Monthly Archives: September, 2017

FSICs bid final farewell to Sr Alphonsus on her birth anniversary

The Franciscan Sisters, led by Sr Grace Deosing, sing their song of farewell to the late Sr Alphonsus Low at the Stella Maris Church Tg Aru before her body was brought to the Mile 4.5 Catholic Cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama for burial, 29 Sept 2017.  Near the coffin are the three nieces and one nephew who flew in from Singapore and Perth Sept 28.

TANJUNG ARU – Over 60 Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) led by Superior General Sister Grace Deosing bade final farewell to Sister Alphonsus Low, at the Stella Maris Church here on 29 Sept 2017, her 79th birth anniversary.

Singapore-born Low died peacefully on Sept 26 at KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital Likas.  The wake was held at Stella Maris Hostel Tg Aru where she had been taking care of the boarders.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the funeral Mass at the parish church.  Concelebrating with him were Msgr Primus Jouil, Father Johnny Raju, Father Tony Mojiwat, Father Wiandigool Runsab and two Korean priests.

In his homily, Abp Wong paid tribute to the deceased’s lifelong fidelity to her vocation as a religious and as a teacher.  Her first posting in 1958 was at Stella Maris Primary School before she joined the Franciscan Sisters in 1961.  Her last posting was at Stella Maris Secondary School as principal (1981-1989).  After her retirement from teaching,  she took charge of the hostel for students.

Over 300 people turned up for the funeral Mass, among whom were several of her former students.  Three nieces, two nephews, and a nephew-in-law flew in from Perth and Singapore on Sept 28 even though one of the nephews had to leave early on the day of the funeral.

Fr Mojiwat officiated the rite of burial at Mile 4.5 Catholic Cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama.

Miri cathedral parish organises fundraising walkathon

Warming up before the walkathon, 9 Sept 2017, Miri.

MIRI – St Joseph’s  Cathedral Parish here organised a family walkathon on 9 Sept 2017 and raised more than RM700,000 for the new cathedral building fund.

About 800 participants took part in the walk and food fair.

At the prize giving for the highest 10 collectors, Bishop Richard Ng expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the organisers, sponsors, participants, and all those who contributed in cash or kind to make the walkathon a memorable event.

The bishop thanked in particular “The Ironlegs” – a local running club which provided advice, technical support, equipment and route management during the walkathon, including assistance from the Miri Cyclist Club. He hoped that the family walkathon can be an annual affair bringing families together for healthy exercise as well as raising fund for Wisma St Joseph.

He hoped that the family walkathon can be an annual affair bringing families together for healthy exercise as well as raising fund for Wisma St Joseph.

The organisers were happy that the event generated positive comments from the participants. –




MCCBCHST supports statement of former IGP

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) fully supports the timely reminder by former IGP Abdul Rahim bin Mohd Noor (Free Malaysia Today –by Tracy Patrick 20/09/17) that Malaysia was never meant to be an Islamic State or to have an official religion.  Below is the full statement.

MCCBCHST has consistently stated in the past that:-

(i) When Malaya gained Independence in 1957 and when Malaysia was formed in 1963, that there was no consideration or proposal for Malaya or Malaysia to be an Islamic Country.

(ii) Our forefathers had clearly envisioned Malaysia to be based on secular laws.

(iii) That it would be unconstitutional and an attack on the “Core fabric” of the Constitution if one were to aspire for it to be an Islamic Country based on Islamic Laws including Hudud Offences.

We further support the following said by the former IGP :

(a) “The Federation of Malaysia was never meant to be an Islamic Country because if it was, Sabah and Sarawak would never have agreed to it.”

(b) “The people in the Borneo State, all of them, regardless of race and religion did not want an official religion.”

(c) “That there was a frightening trend among the ruling elites, they are bending over backwards and submitting to the will of those who use religion to garner support from increasingly religious masses.”

MCCBCHST calls on Malaysians to respect and abide by the founding principles on which Malaysia was formed and to be a nation based on Secular Laws was agreed upon.

Adhering to this founding principles will ensure a strong and united Malaysia that would be able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century with confidence.

Dated: 25 September 2017

 The statement was signed by the Ven Dato’ Seri Jit Heng (president), Datuk RS Mohan Shan (deputy president), Archbishop Julian Leow (vice president), Sandar Jagir Singh (vice president), Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow (vice president), and Prematiaka KD Serisena (secretary general).

Carmelite nun celebrates 90 years of life

File Photo: Bishop John Lee with Mother Consuelo of Jesus ocd inside the Carmelite Monastery Kota Kinabalu in the late 1980s.

KOTA KINABALU – A Carmelite nun celebrated 90 years of life with a solemn Mass on 26 Sept 2017 at the Carmelite Monastery here.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the thanksgiving Mass for Mother Consuelo of Jesus.  Joining him at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Father Felix Chung, Father David Sham, Father Michael Modoit, Father Rayner Bisius, Father Mattheus Luta, Father Max Hontor, and two Korean priests.

Over 100 people turned up for the celebration.

In his homily, Abp Wong touched on the many meanings of a birthday celebration in the light of the liturgical readings for votive Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Basically, it is to thank God for the gift of life and the graces received by the celebrator that are shared with those around.

After the homily, Mother Consuelo renewed her baptismal promises.

After Mass, Celestina Jinu OCDS thanked the concelebrants for marking the occasion with them and paid a tribute to Mother Consuelo for her prayerful ministry inside.

A surprised tribute was paid by Joseph Carlos Leong, a dentist by profession from Selangor.  He and his family came to Sabah in 2004 and got acquainted with Mother Consuelo in 2005.  Last month, he went to Spain and was able to meet the relatives of Mother Consuelo, and brought back their greetings to her.

After the speeches, all adjourned outside for a simple breakfast prepared by the Carmelite Seculars.  Abp Wong also cut the commemorative cake in Mother Consuelo’s stead.

Born on 26 Sept 1927 in Spain, Mother Consuelo entered Carmel there. She made her first profession on 30 Oct 1954 and her solemn profession three years later.  She arrived in North Borneo (now Sabah) on 12 Apr 1960.  She served as prioress for many terms.

At 90, she has been a cloistered nun for 63 years, serving in Sabah for 57 years.  She celebrated her diamond jubilee (60 years) of religious profession on 30 Oct 2014.

Keningau Diocese organises day of reparation

KENINGAU – A day of reparation was held simultaneously in all parishes, churches, and chapels in Keningau Diocese on 15 Sept 2017, memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Activities included fasting, rosary recitation, Mass and Holy Hour.

Around 200 faithful attended the event at Katedral St Francis Xavier here presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong.

As indicated by the bishop’s pastoral letter issued for the occasion, the intention was to make reparation for all the sins committed at personal and communal levels against God and neighbour in the past 24 years as a diocese.  It was also to make peace with God and one another.

In his homily, the bishop emphasised the sin of unfaithfulness against one’s commitment whether as priest, religious or married couple.

He gave praise to God for people who still come to Mass despite their busy schedule.  He said it indicates the importance they place on the spiritual life.

The prelate said that redemption is not something one can do for oneself.  Quoting Hebrews 9:28, he said it has been done by Christ once and for all.

Why then the need to make reparation?  The bishop said it was because of human weakness and living in this world, one needs to experience God’s mercy in oneself, one’s family and in society. One needs also to let go of those attitudes that run contrary to God’s will through self-surrender to God each day. –

Franciscan Sr Alphonsus Low called to eternal life

KOTA KINABALU – Sister Alphonsus Low of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) was called to eternal life on 26 Sept 2017, a few days short of her 79th birthday.

She was admitted to KPJ on Monday Sept 25 due to breathing difficulty and died peacefully around 10:20 am the next day.

She was born in Singapore on 29 Sep 1938 as Daisy Low Cheng Neo.

She entered Postulancy on 5 Aug 1961 in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and received the habit and the religious name of Sr M Alphonsus when she entered the novitiate on 11 Feb 1962.  After taking her first vows on 11 Feb 1964, she went for formal teachers’ training.

In her 53 years, she had been fully involved in education and caring for boarders, while at the same time giving much of her time in service to the Stella Maris Parish Tanjung Aru as Extraordinary Communion Minister, Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary and the intercessory group.

She also played a proactive role as Secretary General of the Congregation in 1981 and as Councillor for two terms in 1987 and 1993 during which time she was entrusted in securing grants from the state government for various projects of the Congregation.

In 1999, Sr Low almost succumbed to Melioidosis.

It is not clear whether her infection had to do with her diabetic condition. According to doctors, the single most important risk factor for developing severe melioidosis is diabetes mellitus.

As she struggled with her life while on drug therapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the entire Congregation prayed for her recovery. God answered their prayers when the former Principal of SM Stella Maris sprang back to life, defying near death.

She lived on to celebrate her golden jubilee in October 2014.

The lying-in-state is at Stella Maris Hostel Tanjung Aru Monday-Thursday Sept 26-28.  The funeral will be on Friday Sept 29 at 10 am at Stella Maris Church Tg Aru before the body is brought for burial at Mile 4.5 Catholic cemetery Jalan Penampang Lama.

Kuching Archdiocese welcomes new priest

Newly ordained Fr Galvin R Ngumbang (L) with Abp Poh at the lectern, 22 Sept 2017, Kuching.

KUCHING: Kuching Archdiocese welcomed a new priest to its presbyterium on 22 Sept 2017.

Archbishop Simon Poh of Kuching ordained Deacon Galvin Richard Ngumbang, 34, to the priesthood at St Joseph’s Cathedral here.

Poh said this would be the beginning of Galvin’s ministry to serve and walk humbly with the people placed under his pastoral care.

“Parishioners will begin to call you ‘Father,’ but always keep in your heart that ‘Father’ is not a title, but a relationship with the people of God,” he said.

The service, witnessed by Galvin’s immediate family members and fellow Catholics, began with a traditional Orang Ulu dance.

In the ordination booklet, Galvin revealed that his journey to serve God began after Form 3 when he prayed to pass the Penilaian Menengah Rendah in 1998.

“I was very surprised that I passed the exam and questioned myself as to whether I was special and that God heard my prayer,” he said.

Galvin stated that his true call to serve God was after he attended Holy Hour at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sibu, when he found his mind at peace and the will to serve God prevailed.

He began seminary studies in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in 2010 after resigning as assistant science officer with the Pepper Marketing Board Sibu.

Galvin obtained his Bachelor of Theology from Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome, on 25 Nov  2016 and graduated from St Peter’s College Major Seminary Kuching on 16 Dec 2016.

He was admitted to the candidacy for Holy Orders by Poh on 3 April 2017 and was ordained as deacon at St Jude’s Church, Bunan Gega Tebedu on April 23. –

Msgr Anthony Thomas of KL called to eternal life

KUALA LUMPUR – Msgr Anthony Thomas of Kuala Lumpur had been called to eternal life on 24 Sept 2017.

In a chancery notice ref (chan/MC/02/2017) dated Sept 24, it said that Msgr Thomas, 80, died peacefully on Sunday at 2:30 pm at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged Cheras where he had been residing since his retirement in 2005.

Among the deceased’s many qualities was his giftedness and proficiency in music which has contributed greatly to the repertoire of hymns, responsorial psalm musical settings and Mass Ordinaries widely used in the local Church.

He is well remembered by the parishioners of St Joseph Sentul, Visitation Church Seremban and Sacred Heart Church Peel Road where he had served as parish priest.  He was instrumental in the building of the respective parish community centres.

Wake Masses:
Mon Sept 25, 7 am Little Sisters of the Poor Cheras; 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road
Tue Sept 26, 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road

The funeral will be on Wed Sept 27 at 11 am at Sacred Heart Peel Road and burial at Kajang cemetery.

Churches show force in biggest rally under Duterte

Franciscan friars and religious sisters march from San Agustin Church to Luneta Park on 21 Sept 2017 for a day of protest against drug-related killings and other forms of tyranny.  Credit: Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – While professing different religious beliefs, thousands of members of various churches raised their fists and echoed a cry against tyranny during the biggest rally under Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency.

Members of Christian churches marched to Rizal Park on Thursday, 21 Sept 2017, to denounce the killings in Duterte’s war on drugs and to reject nationwide martial law, which dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared exactly 45 years ago.

 It was a show of force as church members – from Catholics to Aglipayans to Born Again Christians – believe that the killings in the war on drugs contradict the commandments of God.

Nais naming itaas ang aming boses, ang aming kamao (We want to raise our voices, our fists),” Aglipayan priest Rev Jonash Joyohoy said in an interview with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).

The NCCP is a huge 54-year-old group of Christian churches, which has been vocal against the killings in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

In another interview with NCCP, Reverend Junwel Bueno of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines said in a mix of English and Filipino, “Never again to martial law! And tyranny has no more space in our country today. Amen!”

A member of the Christian Youth Fellowship, Zarah Alegre, also told the NCCP, “We are here in Luneta because we know that God wants to protect life and to safeguard the dignity of people.”

Catholics also came in droves on Thursday.

During a 20-minute march from San Agustin Church in Intramuros to Rizal Park, Catholic laypersons, priests, and sisters prayed the rosary while carrying placards and singing church songs like “Pananagutan (Resonsibility)”

One of the Catholic Sisters who marched to Rizal Park was Sister Joanne Cabugawan, member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St John the Baptist. Cabugawan said she came to the rally with around 15 members of their religious group.

In an interview with Rappler while marching to Rizal Park, Cabugawan said her group was opposing the killings and rejecting martial law.

Sister Imani Kosasih, who hails from England and belongs to the Holy Family Sisters, also joined the march from San Agustin Church to Rizal Park.

“I’d like President Duterte to know that really, what he’s doing may not be the best way, that every life is precious and that he can find a better way to deal with the drug problem here in the country,” Kosasih said.

“I do understand what he’s trying to do – eradicating drugs – but killing people, killing the drug addicts, is not the way forward, because it has been tried in Mexico and Colombia, and it hasn’t really brought the results expected,” she added.

Organisers pegged the number of Rizal Park protesters, including the religious sector, at around 30,000, but police claimed they only reached a peak of 8,000.

At San Agustin Church, some ministers even ran out of consecrated hosts, as they apparently did not anticipate the number of Catholics who joined a Mass prior to the march to Rizal Park.

The 17th-century church thundered with the voice of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the Catholic leader of what he describes as a “killing field” in the anti-drug campaign.

David in his homily denounced the “termites” that eat up “our collective conscience as a nation.”

During communion, the choir sang a song familiar to protesters in 2001 when another popular uprising ousted president Joseph Estrada – “Lord, Heal Our Land,” one of the anthems of the so-called Edsa Dos or the people power movement that ousted Estrada from Malacañang.

Some 200 kilometers from San Agustin Church, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas spoke out in time for Thursday’s protests as well. In a homily at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Dagupan City on Thursday, Villegas warned that the Philippines is losing its soul to “the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness.”

Former St Scholastica’s College president Sister Mary John Mananzan, a veteran of street protests, said she felt “euphoric” that many Filipinos have found the courage to speak out against the government’s abuses.

“That makes us happy, that fills our heart, because they’re no longer quiet,” Mananzan said. –

64 attend third module of catechists training course

Participants listen attentively to Sr Lucy Embayan fsic, 11 Sept 2017, BTRC.

BUNDU TUHAN – Sixty-four catechists attended the third module of the BM catechists training course at the retreat centre here on 8-24 Sept 2017.

The course was organised jointly by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission and the Persatuan Katekis (PEKA) with the first module on June 12-July 7 and the second module on July 9-21.

Topics covered were human development (Sr Lucy Embayan fsic), psychology and counselling (Sr Lucy Embayan fsic), Pauline Letters (Fr Paul Lo), ecclesiology – Vatican II (Fr Mattheus Luta), Differences between RC, Orthodox & Protestant  Churches (Sr Dariah Ajap fsic & team),  bioethics/morality (Fr Michael Modoit), and i-chat seminar (Fr Larry Tan sj).

Other topics included team building by Terence Dolinting, homiletics by catechist Justin Dinsin, pedagogy by Mdm Lynette Justin, and adminstration by Dominic Lim.

Father Nicholas Stephen, organising team head, presided at the opening Mass Sept 8 while Msgr Primus Jouil celebrated the closing Mass Sept 22 and gave out the certificates of attendance to the participants.

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