Tag Archives: blessing

Limbanak transforms ancient graveyard with columbarium

The group poses in front of the columbarium after the blessing rite by Abp John Wong, 4 Oct 2017.

LIMBANAK – St Aloysius here transformed its ancient graveyard with a columbarium.

Community leaders and parishioners turned up to witness the blessing of the columbarium by Archbishop John Wong on 4 Oct 2017 at the Limbanak cemetery.

The idea of a columbarium was mooted when space for tombs became critical, leaving only a small patch of steep hill at the roadside. The pastoral, finance and property committee sought advice from the archbishop and the late pastor Father Fundes Motiung, and proposed to build a columbarium.  It was accepted and completed in September 2017.

The columbarium can accommodate 136 units for bones that could be exhumed from 400 old graves and 128 units for ashes. The cost of these units ranges from RM1,000 to RM1,200.

The acquisition of the present grounds for use as a cemetery dates back to the time of Father August Watcher in 1910 when he built a school on a small hill overlooking Kampung Limbanak.

The parcel of land on which the school and the church stand today was bought by Msgr Wachter from Madam Molini Tongginal and Motiung Matalang. In recent years the adjoining land from Peter Jaua and Johnson Sua were also purchased by the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.

The school cum church was a one-classroom shed with roof made of sago palm leaves and was partially walled with hand sawn planks sourced from the neighbouring hills. The shed was 120 feet long and 50 feet wide and its floor was bare earth. The school was named after St Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of youth.

Another piece of hilly land of about an acre behind the church was subsequently acquired. Villagers seldom ventured into this jungle, not because of the thick foliage therein but because of the existence of several ancient graves with claims of strange sightings.

Over the years the jungle was cleared and became a burial ground. The cemetery became popular and terraces were made in the late 1970s with the intention to maximise utilization of the land. Within a span of 20 years, there was hardly any space left. The caretakers then, Bestan John and Benedict Puvok, declared that the cemetery was full except for the steep part of the hill.

A landslide occurred in 2014 which affected over 10 graves. The PFPC activated a cemetery committee headed by Winston Sibinil. Guided by Fr Fundes, permission from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu was obtained to restore the affected graves.

The landslide prompted the church elders to consider the possibility of building concrete tombs along the steep hill. The cemetery committee worked very hard to promote burial in concrete tombs, a totally new concept in Limbanak. The initial lukewarm response was very challenging. There was literally no fund and the project suddenly appeared to be massive with no previous experience in building concrete tombs.

With prayers and moral support from Fr Fundes and the PFPC, by late 2015 the number of potential bookings indicated that the project was viable. Over 100 concrete tombs were constructed and offered to the parishioners residing around Kg Limbanak. Funds generated covered the cost of construction and the tombs were snapped up in no time.

Sibinil in his briefing said, “We have been receiving bookings for the tombs and we are planning to build more in the second phase in the same area.”  He added that in order to make way for the next phase of concrete tombs his committee plans to contact the relatives of those buried in the 30-year old graves to use the columbarium for the bones exhumed.

Also present among others to witness the transformation of an ancient graveyard to that of a friendly and graceful park were Father Wilfred Atin, pastor of St Michael’s Parish, and Luvita Koisun of the District Office Penampang.

Abp Wong commended the committee for their commitment and hard work in managing and developing the cemetery.

Fr Atin also thanked all generous donors and parishioners for supporting the cemetery and columbarium project in Limbanak. He added that being new in the Penampang parish, he hoped to be able to immerse with the people to learn more about their needs and to enable him to serve more effectively in the parish. – Blasius Binjua

KKIP church finally blessed after almost two years

Abp Wong opens the door of the Church of Divine Mercy at the rite of opening, KKIP, 21 Oct 2017.

TELIPOK – The Catholic Church of the Divine Mercy, Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) here was finally blessed and opened for public use after almost two years on 21 Oct 2017.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing in the presence of almost 1000 people including Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, present pastors Fathers David Sham, Mitchelly Kiun and Mattheus Luta, and past pastors Fathers Aloysius Fidelis, Ambrose Atang, Edward Raymond, Michael Modoit and Rayner Bisius.

The rite of opening was marked by ribbon-cutting before opening the sliding church door and unveiling the commemorative plaque at the church entrance by Abp Wong.

The prelate blessed the water before using it to sprinkle on the people present and the building including the chapel behind the church.  Mass then continued as usual.

After the Mass, speeches were given by Albert Lim, Telipok Parish Pastoral Council chairman; Fr Sham and Abp Wong.

In his speech, Fr Sham thanked all those involved in realising the project including Abp Emeritus Lee who mandated him to carry out the building project and the many donors in cash and kind including the state government and KKIP.

On his part, Abp Wong reminded the faithful of the task given to them to bring God’s mercy to all those around them as members of the pastoral community there.

After all the speeches, all adjourned outside for the reception and cake-cutting under makeshift tents and under intermittent showers.

Prior to its current name, the chapel was known as Our Lady of Fatima Chapel.  It was in the path of the KKIP Development Programme, a state government project that has been designated as the nucleus of growth for the state in 1994.  Occupying an area of 8,320 acres, the park falls within the Knowledge Corridor of Sabah, where the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and other training and research institutions are located.

KKIP offered to land swap (similar 3-acre land) with KK Archdiocese which was accepted. Abp Lee officiated the groundbreaking ceremony on 5 May 2012 and the church was renamed Catholic Church of the Divine Mercy KKIP.  Construction work began on 12 Dec 2012.

The final agreement with KKIP was signed on 1 Aug 2014.  The first Mass was celebrated on 25 Dec 2015.  However, the Occupation Certificate was only given on 12 May 2017 by KK City Hall.

The church is only the first phase of the building project that includes a presbytery, catechetical centre with a kindergarten (scheduled to begin in 2018), and a church hall.  Its landmark is the 25 ft tall statue of the Divine Mercy at the entrance to the church compound.

Sunday service (Liturgy of the Word with Communion Service) is at 8:00 am and if there is Mass, between 10 am and 2 pm (depends on the availability of the priest as all the three priests have to administer to the three main churches of St Catherine Inanam, Good Shepherd Manggatal, and Holy Family Telipok and their numerous outstation chapels).

Miri bishop blesses new chapel at Kg Nelayan Upper Kuala Bakam

Bishop Ng officiates the rite of blessing, Kg Nelayan Upper Kuala Bakam Miri, 30 July 2017.

MIRI – Around 250 faithful attended the blessing of the new Sts Peter and Paul Chapel at Kg Nelayan Upper Kuala Bakam here on 30 July 2017.

Bishop Richard Ng officiated the rite of blessing before Mass was celebrated.  After the Mass, all adjourned outside for a dinner fellowship.

The faithful were from the Melanau community who make up six percent of the 2.63 million (2015)  population in Sarawak.

Originally from Mukah (the 10th Administrative Division as launched in March 2002), the Melanaus traditionally lived in tall houses. Nowadays, they have adopted a Malay lifestyle, living in kampong-type settlements. Traditionally, Melanaus were fishermen and still today, they are reputed as some of the finest boat-builders and craftsmen.

While the Melanaus are ethnically different from the Malays, their lifestyles and practices are quite similar. This is especially the case in the larger towns and cities.The Melanaus were believed to originally summon spirits in a practice verging on paganism. Today most of the Melanaus are Muslims whilst some have converted to Christianity (especially around Mukah & Dalat areas). However, some still celebrate traditional animist festivals such as the annual Kaul Festival in Mukah District.

In 1980 the population of Sarawak was 1,233,103. The Melanau numbered was 69,578, of whom 53,689 were Muslim; 8,486 were Christian; 1,749 were tribal; and 5,328 were registered as having no religion, which in practice means they adhered to tribal religion(but were probably all tribal), and 326 were listed as miscellaneous.

Few reliable historical records of the Melanau exist before the nineteenth century, although European travellers and map-makers placed names not unlike “Melanau” on the northwest coast of Borneo. There are also probable references to the Melanau even earlier in Chinese records. The Coastal Melanau and the Kajang groups in the interior relate that their ancestors migrated from central Borneo and founded a Kajang kingdom from which the Coastal Melanau broke away. The Coastal Melanau believe that much of their culture and many of their institutions are derived from the legendary empire of the folk hero Tugau, who was overthrown in a struggle with Brunei. Some historians suggest that these events occurred in the fourteenth century, others, as early as the seventh. In 1861 the Melanau coastal district was ceded to James Brooke, the rajah of Sarawak, by the sultan of Brunei. – dioceseofmiri.blogspot.my

New school block testifies to 25 years of God’s love and faithfulness

KUDAT – Witnessed by a 600-crowd, the final block of classrooms (Block D) of SMK St Peter here was officially opened and blessed on 17 Mar 2017, testifying to 25 years of God’s love and faithfulness to a faithful and believing people.

At the same time, the school hall, located between Block B and C and completed in 2013, was also blessed.

The opening was officiated by YB Datuk Teo Chee Kang, Minister with Special Tasks in the Chief Minister’s Department while the rite of blessing was officiated by Archbishop John Wong.

Those present included students, teachers, parents, board members and representatives/heads of government departments, contractors and consultants for the projects.

In her speech, Dr Angeline Cheong, chairperson of the Board of Governors, outlined the 25-year journey undertaken by her board, which tested their perseverance, endurance, and faith in God.

Cheong said the Mill Hill Missionaries set up a primary school in the mid-60s on the grounds of St Peter’s Church, a junior high school (Form 1-3) in 1968.

The students continued their studies elsewhere.  Then in 1990, some concerned adults decided to upgrade the school to Form 5 so that the students would be more mature when they leave school.

However, the plan did not materialise as there was neither land nor funds for the project.

Undaunted, Cheong asked for permission from then Bishop John Lee to ask the parishioners to take it upon themselves to oversee the project.

With much prayer and trust in divine providence, and seizing every opportunity, the board saw the Lord sending the right people to help them secure the land title of the adjacent land and to have the soil test, architectural plans, engineering consultation and site supervision for free.

A fundraising dinner raked in more than RM200,000. The first block was completed in March 1997.  At its opening, then Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee presented a state grant of RM500,000.  This was sufficient to begin Block B, which was ready for use by 1999.

A third block was needed to accommodate the increasing student population.  The board undertook another fundraising dinner, and topped up by individual donor, Block C was completed in 2010.

After the three blocks were completed, the school began to receive some state and federal funds with the help of Datuk Teo Chee Kang (RM100,000) and the Archdiocesan Education Commission, which went into building the final block. With the completion of the final block, SMK St Peter has now become a single-session school.

Cheong concluded her speech thanking all those who have helped in one way or another.  She told those present that the board has applied for another five acres of land adjacent to the school land, and asked Teo to help push it through.

In response, Teo pledged to do his best. Speaking personally for himself, he expressed his support for the educators and praised the school for providing such high standard of education in the rural region, in comparison with those in the more advanced districts.

Speaking directly to the students, he urged them on to do three things: study hard, set a high target, and adopt the attitude of “I can achieve,” so as not to disappoint their parents.

Archbishop Wong, in his turn, acknowledged with gratitude that the historical event witnessed by all present was a laudable joint achievement of the BOG, its supporters, and the government, which would benefit not only the present generation but also the next generations to come.

He commended the school for its motto, which reads “To Conquer,” in aptly providing academic excellence to the students in order that they would be suitably equipped to ‘conquer’ come what may in their lives after completing their education. However, he said,  “Education is passing on something beyond academics. It is a passing on of the Truth, which leads to freedom, to explore beyond what they have received academically with the help and guidance of God.”

 

New building plan and crucifixes for Papar mission school blessed

PAPAR – The new building plan and crucifixes for SMK St Joseph here were blessed by Father Thomas Yip on 17 Mar 2017.

The simple ceremony was held at the site of the new school building block at 2.30pm and witnessed by Lightson Kohiya, chairman of the school Board of Governors, Sulis Ambud, engineering consultant, Peter Paun, new principal of SMK  St Joseph,  Jenith Mahibol and Sylvester John Asun, senior assistants,  seminarian Gilbert Marcus, teachers and students.

The large crucifix will been affixed outside the administration building , just above the school crest, while the smaller crucifixes will be affixed in all  the classrooms, in an effort to bring back the mission school’s identity (as per issuance of the circular Bilangan 1 Tahun 2013 of the Ministry of Education).

In 2016,  Archbishop John Wong officiated the ground breaking and blessing of the site for two new four-storey school building blocks on Mar 21. The estimated cost of the building project is  RM4.5 million. Funding of the building project comes from Government assistance, fund-raising charity dinner, raffles tickets sales and other fundraisers.

The construction of new school building blocks has become the main agenda for the Josephians as the number of student enrollment increases. The existing wooden building blocks are too dilapidated for continual maintenance and expansion.

In addition, the high cost of maintenance has prompted the school’s Alumni and BOG to opt for the construction of new blocks instead. – William Charles Mindus, SOCCOM Papar- Limbahau

Kinarut village gets its new chapel blessed

Abp Wong, assisted by Fr Runsab, blesses the water to be used for blessing the chapel, 14 Feb 2017, Labak.

KINARUT – Kampung Labak Kinarut got its new chapel blessed on 14 Feb 2017.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing, assisted by Father Wiandigool Runsab, assistant pastor of St Michael Penampang.

The rite of blessing was marked by sprinkling of the closed door with holy water and incensing.  It was followed by the ribbon cutting, opening of the main chapel door, and signing of the commemorative plaque before the entrance procession.

Once everyone was inside the chapel, the prelate blessed the water to be used for the blessing of the walls and surroundings of the chapel before Mass began.  The blessing of the altar took place before the presentation of the gifts.

In his address, Abp Wong reminded those present that the church is first the people before it is a building.  He urged them to remain united and to grow as a community.

After the Mass everyone adjourned outside for the cake-cutting and fellowship meal prepared by the Women’s League.

Over 500 people turned up for the event including representatives of St Michael Penampang, St Augustine Kinarut, the religious, and the donors.

The St Padre Pio Chapel is sited on a one-acre land donated by Leanardus Lokuntau, the chairman of the Labak Catholic Community.  It used to be a fish pond.  The construction was completed in December 2016 with the help of generous donors.

Among the 25 listed donors of the chapel were Datuk Victor Paul, Tan Sri Richard Malanjun, Datuk Juil Mositun, Datuk Rosnah Hj Abdul Rashid Shirlin, the Lokuntau family, Jennifer Anjek, and the La Salle Class of 1973.

Labak is one of the two villages under St Augustine Kinarut.  The other is St Anne Punson Tampasak. In turn, St Augustine Kinarut is one of the zones under St Michael Penampang.

Emmaus Home top floor converted into hostel for outstation visitors

Abp Wong officiates the rite of blessing at the Emmaus Home Hostel, 14 Feb 2017, KK.

KOTA KINABALU -The top floor of Emmaus Home at the Sacred Heart Cathedral compound here has been converted into a hostel for outstation visitors.

It was blessed by Archbishop John Wong on 14 Feb 2017 in the presence of around 30 people, including contractor David Yu, donors, and members of the Catholic Service Centre, and archdiocesan media.

When asked, Abp Wong said the hostel plan was mooted in 2015 in response to the need of the outstation faithful who accompany their sick family members or relatives to Kota Kinabalu for medical treatment and who need a place to stay for a night or two.

The prelate said he saw the open top floor and thought it was worthwhile to convert it into a hostel for the purpose.

The renovation took three months – May to August 2016 – at the cost of RM160,000 inclusive of fixtures and furnishings – with funds donated by the parish Chinese community.

The hostel can accommodate 50 people in four rooms with two common bath and toilet facilities.  It can also be for outstation people attending seminars or conferences at the nearby parish centre.

Enquiries can be made at the Catholic Service Centre at 088-712416 (Tel) or 088-713435 (Fax).

Emmaus Home (formerly Vianney Home) was built in 1990 as a three-storey home for retired priests but it was found to be too noisy for the purpose.  Down the years it has become a place for visitors.

 

Hundreds turn up for blessing of new St Kenneth Church

Abp Wong chats with one of the young greeters, St Kenneth Kelatuan, 27 Dec 2016.

KELATUAN, Papar – Hundreds of faithful turned up for the blessing and opening of new St Kenneth Church here on 27 Dec 2016.

They came not only from Kelatuan itself but also from Langsat, Langkawit, Koling, Kimanis and other parts of Papar to witness the event officiated by Archbishop John Wong.  The Mass was concelebrated with Father Thomas Yip the pastor and his assistant, Father Thomas Madanan.

In his welcoming speech, Wilfred Yundang, the organising chairman,  said that the event was a three- in- one celebration: blessing of the Church, Feast of St Kenneth (normally celebrated in the month of October), and Christmas Celebration.

Among the invitees were former pastors Father Bruno Yasun and Father Jimsy Alex, religious brothers and sisters, catechists, members of St Joseph Papar and Holy Rosary Limbahau parish councils, and main donor Datuk Victor Paul.

The entrance procession from the old church building (now a community hall) was accompanied by tradition gong music and sumazau dancers.

In his short speech,  the prelate said that the blessing of the  new church is a witness of the grace and the merciful love of God.

The archbishop thanked  everyone for making it a reality, especially Datuk Victor Paul,  for his generousity and good deeds toward the church.

He also asked for prayers for the clergy and religious.

After the Mass, all witnessed the signing of the commemorative placques by the prelate.

The celebration continued at the community hall with the cutting of cakes and traditional dance and song performances by various ethnic communities, and lucky draws. –  William C Mindus, Papar-Limbahau SOCCOM

 

New nativity set blessed after Midnight Mass at SHC

Abp Wong incenses the manger, 24 Dec 2016, SHC.

KOTA KINABALU – The new life-size nativity set at Sacred Heart Cathedral here was blessed after the Christmas Midnight Mass on 24 Dec 2016.

Archbishop John Wong blessed the nativity set located on the island between the cathedral and the parish centre after the Mass.

Over a thousand faithful participated in the Mass commemorating the birth of Jesus and witnessed the blessing.

It was a relief to note that the nativity scene was faithful to the Lukan version of the birth narrative in its simplicity with only the shepherds and few animals present at the first Christmas.

After the gospel proclamation, Abp Wong carried Baby Jesus to the nativity set outside while Father Joshua Liew laid the baby on the manger.  The prelate then sprinkled holy water and incensed the manger.  However, the rite of blessing was carried out after the Mass.

Prior to the Mass the English Choir and Friends entertained the faithful with  their annual cantata themed Emmanuel Has Come!  Joy to the World!

 

Tampayasa chapel near propsed Kaiduan Dam blessed

impayasa-chapel-blessing-20-10-16

PENAMPANG – The new chapel in Kg Tampayasa Ulu Papar was blessed recently.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the blessing on 20 Oct 2016.  He was assisted by Fr Fundes Motiung, Fr Wiandigool Runsab and another priest.

The chapel, St Julius I, is about 20-minute drive by 4WD from Jalan Penampang, before Kg Buayan.  It is within the vicinity of the proposed controversial RM2.8 billion Kaiduan Dam Ulu Papar.

The dam construction was proposed in 2014 to ensure Sabah be spared from water crisis  in 2030.

However, if it proceeds, the new chapel, as well as 2,000 homes of Indigenous families in 11 villages will be under water.  These families will stand to lose their homes, livelihood, and history.  Moreover, it will destroy the last and largest forest in Papar District.

A year earlier,  Mary Giun of Kg Terian lamented, “Why do the lands of the natives, our lands, have to be the ones sacrificed?  Not only for dams but for other development projects including big scale oil plantations or sold off to big companies.  Why does it always have to be the lands of the natives?”

A representative of the Taskforce against Kaiduan Dam, she was taking part in the peaceful demonstration held in 2015.

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