Tag Archives: St Simon Likas

Likas pastoral care ministry organises 6th outreach visit to senior citizens home

The writer (R) listens to Mdm Chin (L) during the visit by the Likas Pastoral Care Ministry to the Holy Family Senior Citizens Home Papar, 29 July 2017.

PAPAR – About 25 members and their families of the St Simon Catholic Church Likas Pastoral Care Ministry visited the Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens here on 29 Jul 2017.

The sixth outreach visit for the ministry this year, led by Vera Chin, also involved 15 students from confirmation class and two teachers.

The team was blessed by its pastor, Father Cosmas Lee, before the convoy of 10 vehicles loaded with food stuff and goodies left for the 45-minute journey.

Franciscan Sisters Aileen and Regina were on hand to welcome them to the residence, home to 35 elderly.

Some of the highlights of the visit included meet-and-greet, fellowship and performances by the confirmation class students which moved some of their audiences to tears, among others.

However, amid all the formality of the event, one story of conversion caught this writer’s attention, that of Madam Chin.

Madam Chin, 84, was wheelchair-bound following a fall which injured her hip bone. She said she moved into the residence only four months ago.

Chin was born in Sandakan to a pagan family. When she was five years old, she envisioned an eagerness to see God and asked her elder brother where to find Him.

“It has to be the God from the Catholic mission (Tien Tzu Tong in Hakka dialect),” said Chin.

Her brother told her the church is the only place to find God. He was studying in a Catholic school then. While growing up as a Buddhist, she never forgot about the Catholic Church.

She eventually married and had children of her own. Then one Sunday morning 22 years ago, she felt a very strong urge to seek God. So she got hold of her baby grandson who was under her care then, called a taxi and instructed the driver to go straight to St Mary’s Church (now St Mary’s Cathedral), which was eight miles away from her home along Labuk Road.

She said the minute she heard the Church bell tolling and the hymns, she felt her burden, sorrow, unhappiness and sufferings all disappeared. She felt so peaceful, relaxed, and joy filled her body thoroughly (the feelings have never changed since then, she said).

That same Sunday, she enquired about how to become a Catholic. She was introduced to Fr Tobias Chi the rector of the church then. She joined the Chinese Catechism class and was baptised a year later.

Later, her husband got a stroke and she had to care for him. She confessed there was a time she became a lapsed Catholic while being engrossed with family matters.

When she decided to go to a retirement home she insisted it has to be managed by Catholic mission. She said the Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens is her only choice because she feels she can be near God there. She said she prayed “very, very hard” in order to be admitted into the residence. She believes she has made peace with God now by attending daily Mass to make up for the times that she neglected God.

When Chin talked about God, her tone became very excited and her face radiant, and a flow of peace and happiness filtered through her. When she heard the song “Amazing Grace,”  her eyes brimmed with tears. She did not speak English but hummed along sweetly. She said she loves singing and would love to have a Chinese hymn book.

The writer felt privileged to meet this simple but remarkable lady whose struggle to know God took her through so many years of ups and downs that now she surrenders her later years in the senior home just to be near God and not with her children and family.

“It is my choice to come here… to have time with God,”  were her very first words to this writer when they shook hands. – Joan Pang @ SOCCOM St Simon Catholic Church

Likas pastor tells young people the importance of listening

KOTA KINABALU –  Likas pastor told the young people gathered for the Sunday morning Mass at St Simon Likas here the importance of listening on 7 May 2017, Vocation Sunday.

The congregation at the Mass for Children and Young People heard rector Father Cosmas Lee speak candidly about the roles of sheep and shepherd that Sunday, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.

“Should the shepherd be in front of the sheep or behind?” Fr Cosmas asked the young people, to which some said “behind.”   In surprise, the rector said: “Shepherds must be in front. How can the sheep lead the shepherd and go where they want?”

“You need to be brave to be in front. Jesus is in front. When you are young, most of the time you follow but when you grow up a little bit, you need to also be in front,” he said, citing the Junior Choir. “You see, the Junior Choir is in front today because they’re leading us.”

“The Gospel tells us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads them out. Easy to lead or not? No. Why? Every Sunday there is practice and you must be loud. To lead, you must show by example. Not easy,” he continued.

He added, “But when we are young, we are asked to follow. From young, we must learn not just to follow but to lead. If I don’t follow, how would I be able to lead?”

Fr Cosmas said it is also important to listen. “It’s very important to listen because vocation means calling. The Good Shepherd is always calling us. We must listen so that we become what the Shepherd wants us to be. We pray that many will be priest and religious.”

“First and foremost, God calls us to be good sheep,” he said, adding that to be a shepherd, one must go down to the ground and get “dirty.”

He said, “Pope Francis said ‘I prefer to have shepherds that smell’. You must go to the cattle shed.  You want to be like Jesus? You must get dirty a bit.”

“If you don’t get ‘dirty,’ if you’re not there, then all the sheep will get lost,” he said, adding that Jesus loves us and that He’s always a step ahead of us.

In his closing remarks, Fr Cosmas said Jesus as the Good Shepherd continues to lead the flock to green pastures so that one day, one of the sheep will become like Him – to lead the flock. – SSCC SOCCOM

St Simon resumes catechism classes with Bible enthronment

LIKAS –  The catechism classes at St Simon Catholic Church here resumed with a Bible enthronement officiated by Father Cosmas Lee on 8 Jan 2017.

Led by coordinator Theresa Ham, the students ranging from seven to 16 years old sang “Jesus, We Enthrone You” as the Bible was carried to the altar at the chapel.

Among the highlights was the young people’s pledge to “respect the Word of God in our midst” and to “draw strength and inspiration from the Word of God as we learn more about God in class.”

Father Lee gave his blessing to the students and teachers before the event closed with the singing of “This Little Light of Mine.” – Kingsley Bakmiwewa

St Simon’s newest ministry focuses on personal call and mission

Chong

LIKAS – The Ministry for Mission, a fairly new group at the St Simon Catholic Church here, has been meeting since May 2016.

Its leader, Derek Chong, said that the calling support group meets about twice a month to explore “what it means to be called personally by God.”

“We plan to meet up for the length of one year where we will look into the fundamental truth that we need to come to a deeper knowledge of our calling,” he said, adding that their journey is divided into four parts namely: (1) Knowing the true God, (2) Knowing myself, (3) Know my personal call (from Being to Doing) and (4) Response – How can I express that practically?

He said the meetings are held on Wednesday evenings.  The nine members take time to get in touch with themselves, pray, give feedback from the previous meeting and how they had responded to their convictions.  Then they explore a topic that leads to a response.

Chong said the members have been serving actively in the different parish ministries and discerned a need to know their own personal callings.

The ministry plans to have a weekend retreat on ‘calling’ some time this year, which will be open to all. – SOCCOM St Simon

Joy marks Fr Cosmas’ ruby jubilee celebration

The ruby jubilarian chats with  some of the faithful after Mass, 26 Dec 2016, St Simon Likas.

LIKAS – Joy marked the ruby jubilee celebration of Father Cosmas Lee at St Simon here on 26 Dec 2016.

Sharing in the joy of the Likas parishioners over their pastor’s 40 years of priesthood were several distinguished guests including Archbishop Emeritus John Lee,  Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur, Auxiliary Bishop Simon Poh of Kuching, Msgr Leonard Lexson of Kuala Lumpur,  Father John Yeow of Melaka-Johor, Father Moses Lui of Melaka-Johor, Carmelite Father Daniel Lim, other local and foreign priests,  members of the different religious institutes, and members of the Regional Commission on the Liturgy.

Present also were the jubilarian’s father, Francis,  his ten siblings and their families.

Although Archbishop John Wong presided over the concelebrated Mass, the 66-year-old jubilarian sang parts of the Mass and read out the homily (“jottings”) prepared by his best friend, Father Theo Ryan Marcus of India.

The jubilarian’s siblings took part in the Presentation of the Gifts, including a new chalice for the occasion.

After Mass there were no group photos taken.  Instead the jubilarian took time to greet the faithful.

All adjourned to the parish hall for the dinner reception prepared for around 800 people.  Here,  speeches were given by Anne Wong, chairperson of the parish pastoral council; Abp Wong; and the jubilarian before the cake-cutting  ceremony and dinner.

After dinner, there was a variety of song and dance performances by some groups including St James Primary School.

Pilgrims gain new insights during JYM pilgrimage to Ranau

ranau

RANAU – A total of 121 pilgrims from St Simon Church Likas gained new insights and aspirations on their Catholic faith after taking part in the Jubilee Year of Mercy (JYM) pilgrimage to St Peter Claver Church here on 27 Aug 2016.

Besides entering the Door of Mercy, the pilgrims, led by pastor Fr Cosmas Lee, also climbed a steep hill for the Stations of the Cross and feasted on local fruits, among others.

It was the second Door of Mercy visit organized by the JYM committee.  The first was to St Peter Church Kudat on July 31.

For pilgrim Tracy Lim, the pilgrimage here was a grace-filled experience.

“There are many things that keep us from entering the Door of Mercy. This jubilee is a time to put all of that behind,” she said. “The pilgrimage is not just to receive mercy, which we all need, but to also offer mercy.”

Another pilgrim, Theresa Ham, said entering the Door of Mercy gave her a sense of peace and reconciliation.

“Jesus was the first pilgrim. His entire pilgrimage was focused on being obedient to His Father. As pilgrims, we never journey alone. Jesus was first accompanied by His Mother.

During the two and a half hours’ journey to Ranau, the pilgrims recited the Rosary and were briefed on the trip by their respective leaders in the three buses.

The group reached Ranau before noon and were welcomed by representatives of the parish and its priest Fr Nicholas Stephen, who briefed them on the significance of the year.

 

The procession into the Door of Mercy was led by Fr Cosmas as he recited the Litany of Saints and responded by the pilgrims.

The pilgrims later went to St Peter Claver Chapel for prayer, personal reflection and Mass.

During Mass (St Monica’s Feast Day), Fr Cosmas reminded the pilgrims on the importance of prayer.

 

Before the Stations of the Cross, the pilgrims were invited for a fellowship at the parish canteen.

“It was not an easy walk as it involved climbing up the steep hills, among others, but it was nevertheless a wonder-filled journey,” said Tracy.

On the way back they visited St Philip the Apostle Catholic Church (Gereja Katolik St Philip) in Tamparuli.

At the end of the trip, each pilgrim received a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage. – SOCCOM SSL

St Simon Likas holds Mini PAX Assembly

st-simon-mini-pax

KOTA KINABALU – The St Simon Catholic Church Likas community held  a “mini PAX”  at the parish’s conference room on 25 June 2016.

Parish priest Fr Cosmas Lee and invited speaker Fr Wilfred Atin briefed the participants  on the archdiocesan event held in November 2015.  Also on hand to present their talks were the parish’s lay leaders Vera Chin and Magdalene Chu.

At the beginning of his address, Fr Cosmas briefed the participants on the history and background of the PAX Assembly. “PAX,” the acronym for Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Sabah, was run by the Board of Directors for many years until 1997, from the days of Mustapha in the 1970s, and was a kind of ‘parliament’ of the Church.

“(It was) the highest body to legislate, to execute all policies in the Church. Of course, PAX was led by the bishop, priests, religious and lay leaders,” Lee said.

He explained that due to the State’s political history, “the Church in Sabah was a little bit unusual in the way we used to govern ourselves.”

He added that because of this “urgent reason, we really had to involve the lay people much more, that’s why we have this unique Church government body. In the whole world, there is no other diocese that was officially run in the way we were run.”

The assembly used to gather once every year,  and the idea of a synod (assembly) was to bring together the bishop, clergy, religious and lay leaders whenever there is a need to consult them over issues that are afflicting the Church, he said.

The assembly was also a platform “to find technical solutions to these issues,” Fr Cosmas said, adding that such assembly is a concept of the faithful journeying together.

“Last November, the archdiocese  had a synod because the authority felt that there are some challenging issues that we must look at.  We dealt with six issues which we considered urgent and important. The idea is where are we as Church? What do we need to do in order to face these issues appropriately?” the priest said.

He said it was a “marvellous experience” at the previous assembly and added that the participants should also get that experience at the mini PAX.

After the assembly as tradition goes, every parish was asked to do a ‘mini PAX’ – a duplication – so that the experience gained by the top leaders of the archdiocese will also be gained by leaders in the parish,” he said, adding that it was the main objective of organising the mini PAX at the parish.

Fr Cosmas also talked about the vision and mission of the archdiocese. In the last 10 years, he noticed that the younger generation had no clue what they are about. “When you talk about DOPP – the Diocesan Organisational Pastoral Plan – which was launched in 1997 and most importantly, at the heart of this plan is a vision, a vision for the archdiocese.

“We always talk about the vision and mission of the archdiocese as if people know it (well),” he said.  “The archdiocese has a vision that everything we do all our life, all our work, efforts, ministries – you name it – even the Year of Mercy, should always be seen as part of the moving towards the realisation of this vision.”

In 1992, Fr Cosmas said the then Bishop John Lee had a very important address called “Review and Renew.”

“From that, as we discerned and discussed, we decided that there should be the process of an organisational pastoral plan – a plan that is permanent with a vision that we should put who we are, what we want, how we should get it and how to get there together once and for all.”The process started in 1995, and after years of consultation by the committee involved, the DOPP was officially launched in September 1997.  “Without this vision we would all get very disintegrated, confused. We need to be with that vision to see whatever is happening that all should work out in line with the mission,” Fr Cosmas added.

Meanwhile, invited speaker Fr Wilfred shared his presentation similar to that of the previous PAX Assembly where he spoke on the Catholic identity in Malaysia seen through the:
– universal perspective
–  ecclesio-historical perspective
–  socio-political and economical perspective
– Christological perspective

The Parish Pastoral Council chairperson Anne Wong, on the other hand, reported the answers given by the participants during the discussion which covered some of these pressing issues.

The floor was later opened to the participants to discuss further on the answers given by the groups and moderated by Fr Cosmas.

Vera and Magdalene later shared presentations on the Pastoral Thrust, derived from the DOPP, which was mooted by the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu to address the issues previously mentioned.

The Mini PAX Assembly ended with a Mass at the chapel. Prior to that, the participants were asked to write down their resolutions after having experienced the parish-level mini PAX Assembly on pieces of paper, which were later burnt in front of the chapel after the Mass. – SOCCOM St Simon

St Simon Likas celebrates Mass for children and young people

ssc children mass

KOTA KINABALU: The St Simon Catholic Church Likas parish celebrated Mass for Children and Young People on World Communications Day as well as Mother’s Day on 8 May 2016.

At the beginning of the Morning Mass, parish rector Fr Cosmas Lee congratulated the children and young people not due to their own merits but because “God loves you.”

Fr Cosmas’ demeanour with the children and youngsters was of good humour and candid – as seen in the way he interacted freely but truthfully with them.

To the question which he asked of the youngsters “Who was the first one in communication with you?” he gave answer. “Your mother,” he said, adding that they should be nice to their mothers. “Because that was the first way that God chose to love you so closely, concretely and personally.”

“That’s communication,” he said, referring to the celebration of World Communications Day.

“How do you know that your family is good?” and “How do you know that your father and mother are good?’” Fr Lee continued to stir the children’s mind and heart.

“If your father and mother are always united not only in happy times but in the most trying times, if they can stick together, that is the proof it is a good family,” explained the pastor.

Continuing to engage the children and young people, he asked “Any other proof that you got a good family?” and offered them “The next proof is: presence. How do you know your father and mother love you? They spend a lot of time together with you.”

Going on to affirm the mothers on Mother’s Day, Fr Lee said “I hope many of you, mothers especially today, that as you sit with your family, you sense not just someone loving you, but you sense ultimately God Himself loving you faithfully, unconditionally and then you will be a very good mother, a very good grandmother. Not just based on your feelings of love, but founded on the unconditional, pure love of God Himself.”

On World Communications Day, the rector said “I think there are very few people as merciful as a mother… if mothers are more merciful, the whole world will become more merciful. And, of course, the greatest of all mothers is Mother Mary, the mother of God.” – SSL SOCCOM

Likas Parish celebrates traditional 4-in-1 yearend do with a barbecue

Parishioners pray a blessing over Fr Lee.

Parishioners pray a blessing over Fr Lee.

KOTA KINABALU – St Simon Likas celebrated its traditional three-in-one yearend do with a barbecue on 27 Dec 2015, feast of the Holy Family.  The celebration marked the feast itself, Fr Cosmas Lee’s 39th ordination anniversary, thanksgiving for all parishioners, and appreciation of the parish children.

For those arriving at the Church from the parish hall, the smell of enticing barbecue filled the compound on Sunday morning for the Feast of the Holy Family.

Those events were summed up in the opening of  Fr Lee’s homily:

“I hope your senses are not so dull as not to have seen the smoke and smell the aroma of ‘ayam panggang’ (barbecued chicken) as you came to Church this morning.  We’re going to have a little party after Mass. Everyone is invited. But knowing that half of you will not go, I will do the homily as my speech there… so that we will have something to reflect on this great Feast of the Holy Family.”

However, the homilist’s tiredness after the hustle-bustle of Christmas could be heard when he said:  “When you are in a war, and if you keep on fighting, there is a thing called ‘battle fatigue’. (Most people would think that) aiyo, just went to Church two days ago, today go again, better sleep first lo. You see how much we need the endless mercy of God.”

“Today we are celebrating our traditional 4-in-1 celebration. First, to celebrate the family, not just our own family but also the family of the whole parish community. Secondly, to thank and appreciate all those who have served in this parish the whole year. I wouldn’t mention the names. Then, it’s a day that we’re supposed to appreciate our children. Give them a chance to rejoice, to celebrate because they are our future… future of faith, future of understanding of God’s love and mercy.”

On his 39th ordination anniversary, Fr Lee shared how ministering a parish community and to say “yes” to God is also to suffer:

“I am grateful that people remember and they want to celebrate (my anniversary) despite their ‘battle fatigue’. Because, why? It is not my celebration. I was ordained by the Church, in the name of God, for you. I’m here for you, I’m your priest that’s why you celebrate.  I don’t celebrate because I was ordained.

“Ordained to suffer… not much to rejoice, you know. Every family needs a father. You call me ‘Father’ I hope you don’t regret it. And I am supposed to minister you so that you’ll all be children who’ll know to be good prophets, priests and ‘kings’ –  the roles we’re supposed to play since our baptism. To be a prophet means to know the Word of God, to be able to speak for God in our life, to evangelise, to reach out – with the truth, not with nonsense. And we think that all of us know how to serve, like Jesus the King, the Shepherd King – to govern our family, to govern our community, in truth, in justice, in mercy.

“And finally, this family, through the service of an ordained Minister, will be better worshippers, priests, to be able to worship God rightly, truly, sincerely, and that this worship of God will be translated into our prophesying and our servicing as that Shepherd King in our governance of our family… so it is you who should be rejoicing and not so much me. I am the ‘victim.’

“We pray for each other that we may all become a good family, with the Father; that the children are listening. Children should be allowed to be themselves, guided by the commandments of God,” Fr Cosmas said, concluding his longer than usual sermon.

Meanwhile, at the parish hall following the Mass, the Parish Pastoral Council chairlady Anne Wong, on behalf of the community, thanked Fr Cosmas for his dedication to his call to shepherd the Likas parish.

The highlights of the event included the culminating of the caroling at the parish-level where groups of carolers, led by Vincent Wong, sang Christmas songs on the stage. The food served included spaghetti, fried chicken, satay and ‘sao nyuk,’ among others. – St Simon Church Likas Soccom

Likas parish marks parish day with three events

Abp Wong sprinkles the people with holy water during the rite of blessing.

Abp Wong sprinkles the people with holy water during the rite of blessing.

LIKAS, Kota Kinabalu – St Simon Parish here marked its parish day – though a month late – with three events: blessing of its renovated church, confirmation of 31 candidates and 34 children received their first Holy Communion on 29 Nov 2015.  The parish day is normally celebrated on Oct 28 – feast of Sts Simon and Jude.  Archbishop John Wong presided over the Mass, concelebrated with parish priest Fr Cosmas Lee, assisted by Deacon Joshua Liew.

The high Mass began with Abp Wong blessing the renovated church with holy water.  The renovation consisted of a new flooring (the carpet was taken out), new ceiling and new airconditon units replacing the old ones, a choir loft was added above the main entrance so that there would be more room for the parishioners to worship, additional awning was constructed around the church.  During the six-month period of renovation (amounting to almost RM1 million) the Eucharist was celebrated in the parish hall.  Moreover, the surroundings were beautifully landscaped and the Marian grotto was moved to the interior near the gardener’s quarters so that it would be more conducive for the devotees to pray there.

The Mass proceeded normally with the Rite of Confirmation held after the homily.  The first communicants received the Lord at the Rite of Communion.  After the Mass, most adjourned to the parish hall for the reception.  In his address to the parishioners, the prelate reminded them to “read the Bible, receive the sacraments, live the commandments, and go forth to evangelise.”

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