Daily Archives:October 10th, 2018

Serving hearts

KOTA KINABALU  – A catechesis was held on Aug 16 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre for the newly elected and nominated Parish Pastoral Councils for Sacred Heart Cathedral and St Paul Dontozidon, and the Pastoral Committees of Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI), Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak and St John Kopungit.

The new councillors and committee members were asked a pertinent question by Archbishop John Wong “What are the similarities shared between the priests and the councillors?” to which he gave answer: “We are all here with serving hearts.

The catechesis on “What is a Parish Pastoral Council and a Pastoral Committee?” was facilitated by Dominic Lim.

The new councils and committees for the term 2018-2021 would be lined up before the congregations during the Masses on their selected days (Aug 25-26 or Sep 2-9) and introduced to the parishioners before being commissioned.

It would only be at their first meeting that election for the key posts as well as appointments of sub-committees be conducted.

Fr Paul Lo and Fr Maximilliano Hontor were also present to give their support to the new councils and committees. – Catholic Sabah

St Catherine PPC takes their oath

INANAM – Newly elected and nominated members of St Catherine Church here took their oath for a new term 2018-2021 and pledged their commitment to serve the Church to the best of their abilities on 26 Aug 2018 before assistant parish priest Fr Mitchelly Kiun.

The 36 pastoral councillors will be headed by Paul Augustine who retained the Chairman post and will be assisted by Deffrey Ubin as the new Deputy Chairman. Former Deputy Chairman Michael Kimin Guntili is now Chairman of SOCCOM for St Catherine Parish. Miss Paula George and Paul Chong retained the Secretary and Treasurer post respectively.

Prior to their commissioning, they attended a half-day catechesis together with the newly elected Pastoral Committee members of Good Shepherd Manggatal, Holy Family Telipok and Church of Divine Mercy KKIP on 25 Aug, which was conducted by Fr Kiun.

The catechesis was aimed to familiarize the new members with their roles as parish pastoral council or pastoral committees, and how to assist the Church in her pastoral programs.

The program was officially closed by parish priest Fr David Sham. –  St Catherine SOCCOM/Michael Guntili


SYCC installs its third presiding elder

SANDAKAN – 18 August 2018 was a day of special significance for the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC) as they celebrated the 34th year of their existence in the parish here.

On this auspicious occasion, the community witnessed the passing on of the baton to its new Presiding Elder in the person of Philip Mosinoh by Michael Lee, who would remain in the eldership to serve the community.  Mosinoh would be SYCC’s 3rd presiding elder since its inception.

Mosinoh, who is one of the existing four elders in the body of eldership, has accepted in obedience to God the calling to shepherd the community.

SYCC was established and formed in 1984 by the Emmanuel Covenant Community, Brisbane.  The first Presiding Elder to helm the community was Henry Solibun, with a membership of 30.  Today the community has 70 members.

Of notable Interest, the membership included the late Fr Tobias Chi, and Franciscan Sisters Carmen Cordova and Tina Basil who were single members before answering the call to religious life.

The community members has since grown in maturity as one of the lay ecclesial movements in the parish, strengthening their faith formation during their general community gathering every Friday, at 8.00 pm at the parish hall. Besides, they serve the parish in the church liturgy, outreach to Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM), Sekolah Seni and Monfort boys monthly fellowship, Single Adult Fellowship, organizing Life in the Spirit Seminars, etc.

A thanksgiving Mass, presided by Bishop Julius Gitom, marked the anniversary celebration, followed by a dinner at a local restaurant.  The invited guests included Bishop Gitom, parish priests Fr David Garaman and Fr Sunny Chung, PPC chairman Pilis Malim, religious sisters, as well as  friends of the community.

During his speech, outgoing presiding elder Michael Lee shared about the lifestyle of SYCC for the past 34 years that has united members to serve the Lord and to love one another.

He underlined “It entails great commitment to the Lord and to one another through the challenges and difficulties that demand daily conversion, sacrifice and the constant work of building relationship with members coming from different walks of life, different background, races, age, profession as well as culture.”

“Fellowship and sharing are essential to strengthening the bond as Jesus gathers the community as one body,” he added.

Lee encouraged members to recommit to each other as the people of God, which ultimately contributes to effective team work albeit in different ministries.

He reminded that the foundation of community living is built on righteous living and holiness of life, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the community is enabled to help and serve the parish and the Church at large.

Lee ended on a grateful note to the elders and members who have rendered him assistance and support during his term of service.

He then announced the appointment of Philip Mosinoh as the next Presiding Elder of SYCC, and Michael Tivit as a full Elder. Fr Garaman witnessed Mosinoh signing his acceptance, and ventured to bless him by laying of hands. – Susanna Cordova

Mt Rosary pilgrimage site draws thousands

RANAU – Over two thousand Catholics from across Sabah as well as the neighboring state gathered for the Mt Rosary pilgrimage in Kg Toboh Baru Ranau after walking in a procession for more than two kilometers here on Friday 31 Aug 2018.

Ranau parish priest, Fr Nicholas Stephen told those who came that miracles do happen everyday, but the real miracle that happened on this Friday event was that people from all corners were able to come to Mt Rosary.

“Not all people who have money, cars and possessions could come here if it is not for God who called them. That is why today, you are the miracle, because out of everyone else, you came here today.

“We are fortunate today because we are given time to take part in this procession as we carry along with us the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which was also processed across the villages in Ranau last year.

“Through the procession last year, many prayers were answered, families that were separated by all sorts of circumstances were united together, and many people who have lost their faith were reconciled and found their way home,” he said.

During his homily at Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick spoke about how as Christian believers, we are called to embrace the cross of Jesus, which others viewed mockingly.

One of those met during the pilgrimage, Hillary Henry Ripan from St Theresa Parish, Serian Sarawak said the Mt Rosary pilgrimage is an experience that he would not forget.

Such was the experience of joy and blessedness shared by those who came, from far and near.  To top the blessings, the Lord has also blessed the pilgrims with fine weather throughout the pilgrimage journey here.

For another pilgrim, Rustina Amburus and her group from St Anthony of Padua Nunuk Ragang, Ranau Parish, their love for Jesus brought them here despite many obstacles that would have weakened the hearts of others.

“Truly our journey here was blessed because of many obstacles that came our way. Firstly, the only car we could find for the journey was a faulty car. For example, while traveling uphill, the engine stopped a few times.

“In spite of the problematic transportation, we could not contain the growing excitement within us because of our longing for Christ, and belief that He has called us to be here,” she said.

After a 2.5 kilometer procession with the statue of Our Lady from Kg Tambiau to the Mt Rosary in Kg Toboh Baru, many pilgrims admitted that they were uplifted beyond their expectation.

Pamela Esther Mosinoh from St John Tuaran said she was impressed by what the little community here has done in transforming the area within a short span of time to become a place of worship and devotion.

“I believe that this Mt Rosary will one day become an important pilgrimage site. I sense that this will be a place where the faith of many today as well as in the future, will be restored,” she said.

After Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick signed a plaque symbolizing the opening of the Mt Rosary Kg Toboh Baru Ranau as a pilgrimage site for all, and those who are interested to know more could contact the SPCR office at 011-26271801. – Clarence Dol

Fraternal fellowship, privilege place of encountering God and one another

LABUAN – About 200 members of eight Malaysian Covenant Communities converged for their annual fraternal gathering, or called the Fellowship of Malaysian Covenant Communities (FMCC), at Tiara Labuan Hotel here from 30 Aug to 2 Sep 2018.

Traditionally, a community will take turn to host the annual get-together, which this year fell to the island community of Labuan known as the Marvellous Light of Yahweh Covenant Community (MLYCC).

FMCC is a joint initiative of the existing nine Malaysian Covenant Communities to promote and foster fellowship and communion among the communities, besides updating, encouraging networking, sharing of resources, and exchanging of experiences.

FMCC this year was blessed by the presence and keen interest of Archbishop John Wong, who was invited to preside the Opening and Closing Masses, as well as to share his insight and encouragement for the reflection of the communities.

In his written message to FMCC, he believed that the annual fellowship would be a good time for the communities “to share, update, listen and discern where you are within your own dioceses, and to see how your existence could contribute to the overall growth of your local churches”.

He also cherished the hope that they would continue to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them towards ‘holiness’ in the various journeying in their respective dioceses.

Referring to the Holy Father’s most recent Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be Glad”, the prelate highlighted to FMCC members that the Call to Holiness as a suitable response to faith which God has gifted to each in their calling/mission as covenant community.  “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness.” (GE. 19)

Explaining further the mystery of their call, Archbishop Wong said “The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.  He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.” (GE.1)

Aware of their struggles in their faithfulness to their calling, the prelate proposed four stages to holiness: 1) Stop, 2) Listen, 3) Look (Search), and 4) Gaze (into the mystery).

With this and more insights, Archbishop Wong suggested the ways and means the Covenant Communities could grow in holiness so as to be used by God, to serve God/Church/community.

One major purpose of the FMCC was to enable the Elders of the various covenant communities to meet for sharing, updating and discernment.  As was the norm, they met a day earlier ahead of the general gathering which included women and youth.

In his update on the Charismatic Renewal and the Catholic Fraternity of Catholic Covenant Communities (CFCCCF), FMCC chairman Anthony Lim announced to the gathering of the proposed establishment of “one service for one current of grace” to be called CHARIS, mandated by Pope Francis, which will become effective by Pentecost 2019.

In a practical sense, the future of the Covenant Communities is in CHARIS, which will exist to promote the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Charisms of the Holy Spirit, as well as to promote the service of the Church through one current of grace.

Rounding up his update, Lim explained that FMCC will gather for its General Fellowship Gathering, to be held once in two years, instead of annually, beginning from now. The next General Fellowship Gathering will be in 2020. However, the Elders will continue to meet annually for updating and discernment.

Meanwhile, the women had their separate breakout sessions, enriching one another with their testimonies of faith and experiences.  This year saw a further enrichment with sharing of community exposure by Celine Lim and Christine Liew who had the privilege of visiting the Alleluia Covenant Community in Augusta, Georgia during their husbands’ attendance at the 18th International Conference USA at the end of June this year.

The youth, in synergizing the Praise Rally for the outreach to youth in Labuan, touched many with their ministry by their preaching and ministering.

In wrapping up FMCC for this year, Lim put it in a nutshell “Listening to their (youth) preaching, and witnessing to their joint ministry at the Rally, I am convinced that the future of Covenant Communities in Malaysia is in safe hands.” – Catholic Sabah


World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) promotes interaction among faiths

KOTA KINABALU – The National Integration and Unity Department (JPNIN) of the Prime Minister’s Department has been celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) since 2011.

The inaugural ‘Harmony Visit’ among the different faiths in Sabah was held in 2014, followed by the second in 2015.  After a break of two years, JPNIN once again organized 2018 Harmony Visit and invited delegates from the Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist and Baha’i communities to be part of the initiative, which took place on 25 Aug 2018.  The visit was made to the Buddhist Temple, the Catholic Church, the Hindu Temple and the Mosque within the vicinity of Bukit Padang.

Over 200 people comprising of organizers, religious bodies and youth groups participated in the program.  Neil Mah, representing the Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) led the Christian group which included members of other churches besides the Roman Catholic (PCS, Grace Chapel, BCCM and SIB).

Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) was placed second in the list of places of worship to be visited.  On arrival, the delegates were welcomed by the parish rector, Fr Paul Lo together with some members of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC).  They were briefed by Neil on the Christian population in Sabah, as well on the history of CMI, which this year incidentally marks her 25th anniversary.  Prior to CMI, the group visited the Buddhist Temple, and following CMI to the Hindu Temple where lunch was also served to the visitors.

The Interfaith Program concluded at the Mosque with a closing ceremony officiated by the Minister of Legal and Native Affairs, Datuk Aidi Mokhtar where he delivered a message from the Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Shafie cautioned in his message, “We do not want any existence of an ethnocentrism culture and racism nesting in the hearts of the people which will affect the good relationship among the different races in this state.”

He underlined “The State of Sabah, which comprises of multi-ethnic groups and religions, is unique and an invaluable treasure that needs to be preserved and protected for generations to come.” 

On this premise, he called upon everyone to care, to be sensitive, and to respect the various religions that exist in the state with moderation, and to be ever ready to extend assistance to the less fortunate.

He concluded that the interfaith program has enabled the various religions to make room for positive interaction and to work together to preserve the harmony among us.

Certificates of appreciation were then awarded to the representatives of the different faiths.  On hand to receive on behalf of SCC was its President, Bishop Datuk Rev Melter Jiki Tais.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on 23 Sept 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan, and a month later unanimously adopted by the UN.

The initiative provides a focal point from which all peoples of goodwill can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh the differences they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities. – CMI SOCCOM

CDC staff leaves for new assignment

PENAMPANG (CS) – Sr Anna Yap left for Manila Aug 24 to take up a new assignment at the Philippines-Malaysia-Papua New Guinea-Thailand Province (PMPT) of the Daughters of St Paul  with immediate effect.

A familiar figure clad in blue she could be seen at most parishes and diocesan events while working as the Associate Editor of Catholic Sabah for the first eleven years of her service in the Catholic Diocese Centre.

After the initial stint in Catholic Sabah, she took a three-year break for updating in Pasay in 2013-2015.

On her return she was assigned to manage the diocesan website as its webmaster.

A local lass, she entered the Daughters of St Paul in 1983 in Pasay, Manila after completing her HSC locally in 1981.

Being more inclined to library work and publications, she was attracted to the Daughters of St Paul way of life as their charism lies in mainly evangelization through the media of social communication.

Since her final vows in Pasay in 1994, she has served in the PJ Community and KK Community.

After completing a journalism course in Manila (1998-2002), she returned to KK Community and started work in the KK Diocesan paper Catholic Sabah.

She also serves in various capacities in the Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission.

In 2012 she celebrated her silver jubilee with her co-novices in Pasay.

Meanwhile Sr Bibianah Dunsia fsp, who has returned from PJ Community to serve the Archdiocese recently, will replace Sr Anna as webmaster of the Archdiocesan website.

Stella Maris initiates ‘Prayer for Priests’

TANJUNG ARU – In conjunction with the Feast of Assumption, Stella Maris Parish (SMP) organized a talk entitled “Mary, Mother of Priests”, as a catechesis for the Prayer for Priests on Aug 14 at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel here.

SMP is a newly registered member of Vianney Cenacle, which is approved by Foundation Prayer for Priests, USA.

The Foundation of Prayer for Priests is an International Eucharistic apostolate of prayers and catechesis established in 2013 with the approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.

Their mission is to spiritually protect and advance the holiness and fruitfulness of the Priesthood through prayer, sacrifice, service, and study.

Eucharistic Adoration, Marian consecration, and spiritual motherhood or fatherhood of priests and seminarians are central to the mission. Through individual or communal intercessory prayer, reparation and the offering up of suffering, clergies are spiritually built up and protected.

Prayer is offered in homes, parishes or prayer groups named “Vianney Cenacles” (named after  the patron Saint of priests, St John Vianney).

For the inaugural catechesis, assistant parish priest Fr Peter Abas shared on 1) The Journey Towards the Priesthood; 2) Challenges: Can Become Obstacles of Responding to God’s Calling; and 3) Being Priests: Emphasis on Self-attitude. (A priest looks at himself as being a leader encompassing the roles of a servant, steward, and shepherd.)

Fr Abas testified to his faithfulness and honor to Mother Mary, who has helped him face many challenges while striving to do the will of God at every moment of his life, yet confronted with the countless obstacles and temptations of modern life.

We also have the opportunity to interview a few parishioners:

Religious – “Being weak and human too, the priests need all the support and prayers from the congregations. Amidst the many challenges and various needs of the church that the priests are facing, let it also be our concern as children of God to understand, be considerate and supportive to our priests, to journey together with our priests towards the vision and mission of our parish.”

Adorer – “This is the first time we hear of this Foundation of Prayer for Priests. It is very good and we hope to have more of these prayer sessions in the future. After hearing the testimony from a priest, we can understand the difficulties and challenges of priestly life and we want to support them in prayers.”

Laity – “An eye-opener for me because I have always thought that priests are one above ordinary people and who should have fewer challenges and do not need prayers to help them. I would certainly join the group to pray for priests.”

The attendees prayed the Litany of Prayers for Priests and sang hymns for Adoration and Benediction and concluded with Mass.  SMP will eventually organize a weekly Prayer on Thursday for Priests, and monthly Adoration. – SMP Media

It’s time to choose the painful path of purification

The scandal of children sexually abused by priests whose acts were covered up by bishops has been in the public eye in gruesome detail for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania grand jury report, for instance, was not the first nor was it worse in detail than others were. Why it should spark the public conscience and the outrage of Catholics as it has doesn’t matter. A new moment is upon us.

The papacy of Francis, so promising of needed reform, stands at an inflection point. Either he handles this crisis with effective, wide-ranging and concrete actions, or his tenure will go down as a disappointing failure.

Most important, the current moment must lead to a radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself. If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ.

Change must come from the top. In the United States, it must be initiated by the nation’s Conference of Catholic Bishops. Globally, we look to Pope Francis to acknowledge the precipice and guide us as a united church away from it.

The history is significant because any path into the future must consider the mistakes of the past. It must be acknowledged that the emergence of the sex abuse crisis spanned most of the reign of St Pope John Paul II.

The fact is that Francis is the first pope to aggressively sanction credibly accused bishops and to apologize for failing to believe and act in Chile before he decided to seek mass resignations and meet with Chilean victims on their terms. Now he must continue to buck the headwinds, first by making the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors a priority in the Vatican.

The path to purification will be painful and embarrassing, but the culture must begin the process of reform quickly and in earnest. Choosing the path of purification will lead us to the deepest part of the sacramental life we claim is the reality that binds us. It will lead us through the heart of the Gospel where we meet the Jesus of infinite mercy and forgiveness. But first, the examination and the confession of the truth. – Full editorial text can be downloaded @ NCR

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