretha Jonik joined the congregation in 1975 and took the religious name of Sister Martha of St Mary of the Angels.  She made her first profession in 1977 and took her final vows in 1982.  She is currently assigned in Tawau.

Rose Chew, born on 20 Oct 1946 in Kuala Penyu, entered the congregation in 1965.  Taking as her religious name Sr Rita of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she took her first vows in 1967 and made her final profession in 1972.  Presently she is in charge of the Stella Maris Retirement Home Tg Aru as well as head of the Archdiocesan Education Commission.

Her co-jubilarian, Sister Imelda of the Blessed Sacrament, was born as Angeline George Angang on 8 Aug 1948 in Kuala Penyu.  She also joined the FSICs in 1965, made her first profession in 1967 and took her final vows in 1972.  She is assigned in Penampang and is currently the assistant of Sister Dariah Ajap in the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission.

Of the four diamond jubilarians, Sister Stella Chin was born in Jamaica on 6 Sept 1936 as Pamela Evadne Chin Siew Chin.  She entered the congregation in 1954, took her first vows on 11 Feb 1957 and made her final profession on 11 Feb 1962.

Sister Regina of the Blessed Trinity was born as Noemi Majakil on 15 Nov 1935 in Limbahau.  She also joined the Franciscan Sisters in 1954, made her first profession on 11 Feb 1957, and took her final vows on 15 Aug 1962.

The third diamond jubilarian, Sister Rosalind of St Dominic, was born in Tenom on 17 Apr 1938 as Mary Thien Siew Yun.  She entered the congregation in 1955, took her first vows on 4 Oct 1957, and made her perpetual profession on 20 Dec 1962.

Sister Ignatia Gomes of St Therese of the Child Jesus was born as Olive Marian on 29 Jan 1935 in Kg Kambau Penampang.  She joined the Sisters in 1955, made her first profession on 4 Oct 1957, and took her final vows on 25 Aug 1963.

Together the seven jubilarians have served the local Church for 380 years – a witness of the human response to God’s mercy and faithfulness.

Benedict XVI is right to worry about the liturgy, says moral theologian

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in 2012 (AP)

Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest, doctor of moral theology and consulting editor of The Catholic Herald. Below is his reflection posted on The Catholic Herald, 5 Oct 2017.

Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus, has written a very short foreword for the Russian edition of his book The Spirit of the Liturgy. It is short but eloquent and full of meaning.

Is Benedict right? Of course he is. He is completely correct to point out that the purpose of the Church is the worship of God, and when the liturgy becomes secondary, then clearly the Church is not functioning as it is intended to, and neither are the people in it. This analysis is simple, but not simplistic. It is, rather, the simple truth.

Consider the life of a typical parish. How much time is spent on the Liturgy? How much effort goes into liturgical preparation? Are the social and educational activities of the parish all geared to the great end of enabling people to take part in the Liturgy? Or is the Liturgy something that feels “tacked on” or even worse, something that almost interferes with the other parish activities? Parish activities are a good thing, but they should only happen for one reason – to build up the Body of Christ, the Body which takes part in the Liturgy.

Again, consider the life of a typical priest. Is he in the sacristy ready for Mass in good time? Or does he rush in at a minute or two before Mass is due to begin, out of breath and distracted? Does he spend far too much of his time dealing with invoices about double glazing, and fielding phone calls from photocopying companies, rather than celebrating the Liturgy, planning the celebration, making sure everything is ready for the celebration, and talking to his parishioners about the importance of the celebration, as well as, of course, perhaps most importantly of all, preparing himself in prayer for the celebration?

Again, are the people of the parish, encouraged by the priest, aware that Liturgy is addressed to God and God alone, rather than to the congregation, and that Liturgy is a language, and that every language makes sense because it has its own grammar? Are priest and people aware that certain practices, rightly called abuses, destroy the meaning of the Liturgy from within? Have they imbibed the teaching of Redemptionis Sacramentum the 2004 instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which lays out what is to be done and what is to be avoided, in order to protect the integrity of the liturgy? One hopes they are, though there is always work to be done in this field, as evidenced by some continuing practices in some parts of the world.

Benedict XVI has done us all a great service, reminding us that in the end, the Church’s chief function is the Liturgy. Get that right, and everything else follows. Get it wrong, and everything falls apart.

SHC parish group leaders updated on renovation works

Group leaders take their allocation of tickets after the updating and briefing, 5 Oct 2017, SHPC.

KOTA KINABALU – Leaders and representatives of 65 parish groups, ministries, committees and communities of Sacred Heart Cathedral here attended an updating-cum-briefing by their parish priest Archbishop John Wong and his assistants on 5 Oct 2017 at the parish centre.

At the meeting, Anthony Lim, parish finance council chairman, updated those present on the progress made on the major renovation works made at the parish centre last year.

In 2016, two major works were done: re-wiring of the parish centre (RM63,250.00) and replacement of the leaking main pipe (RM31,300.00).  General repair work was also done amounting to RM15,357.69.

Earlier this year, the roofing gutters were repaired (RM21,800.00) as well the complete renovation of the male and female toilets on the first floor (RM85,160.00).

It is hoped that renovation of all the rooms, repainting of walls, repair and replacement of air-conditioner units, replacement of carpets and curtains, building of storage cubicles on both sides of F7, and installing of two units of big ceiling industrial fans in the parish hall will be completed before the end of the year.

After the updating, Abp Wong briefed the attendees on the parish participation in the construction of the RM9.6m Catholic Centre.

He explained the need for it and its location.

The prelate told them that all parishes and subparishes in the archdiocese have been allocated an amount according to their means.

For the cathedral parish, the prelate continued, it is RM1 million.

Anita Tunggolou, head of the parish fundraising committee, informed the leaders that the time frame for fundraisers is one year: August 2017 to August 2018.

The committee has decided on three main fundraisers: a)  third collection on first Sundays (started Sept 2017); b) lucky draw on Dec 31 and c) bazaar in June 2018.

For the lucky draw, all the groups have an allocation of tickets (RM20/booklet) within a period of three months for diffusion.  Contact person is Michelle Linggi, treasurer of the fundraising committee.

Pledge cards for individual donors (Catholics and non-Catholics) are also available at the parish office under Johnny Chong.

The groundbreaking event, Lim said, will be at the end of the year (2017). The construction is scheduled to be completed within two years.

This was the second briefing for the parish group leaders.  The first was held on 2 March 2017.

Pope Francis announces pre-synodal youth meeting at general audience

VATICAN CITY –  Towards the end of the General Audience on Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017,  Pope Francis announced that from 19 to 24 March 2018, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will convene a pre-synodal meeting inviting young people from different parts of the world, both young Catholics and young people from different Christian denominations and other religions, as well as non-believers.

This initiative, the Pope said, is part of the preparations for the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be on Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment in October 2018.

With this journey, the Pope continued, “the Church wants to listen to the voice, the sensitivity, of faith and also the doubts and criticisms of young people. Following this, conclusions of the March Meeting will be transmitted to the Synod Fathers.” – vatican radio

300 turn up for local parish observance of Migrant Sunday

PAPAR – Around 300 local and migrant parishioners turned up for the local parish observance of Migrant Sunday at Mother of Mercy open hall, St Joseph Parish here on 1 Oct 2017.

The celebration was in conjunction with the 103rd World Migrant Day 2017 with this year’s theme: Minor Migrants, Vulnerable and Voiceless.

In his homily, Father Thomas Yip shared the importance of emulating Jesus Christ’s behaviour and acts, who was ever faithful to God the Father, humble, sincere and forgiving.

At the fellowship after the Mass, organising chairperson Rogerlio expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the support given by the parish and the working committee comprising the Indonesian and Filipino communities and the Human Development Committee (KPI) led by its coordinator Dominic Lim.

Mikael Wura Darang, the parish’s Indonesian Committee leader, shared the importance of education as the pillar of enhancing the mindset and future well-being of migrant children and youth.

In his brief speech, Johnny Sitamin, the PPC chairman, stressed the need for collaborative teamwork among the parish’s various committees and communities, both local and migrant alike. Likewise, one must avoid falling into unnecessary conflicts or spreading unjustified rumours for one’s personal gain.

Yohanes Sogen, the Community Learning Centre (CLC) coordinator, in his comprehensive briefing on the development of the CLC in the parish, invited migrant parents to  enroll their children with the CLC for educational values in order to eradicate illiteracy and alleviate them from poverty in the hope of breaking the migration chains when they return back to their motherland. He also advised his fellow people to avoid instigating arrest, social disrepute and to prioritise on their children’s education instead. Lastly, he thanked the parish for initiating and the continuous support provided in the development and the growth of the CLC in the church.

Franciscan Sister Juanah led the grace before lunch and joined the lay leaders and migrant community in the cake-cutting ceremony.

A video presentation on the AMOS 3 conference in Sandakan was screened with a concise sharing from William Charles on the objective of this conference and the church migrant ministry’s planning and future endeavour. He also said that local parishioners must discard the stigma of a negative perception of the migrant in order for the migrant ministry to move forward as part of Christ’s mission.

The video presentation was followed by a number of stage performances featuring cultural dances, solo and choral singing by the youth choirs, CLC students and outstation migrant children. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar Limbahau)

Vatican releases theme for 2018 World Communications Day

VATICAN CITY – “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32): Fake news and journalism for peace, is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications 2018, the Vatican Secretariat for Communication said on 29 Sept 2017.

The theme  relates to so-called “fake news,” namely baseless information that contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarisation of opinions.

It involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour. In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.

World Day of Social Communications, the only world day established by the Vatican Council II (“Inter Mirifica,” 1963), is celebrated in many countries, by recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost (in 2018, 13 May).

The text of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Social Communications is traditionally published on the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists (24 January). – press.vatican.va

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