Author Archives: AY

Slovak teen to be beatified as a martyr to purity

An artist’s rendering shows Anna Kolesarova, a Slovak teen who was shot in 1944 in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier (CNS photo/courtesy Pastoral Centre of Anna Kolesarova)

SLOVAKIA – A 16-year-old peasant girl will be beatified as a martyr in Slovakia, seven decades after she was shot in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier.

Anna Kolesarova “embodies the faithful layperson living in their family, regularly receiving sacraments, praying the rosary and approaching God through good works. Her heroic testimony, drawn from a sincere spiritual life, is something every Catholic and believer can aspire to,” Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia, told Catholic News Service.

He said honouring Kolesarova, whose “reputation for holiness” had inspired young Slovaks, would give the local church a unique chance for spiritual growth.

“The story of 16-year-old Anna Kolesarova offers a strong message, of course, for the younger generation,” he said.

“Celebrating the divine grace which was present in her life will enable us to gather the faithful, but also to reach the wider civil society,” Archbishop Bober said. “Her story provides a spiritual response to today’s nostalgia for purity. It’s a message not confined to the younger generation, but one to move all faithful people.

“Servants of God who gave their lives for Christ in modern Slovak history were the victims of a totalitarian communist regime which suppressed religious freedom, and this will be the first layperson declared blessed,” he added.

Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, was to beatify Kolaserova in Kosice on September 1. At least 30,000 Catholics are expected to attend the beatification in Lokomotiva Stadium.

Kolesarova was born 14 July 1928, at Vysoka nad Uhom, near the present Slovak-Ukrainian border. When Kolaserova was 13 her mother died, so she took over household duties and regularly attended Mass and rosary services with her father and elder brother.

When the Red Army captured the village on 22 November 1944, witnesses said Kolasarova had donned her mother’s black dress to disguise her youth; she took refuge in the cellar. Asked to find food when a drunken soldier entered the house, Kolesarova broke free when he tried to rape her. She was shot twice through the head in front of her father and neighbours.

The 16-year-old was buried at night in a makeshift coffin but was given a formal funeral a week later by Father Anton Lukac, who recorded that she had received confession and Communion before her death and made a “sacrifice of holy purity.”

In a website statement, the Kosice Archdiocese said accounts of her testimony had been secretly gathered in the 1950s by Jesuit Father Michal Potocky. The statement said her grave had become a place of pilgrimage only after the 1989 collapse of communist rule.

In a pastoral letter, read in churches on 19 August 2018, the Slovak bishops’ conference said Kolesarova had been “fully aware, despite her young age” of what awaited her, and had instinctively “followed the voice of conscience” rather than “having time to think and philosophise.”

“Today, the temptations against purity are much greater than before — they weigh on the young soul from every direction, via the internet and media,” the letter said.

“We are tempted to ignore or succumb to manifestations of our imperfect human nature and the fragilities which characterise us as sinful people. In the light of faith, however, we are called to observe limits and boundaries, to be greater and more persistent.” – Catholic Herald

Why this man spent his last years caring for the dying

DENVER, Colo – By the time he passed away, death was familiar to Joe Doak.

Doak was a devout Catholic, and a veteran, who died July 29 at 96 years old. But before his own death, Doak had spent days and nights sitting beside dying men and women in a hospice, offering them a word of comfort and the encouragement of prayer.

In 2011 Doak became a vigil volunteer for Hope-West hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, he would comfort the dying with prayers, hymns, discussions, or just the consolation of his silent presence.

A devout Catholic, Joe told the Daily Sentinel in May 2018 that he wanted to be a source of hope, letting those patients know that someone would be with them during their last hours.

“The main thing is to tell them that they’re not alone. They’re not dying alone,” he said. “I just hope that I’ve comforted and consoled them and given them hope,” he added.

Doak was an electrical engineer and raised six children with his wife Phyllis, getting married about 10 years after World War II, when he served as a communications officer in the United States Navy.

His family eventually moved to Gunnison, Colorado, where Doak owned an electronic store specializing in computers. He then moved to Montrose, where the Catholic engineer spent a large portion of his retirement time volunteering.

He volunteered in a variety of community activities – he taught seniors computer skills, he aided immigrants in their English, and he helped children with their reading skills. He was also a driver for Meals on Wheels.

“That is the makeup of my dad. He wants to help people, wants to comfort people that may be alone. He is a very religious person, so I think this played into him being a devoted Catholic,” his son, Roger Doak, told Colorado Public Radio.

Doak was inspired to hospice ministry after caring for his wife Phyllis during a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. After she died in 2011, he saw an ad for the vigil volunteers and decided to use his experience with Phyllis for other people.

Each time Doak received a call about a person dying, he would go to introduce himself, usually to a complete stranger. Doak would sit with patients, offering his hand, making conversation, and singing Christian hymns. A favorite of his was “Open my Ears” by Jesse Manibusan, the Daily Sentinel reported.

Roger Doak told Colorado Public Radio that his father had most likely died alone, but expressed hope that the people he comforted were there to receive him in the end.

“I’d like to think that all those people that my dad had comforted when they died, were actually there with him when he died.”

WMOF: From Disabilty to unique ability

DUBLIN – The World Meeting of Families is well underway at the RDS Conference Centre in Dublin and includes a three day Pastoral Congress which is covering a wide number of themes.

One of the issues under the spotlight  is that of disability.

Speaker and panelist on this topic at the Congress is Cristina Gangemi a disability advisor to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Director of the Kairos Forum which seeks to highlight and respond to the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.

She spoke to Vatican News about her address which is about disability in the family saying, disability should be seen as a gift, a vocation and way of living, “rather than it being something that the family has to put up with or that it’s a tragedy that hit the family.” She added, that there needs to be a shift from “disability to unique abiltiy.”

The Kairo’s Director noted that great strides have been made in the area of disability and said that she was delighted to be part of this meeting because this issue had been included as “part of the general way of thinking about family life.”

Asked what she would like to see coming out of this World Meeting of Families, Cristina Gangemi said, “I would like to see that the World Gathering of Families celebrates the presence of people with disabilities just as part of the Church, not as something special, not as something sentimental, but just as they are, members of the Church that breathe the breath of God and love of Christ into their family; into their parish community and that they have some space to express that love and their faith in a way that’s right for them.” – Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News

CMI makes pilgrimage to CDM KKIP

A section of the over 200 faithful taking part in the pilgrimage to the Church of Divine Mercy KKIP, 22 Aug 2018, in conjunction with the CMI Silver Jubilee Celebration.

KKIP, Telipok – Over 200 faithful from Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang and Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) Karamunsing made a pilgrimage to the Church of the Divine Mercy here on 22 Aug 2018 in conjunction with the CMI silver jubilee (CMISJ) celebration.

The event was organised by the CMISJ committee as part of its activities to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the church in October.

Led by Father Paul Lo, SHC rector, the pilgrimage began with Morning Prayer (Lauds) in CMI before proceeding to KKIP in three buses.

Fr Lo briefed them on the meaning of a pilgrimage and told them for any first visit to any holy place, church or shrine, they are allowed to make three requests a) for the people of the place b) for those who have asked them for prayers and c) for their own needs.

And on this pilgrimage there were many first timers since the church was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop John Wong on 21 Oct 2017.

At KKIP Fr Lo presided over the bilingual (Eng/Mand) Mass followed by a potluck fellowship meal.

It concluded with the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the journey home.

A pilgrimage to any holy place or shrine reflects the reality that the People of God are a pilgrim people on their way to their heavenly homeland.

Pope calls for solidarity and penance in letter on abuse crisis

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has written a letter to the whole People of God addressing the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse in the Church, calling for solidarity and penance.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.”

These words, taken from St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, struck the key note for Pope Francis in an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God on 20 Aug 2018.

The letter comes in response to an ongoing crisis of sexual abuse by “a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons” – crimes that were covered up and perpetuated by those who should have been protecting the vulnerable.

In particular, the Holy Father referred to a report released by a Grand Jury in the US state of Pennsylvania which, he wrote, “detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years.”

However, despite being occasioned by the recent scandals, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke insisted that the letter was meant for the whole Church. “This is about Ireland, this is about the United States, and this is about Chile. But not only. Pope Francis has written to the People of God – and that means everyone.”

In his letter, the Holy Father speaks of the realisation that the “wounds” caused by abuse “never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death.”

He admits that the Church has failed to deal adequately with the crisis of abuse. “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,” the Pope says. “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

Pope Francis calls for solidarity with those who have been abused. “Such a solidarity,” he said, “demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of the person.” It is a solidarity, “that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption.”

The Pope also notes that the Church has delayed in applying the “actions and sanctions” that are necessary for the implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy, but said he is “confident that” those actions and sanctions “will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and the future.”

Pope Francis calls on all the baptised to be a part of the “ecclesial and social change we so greatly need.” This change, he continued, requires “personal and communal conversion.” And in order to experience that “conversion of heart,” he encouraged “the entire faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting” – a reference to our Lord’s words in Matthew 17:21 that “this kind [of demon] does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”

Greg Burke explained, “Pope Francis says greater accountability is urgently needed, not only for those who committed these crimes, but also for those who covered them up – which in many cases means Bishops.”

The Holy Father emphasises that the present crisis demands a response from the whole Church as a body. “Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God.” This response requires the “active participation of all the Church’s members,” and “will be helped by the penitential dimension of fasting and prayer.”

Pope Francis says, “It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.” – Christopher Wells, Vatican News

KK deacons to be ordained priests in November

Deacons Russell Lawrine (L) and Gilbert Marcus (R) pose after their diaconal ordination in March 2018.  They will be ordained priests by Archbishop John Wong in November 2018.

PENAMPANG – Deacons Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus will be ordained priests by Archbishop John Wong in November this year.

Russell, 31, will be ordained on Sat Nov 10 at St James Tenghilan while the ordination of Gilbert, 36, will be on Tue Nov 20 at Sacred Heart Church Inobong.

The two were ordained deacons by Abp Wong on 11 Mar 2018 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

Although Russell entered the aspirancy earlier in 2008 and Gilbert in 2010, both of them  entered initiation year in 2011 and thereafter onward to St Peter’s College Kuching from 2012 to 2017.

Russell is currently serving in Sacred Heart Cathedral while Gilbert is having his pastoral ministry in St Michael Penampang.

La Salle Alumni marks 60 years of La Salle presence at annual dinner

L-R: GOH Anthony John Wong, Alumni president Herman Yee, Alumni patron Brother Justin Mobilik, La Salle Board of Governors chairman Ho Kin Wong cutting the 60th anniversary cake, 18 Aug 2018, Hakka Hall Tg Lipat, witnessed by other alumni committee members, donors and organising chairman Kapitan Li Su Fook.

KOTA KINABALU – The Alumni of La Salle and Sacred Heart marked 60 years of  La Salle Brothers’ presence in Sabah at their 57th annual dinner on 18 August 2018 at the Port View Palace Hall (Hakka Hall) Tanjung Lipat here with the theme Achieving our Dreams Together – Animo La Salle.

In his message, Guest of Honour Anthony John Wong said: “Tonight we are not only having our annual dinner, but are also celebrating and commemorating 60 years since the La Salle Brothers took over the running of the Sacred Heart Secondary School from the Mill Hill Missionaries.”

He noted that among those who came were some former Sacred Heart teachers and some of the first La Salle 1958 Form Five students – of whom he was one.

In his turn, Brother Justin Mobilik, patron of the alumni association, lauded the alumni members’ spirit of collaboration.  “Achieving dreams together is still working because of the [Lasallian] spirit…The spirit must live on,” he said.

Meanwhile, alumni president Herman Yee added a backgrounder in his speech.  He touched on the arrival of Brothers Charles O’Leary, Raphael Egan, and Thomas Carney in 1958.

“We are indeed indebted to the pioneers and all the La Salle Brothers who came after them for giving us the opportunity and privilege to be educated in the holistic Lasallian way,” he said.

He urged all members to be more committed in paying it forward by giving back to their alma mater.

Yee added that the alumni’s dream of acquiring the Sri Murni apartments which began in 2009 has finally been achieved this year.  He thanked all donors and contributors for making it possible.

Among the forthcoming plans of the alumni are the future relocation of the primary school, the setting up of an English Learning Centre, and a scholarship fund for deserving poor students.

 

Stella Maris launches first-ever Hymn Festival

TANJUNG ARU – In conjunction with Stewardship Sunday 8 July 2018, Stella Maris Parish (SMP) launched a Hymn Festival where parishioners were invited, for the first time in the parish, to participate in hymn composition.  The parishioners were given the opportunity and freedom to create and compose a new hymn for the Vision and Mission of the parish.

Eighteen entries were received from individuals and ministries.

The battle of the presentations was officiated by parish priest Msgr Primus Jouil, with Ian Baxter as the main judge, and two other judges in the persons of Jessel Yansalang and Pontius Otigil.

Representing the primary level were Tayneisha Jasmine Roeshan, 9, and her sister Sumeisha Jeslyn Roeshan, 10, who also happened to be the youngest contestants.  They had strong support from their parents and grandparents.

Their winning entries were entitled “Children of God’s Delight” and “Christ our Light and Saviour.”  They bagged the 1st and 2nd prizes, the first going to Jasmine for her composition “Christ our Light and Savior”.

All 18 contestants received certificates of participation.

In the English open category, the first place went to the Sacristans led by Sister Carmen Cordova, fsic.  Second place went to Jonathan Juhakim and third to the JWG Lower Level led by Lainie Lamau.

In the Bahasa Malaysia category, the first place was won by the Kerasulan Bahasa led by Jasmine Eve Petrus who was also the overall winner.  The second place was won by KKD St Faustina led by Daniel Anggang and the third went to Eva Stephen.

Contestant Sister Bernardine shared how she was inspired to compose the hymn “Journey Together as Christ-centred Family.” She recalled how the flow of words came to her and with the help of the Holy Spirit she managed to compose a meaningful hymn.

Another contestant Lainie Lamau revealed that she was inspired to compose while ironing her clothes.  Slowly, word by word, the hymn “One vision One mission with Love” was created through her discipline and obedience to listen to the inspiration that welled from within.

Jonathan Johakim also shared how he was fired up to create the hymn entitled “Now as we journey together (reaching our vision),” and was grateful to Neil Mah for his guidance.

The parishioners contributed RM2,600 towards this festival, providing for the first prize at  RM300, second prize at RM200 and the third at RM150.  The overall winner received RM500 with a crystal plaque. – Teresa Alberto

 

Stella Maris parish marks Stewardship Sunday for the first time

TANJUNG ARU – Stella Maris Parish (SMP) marked Stewardship Sunday for the first time on 8 July 2018.

Twenty-one ministries and groups participated in the event by displaying their talents in singing (basking by RCIA), skills in cooking, handicrafts and henna painting, and parting with their pre-loved goods. A lot of goods were put up for sale and the atmosphere was joyful, cheerful, full of love and the spirit of giving.

The participating ministries and groups commented, “We may be tired but we enjoyed this day so much!  Let’s do it again!”  The crowd that came was impacted by the cheerful giving of time and talent.

The parish benefited from the celebration of Stewardship Sunday as it provided the ministries and groups with opportunities to serve and through the process of organising, they exercised their leadership skills.

Ten percent of their net sales was contributed to the parish, while 90 percent went to the ministries and groups funds. – Teresa Alberto

Francis Lodungi returns unopposed as KUK Chairman

INANAM – Francis Lodungi returned unopposed as KUK Chairman of St Mary’s Chapel Kg Kionsom here recently.

The physical and spiritual development of the chapel was made possible with the guidance of Father David Sham, parish priest of St Catherine Inanam, and the leadership of the KUK committee chairman, Francis Lodungi.

From a wooden shelter with only a handful of faithful, the chapel now has a new concrete building and a hall that can accommodate over 400 worshippers. Last year also saw the construction of an additional building which is now occupied by Merpati Putih Kindergarten.

It was for these reasons that when the past KUK’s tenure of office expired recently, the Catholic community in Kionsom and neighbouring villages supported the proposal that Lodungi be re-nominated for the chairman post.

Three other candidates were also roped in to challenge the incumbent but all pulled out on polling day.

“A heavy responsibility… however, I will try my best to carry out my duties as expected by the community,” Francis said upon declared the victor uncontested to continue helming the committee for the 2019-2021 period.

He pledged to continue working for the betterment of the Church and is optimistic that better time is ahead with the full cooperation of all committee members and the community, as well as the guidance of the Inanam parish leadership.

Francis will be assisted by members who were also unanimously elected into the committee.

The other elected members were Alice William Doses (deputy chairperson), Casssy Tongguk (treasurer), Felicia Edna Julius (secretary), Dennisia Francis (assistant secretary), Theresa Dunggi (Women’s League), Julia Miki (assistant CWL), Stella Kaggi (Liturgical), Peter Yong (Catechetical) Rolend Kisin (Youth), Alexcius Maidis (Music) and Robert Guntis (Chief Warden). – Joseph Bingkasan

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