PENAMPANG – Archbishop John Wong lamented the slow birth rate in the archdiocese, especially in Penampang Parish.
Abp Wong urged young married couples to have at least five children in the family while officiating the annual Parish Family Day celebration in the predominantly Catholic Penampang District on 26 July 2017 at St Marcellinus Church Minintod, one of the nine zones under St Michael Parish.
He exhorted the parishioners to heed his second follow-up call on the archdiocesan concern.
The prelate stressed the importance of strength in the family institution and to define it not only as a domestic family but in a wider perspective, at the parish and zone levels, growing together as children of God and continuing to bear fruit since the Good News took root on this bountiful land many years ago.
Interestingly, the theme chosen for this year, “I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16), resonated with what the prelate desired for his faithful.
Aware of the negative economic impact and the global trend of couples’ inclination to have small family citing work commitment and financial limitation as reasons, the archbishop remained optimistic that three factors, namely, to be positive in hope, family centred in Christ, and continuity of prayer, would motivate young couples.
Earlier before the Mass, Lawrence Bisuil, parish pastoral council chairman, briefed the prelate on parish activities, while Ernest Mojikon, head of the parish finance and property committee, reported on financial matters, particularly on the status of the renovation of the church.
Bisuil said that July 26 was chosen as the date for the parish day in memory of Msgr August Wachter who was appointed prefect apostolic on that date in 1927. This was mooted by then pastor Father Alex Sipanul in 2010 and was duly accepted by then Archbishop John Lee.
In 2016, then pastor Father Fundes Motiung made it a parish family day incorporating all the zones under the parish. Each zone will take turns to host the event.
Bisuil also assured the archbishop that the parish will continue with its outreach programmes to the village communities, helping them to understand the true meaning of the Eucharistic Celebration, Easter Triiduum, Rosary, Evangelisation, etc.
In his turn, Mojikon updated the prelate on the progress of the renovation works at St Michael Church, which would be completed within the estimated schedule. Included in the RM1 million major facelift project were installation of air-conditioners, new flooring, total electrical rewiring, artwork, repainting, etc.
The church re-dedication will be held on 18 August 2017, with Archbishop John Wong as presider.
Some 500 people turned up for the event, which included a welcoming ceremony for the new pastor, Father Wilfred Atin.
St Theresa of the Child Jesus Church Kolopis Zone will host the 2018 parish family day celebration. – SOCCOM Penampang