Daily Archives:March 9th, 2018

Newly renovated chapel blessed in Miri

MIRI – Bishop Richard Ng celebrated Mass at the newly renovated St Francis’ Chapel on  21 February 2018, together with all the other priests in the Diocese of Miri, after their monthly priests’ recollection meeting.

Over 400 parishioners, including students from St Joseph’s secondary school, were present.

Bishop Ng thanked all those who had helped in the restoration works. He announced that the newly renovated chapel and St Francis’ centre is now available for small group retreats, seminars, weddings and other church activities. The centre can also be used for meetings, conferences and talks.

Further details and bookings can be made at St Joseph’s Parish office. – Johnny Tan, Miri website

Muslims guard Kuching prelate heckled by zealous youths at Kuching court complex

KUCHING –  Archbishop Simon Poh was heckled by a group of Muslim youths, who shouted “Allahuakbar” at him, when he was making his exit at the end of a Federal Court hearing in Kuching on 27 Feb 2018.

The court dismissed the appeals of three Muslim converts and a Muslim by birth to have their apostasy cases heard in a civil court, ruling that the Sarawak Syariah court has jurisdiction to hear the apostasy applications.

Kuching district police chief Abang Ahmad Abang Julai described the verbal abuse of Bishop Simon Peter Poh by the youths, who were at the court complex car park, as a “minor incident.”

He said the youths had gotten “carried away emotionally,” and their action showed that they did not understand the issues brought before the court.

“Everything was under control. The bishop was actually shielded and protected by other Muslims, and escorted to his car,” he said.

Archbishop Poh was shaken but unhurt in the incident.

A video now making the rounds shows him walking alone, with his robe making him stand out from among a sea of Muslims who had gathered at the court complex in Petra Jaya to hear the court’s decision.

When the heckling started, Muslim youth quickly threw a cordon around him and escorted him safely out of the court complex.

“In Sarawak, we work as friends,” the bishop said in the video.

“Let us not allow emotions to overcome everything.

“I am sure the state authorities, the chief minister, is watching. We will do our best to… rebuild harmony.“I am not rattled by this (heckling incident). There were many good people… who were around me to make sure that I was okay.”

No arrests were made following the incident.

Police estimate the crowd at the court complex to number around 400.

In a statement circulated among chat groups later, Archbishop Poh appealed to Christians to “understand this case carefully.”

“This case is not the Church vs Islam but on the dispute of who has the jurisdiction on allowing a Muslim to murtad (apostatise), either the syariah court or the civil court Naturally, since we have the Syariah court to govern the Muslims, the Syariah court has the power to grant Muslims the leave from Islam according to the law. Therefore, we did not lose this case, nor did we win it. What is important, now that this is clear, where do we want to go with it?

“The court, be it the Syariah or the civil, are only to apply the law. Thus next, we should pray that the lawmakers will table a just law to face this issue. Do not lose hope. Pray, continue to pray,” he said.

Archbishop Poh added that he found the panel of judges which heard arguments on Feb 26 before announcing its decision on Feb 27 to be “very neutral and fair.” –  The Malaysian Insight

First Vatican Hackathon seeks solutions to real problems

VATICAN CITY – The first Vatican ‘Hackathon’ gets underway on 8 Mar 2018 with a press conference showcasing the Church’s willingness and desire to embrace technological development.

The event brings together 120 university students from around the world to create technological solutions to real-world problems related to interfaith dialogue, social inclusion, and migrants and refugees.

Combining Christian values with technological development to solve global problems, the Vatican Hackathon received enthusiastic support from Pope Francis and the various offices of the Holy See.

Msgr Lucio Ruiz, Secretary of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, launched the event at a press conference on Thursday. He said Pope Francis was enthusiastic from the beginning about hosting a Vatican Hackathon, saying “Yes, we must do it!”

A Hackathon (combining the words ‘hacking’ and ‘marathon’) hosts university students from different disciplines who collaborate under a time constraint to create solutions to current global problems.

The Vatican event will ask 120 students from 30 countries to address the issues of social inclusion, interfaith dialogue, and the challenges facing migrants and refugees. Over the course of 36 hours on 8-11 March, the teams of business, design, and engineering students will seek to create a project, which leverages technology to provide a solution to a concrete problem. Solutions can come in the form of applications, websites, platforms, products, or new initiatives.

Msgr Ruiz said, besides the Pope’s enthusiasm, the Vatican Secretariat of State was positive about the project and quickly allowed “Vatican” to be added to event.  Msgr Ruiz said this event demonstrates how seamlessly faith, science, and technology work together for the good of all people.

Another presenter, Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, Director of the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, said the Church has always embraced technology.

“In case you think this Vatican Hackathon is an unusual invention,” he said, “let me just mention that we Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans and others embraced the printing press in the 16th century and did much the same with it as we’re hoping to do with technology today.”

Fr Czerny said the event follows the “long tradition of the Church, learning to use what God has inspired his people to invent.”

Projects will be judged based on how well the technology employed advances socio-economic development and the extent to which moral and ethical challenges related to new technologies were taken into consideration.

One major goal of the Vatican Hackathon is to promote Christian values within technology and business sectors around the world.

The event is sponsored by the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and OPTIC,  an international network of research and innovation dedicated to ethical issues of disruptive technologies. – Devin Watkins, Vatican News

Pope announces theme for special synod of bishops of Amazon region

Some representatives of Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has established that the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Pan-Amazon Region, to take place in October 2019, will have the following theme:

Amazonia: new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology

The Vatican Press Office on 8 Mar 2018 issued a press statement in which it revealed the theme for the Assembly and said the Pope has appointed eighteen members of the pre-Synodal Council, which will collaborate with the General Secretariat in the preparation of the aforementioned Special Assembly.

They include Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Archbishop Emeritus of Sao Paolo in Brazil and President of REPAM, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, Metropolitan Archbishop of Archdiocese of México, as well as a number of Latin American prelates and Mr Mauricio Lopez, Executive Secretary of REPAM. – Vatican News

Seminarians Russell and Gilbert accepted as candidates for ordination

Russell Lawrine (L) and Gilbert Marcus (R) stand before Abp Wong to publicly declare their intention to pursue Holy Orders during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders, 9 Mar 2018, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Seminarians Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus publically declared their intention to pursue Holy Orders and were officially accepted as candidates for ordination during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders at the 6 am Friday Morning Mass celebrated by Archbishop John Wong at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 9 Mar 2018. Both will be ordained deacons at the cathedral by Abp Wong on Sunday Mar 11 at 5 pm.  Concelebrating with the prelate were Father Paul Lo  and Father Joshua Liew.

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