Daily Archives:October 19th, 2017

Mercedarian Fr James Chia writes his take on the late Fr Fundes

Seated L-R: Sr Rita Chew fsic, Fr Fundes Motiung, Fr Moses Lui.  Fr James Chia (the writer)  is standing behind (2nd from L).

Father James Chia writes from Buffalo, USA at the invitation of Catholic Sabah to share about Fr Fundes Motiung, whom he talked with in his visit to Kota Kinabalu in August 2017. Fr James Chia of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, also known as The Mercedarians, hails from Kota Kinabalu, was ordained in Philadelphia USA in 2012, and currently serves in the Diocese of Buffalo USA as parochial vicar.

BUFFALO, USA – In Matthew 16:24, we hear Jesus saying to His disciples: “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” As Christians, we are called followers of Christ. Following Jesus always involves the cross. When Fr Fundes picks up his cross and follows his Master, he also follows his Master all the way to the Cross, that is, Calvary. This is our journey too!

What I am sharing with you is not so much from my conversation with Fr Fundes about his sickness and suffering but rather, but a witness account of what Fundes spoke with his life and actions that evening on Aug 17 during the Stella Maris CWL Golden Jubilee Dinner.

Many might have read and can read about his achievements as a priest. My sharing is about my priest-friend named Fundes, in particular how he preached the Joy of the Gospel in the final months of his life focusing on the evening of Aug 17.

Fr Fundes was always very welcoming to me whenever I “revisited” Stella Maris during my vacation. He was a pastoral priest – one that has a merciful heart who always thinks of the salvation of souls in his priestly ministry when he administers to the souls Jesus sends him. He was not clerical but rather informal and approachable. He also had a good sense of humor!

Prior to going back to KK this vacation, I had wanted to visit him since I knew it would probably be our last meeting. So, when I arrived at the table for the CWL golden jubilee event, I saw Fundes and he recognised me when I spoke to him although he could not see me clearly. I sat next to him and we talked amid streams of teary-eyed faithful visiting him. That evening was a gift from God Who knows our heart.

During our conversation that evening, I said to him: “Fundes, in my opinion, if Jesus were to call you back to Himself and to the Father, you would go straight to heaven!” His humble response was: “That is what we all hope for.” This is to say as Christians, we all hope to go straight to Heaven when we die.

For most people when they are sick and near death, they would probably recluse themselves and disappear from the public.

However, not Fundes! He was living his life to the fullness amid his sickness and suffering. He was preaching the joy of the Gospel with his life. What he did that Aug 17 evening spoke so much louder than what he actually spoke. His appetite was good and he was not picky about what he ate. He was eating just like anyone else that evening.

Throughout the evening, Fr Fundes was jovial and he was the one consoling the teary-eyed parishioners who went to see him. I believe, that evening, Fr Fundes was thanking and appreciating all the gifts that our merciful God has given him. It was his – Fr Fundes’s – farewell gift to us!

That evening, there was a youth who is also an altar server at Stella Maris. He went to Fundes, knelt down, wrapped his hands around him and began to sob unceasingly. Fr Fundes embraced him and said to the young man: “It is OK bah! I am OK!” There, the man who was called to be the priest of Jesus was consoling one of his sheep who was deeply saddened by fact that his shepherd was dying. At the moment of this writing, I cannot stop seeing the image of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.

At the end of the Jubilee dinner, we parted ways. I took with me that image of Fr Fundes who was living his life to the fullness, carrying his cross and following his Master all the way to the cross (Calvary), and not giving up the cross designated by Jesus from all eternity. No doubt, it was a heavy cross but God also sent many Simons of Cyrene helping Fr Fundes carry his custom-made cross. Jesus was walking with Fr Fundes through the gift of the Holy Eucharist.

Fr Fundes showed that life is worth living and that our sufferings, when united with Jesus’ suffering, has values and can do wonders by God. The world we live in does not like suffering but Fr Fundes showed that our suffering is redemptive in nature.

Youth ministers challenged to embrace the joy of the Gospel as way of mission

BUNDU TUHAN – One hundred and forty youth ministers were challenged to embrace the joy of the Gospel presented by Pope Francis to the Church as their way of mission at the 10th Archdiocesan Youth Consultation or KBK-10 (Konsultasi Belia Keuskupan), at the retreat centre here on30 Aug- 3 Sept 2017.

The youth leaders comprising Parish Youth Pastoral Team (TPBP) and the Catholic Student Council (CSC) came from the various parishes in the KK Archdiocese. They were accompanied by the Franciscan Sisters and spiritual adviser Father Joshua Liew.

KBK is an annual event organised to achieve specific objectives utilising the Pastoral Cycle of “See-Judge-Act.”  This year, KBK aimed to refresh the spirit of the youth serving in youth ministries and to refocus their direction in this ministry.

Father Charles Chiew of Keningau Diocese, who facilitated the session on the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, said that the Joy of the Gospel teaches us how to live the Gospel in this generation, especially with issues that challenge the faith and beliefs of our young people. The Joy of the Gospel lays out the vision for a missionary youth ministry, and youth ministers are encouraged to first appropriate it in their life, family, parish, and campus ministry.

The consultation kicked off with the Opening Eucharist, which was presided by Archbishop John Wong. Referring to the theme adopted by KBK this year “The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name” (Luke 1:49), borrowed from the World Youth Day in Panama 2019, Archbishop Wong urged the participants to model after Mary in self-giving in their service, as well as to appropriate Marian attitudes in their own lives.

The two days were spent to walk through the Pastoral Cycle of “See-Judge-Act” during the reporting from each TPBP and CSC on the issues they are facing in their respective ministries, and to see the movement of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Thrust (Go Inward, Go Small, Go Outward) in their ministry.

To start with, Fr Joshua facilitated a recollection to assist the participants to look inward into their personal relationship with God, reflecting on Who God is and how God has helped them in meeting the challenges of their lives. With this, they were enabled to appropriate the pastoral cycle of “Seeing”.

With the help of Jerald Joseph and Father Paul Lo, the participants were presented with a social analysis in Malaysia and a theological reflection of how the values in the Bible are able to help them face the challenges of their lives, social or otherwise.

According to the pastoral cycle of “Judging,” the youth ministers must be able to “judge” for themselves when challenged and to voice out and stand for truth, for the dignity and human rights of each person. Knowing their intrinsic value as children of God and the knowledge that nothing can separate them from the love of God would enable them to judge without fear.

To help them live out the pastoral cycle of “Acting,”  Dominic Lim encouraged the participants to live out their faith within the Church and through their participation in society, that is, “Going Outwards”

Quoting Pope Francis, he said, “If I say I am Catholic and go to Mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, or go and see those who are sick; this does not prove my faith; there’s no point.”

Lim also said, “The Social Teaching of the Church or DOCAT explains to us the reasons why we are to be involved in the issues of society. The Christian Faith includes a social dimension. We are commissioned to be the light and salt of the world. If we do not ‘Go Outward,’ then our faith remains only as a private matter.”

Concluding his session, Lim urged the participants: “Let’s take DOCAT as an important guide to help us live out our faith in this society, in order to build a culture of love in this world.”

A Solidarity Night was held on the last evening as a platform for the youth leaders to interact and share, through their God-given talents, what they have learned and reflected throughout KBK.

The days in KBK began and ended with Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Night Prayer (Compline), as well as Angelus, Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and personal reflection. Daily Mass was looked on as the main source of faith.

On the final day of KBK, a prayer with Mother Nature led the participants into the Presence of God in His creation. This has also brought about an awareness of our common responsibility to protect and preserve it.

As a gesture of commitment to take Mother Mary as the model in their lives and ministry, an image of Mother Mary and prayer cards printed with the KK Archdiocesan Youth Prayer were presented to each participant.

The organisers hoped that all youth in the archdiocese will pray this prayer as part of their journey towards World Youth Day in Panama 2019! – Archdiocesan Youth Commission

Francis’ decentralisation of authority: a realignment with the council’s intent

THE most recent papal pronouncement giving more control to national bishops’ conferences over the translation of liturgical texts had the quality of another of the jolts we’ve become accustomed to during the Francis papacy.

As his tenure advances, however, those moments increasingly feel less like jolts and more like a series of coherent adjustments, long overdue, for a community that had become top-heavy and overly dependent on rigid legalism in an attempt to maintain order.Correcting that imbalance won’t occur without

Correcting that imbalance won’t occur without struggle. The varied interests in the church who have already spent inordinate time and influence debating everything from the manner of translation to the material composition of eucharistic vessels are no doubt gearing up once again to join the fight. That may seem like a most malignant way to refer to liturgy, but the reality is that discussion of our public worship and changes to it can evoke deep emotions and the zero-sum passions of a political contest.

It is perhaps not persuasive to those who deeply oppose the direction of the Francis papacy, but intended or not, the sermon the pope gave in Medellín, Colombia, was a fitting companion piece to the liturgy announcement. Christianity, said Pope Francis, is not an exercise in how perfectly one follows laws and dogma. More important is the life of faith.

“Jesus teaches that being in relationship with God cannot be a cold attachment to norms and laws nor the observance of some outward actions that do not lead to a real change of life,” he said.

The tensions, of course, are as old as the community. They are as evident today as they were when the original community’s leaders argued over who could join and what they could eat. And aren’t we fortunate that the visions they saw and the hearts they were developing answered: everyone and everything. All are blessed and good in God’s sight.

Francis seems to be conveying two basic ideas in the document issued on his own initiative (motu proprio). Titled Magnum Principium, it diminishes the authority of the Vatican from “authorising” all translations to a simple “review” of such documents. First, that mature leadership of national bishops’ conferences can be trusted to maintain fidelity to the essence of liturgical worship while tailoring language to particular circumstances, and, second, that universality and unity are not synonymous with sameness.By extension, one might add that it also acknowledges that a rigid adherence to some narrow conception of translation from Latin is not a measure of fidelity.

By extension, one might add that it also acknowledges that a rigid adherence to some narrow conception of translation from Latin is not a measure of fidelity.

It is a Pauline gesture of sorts that acknowledges that not all cultures are the same, that not all believers need to take on the effects of an ancient, mostly European, expression of the faith. The Latin Mass, still a glorious and inspiring liturgy for some, need not be the norm for everyone, nor the benchmark against which all other worship forms are measured.

So Francis’ rollback of that authority is actually a realignment with the council’s intent. It is, in political terms, a return to centre, to moderation and to a trust of the community’s local leaders. Francis has restored their adulthood and given them again a latitude to discern, which mature spiritual leaders should possess.

As was the case for Jesus and “for the first community,” Francis said in Medellín, “it is of greatest importance that we who call ourselves disciples not cling to a certain style or to particular practices that cause us to be more like some Pharisees than like Jesus,” whose “freedom contrasts with the lack of freedom seen in the doctors of the law of that time, who were paralysed by a rigorous interpretation and practice of that law.”

On several fronts, then, Francis has asked us to walk away from that paralysis and to take new steps in freedom. – Full text @ ncronline

Sandakan Diocese launches Diocesan Vision-Mission Statements, Diocesan Pastoral Plan on 10th anniversary

Parish representatives pose with the cardinal (seated), arch/bishops and copies of the diocesan pastoral plan after the launching, 18 Oct 2017, Holy Trinity Tawau.

TAWAU – Sandakan Diocese marked its 10th anniversary with the launching of its Diocesan Vision and Mission Statements as well as its Diocesan Pastoral Plan at Holy Trinity Church here on 18 Oct 2017.

In his message, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom said, “This Vision and Mission comes from the people and it is for the people.  I hope each and every one of us will embrace it and make it as our own, a compass towards achieving our dream church that we have envisioned.”

The Vision focuses on the diocese being a “Christ-centred community serving one another with love” spelt out in its mission of nurturing active church participation, fostering spirit of unity in diversity and family values, enhancing living the Gospel values through a deeper understanding of the church social teaching, intensifying faith formation and promoting priestly and religious vocations.

The Vision and Mission, Bp Gitom said, “implies a common direction and a common goal to be achieved… Achieving a vision is a slow and gradual process just as growing in faith in a lifelong process.  It requires the participation of all of us, and all of us must be dedicated, committed, determined, and have a strong sense of responsibility to serve the Lord and one another.”

The launching took place after the Mass in the presence of Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur, Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau and Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei.

The launching ended with the recitation of the Diocesan Prayer and the distribution of copies of the Pastoral Plan to all the prelates and parish representatives.

Over a thousand people including priests and religious from the three dioceses took part in the anniversary celebration.

The day before, Oct 17, Cardinal Fernandez gave a session on BECs – he initiated BECs in his archdiocese 40 years ago while Pilis Malim, head of Focus Committee,  briefed those present on the seven-year process involving all the BECS  in the formulation of the Pastoral Plan.

In the evening, over 700 participated in the Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Promenade Hotel opposite the church which saw the participation of the different parishes in presenting stage performances.

Filipino Cardinal Vidal dead at 86

File photo: Cardinal Vidal (L) with fellow Filipino Cardinal Tagle of Manila

CEBU, Philippines – Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the retired Archbishop of Cebu, died on  18  October 2017 at the age of 86. He had been hospitalised last week after he collapsed, suffering from pneumonia.

Ordained in 1956 as a priest of the Lucena diocese, he became coadjutor bishop of Malolos in 1971, then Archbishop of Lipa in 1973. He became Archbishop of Cebu in 1982, serving at that post until his retirement in 2010 at the age of 79. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by St John Paul II in 1985.

With the death of Cardinal Vidal there are now 219 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 120 are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a papal election.

In a telegram to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and “profound gratitude for the late cardinal’s untiring and devoted service to the church.”

The pope also praised “his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines” and commended the cardinal’s soul “to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly father.” – CWN/catholic herald

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