Tag Archives: 2017-12

Change of directors formally announced at IY Closing

The 21 aspirants (standing) and eight IY seminarians (front) pose with the concelebrants after the Mass marking the end of the Academic Year, 14 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – The change of directors of both initiation formation houses was formally announced at the closing of the Academic Year of Aspirants and Initiation Year (IY) on 14 Dec 2017.

Archbishop John Wong announced this in his speech at the fellowship after the Mass at the IY Formation House here.

Father Mattheus Luta takes over from Father Rayner Bisius as IY Director while Father Joshua Liew replaces Father Wilfred Atin as Aspirants Director with effect from 1 January 2018.

In his speech, Abp Wong thanked those who had helped in one way or another in the formative journey of the aspirants and seminarians.

He exhorted the students to appreciate the formation they had received in the course of the year and hoped it will be useful as they go on their formative journey.

In his final address to the formands,  Fr Atin told them to entrust their lives to God as “they cannot do it alone.”

Fr Rayner gave a similar message and said he enjoyed his time with them.

Abp Wong presided at the Mass concelebrated with the incoming and outgoing directors, as well as with Father Paul Lo (lecturer), and Father Thomas Madanan (spiritual director).

Dinner followed at the square but due to the rainy weather, it was moved to the dining hall.

The event closed with the formands serenading the guests with Christmas carols after the presentation of tokens to the teachers, lecturers, and benefactors.

Vatican communications department will unveil new website soon

Msgr Dario Vigano, secretariat for communications, 5 Apr 2016. Credit: Daniel Ibanez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met at the Vatican here on 11-13 Dec 2017 to continue discussions on reform of the Roman Curia and unveiled a new communications system for the Secretariat for Communications.

All members were present for the meetings, apart from Cardinal George Pell. Pope Francis was present except for Wednesday morning during the general audience, as is ordinary.

Father Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, presented the new communications system, including a new website and logos, during the 22nd round of meetings.

According to a Dec 13 statement, the “the Vatican media system adopts a new production model based on integration and unified management, in full harmony with the reform desired by Pope Francis.”

The center of the communications system will be new multimedia publishing centre, which will present a unified structure for the daily production of content, including audio, text, video, and graphics, in multiple languages.

This system is the result of consolidation on both an economic and technical level, and will be available soon (in a beta version) at vaticannews.va, the press release stated. This replaces the previously used informational websites and aims to streamline the image and channels of communication.

Starting 1 Jan 2018, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s photo service, and the Vatican Typography will merge with the secretariat.

It will start with a team of 70 people divided into six language divisions – English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese – in four thematic areas: Pope, Vatican, Church, and world. It will all be overseen by an editorial directorate in coordination with other support groups.

The new system draws its inspiration from the words of Pope Francis to the Secretariat for Communication during their first plenary earlier this year: that “reform is not ‘whitewashing’ things: reform is to give another form to things, organise them in another way.”

Viganò also reported on the final stretch of the reform of Holy See communications, including the achievement of goals to reduce costs and consolidate personnel.

The meetings also included an update from Cardinal Kevin Farrell on the work of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which is preparing for the 2018 synod on youth.

The cardinals also listened to presentations by Father Michael Czerny and Father Fabio Baggio, the under-secretaries of the Migrant and Refugee section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The section is developing a global strategy to implement in cooperation with the Secretariat of State, bishops’ conferences, NGOs, and religious congregations.

As usual, Cardinal Sean O’Malley also provided an update on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Members of the commission are appointed for a term of three years, which may be reconfirmed. The terms of the present 15 members of the commission end Dec 17. Pope Francis will decide whether to reconfirm current members and whom to appoint as new members.

Peter Saunders, founder and former Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and a member of the commission since Dec 2014, told the Tablet Dec 13 he plans to step down from the commission at the end of the week. He has been on a leave of absence from the advisory body since early 2016.

Established by Pope Francis shortly after his pontificate began in 2013, the Council of Cardinals – also known as the “C9” – serves as an advisory body on Church governance and reform, with special emphasis on the reform of Pastor bonus, the apostolic constitution which governs the Roman Curia.

The council’s next round of meetings will take place Feb 27-29. – CNA/EWTN News

Groundbreaking ceremony marks commencement of new Catholic Centre construction

Archbishop John Wong (with stole), assisted by Fr Cosmas Lee, officiates the rite of blessing before the groundbreaking ceremony on site of new Catholic Centre Karamunsing, 13 Dec 2017, witnessed by representatives of the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, building and fundraising committees.

KOTA KINABALU – The groundbreaking ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the new Catholic Centre here took place on 13 Dec 2017.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing of the site, assisted by Father Cosmas Lee, the project supervisor.

After the blessing, the archbishop proceeded to do the groundbreaking by using an excavator, assisted by John Voo, the contractor for the demolition and site preparation works.

On hand to witness the ceremony were some 35 representatives from the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, and the building and fundraising committees.

The demolition began on Nov 29 and is scheduled to be completed by 9 Jan 2018.

An open tender for the piling works has been called for and the piling will begin sometime in January 2018.

The building project is scheduled to be completed within 16 months, probably by mid-2019.

At the press conference held after the ceremony,  Fr Lee as well as Willie Wong, head of the fundraising committee, said funding for the project is from the Catholic Community organised into 21 parishes, from state and federal grants, and from generous individuals.

Reflection for Third Sunday of Advent B


First Reading
Isaiah 61:1-2a,10-11
The Lord’s salvation will be made known to the poor and the oppressed.

Responsorial Psalm
Luke 1:46-50,53-54
Mary sings praise to God.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rejoice and pray always.

Gospel Reading
John 1:6-8,19-28
John gives testimony that he is preaching and baptising in order to prepare for the coming of another.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to continue our reflection on the person and mission of John the Baptist. Today we depart from the Gospel of Mark and read a selection from the Gospel of John.

The Gospel for today combines a brief passage from the prologue to John’s Gospel with a report about John the Baptist. As in Mark’s Gospel, the Gospel of John contains no birth narrative. Instead, John’s Gospel begins with a theological reflection that has come to be called the “prologue.” This prologue places the story of Jesus in its cosmological framework. It speaks of Jesus’ existence with God since the beginning of time. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the culmination of the Word, the light that is coming into the world’s darkness.

Following this prologue, John reports on the ministry of John the Baptist. We learn about the attention that John the Baptist received from the Jewish authorities. Messengers from the Jewish priests, the Levites and the Pharisees question John about his identity and the meaning of the baptisms that he is performing. John’s Gospel uses these questions to establish the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. John the Baptist is not the Messiah, nor is he Elijah or the Prophet. In John’s denials, we hear echoes of the kind of messianic expectations that were common in first-century Palestine.

The only affirmative response that John the Baptist gives is when he quotes the prophet Isaiah. Upon answering the next question, John announces that the saviour they seek is already among them, but as yet unrecognised. John’s response highlights for us an important Advent theme: Jesus has already come into the world as our saviour. During Advent, we pray that we will be able to recognise Jesus’ presence in our midst. Advent also reminds us that Jesus will come again to fulfill the promise of salvation. We pray that we will continue to be watchful as we anticipate that great day.

The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete SundayGaudete, a Latin word which means “rejoice,” is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. This theme is echoed in today’s second reading from the first Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a reminder that Advent is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand. – loyolapress.com

Sandakan covenant community brings early Christmas joy to the less fortunate

SANDAKAN – Members of the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community brought early Christmas joy to the less fortunate on 10 Dec 2017.

“It also helps us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ by showing our charity to people in genuine need. Though this advent action is just a small act of kindness, it adds up a great difference for vulnerable people,” said SYCC elder Philip Mosinoh.

As the members came bringing the goodies and some clothing donations to their homes,  the joy and happiness clearly shown on the children’s faces. When they were asked why they are so happy, spontaneously and joyfully they said in Malay, “Sebab Hari Krismas” (Because it is Christmas). – S Cordova, sandakan newsupdate

Pope renews appeal for wisdom and prudence over Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See is following with great attention the developing situation in the Middle East, with special reference to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world.

In a press statement released on 10 Dec 2017, the Holy See Press Office reiterated the Pope’s concerns regarding the volatile situation in and around Jerusalem. [This came about after US President Donald Trump announced on Dec 6 that US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city.]

In expressing sorrow for the clashes of the past few days that have left people dead, the Holy Father renews his appeal for wisdom and prudence and prays earnestly that leaders of Nations, in this moment of particular gravity, may do everything to avert a new spiral of violence, and may respond, with words and deeds, to the longing for peace, justice and security felt by the people of that suffering land.

Concerns about peace prospects in the region are the subject of various initiatives over these days, including urgent meetings convened by the Arab League and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. The Holy See is sensitive to these concerns and, recalling the heartfelt words of Pope Francis, reiterates its well-known position regarding the unique nature of the Holy City and the indispensability of respecting the status quo, in accordance with the agreements of the international community and repeated requests of the hierarchies of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

At the same time, the Holy See reiterates its conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognised borders. – vatican radio


Parishioners mark Fr Lo’s 12th anniversary as priest

Abp Wong (L) affirms the honouree Fr Lo (R) on his 12th anniversary breakfast at Sacred Heart Parish Canteen, 7 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Parishioners here marked the 12th priestly anniversary of Father Paul Lo at different times.

While morning Massgoers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here organised a breakfast for him on Thursday, 7 Dec 2017, those in the Church of Mary Immaculate gave him an early lunch on Sunday, Dec 10, the actual day of his anniversary.

On both occasions, Fr Lo thanked the organisers for their kind gestures and asked them to continue to pray for him and his ministry.

Archbishop John Wong was present on both occasions to affirm the 44-year-old priest who took up his post as assistant pastor at the cathedral parish on Sept 1 this year.

Christmas Masses and Fourth Sunday of Advent

1. At the meeting of the Regional Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei in Majodi, Plentong from the 11-15  July 2016, it was confirmed that:

a)    The Fourth Sunday of Advent is observed on 24 December 2017 at the morning masses and the sunset masses (anticipated) on December 23;

b)    The Sunday evening Masses on  December  24 is to be treated as the Vigil or night masses for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord.

2. It is strongly encouraged that the faithful attend masses on both days (Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas) unless there is a just reason that impedes them from doing so.

3. In the case of the faithful being unable to attend both days due to a just reason, they are to observe some special way to pray or perform works of piety and charity.

Church Christmas Eve

Sun Dec 24

Christmas Day

   Mon Dec 25

Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:00 pm Mass (BM)

8:30 pm Cantata

9:30 pm Mass (EN)

7:00 am (CH)

9:00 am (EN)

10:45 am (BM)

Church of Mary Immaculate 7:30 pm (CH) 9:00 am (EN)
Carmelite Chapel 7:30 pm (EN) 7:00 am (EN)
St Paul Dontozidon 7:30 pm (KD) 8:30 am (KD)
OLQP Kobusak 7:30 pm (KD) 10:30 am (KD)
St John Kopungit 9:30 pm (KD) 10:45 am (KD)
St Simon Likas 7:30 pm (EN) 8:30 am (EN)
Stella Maris Tg Aru 8 pm (EN) 7:30 am (EN)

10:00 am (BM)

St Peter Claver Ranau 7:15 pm (BM) 8:00 am (BM/EN)


Cathedral parish organises Chinese faith-formation morning camp for students

The 35 participants pose for remembrance in their visit to the Social Communications Office on 4 Dec 2017.  Earlier they had a session with the aspirants.  The visit was part of the formation camp held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Dec 4-9.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here organised a fun-filled faith formation camp for Chinese-speaking students aged 6-18 on 4-9 Dec 2017.

In its fourth year, the morning camp organised by the Chinese community was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre.

The 150 participants were divided into age groups for the learning activities.

For the primary school pupils, they learnt about the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mary, the 12 Apostles and they had a field trip to the KKIP Divine Mercy Church.

For the teens, they had sessions on the different vocations in life: priesthood, religious life, single life, marriage as well as a handicraft workshop on the gift of self.  They had field trips to the Aspirants Formation House Penampang and to the Daughters of St Paul Convent Karamunsing.  They also toured the archdiocesan offices.

Pope Francis: Healthcare is part of the Church’s mission

Pope Francis greets people with disabilities following the General Audience on 15 Nov 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Just as Jesus healed people during his earthly mission, care for the sick is a mission the entire Church is called to take part in, Pope Francis said in a message published Monday for the World Day of the Sick.

“Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power…The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion,” the Pope wrote in a message published on 11 Dec 2017.

“Health care ministry will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the largest healthcare institutions.”

“Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission.”

The World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on Sunday, 11 Feb 2018, with the theme: “Mater Ecclesiae: ‘Behold, your son… Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-27).”

Reflecting on the scripture passage from which the theme was taken, Francis explained how John, as a close disciple of Jesus, could testify to the fact that Christ healed many people suffering from both spiritual and physical illnesses.

Jesus, he said, “healed the sick as a sign of the abundant life of the Kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away.”

The disciples know that Jesus’ heart is “open to all and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God.”

Pointing to the Church’s long history of care for the sick, including innumerable initiatives, Francis said we cannot forget this “history of dedication,” which continues “to the present day throughout the world.”

In countries with adequate public health care systems, Catholic religious congregations and dioceses and their hospitals provide quality medical care that puts the human person at the centre, also carrying out scientific research that fully respects life and Christian moral values, he said.

And in countries with inadequate, or even non-existent, health care systems, the Catholic Church works to improve health, eliminate infant mortality and combat widespread disease.

“In some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population,” he noted.

This is all a cause for rejoicing within the Christian community, the pope stressed, ” but we also need to take note that long legacy and use it to help us build a better future. Especially in cases where Catholic hospitals fall prey to the business mentality that seeks to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise, which ends up discarding the poor.”

“Wise organisation and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity, and constantly kept at the centre of the therapeutic process,” he said.

“May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health.” – CNA/EWTN News

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