Daily Archives:January 27th, 2018

SHEP to mark 10th anniversary of ecumenical partnership

KUNDASANG – The Sabah Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership (SHEP) will mark its 10th anniversary in September this year.

The partnership was signed on 26 Sept 2008 between the Protestant Church of Sabah (PCS), the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia-Sabah (BCCM), the Roman Catholic (RC) Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, the RC Diocese of Keningau and the RC Diocese of Sandakan, together with the RC and Protestant churches of Heilbronn, Germany.

Towards this noble purpose, about 30 church leaders and believers who are in support of the Partnership celebrated The Partnership Day in Jabez Resort, Kundasang, on 12-13 Jan 2018.

Among the highlights of the event were dinner, praise and worship, opening prayer, sermon, sharing, speech, intercessory prayer, benediction and group photo, as well as discussions and fellowship among the participants.

On the second day of the event, the group started off with breakfast and prayer, followed by SHEP committee meeting, a visit to the Agape Centre for stateless children before the gathering dispersed.

The goals of the Ecumenical Partnership are to mutually experience and live the mission of Christ as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, as well as to share in the joys and sufferings of humankind.

Apart from that, the movement also hopes to learn from each other and to strengthen one another when and where it is necessary.

Among those who attended the celebration were Chairman of SHEP, Dr Paul from PCS, Rev Michael Yin (BCCM Ranau), Bro Peter Lee,  Father Thomas Yip, Father Stanley Matakim, Father Michael Modoit, Father Rudolf Joannes and Rev Dean Poiter from BCCM.

In 1982, an ecumenical study group from Heilbronn, Germany visited Malaysia. It was initiated by Dr Karl Rennstich, a Protestant missionery formerly serving the Rungus community in Kudat and Mr Werner Reiter, the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Centre for Education Work. Dr Rennstich was at that time attached to the Office of Mission and Ecumenical Relations of the Protestant Church in Heilbronn.

A direct consequence of this visit was the first ‘return visit’ when a group of Christians from East and West Malaysia was invited to participate in a Mission Festival in Heilbronn in 1984. Since then, there has been cordial and meaningful contacts between the churches of both countries. A second ecumenical study group from Heilbronn visited Malaysia in 1986. Subsequently such mutual visits were organised once in two years.

In August 1990, formal agreements were signed to seal the partnership. Bishop Thu En Yu of BCCM and Bishop John Lee of the Catholic Church were the signatories from Sabah while the Heilbronn side was represented by Gerhard Berroth, President of the District Synod, and Dean Mohler of the Catholic deanery of Heilbronn.

On 23 Sept 2016, a delegation of 11 SHEP members from Sabah paid a return visit to Heilbronn, Germany to keep with the tradition of visiting one another. – Clarence G Dol

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei bishops meet in Majodi

Seated L-R: Abp Simon Poh of Kuching, Abp William Goh of Singapore, Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Abp Joseph Marino, Abp Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur, Abp John Wong of Kota Kinabalu
Standing: Sr Margarete Sta Maria fdcc, Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau, Bishop Richard Ng of Miri, Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu, Bishop Bernard Paul of Melaka-Johor, Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan

PLENTONG – The 101st Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCMSB) of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei was held  8 – 12 Jan 2018 at the Majodi Centre here.

The CBCMSB, the apex body of the Catholic Church in the region, holds the Plenary Assembly twice a year to discuss the various aspects of the life of the local Church and, especially, the challenges it faces, and to evolve common action to revitalise the Church and to make the Church more effective in its service to the members and to the society at large.

The five-day long deliberations included the assessment of reports by various offices and commissions and other practical considerations.

Prior to the meeting, Vatican’s envoy to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei, Archbishop Joseph Marino opened the bi-annual meeting of the CBCMSB.

Archbishop Marino, then briefed the arch/bishops on pontifical matters and spoke at length on the ad limina visit to Rome during which the CBCMSB will have an audience with Pope Francis scheduled for February 8.

On the second day, Bishop Sebastian Francis, the president, delivered the welcome address and chaired the session. – Vincent D’Silva, Herald Malaysia

Limbanak hosts 7th Red Mass

Members of the Bar and the Bench march in procession before the Mass, 27 Jan 2018, St Aloysius Limbanak.

LIMBANAK – St Aloysius Limbanak hosted the 7th Red Mass of the Legal Fraternity on 27 Jan 2018.

The event began with the entrance procession from the gate of the attendees in full robe.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass.

Over 50 legal practitioners – mostly lawyers,  a judge and three judicial officials from the Kota Kinabalu High Court – attended the event, including some family members and others.

In his homily, Abp Wong called on those present to seek for wisdom and guidance from on high  in their work.

In her speech after the Mass, Mdm Ruth Marcus, coordinator of the Sabah Catholic Lawyers Association (SCLA), reminded those present that the association was the brainchild of Abp Emeritus John Lee and was formed in 2012 primarily to bring Catholic lawyers to pray together, occasioned by the Lina Joy case.

She said that the association will continue to provide free legal counselling on various issues affecting the Catholic faith such as IC discrepancies, unilateral conversion of minors, and apostasy cases.

Marcus informed those present that the association plans to organise a conference on interreligious dialogue with people of diverse faiths similar to that she attended in Beirut Lebanon in October 2017.

At the same time, she proposed the idea of some representation from the Catholic lawyers to sit on the National Unity Consultative Council to assist the council by providing feedback and recommendation on the National Harmony Bill.

She said the association also hopes to organise a retreat for Malaysian Catholic lawyers soon.  The immediate plan, however, is to compile the names of Catholic lawyers and re-structure the programme better.

In his turn, after giving some words of encouragement, Abp Wong announced that he has appointed Father Paul Lo as the spiritual adviser of the association.

The event ended with lunch at the Fr Jud Hall below the church.

What’s destroying some Catholic marriages? The answer may surprise you

Of the countless Catholic couples who have come through Father TG Morrow’s office in Washington DC for marriage counseling, two remain imprinted in the priest’s mind even today.

In many ways, these two Catholic couples were the ideal; they were open to life, they formed their children in the faith and they frequented the sacraments.

But both of these marriages fell apart. The culprit? Anger.

“Anger is a poison,” Fr Morrow, a moral theologian and author of “Overcoming Sinful Anger” (Sophia Press, 2014)  told CNA. “If a husband and a wife are angry with each other a lot, it destroys the relationship. It makes it so painful that people want to get out of that relationship.

Everyone experiences the feeling of anger. It’s a natural, uncontrollable response to the behavior of others, he said. And anger can sometimes be righteous – St. Thomas Aquinas once said anger that’s aligned with reason is praiseworthy. But most often that natural response of anger morphs into sinful anger, which is motivated by a desire for revenge, the priest noted.

And this sinful anger has a devastating effect on relationships.

“It’s extremely important that people realise that (anger) can be a very serious thing, especially if they have major outbursts that really hurt other people,” Fr Morrow said.

Anger is so destructive that many marriage experts recommend couples have five positive interactions for every negative interaction.

“This anger, when it’s expressed badly, is a poison to every relationship,” he said. “Married people need especially to be careful about this…to work on this and to overcome this.”

Since the feeling of anger is natural and unavoidable, Fr Morrow said it is important to know how to express anger or displeasure in an effective and positive way. The first step: decide if it is worth getting angry.

“People get angry about little, trifling things,” he said. “You have to say “Is this worth getting angry about?” If not, then you have to let it go. Just forget it.”

If your anger is justified and a confrontation would promote the good of the other, use humor or diplomacy to express your anger. If a confrontation would not promote the good of the other, then Fr. Morrow suggested offering that anger to God as a sacrifice for your sins and the sins of the world.

“(Anger) won’t go away automatically in one try,” he explained. “We have to keep giving it to God as a sacrifice.”

Fr Morrow said this approach to anger does not mean every person should suddenly become a doormat who is too cowardly to express dissatisfaction with the actions of another.

He used the example of St Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Many of the men in Tagaste at the time had violent tempers, and St Monica’s husband was no exception. When he would come home and yell at St Monica, she would stay quiet. Some time after her husband’s explosion of anger, St Monica would approach her husband and calmly address his treatment of her and his complaints.

“She was the furthest thing from a doormat,” Fr Morrow explained. “She had a specific goal that she wanted to become holy and she wanted to covert her son. She pursued her goals ardently and as a result she converted her violent husband and eventually converted Augustine.”

Fr Morrow’s book “Overcoming Sinful Anger” (Sophia Press, 2014) reads like a manual and draws from his experience as a marriage counselor and spiritual director and his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. – CNA

This article was originally published on CNA Aug. 14, 2015.

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