Singapore to conduct online workshop on untangling fake news on June 28

SINGAPORE – In his 2018 World Communications Day message, Pope Francis focused on fake news and journalism for peace. In support of the Holy Father’s call to fight fake news and its pervasiveness, ArchComms held the 1st VERITAS Workshop: Untangling Fake News on 14 Apr 2018. The aim of the workshop was to highlight the different types of fake news, what is the truth, and how as individuals we can do our part to stop the spread of fake news.

Missed it? Fret not!

Due to the immense success of the inaugural workshop, we will be conducting a 2nd run of the VERITAS Workshop! 100% of the respondents concurred that the VERITAS workshop was beneficial and would highly recommend it to all members of the Church.

If you are in the eco-system of communication, be it at home, workplace or in the Church, this workshop is most definitely meant for you!

Thu 28 June 2018
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Level 3, Annex
The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

Click as it will have a livestream button that day.

Reflection for the Birth of John the Baptist


First Reading
Isaiah 49:1-6
You are my servant, through whom I show my glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 139:1-3,13-15
I praise you for I am wonderfully made.

Second Reading
Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26
John announced the coming of Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:57-66,80
John the Baptist is born and all wonder what the child will be.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel alternate between stories of two births. One is the annunciation and birth of John the Baptist, who was, for Luke, the last great prophet of the Old Testament and who prepared the way for someone greater than any prophet—Jesus the Messiah. The annunciation and birth of Jesus is the other story. The story of John sets the very Jewish environment into which Jesus and John were born. Jesus’ annunciation and birth begins to move the Gospel into the environment of the Roman empire.

In the verses before those read today, the birth of John the Baptist has been announced by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah, who was performing his duties as a priest in the Jerusalem Temple. Gabriel then announced the birth of Jesus to Mary in her home in Nazareth. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, are an old couple who have never had children. Mary is engaged to Joseph, but they have not yet come to live together.

We read today that Elizabeth’s neighbours and relatives rejoice with her because God has shown her mercy in the birth of a son. But they are confused when she tells them that his name is to be John, which means “God has been gracious.” Zechariah has been unable to speak since Gabriel appeared, because, unlike Mary, he doubted the angel’s word. But when he writes on a tablet “John is his name” all are amazed, and a great fear comes upon everyone. Fear, along with joy and praise, is for Luke the appropriate response to God’s mercy. People ask, “What, then, will this child be?” But this question has already been answered by the angel. “He will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”

Zechariah responds with praise in his famous canticle, the Benedictus. But that is not read today. Instead we jump to the last verses of the chapter, which explain that John will become strong in spirit living in the desert until it is time to show himself to the people of Israel. When John appears again at the beginning of Chapter 3, after the stories of the birth and childhood of Jesus, he will prepare those people for the ministry of Jesus by preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  –


Pope Francis’ June 2018 Intentions

June 2018

Universal: Social Networks

That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences.


Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

(Legend: Ap=Apostle  Pp=Pope  Bp=Bishop  Ch=Children  Dr=Doctor  Ma=Married  Mt=Martyr  Pr=Priest   Re=Religious  Vg=Virgin  Fd=Founder)

June 01: St Justin (Mt)

June 02: Sts Marcellinus & Peter (Mts)

June 03:  Corpus Christi (9th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

June 05: St Boniface (Mt)

June 06:  St Norbert (Bp)

June 08: Sacred Heart of Jesus / Day of Prayer for Priestly Holiness

June 09: Immaculate Heart of Mary

June 10: 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 11: St Barnabas (Ap)

June 13: St Anthony of Padua (Pr-Dr)

June 15: St Germaine Cousin / Foundation of the Daughters of St Paul Italy 1915

June 16: St John F Regis / Foundation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception 1936

June  17: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 19: St Romuald (Ab)

June 20: St Alban / World Refugee Day

June 21: St Aloysius Gonzaga (Re)

June 22: St Paulinus (Bp), St John Fisher (Bp-Mt), St Thomas More (Mt)

June 25: St Prosper / Decree of Erection of Diocese of Kota Kinabalu by Paul VI 1976

June 24: Birth of St John the Baptist

June 26: St Josemaria Escriva (Pr) / 31st episcopal anniversary of Abp Emeritus John Lee

June 27: St Cyril of Alexandria (Bp-Dr)

June 28: St Irenaeus (Bp-Mt)

June 29: Sts Peter & Paul (Aps)

June 30: First Roman Martyrs / St Paul (Ap)

Prayer for our nation

Let us proclaim the name of the Lord; and ascribe greatness to our God!

Lord, Your work is perfect. And all your ways are just.  Let Your voice be heard today by all the nations.

O God, Judge of the nations, put fear into our hearts so that we may know that we are only human. Father, the whole of creation groans and labours to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Lord Jesus, send forth Your Spirit of Truth and let this Spirit prove to ‘the powers that be’ how wrong they are about sin, righteousness and judgment. O Lord, declare the power of Your works to Your people and let us be filled with the knowledge of Your glory as the waters cover the sea.

Gather us, O Lord, in Your Name and may all worship the One True God. Amen.

(A prayer composed from various Scripture verses of the Bible – Herald Malaysia)

SHC-CMI officials make FAM trip to archdiocesan centre

The Sacred Heart Cathedral and Church of Mary Immaculate officials pose with Abp John Wong in his office at the Archdiocesan Centre Penampang during their visit on 26 May 2018.

PENAMPANG  – Parish pastoral councillors from Sacred Heart Cathedral and Church of Mary Immaculate made a surprised familiarisation trip (FAM) to the Archdiocesan Centre where Archbishop John Wong’s office is located on 26 May 2018.

Dominic Lim, who works at the centre as Executive Secretary, facilitated a brief introduction on the structure and operation of the centre. He noted that it was a first of its kind for councillors to visit and be given a briefing.

Lim informed the visitors that the centre was ready for occupation in 1985, and was blessed by then Bishop John Lee.

The visitors were told that 50 staff are employed by the centre, which includes voluntary, part-time and full-time personnel.

After the briefing, they were taken around to tour the various offices at the different blocks. Besides the secretariat and finance offices, the centre also houses the Aspirants Formation House, the Commissions, a resource library, an archive, meeting and seminar facilities, a bookstore, and the Catholic Services Centre.

Some councillors have found it good and beneficial to have the opportunity to visit the Archdiocesan Centre and to have a better understanding of how the archdiocesan offices function, how the parishes are being cared for, how vast and wide the running of the archdiocese encompasses, etc.

They felt that such a FAM visit could not but serve to bring laity and church together for a better integration in promoting God’s work in the sharing of the Good News, and in extending His Kingdom here on earth. – CS

CMI organises low-key Kaamatan celebration

Father Joshua Liew (L facing camera) dances the sumazau with the others, CMI Kaamatan celebration Bukit Padang, 6 May 2018.

BUKIT PADANG – The Church of Mary Immaculate here organised a low-key Kaamatan celebration on 6 May 2018 to thank God for a bountiful harvest of love,  faith, and joyful service.

The celebration started with a procession before Mass from the canteen to the church. The procession, known as Mamanau Kampung, included the celebrant, altar servers, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and parishioners dressed in their traditional costume.

The Mass was presided by Father Joshua Liew. The Proclamation of the Word of God was trilingual, in Bahasa Malaysia, Kadazan and English.

After Mass, parishioners were invited for a fellowship at the canteen. About 100 showed up and together with Fr Joshua, had a simple but meaningful fellowship. Members of the CMI parish council, groups and ministries were present to support the event.

Besides lunch, other activities included a best-dressed in traditional costume competition for men and women, and Sumazau dancing.

During lunch, the guests had the opportunity to savour traditional dishes, like pickled delicacies such as tuhau and nonsom bambangan. Dessert such as hinompuka (sticky rice cake) and Lihing, the local rice wine, were served too.

The best-dressed in traditional costume competition saw six winners – three men and three women.

May is the month when the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) communities celebrate bountiful harvests. – Catherine Engsun

Could Francis be shifting his stand on gay influence?

No sooner had I spotted one hopeful sign in the Pope’s handling of the Chilean sex-abuse scandal when today’s news brought another. Pope Francis has reaffirmed the Church’s policy barring active homosexuals from seminaries.

This concern about homosexual influence contrasts quite sharply with the Holy Father’s reported advice to a gay Chilean abuse victim to “be happy with who you are.” It contrasts with the most famous words of his pontificate, uttered in response to questioning about a homosexual cleric: “Who am I to judge?” But if Pope Francis is finally recognising the damage that homosexual influence has done to the Church, that is surely a hopeful sign.

In his confidential letter to the Chilean bishops – the version that the Vatican did not publish – the Pope listed the signs of serious corruption in the country’s episcopate, including the fact that “some bishops or superiors…are believed to have entrusted [seminarians] to priests suspected of active homosexuality.”

Then just a few days later it emerged that the Pope had advised Italian bishops not to admit young men into seminaries if “you have the slightest doubt” that they might be active homosexuals.

Pope Francis is not the first Roman Pontiff to warn against homosexual influence, particularly at the seminary level.

In April 2002, when American bishops traveled to Rome to discuss the sex-abuse scandal with Pope John Paul II, the Vatican summary of their talks mentioned “the need for a deeper study of the criteria of suitability of candidates for the priesthood.”

Again in November 2005 the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education released a document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, stating clearly that the Church “may not admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practise homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.”

Even in this pontificate, the Congregation for Clergy confirmed the ban on homosexual seminarians, quoting from the earlier 2005 document.

So we know that Vatican statements about homosexual influence have not yet translated into policies that address the problem. I am not predicting a dramatic change in papal policies now. But stranger things have happened, and surely we can hope.

Pope Francis was severely shaken by the scandal in Chile. Has the jolt changed his attitude toward homosexual influence in the Church? For that matter, will the Pope’s cautions against homosexual seminarians dampen the enthusiasm of some of his most ardent supporters? This issue has at least the potential to bring about a significant change. – P Lawler

70 attend workshop on ‘Amoris Laetitia’ in Sandakan

The participants pose for the camera after the Joy of Love workshop which took place on 18-19 May 2018, St Mary Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – Around 70 people attended a workshop on Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love) organised jointly by the Family Life Commission and Catechetical Commission at St Mary here on 18-19 May 2018.

In his address, Bishop Julius Gitom explained that the document by Pope Francis was the outcome of the two synods on family in 2014 and 2015.  The 325-word document has 9 chapters touching on the various challenges confronting the family.

The chapters were explained by the following priests and Eva Siruno, head of the Family Life Commission: Chapter 1 (Father Stanley Matakim); Chapter 2 (Father Simon Kontou); Chapter 3 (Father Sunny Chung); Chapter 4 (Father Phillip Muji); Chapter 5 (Father Christopher Ireneus); Chapter 6 (Father David Garaman); Chapter 7 (Father Thomas Makajil); Chapter 8 (Fr Garaman); Chapter 9 (Eva Siruno). – Sandakan Diocesan Blog

Pope at WCC urges participants to spread the Good News

Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches, 21 June 2018. (ANSA)

GENEVA –  On  21 June 2018, Pope Francis travelled to Geneva for a one-day apostolic visit during which he marked the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and led an ecumenical prayer service.  He urged them to spread the Good News.

The Pope also celebrated Holy Mass and met with the Swiss President, but ecumenism was the theme of the day, as illustrated by the visit’s motto: “Walking together, Praying together and Working together.”

The WCC is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organised expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.

It brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians.

Present in Geneva for the Pope’s visit to the WCC was Bishop MA Daniel of the Methodist Church in India.

He spoke to Vatican News’ Hélène Destombes about the significance, for him, of the Pope’s encouragement to continue walking the path of Christian unity.

Bishop MA Daniel said that the Pope’s visit represented a precious moment of encouragement and affirmation for all churches committed to pursue the path towards Christian unity.

He said it was particularly important because as head of the Catholic Church, Francis’ message carries great weight.

“Catholics play such an important role all over the world so if they take leadership it helps all the churches come together to stand for our cause,” he said.

Reflecting on Pope Francis’ two speeches to the WCC leadership and to all of its members, Bishop Daniel said they were both “meaningful” and in both of them he “invited us to come together and love one another whatever happens.”

The Pope, he said, called for us to come together on common ground, show concern for others and spread the good news of the Gospel, also because in these very difficult times, the good news of Jesus is particularly needed.

“Love, he said, is the prime message to communicate, because conflicts and problems that are taking place because of intolerance are increasing: only the strong message of Jesus Christ – that we need to love one another” – guided by the Holy Spirit, is essential.

Regarding problems of intolerance and religious strife in his own country, India, Bishop Daniel said that in India “multi-cultural practices” are embedded in the culture, but Hinduism represents the majority and “dialogue is very important to understand one another.”

“If you are like a frog in a well or a chick in a shell” (and cannot get out), he concluded, “It will not help to have understanding and be able to accommodate one another”. – Linda Bordoni, Vatican News

Working document for synod on youth presented

Pope Francis with young participants in the Pre-synodal Meeting in Rome on 19 March 2018. (ANSA)

VATICAN CITY – The ‘Instrumentum Laboris’ of the Synod of Bishops on young people scheduled for later this year, was released at a press conference in the Vatican on 19 June 2018.

The ‘Instrumentum Laboris’ or the working document of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on youth, scheduled from October 3-28 in the Vatican, has three main sections, namely, recognising, interpreting and choosing with regard to vocation in life.

Presented at a press conference by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, along with three other officials, the 67-page document is the fruit of a long preparatory phase which began with the announcement of the synod by Pope Francis on 6 October 2016.

The working document of the synod on the theme, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” has been the result of consultation with the Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, the bishops’ conferences worldwide, the Vatican dicasteries and the Roman Curia, and the International Union Superiors General (UISG).

An important input has been from an online questionnaire to which over 100,000 youth responded.  Other inputs came from the International Seminar on the Condition of Youth held in Rome in September 2017, and the March 2018 Pre-Synodal Meeting in Rome with 300 youth in which another 15,000 participated online.

The first part of the “Instrumentum Laboris” – recognising – is dedicated to a Church that listens and is open to the realities and numerous challenges that young people are faced with in today’s context.  Many of these challenges, such as religious discrimination, racism, job insecurity, poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism, bullying, sexual exploitation, child pornography and corruption.., are generated by the “culture of waste”  and by an improper use of new digital technologies that are so pervasive.

The second part – interpreting – deals with the theme of discernment of one’s vocation in the light of theological and biblical tradition.

The third part – choosing – indicates the paths of pastoral and missionary conversion, beginning with discernment as a Church that is going out.

The “Instrumentum Laboris” concludes with a note on holiness saying, “youth is a time for holiness” and young people are also called live the Beatitudes in daily life. Holiness should be proposed as a horizon accessible to all young people.  “In fact,” the Synod working document says, “all saints through their youth and it would be good for today’s youth to show how saints lived in their youth.” – Robin Gomes, Vatican News

Parishioners mark assistant pastor’s anniversary with breakfast

A section of the parishioners standing solidly behind the honourees at the breakfast marking the fourth priestly anniversary of Father Max Hontor (front, 6th from L) and the 78th birthday of Sister Cecilia Liew fsic (on Fr Max’s right), Sacred Heart Cathedral parish canteen, 23 June 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – As customary, the Morning Massgoers of Sacred Heart Cathedral here marked their assistant pastor’s 4th priestly anniversary with breakfast on 23 June 2018.

Born in 1977, Father Maxmillianno Hontor (or Fr Max in short) was ordained priest on 15 June 2014.  After ordination he served in St John Tuaran before being sent to serve at the cathedral parish in 2016.

At the same time, the parishioners also celebrated the 78th birthday of Franciscan Sister Cecilia Liew, the head of the Morning Mass Choir, who was born in Tuaran on June 20.

Among those present were Archbishop John Wong, Father Paul Lo, and Father Jeffri Gumu (home for the semestral break).

Piling works start for Catholic Centre

Abp Wong (front right) leads the prayer after driving the first pile into the ground, Catholic Centre site Karamunsing, 21 May 2018.

KOTA KINABALU –  With the commencement of piling, the RM9.6 million Catholic Centre moved one step forward on 21 May 2018.

At the construction site on the grounds of the former Shan Tao Primary School at Jalan Sang Kancil Karamunsing,  Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu drove the first pile into the ground, symbolically signalling the beginning of piling works. After that, he led a prayer asking God to bless this new phase in the construction of the centre.

Present to witness the event were project priest-supervisor Father Cosmas Lee, members from the Steering Committee, Architect Daniel Koh, consultants from QS-CE Technical Services, piling contractor Colleen Sdn Bhd, engineering consultant from BSK Sdn Bhd, earthworks contractor JV Champion Sdn Bhd, main contractor Min Construction Sdn Bhd and project coordinator Johnny Liau.

Piling works are estimated to take about two months and targeted to complete on July 24.

Construction of the main building is expected to begin on August 1 and completed in October 2019.

At the same event, John Voo of JV Champion Sdn Bhd was presented with a letter of appreciation by Abp Wong for having successfully completed the demolition and earthworks.

The time frame for the earthworks went beyond the stipulated time by three months due to a requirement of the local authority to construct drainage and retention walls, works that had been planned to be carried out at the construction of the main building.

To date, donations received have reached over RM3 million, including a State Government grant of RM200,000.  The total cost of the New Catholic Centre is RM9.6 million. There is still a shortfall of RM5.7 million.

For details, please call 088-712297 (Angela Yen, Cecilia Funk, or Teresa Chin). – Herald Malaysia

Pope says no to women priests, yes to women in curial leadership

Pope Francis meets with a woman at the general audience in Paul VI Hall, 13 Jan 2016.  Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

VATICAN CITY – In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.

Responding to a question about women’s ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to ‘functionalise’ the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”

“We cannot functionalise women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn’t work.”

“John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”

However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.

“I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican’s deputy spokesperson.

He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”

Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn’t matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.

“I don’t have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn’t have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.

For example, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.

Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don’t want to fall into this.”

Pope Francis spoke during an interview with American journalist Phil Pullella of Reuters, which took place on 17 June 2018 at the pope’s Vatican residence, and was published June 20.

In the interview, the pope touched on a variety of topics, including a possible deal with China on the appointment of bishops, clerical abuse and the ongoing scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia, and criticism he’s faced.

On the topic of women, Francis said that in his experience, things are usually done better when there is a mixed group working on a task, rather than just men.

“Women have an ability to understand things, it’s another vision,” he said, noting that whenever he has visited prisons run by women, they “seemed to do better,” because women know how to be “mothers” and care for inmates and their needs in a unique way.

“Women know how to manage conflicts better. In these things, women are braver,” he said, adding, “I think it would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”

Francis noted that some have said inviting more women into the mix might mean there is more gossip, however, he said he does not believe that would be the case, “because we men are also gossipers.” – Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

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