Daily Archives:March 31st, 2018

Thousands turn up in churches to observe Good Friday

Abp John Wong raises the crucifix to bless the people at the veneration of the Cross, Good Friday, 30 Mar 2018, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – As in previous years, thousands turned up in churches to observe the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, 30 March 2018.  Most churches across the archdiocese had the service at 3:00 pm and some had the service at a later time, according to pastoral need.  A collection was made for the upkeep of the Holy Land.

Good Friday is the second of the Easter Triduum. The summit of the Liturgical Year is the Easter Triduum—from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.  The single celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season, and leads to the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil.

The celebration of the Lord’s Passion consists of three parts, namely, the Liturgy of the Word, the veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.

In this celebration of the passion and death of the Lord, the faithful listen to the words of scripture and strive to understand the true meaning of his sufferings and the mind that was in him.  Then they pray with his spirit for the needs of the whole world.  They worship the cross as a symbol of his triumph.  Then they enter into sacramental communion (the hosts are consecrated on Holy Thursday) with him who is their Saviour and Life.

According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the liturgy applies to Jesus’ descent into the night of death the words of Psalm 23/24: “Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, O ancient doors!”  The gates of death are closed, no one can return from there.  There is no key for those iron doors.  But Christ has the key.  His cross opens wide the gates of death, the stern doors.  They are barred no longer.  His cross, his radical love, is the key that opens them.  The love of the One who, though God, became man in order to die, this love has the power to open those doors.  This love is stronger than death.

Many parishes also had the concluding Way of the Cross in the morning, though some had it integrated with a Passion Play performance.

Elect receive preparation rites before Easter baptism

Abp Wong prays over the Elect at the handing back of the Creed during the preparation rites, Holy Saturday, 31 Mar 2018, Blessed Sacrament Chapel, SH Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Over a thousand Elect receive the preparation rites on Holy Saturday, 31 Mar 2018, before their baptism at the Easter Vigil or on Easter Sunday in Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese.

At the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, over 200 Elect – adults and children – received the ephphetha rite (opening of the ears and mouth) in order that they may hear the word of God and profess it for their salvation.

The elect then returned or recited the Creed: it prepared the elect for the profession of faith they will make immediately before they are baptised.  It also instructed them in their duty to proclaim the message of the Gospel.

The anointing with the oil of catechumens below the throat symbolises the elect’s need for God’s help and strength so that, undeterred by the bonds of the past and overcoming the opposition of the devil, they will forthrightly take the step of professing their faith and will hold fast to it unfalteringly throughout their lives.

The oil used for this rite was blessed by the archbishop at the Chrism Mass on Mar 22.

The elect were reminded to continue their fast until they have received the sacraments at the Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass.

Before the dismissal, Archbishop John Wong encouraged the elect to attend the postbaptismal catechesis (mystagogy), especially the Walk to Emmaus programme on May 12-14, and to join one or two of the many groups and communities for ongoing faith formation and growth.

After the dismissal, the English-speaking and Chinese-speaking elect went to the cathedral for a rehearsal for the night ceremony while the BM-speaking had their rehearsal on Mar 25.

The ministers for the rites were Abp John Wong (English, chapel), Father Max Hontor (BM, cathedral, elect included those under St Paul Dontozidon), and Father Paul Lo (Mandarin, parish centre).

Bishop Piong focuses on the three things Jesus desires for his disciples in his Easter message

KOTA KINABALU – In his Easter message released in March 2018, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau focuses on the three things Jesus desired for his disciples.

These three things – unity, protection from evil, holiness – are recorded in the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel.

The first is that the disciples may be one: that they may be one, even as we are one (Jn 17:11); that they may all be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me (17:21); that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (17:23).

The bishop says that the church will not be one and united if the faithful do not prioritise and work on being one with Jesus.  The motivation and desire for unity in family and community can only come from being one with Jesus (Jn 15:4-5) because He alone is the source of unity and faithfulness.

The second thing the bishop highlighted is the prayer for protection from the evil one (Jn 17:15).  This is because of the human tendency to fall into temptation, the lure of the evil one.

“It is not enough to be baptised, to be ordained as priest, to pronounce the vow of fidelity in marriage and in consecrated life,” the bishop said.

He added, there is a need to consistently build up a close relationship with Jesus , to be vigilant so as not be a victim of the devil’s lies (Jn 8:44).

The third is an appeal to live in holiness through the Word (Jn 17:17).

“We, too, will live in holiness if we believe and remain faithful to Jesus who is the Word made flesh and live among us” (Jn 1:14).

The bishop ended his message with the following appeal:

May we continue to be permeated with the presence and wisdom of Jesus who is risen so that we can live in oneness, faithfulness and holiness.  The lifestyle that Jesus is praying for us is important, so that the world may believe that Jesus is the Saviour sent by God the Father (Jn 17:21).

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