Daily Archives:July 26th, 2018

Labuan parish marks feast day with procession

Confirmands pose with the concelebrants after the Mass, 3 June 2018, Labuan.

LABUAN – Blessed Sacrament Parish marked its feast day with a Eucharistic procession on 3 June 2018, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Over 2000 faithful took part in the procession from the church to the multipurpose hall and back to the church. Archbishop Wong explained why there was a need for leading the procession.

He said: “To us as Catholics, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is a living testimony of our faith where we follow Jesus as his children.  We walk and follow him in displaying the practice of our faith in love, tolerance, humility, and devotion to the Sacrament.”

The occasion also marked the annual pastoral visit of the Archbishop John Wong to the parish who came a day earlier.

The prelate’s visit included a meeting with the Pastoral Council and coordinators of the various parish ministries, where the main discussion was centred on the necessity of a resident priest for the island parish.  The expressed need was made in tandem with the growth of the local Catholic population, as well as the need for an extension for the existing Church building.

The Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred upon 90 candidates, 23 from the English class and 67 from the BM class during the Mass, which was concelebrated with parish priest, Msgr Primus Jouil.

After Mass, the parishioners adjourned to the hall for a fellowship with ceremonial cutting of three cakes: one for the confirmands, one for the parish feast day and one was a surprise birthday cake to celebrate the archbishop’s birthday on June 6.

Archbishop Wong was happy with the feedback on the commitment and cooperation between the parish groups.

To the faith community, he shared the concern of a dwindling Catholic population, and encouraged bigger families.   He also called on the parish to look into the needs of the Catholic students from the island’s higher learning institution.

Msgr Jouil took the opportunity to remind the parishioners that they are the only Church/parish in the State with the name of Blessed Sacrament.  “We should give witness to our family members and others in our belief that the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is a living testimony of Jesus giving his life for our salvation.” – Gerard Lean

Stella Maris celebrates Unity Kaamatan

Msgr Primus thanks God for his double joy.

TANJUNG ARU – On 27 May 2018, Stella Maris parish here held a 4-in-1 joyous celebration.

The occasion was Trinity Sunday when the parish celebrated Unity Kaamatan, and doubled up with the parish priest Msgr Primus Jouil’s 38th sacredotal anniversary and 69th birthday.

The parish KKDs (Tatana, Lokawi, Putatan, Tanjung Aru and Faustina) joined hands to organise the celebration.

The event kicked off with Mass in Kadazan- Dusun, presided by Msgr Primus.

To add to the cultural flavour of the festivities, everyone turned up wearing their black traditional costume.

Traditional music was performed by the parishioners, complemented by cultural dances and songs.

Unity Kaamatan was officiated by Msgr Primus cutting the padi.  Local delicacies, which were cooked by the organisers, were served.

An anniversary cum birthday cake was cut by Msgr Primus to mark his double joy, and to give thanks to God.

He thanked the organisers for fostering a unity impact on the parish.  He also commended the parishioners for their continuous hunger for the spiritual.. – Teresa Alberto

CWA marks 10th anniversary with joy

The women pose with Father David Garaman after Mass marking the 10th anniversary of the Catholic Women Apostolate in Sandakan Diocese, 19 May 2018.

SANDAKAN – The Sandakan Diocesan Catholic Women’s Apostolate (CWA) marked their 10th anniversary with an elaborate two-day event themed “The Joy of Thanksgiving” at St Mary’s Cathedral parish here on 19-20 May 2018.

It commenced with a telematch on the cathedral grounds May 19 with the participation of 108 members from across the diocese. The event kicked off with an opening prayer by Sister Apollonia Gumpu.

Prior to the telematch, St Martin Telupid CWA and St Mark Sandakan CWA led in the warming-up with exercise and group dance.  The CWA of Holy Trinity Tawau coordinated the telematch.

Also present was Father Christopher Ireneus, CWA’s spiritual director. He was given the honour to pick the lucky member from among the participants to receive a special gift. The activity was coordinated by St Dominic Lahad Datu CWA.

The day’s programme culminated in an evening Eucharistic Celebration, presided by Father David Garaman, at the cathedral. After Mass, members adjourned to the parish hall for dinner and prize presentation to the telematch winners.

Sister Grace Deosing presented the prizes to the winners, with the Blue Team emerging as the overall champion.

Everyone regrouped on the evening of May 20 for the highlight of the 10th anniversary celebration,  a fundraising dinner in aid of the Diocesan Seminarian Fund held at the Hakka Hall.

At the dinner, Bishop Julius Gitom expressed his appreciation to CWA for taking up the challenge to build up the Seminarian Fund, and encouraged all to help the seminarians and religious as they are the future of the Church. He also exhorted the CWA to carry on their services to help the Church and all women of Sandakan Diocese.

Cecelia Polo D’ Souza, CWA chief coordinator, acknowledged the hard work of her CWA team for the success of the event.

She urged all members to continue their service to the Church with humility and full commitment, to work and journey together as a Christ-centered committee, hand in hand with all the CWA groups throughout the Diocese, as well as all other Church groups in their respective parishes.

After the cake-cutting ceremony, the local seminarians were introduced and invited to share their faith journey.

The diners were entertained by CWA stage performances, showcasing the diverse ethnicity, cultures, and traditions.

It concluded with a few local dances by all CWA members, as well as few local hits, accompanied by an invited local artiste. – Victoria Salati


KK clergy study day focuses on priestly holiness

PENAMPANG – As a preparation for the observance of the Day of Prayer for Priestly Sanctification, KK clergy had a half-day study day on priestly holiness.

Thirty priests, one archbishop and two deacons gathered for the half-day study day at Vianney Home here on 7 June 2018.

Pope St John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests in 2002 on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus because the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrates God’s merciful love, and that becomes tangible for priests in the Eucharistic Mystery, which they celebrate daily, and in the sacramental pardon which they administer and receive.

This year Father Mattheus Luta facilitated the reflection based on the theme “The Personal Sanctification of the Priest,” drawing his sources from The Priesthood by Stockums W, Vatican II Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priest Presbyterorum Ordinis (7 Dec 1965) n.18, and Priestly Ministry and Priestly Holiness by Carter E, in his book Shepherds of Christ Issue 5 (1999) 1-8.

The objective of the Study Day is to create awareness on the personal sanctification of priest.

The facilitator challenged the participants to look into their own personal lives.  He referred to Bishop Wilhelm Stockums’ book, The Priesthood where he stated, “The priesthood is an objectively holy state, holy in its origin, holy in its nature and goal, holy in its functions.”

The author elaborated further that the priest’s person is sacramentally consecrated. It means that, the whole person of a priest is being consecrated. This would include the priest’s hands and feet, tongue and lips, eyes and sight, and the heart.

Fr Mattheus also suggested to the participants to look into means for helping priests in their progress in holiness by means of Presbyterorum Ordinis. The document presented some means for holiness such as the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Confession, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Meditation, just to name a few.

He concluded his reflection with article from Fr Edward Carter SJ:  “To grow in holiness, to advance in the spiritual life, requires a growth in surrender to Christ. Growth in holiness means allowing Jesus to possess us more and more. The more He possesses us, the more He can use us as instruments in the work of the kingdom. The more the Saviour possesses us, the more fruitful our ministry.” (Priestly Ministry and Priestly Holiness).

Time was given for personal reflection before the concluding with a Holy Hour.

Before heading for lunch, Archbishop John Wong took time to recall with them the recent recollection for the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMCs) where he reflected with the EMCs their required state of holiness because they carry and distribute the Holy Communion, the Body of Christ.

“The sanctity of priestly life is therefore affecting the whole person of the priest, that is, his eyes, hands, and feet,” said Abp Wong.

He then invited the priests and deacons to join in the Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the cathedral at 7:30 pm.  – Fr Mattheus Luta

The soul of holiness

The Second Vatican Council tells us that Christian holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full (1 Jn 4:16).

Now God has poured out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5:5); therefore the first and most necessary gift is charity, by which we love God above all things and our neighbour through love of Him.

But if charity, like a good seed, is to grow and fructify in the soul, each of the faithful must willingly hear the Word of God and carry out His will with deeds, with the help of His grace.

To put it simply, it means never leaving a Sunday without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist; this is not an additional burden but is light for the whole week.

It means never beginning and never ending a day without at least a brief contact with God.  And on this path of our life it means following the “signposts” that God has communicated to us in the Ten Commandments.

It seems to me that this is the true simplicity and greatness of a life of holiness: the encounter with the Risen One on Sunday; contact with God at the beginning and at the end of the day; following, in decisions, the “signposts” that God has communicated to us, which are but forms of charity.

During the Liturgical Year, the Church invites us to commemorate a host of saints who lived charity to the full, who know how to love and follow Christ in their daily lives.  For me, I would like to add that not only a few great saints whom I love and whom I know well are “signposts,” but precisely also the simple saints, that is the good people I see in my life who will never be canonised.  They are ordinary people, without visible heroism but in their everyday goodness I see the truth of faith.  This goodness, which they have developed in the faith of the Church, is for me the most reliable apology of Christianity and the sign of where the truth lies.

How can we take the path to holiness, in order to respond to this call?  Can I do this on my own initiative?

The answer is clear.  A holy life is not primarily the result of our efforts, of our actions, because it is God, who sanctifies us, it is the Holy Spirit’s action that enlivens us from within, it is the very life of the Risen Christ that is communicated to us and that transforms us.

I would like to ask all to open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, who transforms our life to be small pieces in the great mosaic of holiness that God continues to create in history, so that the face of Christ may shine out in the fullness of its splendour.  Let us not be afraid to aim high, for God’s heights; let us not be afraid that God will ask too much of us, but let ourselves be guided by His Word in every daily action. – Excerpt from Benedict VI’s General Audience on 13 April 2011

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