Daily Archives:January 8th, 2019

Don Bosco children’s needs: more than just material goods

RANAU – A total of 17 members of the parish Pastoral Care for the Sick, Aged and Needy Ministry made a maiden visit to the Don Bosco Children’s Home at Bundu Tuhan here on 13 Oct 2018.

Some of the members were there for the first time even though the centre had existed for not less than 50 years!

Before the visit, we found out from Sister-in-Charge, Sr Anne Marie, that there are 60 children living in the hostel, whose ages range from seven to 17 years old – 13 of whom are 12 years old and below while 47 are in secondary school.

One of the highlights of the visit was a motivational talk given by member Mary Ann Chew, entitled, “Don’t Be Controlled By These 5 Things: Your past; Other people’s opinions and judgements; Limited beliefs you project on yourself; Relationship – love and connection; Money – Do not allow your decisions to be controlled by money.

We spent time talking to the children, especially the teenagers who are hungry for guidance and knowledge, pending entry into the working force of the real world. A number of them spent more than six years at the centre.

These children attend classes at the government-run school, SM Bundu Tuhan in the vicinity. Most of them come from broken families that are affected by divorce, single parenting and some are also victims of abuse.

These families are mostly located in rural kampongs (villages) around the area of Kiau District, Papar, Tamparuli, Kota Belud, Keningau, Ranau and in particular, a girl from further away. The girl’s father died when she was very young. The mother and her relatives abandoned her. Brother Ben found her and brought her back to the centre six years ago. She is now in her teens and needs love and peace of mind.

The centre has limited grounds for expansion. The construction of the hall and hostel was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu some 30 years ago. Maintenance and upkeep of the building is challenging.

The person that Sister and the children never forget, is the founder of the centre, Brother Martinus JA Snoeren, affectionately known by all as Brother Ben, born on Oct 8, 1929 and was called to the Lord on Feb 13 this year.

His Christian mission started in 1953 and retired in 2014. He spent almost all his 61 years of service in Don Bosco. A little table is placed at the side of the hostel hall with Brother Ben’s kind face in a photo frame in memorial of him.

He was the “papa” to the children of the centre. He will be forever fondly remembered by all the people who have known him. The children prayerfully remember all his love, comfort and hope he showered on them.

Sr Anne Marie and the five helpers at the centre have their hands full in looking after the children. Aaron, who was personally trained by Brother Ben, is one of the key assistants in the work force.

Sister said he is the “second Brother Ben”, a compliment to his diligence in looking after the centre. Sr Anne Marie and her team worked tirelessly in nurturing the children through prayer intercession, love and care to the best of their ability to deepen the children’s Catholic faith; strengthen their hope and increase their love of God to carry on the legacy of Brother Ben.

We left the centre with mixed feelings. These children are blessed to have a place to stay, food for physical health and education to meet their best ability in learning. However, looking into their eyes, one cannot help but feel they lacked the genuine happiness of family support and love.

     The two hours we stayed with the children made us realize that material goods are just a temporary satisfaction. What they really need is attention and love, especially from their own families. – SOCCOM St Simon

SHC Prayer Group enriches the underprivileged

BUNDU TUHAN – Not wasting the opportunity as it presented itself, the Sacred Heart Cathedral English Prayer Meeting (SHCEPM) visited the Don Bosco Home for underprivileged children to spend some time with them in the midst of their family retreat on Nov 9-11.

The retreat, which was held at the Retreat Centre here, was a way for the prayer meeting to conclude a year’s service of weekly Praise and Worship. 

Themed “Be healed and restored: Healing and Restoration through the Seven Miracles of the Gospel of John”, the retreat attracted some 100 participants.

The retreat master, George Thien, assisted by Vincent Abel, walked the participants through the Gospel of John, expounding it in detail for the 3-day retreat. 

Apart from the main input, there were counselling sessions, inner healing sessions, and sessions of praise and worship. 

Participants shared that the retreat has been fruitful, and has given them a sense of renewal.  They enjoyed the fellowship throughout the retreat.

The organizing committee thanked all who have supported in making the retreat possible.

The Prayer Meeting, with faith formation and Praise and Worship, will resume on January 11, 2019 at 8.00 pm at Sacred Heart Parish Centre. Joseph Carlos Leong

St Mary Kionsom LOM adds two new members

KIONSOM, Inanam – The Legion of Mary Chapter from St Mary Chapel here is actively recruiting members to join its religious and community programs lined up for the coming year in the area.

Headed by Mary Chung, the LOM, which was established with just a handful of members years ago, today had grown to more than 30 active members.

The members had been grouped into smaller sub-committees, which are tasked with specific activities to serve the many Catholics living in the neighbouring villages.

Chung told CS that the chapter is actively helping the Church to spread the Word of God, while at the same time reaching out to Catholics living in the far flung region of Inanam, some of which can only be reached by hours of walking along jungle paths.

“We visit the marginalized and the sickly, not only to bring them assistance, but to make them feel that they are not forgotten, and to lift up their spirit and sustain their faith in God by praying with them,” Chung said.

The LOM chief also disclosed that Catholics warded and on medical treatment at the hospital were also not forgotten. They made it a point to visit, offering prayers for them at their hospital bedside.

Mary said the chapter is fortunate to have the guidance of parish priests Fr David Sham, Fr Mitchelly Kuin and Fr Mattheus Luta, which has made the running of their programs smoother.

The chapter holds its meeting at 4.00 pm every Sunday at St Mary Chapel, whose construction was fully sponsored by the Chung family. The Chapel also has a hall and a space for the mission kindergarten, Tadika Merpati Putih.

During its meeting on 2 Dec 2018, the chapter welcomed two new members Darwin Durahim and Mui Lin. The ceremony was witnessed by Fr Luta, who had earlier presided the Sunday Mass at the chapel. – Joe Bingkasan

CMI parishioners urged to model after Mary

BUKIT PADANG – Mary was not the only one chosen by God, but all of us as well. If we do what she did, we too are special in the eyes of God.

Archbishop John Wong called parishioners of the Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) to model after Mary on his pastoral visit, which coincided with the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on Dec 9.

The call was made during the Sunday Mass presided by the prelate, and concelebrated by Fr Russell Lawrine.

The parishioners prepared for the celebration with a Triduum from Dec 5-7, which concluded with a bi-lingual  Mass presided by Fr Paul Lo Dec 7 evening, followed by a simple fellowship to mark Fr Lo’s 13th sacerdotal ordination anniversary. The Boys’ Brigade obliged with a medley of Christmas carols.

A fellowship and lunch at the canteen followed after Sunday Mass. CMI PPC chairperson Catherine Engsun  informed that CMI is embarking on a new phase with the church extension, which means that additional space and facilities would be accorded for the expansion of programs for children, youth and families in the faith community. 

Fr Russell Lawrine, being his first celebration at CMI as priest, called on all to allow the feast day to provide for the physical nourishment and bonding of the communities to continue the good works of God which have started in and through them.  

In his turn, Archbishop Wong touched on the purpose of his pastoral visit.  He explained that besides celebrating the Eucharist with the faithful, and having fellowship with them, the norm of a pastoral visit includes a meeting with the parish council/committee a day before so that he could be updated on the life and running of the parish/church.

The usual cake cutting and tokens presentation followed after the speeches.

Entertainment was provided by the various groups/ministries, including a song entitled I Will Follow Him sung by PPC. – CMI SOCCOM

Be ethical and systematic in spreading the ‘Gift of Hope’ through caroling, says Fr Atin

BUKIT PADANG – The mission office of Penampang parish has drawn up specific guidelines starting this year, to be adhered to by 58 registered groups of carolers.

“The church is not giving these guidelines to burden you, but you are to be ethical and systematic in bringing the good news of the ‘Gift of Hope’ to every Catholic home that you are visiting during your caroling.”

Parish priest Fr Wilfred Atin said to choir groups during their commissioning after Mass on 9 Dec 2018 to mark the 7th anniversary of the feast day of Mary Immaculate Conception (MIC) Chapel here at Sukang-Mabpai.

The commissioning took place at the adjacent St William Hall with dramatized carols sung by candlelight, performed by groups representing nine zones under Penampang parish.

Fr Atin explained that caroling was not just about singing any Christmas songs, but to present suitable Advent and commercial-free Christmas songs that are in tune with the Bible verses.  The proclamation of God’s Word relating to the coming of Christ is to be included so as to encourage families listening to it to have an in-depth meaning of the celebration.   

Prior to sending them out, the carolers were given catechesis on the proper and effective way of conveying the Advent message to every Catholic household that they would be visiting.        

The Carols by Candlelight has been a parish tradition as the official launching to kick-start caroling activities within the parish, and is hosted by zones on rotation.

This year, the tiny chapel of MIC Sukang Madpai, which could normally accommodate around 100 parishioners, was packed with faithful more than doubled, filling up the capacity space at St William’s hall. The commissioning event in conjunction with the feast day celebration was an opportunity to bring about mutual visits between the different zones as a pastoral outreach envisioned and encouraged by the Archdiocese. – Soccom Penampang    

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