Daily Archives:December 19th, 2018

Holy Trinity parish establishes Creation Justice Ministry

TAWAU – Sixty-four enthusiastic participants took part in a workshop entitled “Hope in the Climate Crisis”, organized by the Holy Trinity parish here on Oct 26-28.

It was the first workshop of its kind for the parish, and was conducted by Clare Westwood, head of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of the Penang Diocese, at the invitation of the parish priest, Msgr Nicholas Ong.

A fruitful outcome of the workshop was the formation of a Creation Justice (CJ) Ministry in the parish, with the full support and approval of Msgr Ong.

Msgr Ong, an environmental advocate himself, was present throughout the entire event alongside his parishioners.

The participants discovered the meaning and key messages of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ mi Signore (Care for Our Common Home), against the backdrop of the global climate emergency and other global crises. They also learnt how urgent it was to establish creation justice and resilience for the sake of current and future generations.

Among the participants, who were parishioners of Holy Trinity, were three from Sandakan. It was truly amazing that young and old alike took part in this workshop, the youngest being 13.

Several teenagers shared that they felt sad about the destruction of Mother Earth and wanted to do something to save it.

Interestingly, the older participants opined “We have to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution to prevent the climate crisis from reaching catastrophic levels.”

“We are very glad that we have this workshop for our parishioners as we all need to know the global situation and what to do about it,” said Clarence Chin, who headed the organizing committee for the workshop, and who is also the chairperson of the Office of Human Development in the parish.

“The workshop has been an eye-opener and a wake-up call for all of us,” said the parish priest. “Now that we know what we did not know before, we need to turn all that we have learnt into action,” he added.

The CJ Ministry committee was duly set up at a meeting on Nov 8, attended by many of the workshop participants. Magdalind Gabriel, who was appointed as its first chairperson, says “We believe completely in this mission to advance creation justice and resilience and we will do our utmost to carry it out with God’s grace.”

Msgr Ong has been appointed by Bishop Julius Gitom, as the spiritual adviser of the new Creation Justice Commission of Sandakan Diocese, which is part of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Monsignor’s team would initially comprise of members from the HTC CJ Ministry. – Clarence Chin

New priest grateful for the many hands that form him

INOBONG, Penampang – Newly ordained Fr Gilbert Marcus Dompok, 37, remembered with gratitude the many hands that went into forming him to become what God calls him to be, a priest for the people of God.

Close on the heels of the priestly ordination of Deacon Russell Lawrine on November 10, 2018, the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu rejoices over yet another priest being added to the presbyterate.

Archbishop John Wong ordained Deacon Gilbert to the priesthood at Sacred Heart Church here on Nov 20,  before a 2000-crowd.

The newly ordained is the fifth priest ordained from upper Moyog and the first priest ordained in the young parish of Holy Trinity Inobong (4 years old).

With a grateful heart, Fr Gilbert recalled back each person who has helped him since childhood, forming him as a Catholic, until he underwent formation in the seminary towards the office of priesthood.

He sees in each, their unique role in helping him by their encouragement and friendship, and through their ministry and service in the Church, in sustaining him throughout his priestly formation journey.

Among them were his own family members, especially his youngest brother, Celistine Marcus, who has helped him to settle his loans so that he could enter the seminary. Fr Gilbert said it was not easy for him to find a solution to his finanical problem, but he held on to his dream and was confident that it would be fulfilled, which was proven so on the day of his ordination.

His heart swelled with gratefulness as he recalled that his father has never stopped him from making the decision to be a priest, which has greatly inspired him to press on.

Then there was his older brother, Fr Florian Marcus,  who is now serving in Kota Belud, having himself been ordained in 2011, and has been a source of inspiration.

Fr Florian once said to his younger brother “To love but the world, the world will disappear; to love only people, know that people will die; to love only flowers, even flowers will one day wilt; but to love Jesus is forever!

Fr Gilbert also thanked all the catechists who have taught him in Sunday school since he was 11, as well as the formators in all the three seminaries: the Aspirant Formation House at CDC KK, St Peter’s College KK for Initiation Year, and the major seminary St Peter’s College in Kuching.

He entered the seminary in 2010 after having worked as Admin Assistant in three offices namely, Attorney General Office Kuala Lumpur, Department of Information Sabah, and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department Sabah since 2002.  

Archbishop Wong, who conferred the rite for ordination, believes that both parents of the ordinand would certainly be happy in heaven seeing they have given birth to two priests in the family.

The Archbishop, while saying that Fr Gilbert would henceforth live his life as a priest and would need support from all of God’s people, asked that the newly ordained be given time to grow in his priesthood ministry.

He went on to speak about the heart of a priest, saying he wants to tell a story he once heard, which says that a priest has seven hearts and that it is not easy for a priest to have all seven hearts because he is also a weak man.  The story goes like this:

“The first heart is the heart of a Father who teaches and protects.

“The second heart is the heart of a Child who acknowledges God as his Father.

“The third heart is the heart of a Brother who accepts all people as his brother and sister.

“The fourth heart is the heart of a Husband who loves the Church and her people.

“The fifth heart is the heart of a Friend who is reliable and ready to help.

“The sixth heart is the heart of a Shepherd who is concerned about his flock, reaching out to the lost and defending the oppressed.

“Finally, the seventh heart is the heart like that of Christ, willing to sacrifice in the name of love.”

The seven hearts depict a perfect character of a priest, Archbishop Wong concluded, and if a priest has not reached these perfect characters, the people need to pray for him; not only for the newly ordained, but for all priests under the archdiocese. He then announced that Fr Gilbert would continue to serve in St Michael Parish, Penampang. – Linda Edward

Two signs of Christmas that never cease to appeal

THE tree and the nativity display are two signs that never cease to appeal to us; they tell us about Christmas and help us to contemplate the mystery of God made man to be close to each one of us.

The Christmas tree with its lights reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, the light of the soul that drives away the darkness of enmities and makes room for forgiveness. The spruce coming from the Cansiglio forest, suggests further reflection. With its height of over twenty meters, it symbolizes God, who with the birth of His Son Jesus, lowered himself down to man, to raise man to himself and lift him from the fogs of selfishness and sin. The Son of God assumes the human condition to draw it to himself and to make it participate in his divine and incorruptible nature.

The nativity scene, located in the centre of the Square, is made with sand from Jesola, originally from the Dolomites. The sand, a poor material, recalls the simplicity, the smallness, and also the fragility with which God showed himself with the birth of Jesus in precariousness in Bethlehem.

It may seem that this smallness contradicts divinity, so much so that some, from the very beginning, considered it only as appearance, a façade. But no, because smallness is freedom. Those who are small – in the evangelical sense – are not only light, but also free from any desire to appear and from any claim to success; like children who express themselves and move spontaneously. We are all called to be free before God, to have the freedom of a child before his father. The Child Jesus, Son of God and our Saviour, whom we place in the manger, is Holy in poverty, smallness, simplicity and humility.

The Nativity and the tree, enchanting symbols of Christmas, can bring to families and meeting places a reflection of the light and tenderness of God, to help everyone to live the feast of the birth of Jesus. Contemplating the Child God who emanates light in the humility of the nativity scene, we can also become witnesses of humility, tenderness and goodness. – (Pope Francis’ address to the donors of Christmas tree and Sand Nativity Dec 7)

Bible quiz, a way to make Christ known

KOTA KINABALU – St Jerome, a priest and monk, and a Doctor of the Church, who is renowned for his extraordinary depth of learning and translations of the Bible into Latin, is well known for his saying “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”.

Following the traditions of the Catholic Church, the Children Ministry, called as the Royal Ambassadors (RA), of the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (LJCCC), has made it a priority for the children to know Christ through knowing Scripture (using the method of Bible Quiz).

To encourage their hard work and to inculcate a lively interest, the kids are acknowledged by way of an annual award at the close of the community year, this year on 17 Nov 2018.

There are two awards which are categorically given for 1) Bible knowledge (this year’s topics are on the Ten Commandments – Exodus 19-20) and the Armour of God – Ephesians 6); and for 2) Most Stars Achieved for RA attendance and participation in all activities, as well as practising the Godly value of helping one another with assignment, and assignment of duties.

This year, the Bible Quiz Award went to Eve Ivanna (94), Jordan Voo (92) and Caleb Chin (89).  The Most Star Award went to Nicholas Kong (233), Jordan Voo (184) and Caleb Chin (172).

 The keen response of the children has further encouraged the RA facilitators to continue with the program to instill active involvement, as well as to become a way of learning Godly values in their coming together and growing together as a community of children in the RA. – LJCCC

Photojournalism workshop

Members of SOCCOM Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, with the Photojournalism speakers and workshop participants – Photo credit William Charles Mindus

Kota Kinabalu – A one-day Photojournalism workshop, from 8:30AM till 4:30PM, was held at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Hall on Saturday 15 December 2018 organized by the Social Communication Commission (SOCCOM) of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. The speakers of the workshop, Eddie Angat and Ruben Sario, both have extensive knowledge, gleaned from more than twenty years working experience as photographers and journalists formerly attached to New Sabah Times and The Star respectively.  This workshop had 18 participants coming from SOCCOM members from various parishes in the Archdiocese. They were taught the right skills on how to take photographs using smart phones as well as editing and putting captions to the pictures taken.

One of the participants trying to practice some of the tips given during the workshop – Photo credit Rayner Giun

One of the groups having discussion while selecting photos for evaluation during the workshop – Photo credit Esmeralda Lydia Johnny

The speakers, Eddie Angat and Ruben Sario, sharing some tips to the participants on the right way to capture photos – Photo credit srbbfsp

 

Most of them are regular contributors of articles and news for Catholic Sabah, the only newspaper intended for the Catholic populations of Sabah. – kkdiocese.net

Women and the Challenges in Serving

LABUAN – Today a woman’s role in the Catholic Church has been acknowledged to play an important role alongside the man. The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity stated that men and women are equally responsible in their participation of serving the church.

 In the final document of the Council, among other affirmations is found the following: “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at his moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.”

Some 38 members of the Catholic Women’s League of Blessed Sacrament Church here held their second recollection for this year on 20 Nov 2018.

The half-day recollection, which was themed “Women and the Challenges in Serving”, began with a Rosary prayer led by spiritual adviser Sr Magdalene at the Grotto.

An input on ‘the Challenges Faced by Women who are Actively Serving the Church’ was presented by Julita Kantod. The participants reflected on Who they are, Why they want to serve, and what they gain by serving the church, followed by group sharing.

Some of the challenges faced by married women in particular while serving the church were:

1.      They are mothers – Mothers, who are actively serving the church, require a wise time management for the family. They hold a most important role in the family in terms of raising and caring for the children, both spiritually and physically. Family comes first before all others for that is the task given to both parents.

2.      They are wives – A woman is created to accompany a man. In the home, the wife is submissive to her husband. No matter how important or what position a woman holds in the church, she, being a wife, needs humility to submit to her husband.

3.      They are living witnesses or guardians of virtues – They are the first herald in transmitting faith by their life’s witness on love, mercy, forgiveness and humility towards their children at home.

 Such witnessing ought to be reflected in their service to the Church where friction is bound to happen among team members coming from a varied background.

4. Too much involvement or commitment in the church – An over-involvement in the church could lead to neglect of family.

5. A career woman – A career woman needs to be time-wise in managing the family, work and service to the church.

Kantod concluded the session in reminding the participants that while serving the Church is a wonderful opportunity to serve God, they must first and foremost fulfill their role as married women.  But as the Church has emphasized on the importance of laity in the mission of the Church, a wise time management is necessary so that family will not be neglected.

The session ended with one-hour Adoration at the chapel, followed by lunch. CWL chairlady Anglina Jonik thanked the members for their effort in making the recollection. – Julita Kantod

Works of mercy to become our culture

KOTA KINABALU – The parish Human Development Committee under the Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHPHDC) has been “feeding” families accompanying patients of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, who come from districts outside Kota Kinabalu.

SHPHDC launched the corporal works of mercy of “feeding the hungry” in 2017, following the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as an experiential learning activity to respond to the Holy Father’s call to “continue to be merciful”.

Pope Francis wants new ways of practising “the corporal and spiritual works of mercy which continue in our own day to be proof of mercy’s immense positive influence as a social value.” (Misericordia et Misera 18)

It is the norm of outstation families to accompany their loved ones who seek for further treatment or who come for surgery at the KK hospitals.  The committee has encountered such “visitors” coming from Kota Marudu, Pitas, Ranau, Sipitang, etc.

Some of them would be accommodated at the Asrama Rotary depending on availability, but a number of them could be seen “camping” at the corridors of the hospitals.  To be able to afford “rented rooms” for their temporary stay in town would be out of the question.

To ease their burden, the committee members have cooked, packaged and delivered simple meals to whoever needed food, keeping in mind the Holy Father’s words “The social character of mercy demands that we not simply stand by and do nothing.  It requires us to banish indifference and hypocrisy.” (MM 19)

This “culture of mercy” is greatly encouraged by the Holy Father.

For those interested to know more about, or participate in, this works of mercy, please contact Sergius Ramday @ 016-8100788 or Catherine Engsun @ 017-8231011. – CS

Sacred Heart Cathedral marks 37th anniversary of its Dedication

KOTA KINABALU – The celebration of the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King on Nov 24 was also the celebration of the 37th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Sacred Heart Cathedral.  Twelve consecration crosses carved on stone, which were installed on the Cathedral walls, were lit up by candles.

The consecration crosses and candles mark the 12 points where the walls of the church were anointed with sacred chrism, and lit for the first time when it was dedicated thirty-seven years ago as the new Mother Church of the Diocese in a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Simon Fung.

As explained by parish priest, Fr Paul Lo prior to Mass, the 12 candles stem from the symbolic use of this number in biblical tradition. The 12 stones used by Moses to build the altar of the covenant represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Likewise, there are the 12 apostles. When we say the Creed we confess that “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Our faith is “apostolic” because it is based on the teachings of Jesus, carried on by the apostles, the direct successors of whom are our bishops, guided by the Holy Spirit.

At the same time, Fr Lo informed the parishioners that the celebration coincided with the pastoral visit of Archbishop John Wong to the Cathedral.  Traditionally, he added, the pastoral visit of the archbishop to any parish would constitute a big event for the respective parishioners with one special Mass.

But in the case of the Cathedral parish, Fr Lo said “We have several Masses over the weekend, and we see the Archbishop ever so often as he presides over Masses here regularly being the Mother Church.  So after Mass, the Archbishop will only have a session over a meal with parish leaders only.”

In his speech at the simple parish dinner, Archbishop Wong seized the opportune moment to remind the parish leaders of the recent PPC Formation where they discussed their aspirations and dreams for the parish as follow: 1) their commitment to focus on the youth, reaching out to them, in particular to the Sunday School; 2) their commitment to Faith Formation in the deepening and making more relevant their faith; 3) their commitment to evangelizing through the Parish Family Pastoral Network (PFPN); and 4) their commitment to be more personal, both clergy and leaders, to create more warmth and friendliness towards parishioners.  He concluded on the hopeful note that the parish leaders would work together to realize their dreams and aspirations, rather than outdoing one another.

Parish Pastoral Council chairman Jason Joenoi, besides touching on the pledge of the Council to realize their aspirations to serve the parish, updated the leaders that the parish has almost achieved their commitment to the Catholic Centre.  He added “As we have almost achieved our pledge to raise RM2.5K for the Catholic Centre, I don’t see why we cannot do the same for the Cathedral which is now 37 years old and in need of maintenance.  I am hopeful that we can do likewise when the time comes.”

In his turn, Fr Lo welcomed Archbishop Wong to the parish dinner and on an apologetic note said “It’s a small dinner,” while promising the following year to be better planned with more participation of parishioners.  He opined that this would be a way to help the faithful to realize that they are on a journey together, and not merely just church-goers.

Notably present was Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, both as a concelebrant at Mass and enjoying a pleasant evening with some of the leaders and other diners. – CS

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