Daily Archives:February 5th, 2018

People are hungry for good news which gives them hope, says Ranau pastor

A family poses in front of the Christmas Crib at St Peter Claver Ranau, 25 Dec 2017.

RANAU – Parish priest of St Peter Claver Ranau (SPCR) Church, Father Nicholas Stephen said people today are hungry for good news, which gives them hope for a better day ahead in the midst of uncertainties.

“Every day we wake up and see on our smartphones or tablets all kinds of bad news which make us question the hope for mankind and our own safety for tomorrow. We live in all kinds of fears,” he said.

“But today I urge people from all walks of life, regardless of their faith as well as ethnic background, to be joyful because the Christmas that we celebrate each year is the point where all hopes for tomorrow are renewed,” he continued.

Towards that end, Fr Nicholas said, people today should go to the Bethlehem of their souls, which has since been left dry and empty, and to rediscover the joy of life where the Saviour of mankind is born.

He was speaking to a crowd of about 3000 Catholic Christians at the Christmas Mass at St Peter Claver here on 25 Dec 2018.

He prayed that this year’s Christmas bring peace to all families, especially to all broken families, that their relationships would be restored once again, thus bringing peace to society, the state, the nation and the world as a whole.

Earlier that day, Fr Nicholas also launched the parish’s first published magazine entitled Effatha!, which was produced by St Peter Claver’s SOCCOM (Social Communications) Committee. The magazine featured all the activities that took place in SPCR in 2017.

The first edition of Effatha! also highlighted the journey made by the statue of Our Lady of Fatima throughout the seven zones under the Ranau parish, ending with the major street procession over the town of Ranau on Nov 25 last year.

On Dec 30, Fr Nicholas joined other community leaders for a Christmas and New Year celebration at district level.

At the event, Siringan Gubat, who co-hosted the event, and who is also Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology, said that such celebration is important, especially for people living in a multi-cultural setting like in Malaysia, especially in Sabah.

“This is why we never stop organising this event each year. Because an open house is like a tonic for the fostering of unity, especially considering that we in Ranau are living in a diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds,” he said.

Dr Joachim Gunsalam who is also Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing shared the sentiment and added that the event strengthened the brotherhood which has long been inherited by the people in Ranau.

“Good relationship among the people here has long existed and this acceptance between one another transcends the boundary of minds, interests and even political ideology,” he said.

Among the highlights of the celebration, which was held at the Dewan Masyarakat Ranau, were the singing of Christmas carols by choir groups from the different churches in Ranau, and distribution of Christmas goodies to children.   – Clarence Dol

Ranau mission kindergarten receives encouraging response from parents

Some of the children at the Ranau mission kindergarten, 2018

RANAU – The newly established St Peter Claver Ranau (SPCR)’s Tadika Kasih Bonda continues to receive encouraging response from parents in the area when 20 four-year-olds were accepted to enroll in its new intake this year.

Headmistress Deyana Johnny said despite the inadequate facilities the kindergarten is experiencing since its inception in 2015, teaching staff at the school continue to hope for a better future for the school in the days ahead.

“Currently we are coping with problems like lack of staff and lack of classrooms. We are operating with 10 teachers, including myself, and only three classes. We are caring for 20 four-year-olds, 40 five-year-olds, and 45 six-year-olds.

“Imagine how the situation is when one of them needs to go to the washroom. We have to escort those children to the washroom in order to ensure their safety,” she said.

On the issue of classrooms, Deyana said the over-quota numbers of students gave them the thrust to improvise, which means getting some of the children at school to have outside-of-classroom activities.

Towards the end of 2017, SPCR received a donation of RM210 thousand from the Vatican Foundation to build a kindergarten (Tadika Kasih Bonda) which is currently located in the old church building (Fr Salm Hall).

SPCR parish priest, Father Nicholas Stephen said earlier that Tadika Kasih Bonda, which uses English as its medium, and now requiring a building to run its own programmes, receives a very encouraging response from Christian students in this area.

To accommodate the construction of the building, the church needs an allocation of RM750 thousand, and the Vatican Foundation has contributed RM210 thousand through the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, he added.

Therefore, he said, the contribution of all the people is needed to realise the completion of the building, thus helping the kindergarten to develop and enabling it to enroll more children in the future. – Clarence Dol

Don’t water down Christianity

“Everybody worships somebody or something. Everyone’s got a king, right? Our job is to stand up boldly and say, ‘No, Christ is your king. Everything in your life belongs to him’.”

Bishop Robert Barron asked some 8000 people at a Catholic leadership conference to help “remind the world whom they are to worship.” He said that trust in the risen Christ should give us the courage to preach the truth boldly.

“Through the Holy Spirit, the ascended, risen Christ commands his mystical Body the Church to do what he did, and to say what he said. That’s it…that’s the task of the Church to the present day.”

While caring for the poor is important, Bishop Barron said, this work “in and of itself can never be evangelically sufficient.”

“This is not the time for anti-intellectualism in our Church! We have lots of young people who are leaving the Church for intellectual reasons,” Barron said.

He called for a kind of “bold speech” needed to proclaim the Gospel, pointing to the preaching in the early Church, which challenged the widely held belief at the time that “Caesar is Lord.”

“The bold speech of the Church is that not ‘Caesar,’ or any of his successors, but rather Jesus is Lord, Jesus is the king. And he is also Christos, anointed.”

“If he is Lord, everything in your life belongs to him. Your personal life, yes. Your body, yes. Your friendships, yes. Your political life, yes. Your entertainment, yes. All of it.”

When Christianity becomes reduced to a mere message that can be gained from the dominant culture, Bishop Barron said, it moves from the faith of early persecuted Christians to one which is rewarded lavishly by others.

“In the Acts of the Apostles we hear that when those first disciples spoke, people were cut to the heart. Still true, still true to this day. Bland spiritual teachings, saying what everybody else says, that won’t cut anyone to the heart, but trust me, declaring the lordship of Jesus, that’ll cut them to the heart.”

Bishop Barron highlighted Jesus’ role in light of the Old Testament, saying that only as a fulfillment of laws and the prophets does Jesus make sense. When Jesus is cut off from his roots in Israel, he becomes just a philosopher or wise figure, a “flattened out, uninspiring Jesus,” the bishop warned.

In contrast, he said, “when you present Jesus as the fulfillment of the great story of Israel, Jesus as the fulfillment of the temple that was meant to bring humanity and divinity together, when you preach him as the fulfillment of the law and the covenant and the Torah, when you preach him as the culmination of all the proclamation of the prophets, people will be cut to the heart.” – CNA

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