Daily Archives:March 13th, 2018

Belatik grotto blessed by Papar pastor

The faithful pose for remembrance after the blessing of the grotto by Fr Thomas Yip, St Peter Belatik Papar, 9 Mar 2018.

BELATIK, Papar – The Marian grotto outside St Peter Belatik here was blessed by Father Thomas Yip on 9 Mar 2018.

The blessing took place after the Way of the Cross around the compound outside the chapel with the some of the people carrying the statue of Our Lady.

The statue was then affixed inside the grotto followed by the rite of blessing.

After the rite of blessing, the Eucharist was celebrated.  In his homily, the priest said that commitment towards one’s family and community must be prioritised and based on God’s guidance who has given us life through Christ.

After Mass, all adjourned to the community hall (former chapel) for dinner fellowship.

In his speech, Clarence Ponsoi, the community chairperson, thanked everyone involved in realising the construction of the grotto with the hope that it will be helpful in their faith formation.

The grotto was built on top of a large boulder located at the right side of the chapel through the initiative and help of the local people.  The project under John Jinal Hussin started on 29 Sept 2017 and completed on 9 Mar 2018.

Both the chapel and statue were sponsored by Datuk Victor Paul.

The chapel was blessed by Archbishop John Wong on 30 Dec 2014. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

Papar women’s day celebration receives unexpected response

PAPAR – St Joseph Parish Women’s Day celebration on 10 Mar 2018 received an unexpected large turnout at the Mother of Mercy open hall.

Father Rayner Bisius led the opening prayer followed by the cake-cutting with members of the Catholic Women’s League headed by Rosalind Lohindun, Franciscan Sister Juanah Saliun and the novices, and some of the women parishioners.

In his address based on the theme Press for progress, move forward in Christ, Fr Rayner stressed the need for faith in Christ in order to move into the uncertain future, just like Abraham’s faith in God.

During the fellowship dinner, the attendees enjoyed the stage presentations by the various groups both local and outstation.

The event ended with a closing prayer by Sr Juanah.– William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

 

Sandakan youth leaders camp draws 148 participants

TAWAU – The 6th Youth Leaders Camp (YLC 6) drew 148 participants from across the Sandakan Diocese.

Tawau hosted the 4-night-5-day event on 7-11 Feb 2018 at Holy Trinity Parish here.

The theme was taken from the 33rd World Youth Day: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30).

In his message to the participants, Bishop Julius Gitom said that the Church looks upon the youth with hope as they hold the key to the next generation. To achieve that, they have to begin now.

The prelate urged them to learn from the Blessed Mother what self-sacrificing love means and the readiness to do God’s will.

The event featured several inputs interspersed with praise and worship, testimonies, games and other activities.

The objectives of the YLC 6 were to (1) help the participants to encounter the Lord; (2) deepen the sense of belonging in their respective ministries; and (3) strengthen the bond of friendship and communication among themselves. – Sandakan diocesan newsblog

Kuching Archdiocesan Youth Day 2018 officially launched

KUCHING –  Over 100 youths from the different parishes in the archdiocese gathered at St Joseph’s Cathedral to witness the reception of the Cross for each Parish Youth Ministry and Youth Groups.

The opening ceremony for Kuching Archdiocesan Youth Day 2018, with the theme taken from Luke 1:30 “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God,” was held on 24 Feb 2018.

After the Mass, each Parish Youth Ministry and Youth Group in the archdiocese received a mini cross as a symbol of Christ reaching out to the youth in their respective parishes.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Simon Poh, with Father Larry Tan SJ, Chaplain Kuching Campus Ministry, concelebrating. kchadyouth

Fr Rosica’s commentary on the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate

Credit: lastampa.it

Much has been written about the first five years of Pope Francis’ Petrine Ministry. Having accompanied him, literally, into the conclave that elected this Argentine Jesuit Bishop of Rome on 13 March 2013, I have followed him closely over the past five years of his remarkable impact on the Church and on the entire world. I have listened to his admirers, his disciples and his critics. I wish to offer these brief reflections, fully aware that so much more can be said.

Since March 2013, our Church has entered a new phase. Pope Francis is pointing each day to how the mind and heart meet in the love of God and the love of neighbor. And most of all, Francis reminds us day in and day out how much we need Jesus, and also how much we need one another along the journey.

Having served as one of the official spokespersons at the Vatican during the historic Papal transition of 2013, I must return to a very programmatic text for the Pontificate now unfolding before our very eyes. It is a Cardinal’s intervention during the pre-conclave meetings of Cardinals on the morning of 7 March  2013. It was entitled: The Sweet and Comforting Joy of Evangelising. The Cardinal began by reminding his brother Cardinals in that upper room, “Evangelisation is the raison d’etre of the Church — “the sweet and comforting joy of evangelising”. It is Jesus Christ himself who impels us from within. The Cardinal offered four simple yet profound points.

– To evangelise implies apostolic zeal. To evangelise implies a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries not only in the geographic sense but also the existential peripheries: those of the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance, of doing without religion, of thought and of all misery.

– When the Church does not come out of herself to evangelise, she becomes self-referent and then she gets sick. (cf. The hunchback woman of the Gospel). The evils that over the course of time happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in a self-reference and a sort of theological narcissism. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says that he is at the door and knocks. Evidently the text refers to his knocking from outside in order to enter but I think of the times in which Jesus knocks from within so that we will let him come out. The self-referent Church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him come out.

– When the Church is self-referent without realising it, she believes she has her own light. She ceases to be the mysterium lunae and gives way to that very great evil which is spiritual worldliness. The self-referent Church lives to give glory only to one another. In simple terms, there are two images of the Church: the evangelising Church that comes out of herself: “Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith” – the first words of the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, and the worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself. This must give light to the possible changes and reforms which must be made for the salvation of souls.

– Thinking of the next Pope, he must be a man that from the contemplation and adoration of Jesus Christ, helps the Church to come out to the existential peripheries, that helps her to be the fruitful mother who lives from the sweet and comforting joy of evangelising.

That Cardinal was the Archbishop of Buenos Aries whose name was Jorge Mario Bergoglio. His new name is Francis. He is a Jesuit. His humility has impressed many people around the entire world. His style has truly become substance. It is the most radically evangelical aspect of his spiritual reform of the papacy, and he has invited all Catholics, but especially the clergy, to reject success, wealth and power. Francis’ spiritual father, Ignatius of Loyola, insisted that a Jesuit is never to have an anti-ecclesial spirit, but always be open to how the spirit of God is working. The Jesuit commitment not to seek ecclesiastical office, even in the Society is an outgrowth of that experience. Francis has so interiorised those values that without hesitation he applies it to clerical and curial reform today.

In Ignatius’ eyes, humility is the virtue that brings us closest to Christ, and Pope Francis appears to be guiding the church and educating the clergy in that fundamental truth. Francis teaches us that precisely this humility is essential to make the New Evangelisation real and effective both within the church and in her encounter with the world. Pope Francis models for us each day a Church of humility, tenderness and mercy, an incarnational Church that walks with people on the journey. A Church that listens, discerns, accompanies, forgives, blesses, speaks boldly and courageously; a Church that weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. A Church that does everything she can to resist the temptation to reduce the faith to moralism; a Church that resists all attempts to disincarnate the message and the person she holds deep within her heart: Jesus Christ. A Church that strives to integrate people back into the community of faith. In the heart and mind of Pope Francis, we need “a church that is again capable of restoring citizenship to so many of its children that walk as if in exodus.”

Nor can I ever forget his parting words to his brother bishops of the United States of America in September 2015, as he took leave of them in St Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC. Francis spoke of the Church and priestly ministry that he envisions for America and for the world:

“…a Church which can gather around the family fire remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one which blazed forth on Easter morn. The risen Lord continues to challenge the Church’s pastors through the quiet plea of so many of our brothers and sisters: “Have you something to eat?” We need to recognise the Lord’s voice, as the apostles did on the shore of the lake of Tiberius (Jn 21:4-12). It becomes even more urgent to grow in the certainty that the embers of his presence, kindled in the fire of his passion, precede us and will never die out. Whenever this certainty weakens, we end up being caretakers of ash, and not guardians and dispensers of the true light and the warmth which causes our hearts to burn within us (Lk 24:32).”

The playbook and script for Francis’ Petrine Ministry do not emanate from Buenos Aires, nor from Rome, Loyola or Assisi. They come from Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Galilee and Emmaus where the whole story began in the first place! If various groups and individuals in the Church seem to have difficulty with Pope Francis, I wonder if their difficulties are not with Francis, but rather with his script, and the author of that script.

On the late afternoon of  13 March 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio received the call to go, rebuild, repair, renew and heal the church. There are those who delight in describing the new Pope as a bold, brazen revolutionary sent to rock the boat. Others think he has come to cause a massive shipwreck. But the only revolution that Pope Francis has inaugurated is a revolution of tenderness, the very words he used in his recent major letter on “The Joy of the Gospel.” [Evangelii Gaudium #88]

Many are calling Francis the great revolutionary. The only time he uses the word ‘revolution,’ is in Evangelii Gaudium paragraph 88, when he speaks about the revolution of tenderness of the Son of God who took on our flesh. I also think that there is another revolution that Francis is offering us: the revolution of normalcy. What Francis is showing us and modeling for us is normal Christian, pastoral behaviour. Whenever we are confronted by such normal, simple Christian behaviour, it throws some of us for a loop, because it’s more of a reflection on our own abnormal behavior and human cravings for ways of the world rather than the path of Gospel living that leads to holiness here below and in the life to come. Pope Francis’ normal Christian behaviour is for each of us a challenge, a consolation, and a form of tenderness that we’ve desired for, for a long time. He demands a lot while preaching about a God of mercy, by engaging joyfully with nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and those sitting on the fences of life – many who thought that Christianity has nothing left to add to the equations of life. Through the powerful and provocative messages deep within Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Sì and Amoris Laetitia, and daily reflections flowing from simple, Eucharistic celebrations in the chapel of a Vatican Guest House, Francis has connected with and encountered a humanity that hungers and thirsts for a message of hope and consolation.

We need the Francis revolution of tenderness, mercy and normalcy now more than ever before. I can only hope and pray that we learn from him and imitate him.  –  Fr Thomas Rosica csb, Vatican Insider

What a new TV show gets wrong about ‘living biblically’

Credit: Unsplash.

DENVER, Colo – These biblical commandments probably sound familiar: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

These might not: Do not shave your beard with a razor. Do not wear garments of mixed fibers. Stone adulterers.

In a new TV show on CBS, main character Chip Curry, a film critic for a New York paper and soon-to-be father, sets out to improve his moral life by following every law in the Bible – all 613 of them – as literally as he possibly can, with the help of his ‘God squad’, which includes a rabbi and a Catholic priest.

The premise of the show is based on the 2007 New York Times bestseller A Year of Living Biblically, in which author AJ Jacobs describes his real-life journey of taking the Bible as literally as possible for a year.

While the results in the show and the book are largely comical and portrayed in good humour (at one point a pebble is chucked at a cheating spouse), following every law ever given by God to the letter is nearly impossible, and not what Catholics are called to do, biblical scholar Andre Villeneuve told CNA.

“Good luck if you really want to try to live the Old Testament completely literally,” Villeneuve, who has a doctorate in biblical studies and teaches at St John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colo, told CNA.

“It would mean you would have to stone your son if he’s rebellious and doesn’t listen to you. You would have to stone adulterers. You would have to check every time you approach a woman that she’s not on her period because you’re not allowed to touch her,” he said, “a lot of these things that have to do with purity which are really frankly awkward and would be really problematic, if not impossible, to observe.”

The problem with such literal fundamentalism, he said, is that it doesn’t read and interpret the Bible in light of salvation history and in light of the intent of the laws given by God.

“The 613 commandments in the Old Testament, in the Hebrew Bible, they were given to Jews to begin with, so it’s ridiculous for anyone, whether a Catholic or Christian, to say they’re going to live by all of these commandments, because they were never given to Gentiles,” he said.

Some of these commandments still stand, however – most notably, the 10 Commandments. When Christ came and established a new covenant, the apostles decided which laws were still meant to be followed by Christians, and which laws pertained only to Jews, Villeneuve said.

“What the (apostles) did is…they saw the law as divided into three categories – the moral laws, the ceremonial laws, and the judicial laws,” he said. “So what has been considered to be universal and perennial and never to be changed are the moral laws, which are the 10 Commandments and their interpretation.”

The ceremonial laws related to Jewish worship, or the judicial laws related to matters such as what kind of compensation you can expect if your neighbor’s animal comes onto your property, are not binding for Christians.

Catholics can distinguish what laws of the Bible to follow and what it means to follow them by reading the Catechism and following the teachings and traditions of the Church, Villeneuve noted.

“The easy answer … is that today we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the third part is called Life in Christ, or the Moral Law. That’s where you can see the Catholic interpretation of the Ten Commandments in light of jesus’ teaching, and the apostles and the teachings of the Church,” he said. “It’s essentially extracting what is universal about the commandments without taking up all the specific commandments that were given to Jews in their times and culture.”

Even the Jews do not follow and interpret all of the 613 commandments in the Hebrew Bible exactly literally, Villeneuve noted.

As an example, he pointed out that the law “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” may seem cruel at face value, but it was never interpreted literally, even by the Jewish people.

“It doesn’t mean literally gouging out an eye, it means what is an eye worth as far as livelihood, quality of life … and therefore your neighbor should compensate you by so much, by paying you back,” he said. “It’s read and interpreted in a way that’s not literal.”

“The bottom line is that the fundamentalist reading of scripture doesn’t work; even the Jews don’t live that way,” Villeneuve added.

“We don’t read scripture in a vacuum, we don’t believe in ‘sola scriptura’ (the Protestant doctrine of ‘scripture alone’), but it’s always read in light of Christian tradition and the teachings of the Church and the magisterium.” – Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News, 12 Mar 2018

Pope-emeritus Benedict sees continuity with teaching of Pope Francis

Benedict XVI’s letter and “The Theology of Pope Francis” series (Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict wanted to give a contribution, very significant as always, to the interior spiritual unity of the two pontificates. Thus Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò characterises the letter sent to him by the Pope Emeritus.

Regarding the magisterium of Pope Francis, Benedict writes that “there is interior unity” between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis, his successor. Pope Benedict’s letter was presented by its recipient, Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, during a press conference presenting “The Theology of Pope Francis,” a series of 11 books written by 11 different authors, and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The news conference was held in Sala Marconi in the headquarters of Vatican Media on 12 Mar 2018.

“I applaud this initiative,” writes Pope Benedict. “It contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian.”

The Pope Emeritus writes that he is grateful to have received the set of 11 books edited by Roberto Repole, President of the Italian Theological Association. Pope Benedict XVI adds that these volumes “reasonably demonstrate that Pope Francis is a man with profound philosophical and theological formation and are helpful to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament.”

During the event, Br Giulio Cesareo, OFM, the recently-appointed head of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, explained that contracts have already been signed for the English, Spanish, French, Portoghese, Polish and Romanian editions of the series, and that further negotiations are in process with publishers throughout the world. –  Sr Bernadette Mary Reis fsp, Vatican News

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