Monthly Archives: December, 2017

Looking back at 2017

KOTA KINABALU – The year 2017 was an eventful year both at local and universal church levels.  Below are some of the highlights of the year.

April 28-29: Papal visit to Egypt
May 12-13: Papal visit to Fatima, Portugal. Canonisation of Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three seers of the Fatima Apparitions in 1917. Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions.
June 4: Golden anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Sept 6-11: Papal visit to Colombia
Nov 19: Inaugural World Day of the Poor
Nov 26-Dec 2: Papal visit to Myanmar & Bangladesh

Jan 21: First Profession of Franciscan Novices Raani Duanis and Celadiana Jikulis, Purak Papar
Feb 4: Silver jubilee celebration of Franciscan Sisters Christella Lim, Suzana Guntabid, Terecia Loukang, Lounah Pulis, Carmen Cordova, Joan Michael, SHC.
Feb 11: Diamond jubilee (60 yrs) of Franciscan Sister Regina Majakil
Feb 14: Blessing of Emmaus Home Hostel for outstation visitors Karamunsing
Feb 14: Blessing of St Pio chapel Kg Labak Kinarut
Feb 20: Site blessing for the extension of the Franciscan Stella Maris Home for senior and infirm sisters Tg Aru
Feb 26: Blessing of St Damian Chapel Kg Dambai Papar
Mar 20: Most Rev Simon Poh installed as 3rd archbishop of Kuching
Mar 27: Ruby Jubilee (40 yrs) of Bp Cornelius Piong of Keningau
May 13: Inaugural Christian Education Forum SHPC Karamunsing
June 4: Solemn profession of Augustinian Sister Florence Suimin, UK
June 12-July 17: Inaugural BM training course for catechists BTRC
June 13: Silver jubilee (25 yrs) of Father Aloysius Fidelis
June 26: Pearl (30 yrs) episcopal anniversary of Abp Emeritus John Lee
June 30: Silver anniversary of the Association of Pauline Cooperators Sabah
July 7-9: Inaugural Family Life Consultation BTRC
July 22: Launching of new Catholic Centre Building Project SHPC Karamunsing
July 23: Inaugural ASSISS mobile clinic mission Kg Timpangoh Sugud
Aug 15: Golden jubilee of Franciscan Sisters Rita Chew & Imelda Angang
Aug 17: Golden anniversary of Catholic Women’s League Tanjung Aru
Aug 18: Rededication of St Michael Penampang
Sept 1: Priestly ordination of Jesuit Deacon Leslie Joseph Bingkasan, Inanam
Sept 9: Solemn profession of Franciscan Friars Aiden Peter Jr & Cruzender Alex, SHC
Sept 16: 20 years of KK Archdiocesan Vision and Mission
Oct 4: Diamond jubilee of Franciscan Sisters Stella Chin, Regina Majakil, Rosalind Thien, Ignatia Gomez
Oct 16: Launching of Sandakan Diocesan Vision and Mission in Tawau
Oct 21: Blessing of Church of Divine Mercy KKIP
Nov 23: Offical opening of Vatican Chancery in Kuala Lumpur
Dec 1: 60 years of Catholic Sabah
Dec 2: Launching of new Social Communications Commission logo
Dec 4-7: FSIC 10th General Chapter: election of Sr Frances Mani as superior general and her councillors
Dec 13: Site blessing & groundbreaking for Catholic Centre Karamunsing
Dec 17: Ruby jubilee of Franciscan Sister Martha Jonik

Called to Eternal Life
Feb 13: Mill Hill Brother Benedict Snoeren, 87
Mar 7: Franciscan Sister Diana Eing, 51
June 20: Infant Jesus Sister Eugneie Fernandez, 73
Aug 31: Mill Hill Father Terry Burke, 73
Sept 4: Father Fundes Motiung, 52
Sept 26: Franciscan Sister Alphonsus Low, 79

Yangon celebrates Christmas after 50 years

YANGON – The Christian communities in Myanmar, Catholic and Protestant, have publicly celebrated Christmas in the streets of Yangon, for the first time in 50 years.

In the past Christmas was strictly confined within the walls of churches, several liturgies, feasts, processions, took place in the city, especially from 23 to 25 December, with the specific authorisation of the government authorities of the region of Yangon.

The Festival was inaugurated on December 23 in the Methodist Church of the Holy Trinity and ended on December 25 with a solemn liturgy in the Catholic Cathedral of Santa Maria in Yangon, in the presence of Henry Van Thio, vice president of the Republic of Myanmar.

Bishop John Saw Yaw Han, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Yangon, declared the happiness of the Burmese Christians for this first Festival and encouraged all fellow citizens “to contribute in every possible way to the peace and prosperity of the nation.”

The special Christmas Festival was initiated with the consent of Phyo Min Thein, Prime Minister of the Regional Government of Yangon, and Mg Mg Soe, Mayor of Yangon, with the explicit intention of “honouring Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar held in November 2017 and to show solidarity with Christians in Myanmar and in the world.”

Bishop John Saw Yaw Han, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Yangon, declared the happiness of the Burmese Christians for this first Festival and encouraged all fellow citizens “to contribute in every possible way to the peace and prosperity of the nation.”

The special Christmas Festival was initiated with the consent of Phyo Min Thein, Prime Minister of the Regional Government of Yangon, and Mg Mg Soe, Mayor of Yangon, with the explicit intention of “honouring Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar held in November 2017 and to show solidarity with Christians in Myanmar and in the world.”

According to Fr George Mg Mg, these activities are a sign of the growth of religious freedom in Myanmar. Christian woman Naw Nilar San, of the Baptist Church, remarked that “in 50 years I have never experienced this kind of Christmas feast, many Christian singers sang Christmas hymns, and Christians offered food and drink to the people of Yangon, without any discrimination, bringing everyone a greeting and a wish for peace.”

“This year is very significant in the history of Burma because Christians were allowed to celebrate Christmas publicly with the people of the city.This Christmas Festival in the city was intended to promote social cohesion, interreligious understanding and friendship among citizens”, said Fr Thet Tin, another local Catholic parish priest.

Catholic layman Toe Toe remarks that “Christmas means showing and giving the love of Christ for humanity.”

Thant Shwe, a Buddhist citizen, tells Fides that he “appreciated and enjoyed the Festival,” in which he participated with his wife, “highlighting that Christmas is a celebration that has value for all men and not just Christians.”

The Christmas Festival of the city of Yangon, point out Burmese Christians, will be remembered as the first major ecumenical meeting with the Buddhist people in the history of Myanmar.

Phyo Min Thein, Prime Minister of the Regional Government of Yangon, has promised the population that in the coming years the Christmas Festival in Yangon will continue to be celebrated.

According to the 2014 census, the entire Burmese population is 51.4 million and Christians of all confessions are, overall, 3 million. –  JZ, Agenzia Fides, 29/12/2017

SHC organises raffle ticket draw at yearend

Abp Wong (2nd from R) shakes hands with Simon Tam, winner of the 6th prize, at the Raffle Draw in aid of the Catholic Centre Building Fund, flanked by Anthony Lim, head of the SH finance council (R) and Anita Tunggolou, coordinator of the Raffle Draw (L), 31 Dec 2017, SHPC.

KOTA KINABALU – The Raffle Ticket Draw in aid of the Catholic Centre Building Fund was drawn on 31 Dec 2017 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.

Within three months (Sept-Nov 2017) a total of 14,169 booklets (RM20/booklet) out of 16,500 was sold by the different groups/communities under the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Church of Mary Immaculate.

The tickets sold amounted to RM283,380 exceeding the target amount of RM250,000.

Simon Tam Sai Man,33, won the sixth prize, a MIDEA ED-258W Chest freezer with capacity 198L, which was presented to him by Archbishop John Wong.

There are altogether 20 prizes including 10 consolation prizes.  All prizes must be claimed within three months at the parish office.

The following are the prize-winning numbers:
1. 028428
2. 017222
3. 070939
4. 089825
5. 051803
6. 152609
7. 018090
8. 082856
9. 066826
10. 005977

Consolation Prizes
1. 073809
2. 138954
3. 088377
4. 088929
5. 056365
6. 076757
7. 030923
8. 048781
9. 168336
10. 032888


Vatican newspaper: ‘post-truth’ media are constructing image of ‘progressive and permissive pope’

VATICAN CITY – In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano op-ed, Italian historian Lucetta Scaraffia wrote that relativism, which the Church has had to confront in recent decades, has given way to the phenomenon of “post-truth,” which is more difficult to confront because it is “elusive and pervasive.”

Citing the French historian Marcel Guachet, Scaraffia described “post-truth” as “the adulterous daughter of the politically correct.”

Scaraffia, a frequent contributor to the Vatican newspaper, said that “post-truth” media are constructing the “image of a progressive and permissive Pope” by quoting Pope Francis out of context, emphasizing these quotations in headlines, and passing over statements that are “consistent with Christian tradition.” Social media are also circulating Spanish-language speeches that are falsely attributed to the Pontiff.

The effect, said Scaraffia, is that Pope Francis is portrayed as “ever more revolutionary and unpredictable,” while the Roman Curia is “obviously demonized.”

While the Pope’s texts are readily available for those who wish to read them, “very few do so because the majority blindly entrust themselves to the media.” – CWN, 29 Dec 2017

CWL Tg Aru calls on KK prelate

L-R Amy Yung, Monica Chung, Abp Wong, Datin Theresa William, Maria Lee pose for remembrance at the cheque presentation during the courtesy call at his office in Penampang on 30 Dec 2017.

PENAMPANG – The golden anniversary organising committee of the Stella Maris Catholic Women’s League (SMCWL) paid a courtesy call on Archbishop John Wong at his office at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre here on 30 Dec 2017.

The objective of the call was to present a cheque of RM2000.00 in aid of the Catholic Centre Building Fund.

Datin Theresa William said the amount was part of the proceeds collected from the advertisements and sales of the anniversary dinner tickets.

The SMCWL celebrated its golden anniversary on Aug 17.  Abp Wong graced the function which was attended by 500 guests including the past presidents of the league.

The courtesy call was also to thank the prelate for his staunch support extended to the organising committee in the form of presiding at the thanksgiving Mass and gracing the anniversary dinner.

The four-member delegation comprised William and committee members Monica Chung, Maria Lee, and Amy Yung.

SH Chinese community organises evening of Christmas celebration

Abp Lee, flanked by the clergy, religious and lay leaders, cuts his anniversary cake, 29 Dec 2017, at the gathering organised by the Sacred Heart Chinese Coordinating Committee, Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – The Sacred Heart Chinese community organised an evening to celebrate Christmas at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 29 Dec 2017.

Some 500 parishioners joined Archbishop John Wong, his assistant Father Paul Lo, and the Franciscan and Pauline Sisters for an evening of fellowship meal, songs (solo, duet, choral), dances, and lucky draws by various groups including the grandnephews and nieces of Abp Emeritus John Lee.

Organised by the Chinese Coordinating Committee, it also marked the 53rd priestly anniversary of retired Abp Lee (Dec 27) and the 41st priestly anniversary of Father Cosmas Lee (Dec 27).

What’s the biggest obstacle to addressing a culture of sexual harassment?

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

The following is the outcome of a recent online survey on sexual harassment by ‘America the Jesuit Review’ posted on its website on 27 Dec 2017.

When asked if they had experienced sexual harassment, 89 percent of all respondents to our recent survey answered yes, while 76 percent told America that they had seen someone else experience harassment. Ninety-seven percent of women who responded said that they had experienced sexual harassment first hand.

“Sexual harassment is so commonplace in its different forms that it is easier to name the times and places it has not occurred,” wrote one reader from Medford, Ore. When asked to indicate the settings in which they experienced or witnessed harassment, readers most frequently named the workplace (79 percent), public places (62 percent) and school (45 percent).

Despite these sobering numbers, the majority of readers (77 percent) told America that they have noticed new efforts to respond to sexual harassment in the last decade. “I think a great deal changed in the workplace after Anita Hill,” a reader from Boston wrote.

Other readers noted productive efforts by their communities to end harassment. “My diocese has a program that trains all volunteers and employees in understanding both abuse and sexual harassment,” wrote a respondent from Austin, Tex. “Personal accountability and communal responsibility are priorities.”

A reader from New York City described the usefulness of online communities in this respect, singling out the #MeToo social media campaign. “#MeToo has helped me and others gain a voice against perpetrators,” she said.

Readers described many obstacles to addressing a culture that permits sexual harassment. One respondent said that “victim-blaming and making perpetrators the ‘victims’” is the biggest obstacle to moving forward. She gave an example: “Saying, ‘It’s a horrible time to be a man today,’ overlooks the fact it has been a horrible time to be a woman for a long, long time.”

Another reader, from Pasadena, Calif, pointed out that society’s attention has been disproportionately focused on high-profile harassment cases. “While we relish the downfall of powerful, abusive men,” he said, “we refuse to recognise the ways we are already complicit in this culture.”

A respondent from Pottsville, Pa, suggested that putting women in leadership positions could help: “Men tend to protect and shield other men even when they are guilty…. [They can be more] concerned with the perpetrator’s dignity than that of the victim. (We have seen this with our own clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.) More women need to be in positions of leadership and power because when we are not, we are more likely to be targeted as victims.” – america

Papar’s Christmas theme relates to archdiocesan pastoral thrust

Fr Rayner claps after cutting the cake with the children and parishioners after Christmas Day Mass on 25 Dec 2017, St Joseph Papar.

PAPAR – This year’s Christmas theme for St Joseph Parish here related well with the parish’s present pastoral activities in delivering the Archdiocesan Pastoral Thrust: ‘My Family, My BECs and My Church’ (Keluarga, KKD dan Gereja Ku) with acronym KKG Ku.

In his Christmas Eve message, Father Thomas Yip invited the parishioners to emulate the humble and holy family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, always obedience to God in accordance to His Will and not their own.

“May the peace and humility in their lives and the word of God inspired us and open the path towards repentance and forgiveness towards one another in our family and communities,” he said.

In his homily on Christmas Day, Father Rayner Bisius said that the crib of baby Jesus brings forth hope, joy, happiness, peace and mercy to all.  He invited the parishioners to bring joy and peace to those who cannot celebrate Christmas in one way or another.

He said that the migrant parishioners in one of the outstation chapels in Kogopon were not afraid to risk their lives in attending the Christmas Eve Mass so as to bear witness to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Likewise, he continued, we, too, must not be afraid to walk the path and to bear witness to Christ in our lives and church ministry no matter how big the challenges are.

After the Mass, the priest, children and parishioners together had a cake cutting ceremony to celebrate the birth of our Lord. – William Charles Mindus, SOCCOM Papar


Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis laments ‘winds of war’ blowing around the world

Over 3000 turn up to celebrate Christmas with KK prelate at his open house

Archbishop Wong greets one of those present at the Christmas open house at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre on 25 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 3000 people turned up to celebrate Christmas with Archbishop John Wong at his open house on the afternoon of 25 Dec 2017 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.

The visitors including priests and religious came from all walks of life, from nearby parishes. Gracing the function as well was 84-year-old Archbishop Emeritus John Lee who would be celebrating 53 years as priest on Dec 27.

Abp Wong did not sit still but went around meeting and greeting as many people as he could in this one function of the year where he acts as host.  Throughout the year, he is often entertained by those who invite him to this or that function.

The visitors were entertained by carol singers from various groups and individuals, notably from the Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission, the SHC-CMI pastoral councils,  the Chinese, Filipino and Indonesian groups, and from the seminarians. The food was prepared by the Women’s League, with many food stations for the visitors – young and old alike.

The ‘Open House’ is a unique tradition found throughout Malaysia. Family, friends and even strangers are welcomed into homes or suitable venues with goodwill and camaraderie during the many varied festivities enjoyed in this country.

In the archdiocese, the open house of the archbishop has been organised since 1992 for the faithful to share the Christmas joy with him through good food and carol singing by various groups.

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