Daily Archives:October 20th, 2017

A sibling gives his take on his late brother’s priestly vision

Fedelis Motiung (L) with daughter Michelle and son Christie

In a recent exclusive interview with Catholic Sabah, Fedelis Motiung, the older brother of the late Father Fundes Motiung, shares about his brother’s priestly vision. At the interview, he was accompanied by daughters Michelle and Christie, who had been the constant companions to their uncle during this important part of his life’s journey.

“I will work for Christ until I drop!” said Fundes. Words spoken by him remain vivid in my memory.

That’s exactly what he was – the priestly servant of God. During his sabbatical leave from August 2017 onwards, he still offered himself to serve God, serve the bishop, and serve the people whenever his strength permitted him.

The changes in his appearance as a result of his cancer treatment could be a good reason for him to turn into a recluse, but not Fundes. His disfigured face did not bother him or how it affected others. “What is far more important is what is inside,” said Fr Fundes.

He constantly hammered home to anyone who would listen, the three virtues of faith, love, and charity which he strove to live by and passed them on.

Faith – During the critical periods of his relapses as his illness turned from acute to chronic, he knew that hundreds of people were praying for his healing.

He consistently repeated that he did not want people to pray for his healing, but to pray for his faith, “Your faith will heal you!” he insisted.

He was open to visions…during his first ICU treatment, he saw Jesus beside him, at the foot of his bed, and finally Jesus walking toward him and covering him with His own body, saying “Your suffering is my suffering.”

As soon as he was discharged, Fundes filled with faith continued with his mission to the lost, the lapsed, and in particular to families and youths. There was no idle time. In between his medical appointments and medications, he rode through his pain and moved relentlessly on.

His mission to families led him to minister to his own family members as he gathered them constantly to instill good family relationship and values. For the parish, he was constantly gathering small groups of families to bring awareness and good stewardship of families. He worked hard to bring back the rejects, the broken and lapsed members of the families.

During his second critical ICU treatment, he had another vision of Jesus showing him ‘heaven and hell.’ Heaven is the most beautiful and serene place that you would want to be, while hell is a dark and cold unwelcoming place.

After this vision, Fundes repeated with a troubled sense of urgency to family members and all who visited him: “Don’t go to hell, go to heaven! All can go to heaven. The only thing to stop us is our sins. All that we need to do is to go to Confession regularly and repent, and say the Our Father and the Rosary regularly. It is that easy to go to Heaven. Why would we want to go to Hell?”

Love – It is Love that drove him to reach out to the rejects, the broken and the lapsed.

Some have shared with me at the funeral that it is because of Fr Fundes, that they have come back to church.

Charity – He had given away his priestly allowance to those in need. At St Michael, he had formed a Charity for those in need. He firmly believed in God’s promise: “The more you give, the more you receive.”

However, at the end of an intense eleven months, Fundes had to acknowledge that he could not fulfill his priestly duties anymore, that he had planted some seeds, and what would be next would be up to others after him. “I am ready to go…I am tired,” he acknowledged.

His final message to his beloved family members, friends and parishioners is 1) to be strong in their love and in their service for Jesus, God, and Church; 2) not to go back to where they were before; and 3) to move forward, for Jesus has promised that He will always be with us.

Aptly chosen by him, Fundes has left us words of comfort through the song entitled ‘Don’t cry for me’ by Libby Allen:

No need to fear
God spoke to me…my time has come
He made a way to bring me home
Don’t cry for me
My pain is gone forever
Don’t cry for me
My body’s been made whole
Don’t cry for me
We’ll soon be back together
Don’t cry for me
I’m well within my soul……
My soul lives on…to a better place
With all his glory, with all his grace

140 attend talk on family by Redemptorist priest

A section of the participants at the talk on family, Stella Maris Tg Aru, 9 Sept 2017.

TANJUNG ARU – One hundred and forty people attended a talk on the family by Redemptorist priest Fr Patrick Massang on 9 Sept 2017 at the Stella Maris parish hall here.

The attendees came from Sacred Heart Cathedral KK,  St Simon Likas, St Thomas Kepayan, Stella Maris Tg Aru, and Holy Family Terawi.

A nursery for young children was organised so that the parents could focus on the sessions based on the theme Legacy of the Holy Family.

Fr Massang covered topics related to the archdiocesan pastoral thrust of “Go Inward, Go Smaller, Go Outward” as a way to tackle the challenges generally faced by the parishes in the archdiocese.

Fr Massang spoke about himself, the “Go Inward” to know his talents particularly on art and music, and how they had helped him to recognise God’s call to the priestly vocation.

He then spoke about “Go Smaller” related to stories from “small beginnings,” about his own family and his own experiences as a son, a brother and a servant of God, and how he journeyed through life being supported by a loving mother. He was the 13th in a brood of 15 brothers and sisters.

“Go Outward” relates to how all these events and experiences are connected to his passion of being called by God to serve as His priest, and how God used him to reach out to people through his skills and talents.

He advised parents to be anchors for their children, while at the same time to know when to let go. He also cautioned that what they wish for their children may not be what the children aspire for their own lives. He encouraged parents to recognise the talents of their children, and to develop these talents by helping and walking them through the journey of growing up.

Fr Massang also emphasised family values such as remembering birthdays, Mothers’ day, learning to appreciate, expressions of love, praying together, making family prayers  a priority in the family agenda.

In just six hours, Fr Massang managed to cover topics on bullying, youths being the foundation of a parish, being Christ-centred parishioners, and how to pray communally and personally.

Since 2016, Stella Maris Parish has organised faith formation talks, beginning with the Women Faith Formation, and followed by one for men. – Teresa Alberto

KKIP church to operate its own tadika next year

Abp Wong launches the fundraising dinner, Hakka Hall Likas, 3 Sept 2017.

INANAM – Divine Mercy Church KKIP which will be officially blessed and open by Archbishop John Wong on 21 Oct 2017 will operate its own tadika (kindergarten) next year.

A total of 60 students have enrolled so far for this new tadika. This was disclosed by Father David Sham, pastor of St Catherine Inanam.

Fr Sham informed the parishioners that there are altogether six tadikas in operation early this year. Out of the six, two come directly under the care of St Catherine Church, while three are under the sub-parish of Good Shepherd Manggatal and one under Holy Family Telipok.

At the fundraising dinner in aid of these tadikas on 3 Sept 2017 at the Port View Palace, Dewan Hakka Likas, Fr Sham said that out of the six tadikas, only Tadika Sinar Sukacita of St Catherine Church is self-financing with 117 students and five management staff.

The other tadikas can hardly pay for the teachers’ remunerations due to insufficient students. The plight of running the tadika runs deeper as many of the parents are unable to pay for their children’s school fees in full, which necessitates public support for these tadikas.

Fr Sham then urged the parents to give full support to the Catholic Mission Tadika as their children are the future of the church.

Over 1000 people attended the dinner including Abp Wong, priests, religious, and well-wishers from several companies and other individuals. – Michael Guntili

Indonesian migrants urged to form K3I in Penampang

PENAMPANG – The Indonesian migrants were urged to form the Christian Catholic Family of Indonesia (Keluarga Kristian Katolik Indonesia or K3I) in Penampang.

Father Wiandigool Runsab, assistant pastor of St Michael Parish here, advised the Indonesian migrants in his speech after the Mass marking World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017 at St Michael parish here on 17 Sept 2017.

This will enable them to be integrated into the local parishes for their pastoral needs while maintaining their livelihood within their own culture.

“Forming this community in every zone under this parish is essential in order that your community can participate and receive every right as Catholics… such as baptism, Eucharistic celebrations,  serving as wardens and other services,” Fr Runsab said.

The priest also urged the community to attend church services regularly and to join parish activities so as to journey together with the local people in mutual respect.

The community can also serve as a platform to voice out their problems such as employment discrimination or abuse of power by employers to the proper channel for action.

After Mass,  all adjourned to the parish hall for an entertainment programme comprising a fellowship meal, traditional songs and dances, organised by the Human Development Committee or KPI (Kemajuan Pembangunan Insan).

About 300 attendees, mostly from the migrant community, turned up for the celebration. – SOCCOM Penampang

KK prelate urges participants to look at migrant ministry as vocation

The participants listen as Kletus Muyuk gives an overview of the AMOS-3 conference, Sandakan, 21 Sept 2017.

SANDAKAN – Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu said the Feast of St Matthew paved the way for the AMOS Conference to look at migrant ministry as a vocation.  He delivered this insight in his opening homily at the third AMOS Conference hosted by Sandakan Diocese on 21-23 Sept 2017 at the Sandakan Pastoral Centre here.

One hundred and fifty participants, comprising two bishops, 11 priests, six religious from the three arch/dioceses of Sabah and Miri gathered for the conference themed “The Church: Advocate for the vulnerable and voiceless.

Matthew was considered an outcast for supporting the Roman Empire in his role as a tax collector,  Abp Wong said.  But he was called by the Lord to follow Him.

“Those involved in migrant ministry might also be viewed negatively for reaching out to foreigners,” said the KK prelate.

He continued, “But when they responded to serve the vulnerable and voiceless, they are, in fact, doing the will of God, who says, “I was a stranger and you made me welcome.” (Mt 25:35b)

Both Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan and Kletus Muyuk, head of Sandakan Diocesan Human Development Commission, provided an overview of the conference.

They spelt out the two conference objectives: (a) To deepen the understanding of migration and to strengthen the spirit of service to the migrants, and (b) To increase inter-diocesan cooperation in pastoral care to migrants.

To achieve these, the organising team has incorporated a session on the legal aspect of migration and a session on collaboration.

Romo Lukas of Larantuka Diocese gave an input on “Advocating Human Dignity: Basis for Pastoral Care to Migrants.”  In his talk covering the issue of migration and its pastoral care from social, historical, biblical and ecclesial perspectives, Lukas quoted the UN Charter on Human Rights and some church documents, specifically Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi, to support his view that ministry to migrants is, in fact, advocating their dignity as “imago Dei,” persons created in the image of God.

However, the reality of pastoral care to migrants is not easy. Bishop Julius shared the complexity of the matter the next day. Many a time there is a choice to be made: which comes first – pastoral or legal? He said given the immense presence of migrants in Sandakan diocese, pastoral care to them is not an option but part and parcel of building the local Church there.

Jellferlyne Joseph, a programme officer at Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS), supported Bishop Julius in her personal testimony of working for migrants. She used to be against them. But over the years in PKGS, she realised that migrants, too, are humans who need livelihood, education and security. She learnt to see God in the faces of the migrants and saw her service as a vocation.

In spite of the complexity in migration issue, if it is done in a peaceful, legal and dignified way, there should no fear. This was assured by Bapak Konsul Krishna Djelani of Tawau and Elsie Primus who spoke as a magistrate of the Kota Kinabalu High Court.

Both highlighted the relevant Immigration Acts that determine the legality of migration in both countries. Many heard for the first time how such laws could actually facilitate a person to cross national boundaries in a dignified way if he/she abides by them closely. No doubt there are syndicates who exploit the process for economic or political gains. But that should not prevent a migrant from violating the laws.

The session was followed by Q & A from the floor. Many asked about matters related to marriage between locals and migrants, on labour law, documentation issues, statelessness and status of fourth generation migrants. However, answers to such complex matters could not be dealt with satisfactorily in a short time.

In the afternoon Romo Lukas shared from the perspective of a “Sending Church” – why people of Flores choose to migrate, how the local churches prepare and help the families who are left behind. He felt that the frequent exchange of information and collaboration between the two sides (Flores and Sabah) would further ease the burden encountered by the migrants, especially in living their faith in a foreign land.

Reports from the three arch/dioceses were then briefly tabled to provide a glimpse on what the local churches have done in ministering to the migrants. It was clear that the responses varied from diocese to diocese, from locality to locality.

Msgr Gilbert Engan who represented Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau admitted that his presence might be providential. He sensed the urgent need for the three arch/dioceses in Sabah to collaborate as migrants are mobile. Without common pastoral policies, they might look for a locality where reception of the sacrament of matrimony is lax.

The final session facilitated by Dominic Lim was aimed to get the Sabah dioceses to move together as “Receiving Church.” Participants were divided into groups to propose concrete ways based on items agreed in the Tripartite Pastoral Gatherings in 2013 and 2015. The proposals would be screened through by the Organising Team before a Final Statement could be issued from the AMOS-3 Conference for the attention of pastoral institutes and agents in Sabah.

Bishop Julius, in his farewell remarks, hoped that AMOS-3 has instilled a deeper sense of commitment among the participants. Though there might still be uncertainties among them, especially those who were there for the first time, he believed that at least the sessions have convinced them that defending the vulnerable and voiceless is very much the mission of the Church.

AMOS-1 was hosted by KK Archdiocese in February 2011 at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre while Keningau Diocese hosted AMOS-2 at the Tatal Retreat Centre Keningau in February 2013. – AHDC

On Jesus’ merciful call of St Matthew, a great sinner

On the Feast Day of St Matthew [Sept 21], we must acknowledge a great mercy in Jesus’ call. As a tax collector, Matthew was considered a great sinner. In fact, the term “tax collector” was a biblical euphemism for great sinner. Yet despite this, Jesus called him to be an Apostle.

In our times, many set mercy and the fact that we are sinners in opposition to each other, but the Lord Jesus unites these realities together. For the Lord, mercy is necessary because there is sin, not because sin is “no big deal.” It is because sin is a big deal that mercy is needed and is glorious.

Bishop Robert Barron aptly states, many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness.

Mercy does not deny sin; it acknowledges it and supplies an often-challenging remedy. Jesus shows mercy by calling us from our sin and healing us from its effects. An antiphon in the Breviary says, God sees all men as sinners, that he might show them his mercy.

Jesus calls Matthew away from his tax post, saying, “Follow me.” In other words, stop what you are doing; come away from it and follow me out of here. To the woman caught in adultery, He says, “Do not sin again.” Jesus began His ministry by saying, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” To repent (metanoiete) means to change, to come to a new and different mind.

Thus in His mercy, Jesus does not confirm us in our sin; He summons us away from it. He calls us to change and equips us to do so. His merciful call is this: “Come away from here. Enough of this; follow me.”

Jesus uses the image of a doctor and states plainly that sick people (sinners) need a doctor. Jesus is that doctor. A doctor does not look at a sick patient and say, “You’re fine the way you are” or “I affirm you.” That would be malpractice. Jesus sees sin for what it is. He calls it such and prescribes the necessary medicines. He will also likely speak to a person’s lifestyle and recommend needed changes. This is how a doctor heals.

Thus, in His mercy, Jesus heals our sins. He does not ignore them or approve of them—and He certainly does not call them good or something to celebrate. In His mercy, He heals them. He ends them.

So mercy is not a bland kindness. It is not mere flattery that pretends that sin does not exist or that it doesn’t matter. Beware of fake, flattering mercy. True mercy says, “Sin is awful. Let’s get out of here and go to a far better place.”

Matthew got up and followed Jesus. How about us? – Msgr Charles Pope

280 catechists attend biennial retreat and conference

Group sharing, Catechists retreat and conference, 31 Aug – 2 Sept 2017, Tatal Retreat Centre Keningau.

KENINGAU – Two hundred and eighty catechists attended the biennial retreat and conference on 31 Aug-2 Sept 2017 at the Tatal Retreat Centre here.

In his talk, Bishop Cornelius Piong, episcopal president of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission, told the participants in no uncertain terms that “Christ is the source of our joy especially in our service as a catechist.  Therefore, we need to strengthen our spiritual life by having a close relationship with Christ, and be faithful in our prayer life in spite of all the challenges in the world.”

The theme chosen “Christ our Joy” was based on the theme for Catechetical Sunday 2017.

The retreat cum conference is organised once in two years by the KK Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission for the spiritual renewal and recommitment of all catechists in the archdiocese.  The retreat also serves to instil a spirit of unity and good relations among the catechists who come from the different parishes in the archdiocese.

Accompanying the participants were Franciscan Sister Dariah Ajap, head of the commission, and Father Nicholas Stephen, spiritual adviser.

The retreat kicked off with Opening Mass presided by Bishop Piong.  Besides assisting the catechists to reflect on the theme, he also led the Eucharistic Adoration in the evening.

Father Rudolf Joannes of Keningau Diocese facilitated the inputs on the second day, in which he challenged the catechists to reflect on themselves, their uniqueness, strengths and limitations.  He helped them to discover how they could improve themselves, their families and communities as a whole.  The reflection enlightened and inspired the participants as they listened, and identified solutions to the numerous problems relating to their pastoral ministry as catechists.

In conjunction with the universal celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima this year, Fr Stephen shared on the role of Mother Mary in the salvation history, and screened a video of the centenary celebration.

In the evening, Fr Stephen organised a rosary procession carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the retreat centre to the chapel at kg Tuarid, Tatal.   About 500 Catholic faithful in the vicinity of the kampung joined in the procession.  It took another two hours to walk back to the retreat centre.

On the third and last day, Fr Stephen presented the pastoral thrust of the archdiocese – Go Inward, Go Smaller, Go Outward to counter the challenges of globalisation, secularisation and Islamisation faced by the families and church today.  This was followed by parish-based group sharing to discuss these issues and to plan concrete actions to counter these challenges within a year’s time frame.

The retreat concluded with the commissioning of the catechists. – catecomkk@yahoo.com

Stella Maris holds inaugural assembly to formulate parish vision and mission

The delegates listen intently to Dominic Lim as he explains the need for a parish vision and mission, Stella Maris Tg Aru, 26 Aug 2017.

TANJUNG ARU – Stella Maris parish here held an inaugural assembly to formulate the vision and mission for the parish on 26 Aug 2017.

The assembly consisted of 72 delegates representing 30 parish ministries and groups.

The assembly began with Bible enthronement by Father Peter Abas.

Dominic Lim enlightened the parishioners on the importance of a parish vision.  He emphasised that the process of formulation among the parishioners is important.  The ‘why and how’ that would arise from the formulation would give a clearer direction for the parish and her future leaders.

This was followed by ten small discussion groups who came up with a first draft which later was clustered by five main groups to further crystalise the vision.

With the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the main groups consented unanimously to the proposed Vision.

Fr Abas was confident that the parishioners of Stella Maris could formulate a well-defined vision led by the Holy Spirit. He said the next move is to work on the mission once the vision is approved by the parish priest.  The mission session would be held on  30 Sept 2017.

Fr Kiun returns to Inanam parish as assistant pastor

Fr Luta cuts his anniversary cake at the welcome-cum-farewell gathering, 20 Aug 2017, St Catherine parish hall Inanam.

INANAM – St Catherine here welcomed back Father Mitchelly Kiun in his new assignment as assistant pastor of the parish effective  Sept 1 with a simple welcoming cum farewell fellowship at the St Catherine Hall on  20 Aug 2017.

The three-in-one event, organised by St Catherine, Holy Family Telipok and Good Shepherd Manggatal, was also to say farewell to Father Paul Lo who replaces him at Sacred Heart Cathedral on the same day.

Two years ago, Fr Kiun served in the parish with Father Sunny Chung.  Fr Chung is currently serving the Diocese of Sandakan on ‘loan.’  When they were transferred out, their responsibilities were taken over by Fr Lo and Fr Rayner Bisius.

Earlier, Fr Bisius was posted to St Joseph Papar on July 7 and has been replaced by Father Mattheus Luta.

Over 600 parishioners turned up for the occasion.  Some had to stand outside the hall.

The parishioners took the occasion to also celebrate Fr Luta’s 7th priestly anniversary graced by the presence of parish priest Father David Sham – Michael Guntili

Beth Baikan journeys with Fr Fundes in his health journey

Beatrice Beth Baikan, who holds a doctoral degree in Turfgrass Science/Golf Course Environmental Management from Cornell University USA, writes on her journey with her cousin, the late Father Fundes Motiung, who died on 4 Sept 2017.

It was on Easter Monday of 2000, that I had the first of many conversations with my beloved little cousin brother, the late Father Fundes Motiung, regarding his state of health, the beginning of his journey of silent sufferings and pains.

It was customary for him to drop by my office whenever he was in Donggongon as he was now serving in the Penampang Parish. Though we had just reconnected several months earlier after years of going our separate ways during our college years and my long absence from Sabah due to my college years, the bond of our family’s closeness was never broken and we instantly reconnected as if we were never separated, reminiscing our childhood.

“Beth, I am dying” he said as he slumped on the chair in front of me.  I looked at this handsome young cousin of mine who was just ordained priest barely two years, right in the eye and asked him, “Why are you talking about death? Are you tired of living?”  He cast his eyes down and with a serious tone, he said, “Beth, I am ill and I am dying.” “What’s wrong?” I asked as I sensed the seriousness of his voice. “The doctor said that my white blood cell is very high” he said resignedly, and has confirmed that he has leukemia.

I felt a deep pang of pain in my heart and I was lost for words to comfort him at that moment. All I could say was a promise to journey with him in his pain and sufferings and in whatever I could do.

“I don’t know why God put you through this but there must be a reason… I will journey with you in this. You will not bear this alone,” I promised him.

It saddened me that a young priest who wanted to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord was given such a heavy cross to bear before he could see the fruit of his service. Having been just ordained priest, he was at the beginning of his prime years; how could this happen to this young vibrant priest? I wondered.

The Church and the Bishop, in their wisdom, decided that it was best for Fr Fundes to get treatment in Rome where medical facilities were advance and medical specialists in the disease were readily available. Hence he left for his year-long treatment in Rome.  But a year later after he began treatment, he was told to try a new drug for leukemia in Singapore.

So he returned to Sabah and began his arduous travel to Singapore on a monthly basis for his treatment while carrying out his pastoral duty in Sabah.  His frequent travels to Singapore were not without glitch as there were many instances of fainting and collapsing due to his weakening body.

Despite all the pains and sufferings that he was going through, he soldiered on tirelessly to minister the flock God has entrusted him. He soldiered on preaching the Gospel of Christ and bringing the lost back to Christ. In the four years after returning from Rome and while undergoing treatment in Singapore and administering the medication on himself, he never complained.  He never slacked in his priestly duties. He carried on his pastoral duties silently and obediently, always uniting his sufferings to the wounds of Christ and accepting wherever he was posted, even forgetting that he was ill.

He never showed his sufferings and pain to others but carried on his pastoral duties with zeal and love for the people and the Eucharist.  When it comes to pastoral duties, there was no arguing with him.  He was determined to carry on, whether he was in pain or not. He spoke passionately of his vow of obedience.

But as the years went by, the pain at times became too much and unbearable, and he was getting weaker and weaker.

A week before we gathered to celebrate his 40th birthday in 2005, he pulled a chair in front of me and said “Beth, please help me find a cure. It’s too painful and I can’t bear the pricks of the needles anymore – there is no part of my body that has not been pricked by the needle and I can’t bear the pain.  Please Beth, help me.”

I was determined to bring him for treatment in the USA and was preparing for the trip.  But the trip to the USA wasn’t to be as just two days later, on his birthday, he collapsed while celebrating a wedding Mass at Stella Maris.

He was only a few days in the ward and with streams of people and parishioners coming to see him, he contracted a lung infection and turned for the worst with serious case of pneumonia that he was then admitted to the intensive care unit.  It was the most critical stage of his health and he wasn’t able to breathe.  Families, friends and parishioners were keeping vigils for him; thousands of faithful were united in prayer for his healing but his condition was getting more and more critical.  By the third day in the ICU, the doctor asked us to prepare for the worst.

Receiving the news that Fr Fundes was out of danger was one of the greatest miracles that I have witnessed of how God, in His great mercy and compassion, heard and answered the fervent and united prayers of all the faithful to give him reprieve from his sufferings.

Eight days later, he was discharged.  Though he continued to go for treatment in Singapore and taking his medication on a daily basis, his health continued to improve to a bearable level that he was able to soldier on in his priestly mission…never complaining, always joyful, always loving his duties.

For the next ten years, he often joked that his body had now turned to chemical due to the medicine he has to take on a daily basis.

As his health continued to improve, I retreated back to my own chores, only journeying with him from behind the scene, knowing that he would know where to find me when he needed to.  Journeying with him also meant that I must let other people who equally love and care about him the chances to care for him.

On 30 Oct 2016, Fr Fundes was re-admitted and I fell on my knees and prayed the same prayer I had prayed 12 years earlier before the Blessed Sacrament.  I pleaded with God to spare his life once again.

A week later, I flew back to be with him in the hospital.  It was the last heart to heart talk we had on his condition.  He talked about his readiness for death and that he had already accomplished what he set out to do.  Though, he said, he hoped that he would be able to do more, he was aware that it wasn’t going to be.  “Beth, it has been 16 years.  I am thankful that I live for 16 years with these sufferings,” he said.

Although in my most selfish heart I prayed and wrestled with God that he would be well again and stayed longer to continue to minister, but God knew and saw that he was tired and needed an eternal rest.

Even in the last few minutes of his life, I tried to wrestle with God, pleading Him to revive Fr Fundes, but deep within my heart, I heard Father [Fundes] say to me, “Beth, I can’t bear the pain anymore – no part of my body that has not been pricked with needles and I don’t want the needles anymore” and painfully and with aching heart, I watched him breathe his last.

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