Author Archives: AY

Abp Chaput thinks you should read this young Catholic father’s letter

Abp Chaput of Philadelphia speaks at the Vatican, 25 Mar 2014.  Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

PHILADELPHIA, Pa – In a time of cultural confusion and challenge, youth need clarity and guidance from the Church – and failure to give it could be disastrous, says a young father who wrote to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

For Archbishop Chaput, who reproduced the letter April 18 at First Things, the man’s thoughts are worth considering as Catholics “seek a fuller understanding of the pastoral challenges facing young adults in a changing world.”

The Catholic Church will hold a Synod on Youth this October, and Archbishop Chaput is among the Church leaders preparing for it. He received the letter just after a pre-synod meeting in Rome where about 300 young adults gathered to discuss how they view the Church and the faith.

“We young people crave the truth and clarity of good teaching,” said the unnamed author, a self-described 26-year-old father of three. He suggested this craving is proved by the swift rise of Canadian professor and author Jordan Peterson, whose videos on YouTube have drawn a large following.

“We crave the truth, no matter how blunt or difficult it is for us to swallow or for the shepherds of our flock to teach,” the young father said.

“We urgently need the Church’s clarity and authoritative guidance on issues like abortion, homosexuality, gender dysphoria, the indissolubility of matrimony, the four last things, and the consequences of contraception (moral, anthropological, and abortifacient). My generation has never, or rarely, heard these truths winsomely taught in the parishes.”

The author claimed young Catholics hear most forcefully from the U.S. bishops’ conference and from dioceses about the federal budget, border policy, gun control, and the environment. Efforts to reach out effectively to those who don’t affiliate with a religion, colloquially known as the “nones,” may also be at risk.

“Though the Church’s growing focus on evangelization of the ‘Nones’ is encouraging, there have been recent discussions emanating from several prominent figures in Rome and throughout Church leadership regarding a so-called ‘paradigm shift’ relative to doctrine, the supremacy of individual conscience, and pastoral accommodation,” the man continued.

“My wife and I find these developments disturbing and potentially disastrous for the evangelization of the young and the fallen-away.”

“Our culture is roiled in confusion concerning the basic tenets of human nature,” the author continued, citing controversies over gender, masculinity, the family, and “propaganda” that “desecrates the nature of sex and its fruits, especially the unborn child.”

This letter prompted Archbishop Chaput to reflect: “The future of the Catholic faith belongs to those who create it with their fidelity, their self-sacrifice, their commitment to bringing new life into the world and raising their children in truth, and their determination to walk Christ’s ‘narrow way’ with joy.”

The archbishop prayed that God would grant the fathers of the 2018 Synod on Youth “the grace and courage to lead young people on that path.” – CNA/EWTN News, 19 Apr 2018

Catholic communicators urge greater respect in public discourse

Michael Warsaw at a Communication Seminar in Rome, Italy, 17-19 April 2018. Credit: Marina Testino/CNA

VATICAN CITY – This week, Catholic communicators gathered in Rome to discuss the need for more respectful dialogue in the public sphere, saying that fake news and polemics must be overcome with truth, mercy and openness.

When it comes to modern day public discourse, Irish Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “we have to be aware of our language, because nowadays people switch off, they don’t hear, and we cannot get the Gospel message out simply condemning everyone who lives their lives contrary to what we believe in.”

Now more than ever when emotions are high, polemics are strong, and digital communication is increasingly more impersonal, mutual respect is needed in order to effectively communicate with those we don’t agree with, both within the Church, and outside of it, he said.

This is also true “in the kind of culture wars which we are engaging in sometimes even within the Church; they simply drown out any opportunity for people to make that personal commitment to Christ, which is really what the Gospel is about.”

“This is a challenge for us within the Church, and it’s exemplified by blogs countering blogs, Twitter countering Twitter, where everyone is shouting and absolutely no one is hearing anything.”

The remedy, Martin said, is to focus, in every exchange, on communicating the fact that “God loves you, he loves you personally, he’s calling you to conversion in your own personal life story.”

Archbishop Martin spoke on the first day of an  17-19 April 2018 conference for Catholic communicators in Rome. Co-organised by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and EWTN, the three-day seminar was dedicated to the theme of “Dialogue, Respect and Freedom of Expression in the Public Arena.”

Speakers and panelists included media representatives and experts from around the world who touched on issues such as polarisation, fake news, defamation and how to promote values through the media.

Michael Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, gave a keynote speech on fake news and the responsibility of journalists on the final day of the conference.

Warsaw pointed to a recent example of a fake story that gained a lot of steam during the US presidential election of 2016.

During the campaign season, a fake news site published an article titled “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement,” which gained more than 100,000 comments, shares, and reactions on Facebook alone, and nearly 1 million Facebook engagements, making it “the single biggest fake news hit of the US Election.”

Shortly after, another fake news article appeared saying Pope Francis had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, he said, noting that it is thanks to articles like this that modern society has come to be known as the “post-truth” or “post-fact” world.

Warsaw cited various studies showing that consumers of fake news are no small minority, and, quoting the pope, said that because of this, journalists in particular are called to be “the protectors of news.”

“Pope Francis, in his 2018 message, rightly condemns that ‘spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests,’…But, the challenges facing journalism and the public at large today go deeper than the ‘fake news’ phenomenon,” he said.

Rather, the real crux of the matter is growing general distrust of media, as well as a loss of trust in data, analysis, and objective facts, he said.

Because of this, those who work in social communications must be offered ongoing formation, both spiritual and professional, so that both individual journalists and media outlets “become more trusted by the public, and are seen as objective and reliable.”

Quoting Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Social Communications, Warsaw said the most “radical antidote” to the phenomenon of fake news is “purification by the truth.”

“As Catholic communicators and media, we are called to do our part to be truth tellers,” he said, and “we must take heart in knowing that we are not the first Catholics to live in a ‘post truth’ era.”

In his comments to CNA, Archbishop Martin stressed the importance of fostering an environment where true and honest dialogue can take place, and where media can help “engage in a culture of encounter.”

“We meet people where they are at, some of whom are completely against what we stand for, others who are open to conversation,” he said, explaining that when things get heated, “pacifying” one’s tone is a good place to start in terms of having a fruitful exchange.

“I think this conference has courageously opened up a sort of middle-ground where we can engage in a type of court of the gentiles, where we enter that space in which there are some people who are diametrically opposed to what we stand for.”

And this, the archbishop said, can only happen “out of respect, and it can only happen when there is a culture of freedom to speak.”

For those involved in communication, “we c only hope that with the help of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God, that we can invite people, that we can win them for Christ, by our witness, by our example, and by the strength and courage of our message.” – Elise Harrisan, CNA/EWTN News

SHC group leaders attend update on renovation works

A section of the attendees listening attentively to the presenter during the update given to group leaders of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish at the parish centre, 19 Apr 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 60 group leaders and members of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here attended an update on renovation works and other matters at the parish centre on 19 Apr 2018.

Anthony Lim, chairman of the parish finance council, updated the audience on the renovation works carried out at the parish centre since 2016, using the proceeds from the bazaar that year.

Completed renovation works included electrical rewiring, replacement of faulty main pipe (2016), roofing and gutter system, construction of storage rooms and passageway, repainting, renovated meeting rooms on first floor, and installation of two giant fans in the hall (2017).

In early 2018, overhauling of PA system and video link upgrade between cathedral and hall were done and two LCD screens were installed in the hall.

The other works to be done in 2018 will be the PA system in the meeting rooms and hall as well as the external repainting of the hall.

Lim then appealed to the attendees for cooperation among their members in the use and maintenance of the parish centre facilities such as aircon units and motorised screens (F6, F7, F8), and to observe no-food-drink-rule inside meeting rooms, and other rules.

He also gave a brief update on the progress of the construction of the new Catholic Centre.  He said the earthworks have been completed.  Piling works are scheduled to begin at the end of May until the end of July.  The main building construction will then begin until November 2019.

However, he said, instead of RM1m quota, the quota has been raised to RM2.5m for the cathedral parish.  And that led to the upcoming fundraising bazaar on June 10 in aid of the building fund.

Anita Tunggolou, chairperson of the parish fundraising committee, announced the allocation of bazaar stalls to the different groups, communities, ministries based on the 2016 data.  The target is RM300,000.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop John Wong thanked everyone for their presence, gave a brief background on the decision to build the Catholic Centre, and urged everyone to play their part in the building of this landmark of the archdiocese.

Vatican to mark 25th anniversary of Centesimus Annus foundation with conference

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

VATICAN CITY – Catholic social teaching is, by its nature, “a work in progress” that must be constantly in dialogue with political and economic policy makers.

That was a key message to emerge from a press conference on 18 Apr 2018 marking the 25thanniversary of the Centesimus Annus foundation, set up by Pope John Paul II to promote greater understanding and engagement with the Church’s social teaching.

The foundation is currently preparing for an international conference in Rome,  May 24 – 26,  on the theme of ‘New Policies and Life-Styles in the Digital Age’ at the Palazzo Cancelleria and in the Vatican.

The event will focus on three themes, namely ‘The family facing job uncertainties and the digital cultural revolution’, ‘Towards a sustainable food chain: responsibility against the ‘throwaway culture’, and ‘Human Work, Inclusive Employment’.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will give a concluding address on the theme of ‘A common Christian agenda for the Common Good.’

One of the speakers at the press conference was the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who, as a former official of the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, was involved with the preparation of Pope John Paul’s 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus.  He reflected on some of the global challenges that have emerged since the foundation was set up, including the growth of economic inequality and increased levels of corruption.

Archbishop Martin  talked to Vatican News about the changing focus of the foundation over the past quarter of a century, saying he believes we “misread the situation at the end of the cold war.”

He said “we were too optimistic” about the possibilities for economic growth and “we didn’t realise how the fabric of society in many former communist countries was disintegrated.” Many of the current problems of corruption started to emerge at that time, he said, with the trade in arms, drugs and people trafficking.

Archbishop Martin spoke about the need for a “rigid reflection” on dialogue between social sciences and Catholic social teaching, underlining the responsibility of universities to form young people and indicate “pathways of application.”

In a large city like Dublin, he said problems of “new poverty” are evident, alongside problems linked with family breakdown.

He said he hoped the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin would explore questions relating to family life and the economy.  While people tend to think of families in an ideological or abstract way, he said, we have to see how family life is connected across society to challenges of homelessness, refugees, or prison ministry.

Asked about preparations for World Meeting of families, Archbishop Martin said: “Big events have big challenges, and there a s new one every day!”

Commenting on the papal visit to Ireland for the event, he said “The programme isn’t definitive yet, but the Pope is coming to Dublin for the WMF, that was always his intention. This pope has a different style of visits than his predecessors, and I think everything will work out well”.

For his part, Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, who chairs the Foundation’s Board of Directors, said that “like at the time of Rerum Novarum, we will try to identify ‘elements of novelty’ in order to rethink the socio-economic priorities we face today.”

The list of speakers includes members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican Foundation Gravissimum Educationis, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the European Trade Union Confederation, and a number of economists, academics and business leaders. – Vatican News, AsiaNews

Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Easter B


First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12
Peter announces an act of healing in the name of Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28,29
A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his kindness

Second Reading
1 John 3:1-2
God revealed his love for us by calling us children of God.

Gospel Reading
John 10:11-18
Jesus says that he is the good shepherd who knows his sheep.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday. In each of the three lectionary cycles, our Gospel is taken from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John. In Cycle B, we hear the middle verses of this chapter. Unless we consider this chapter in the greater context of John’s Gospel, we will miss the radical nature of the statement Jesus makes when he declares himself to be the Good Shepherd.

This chapter of John’s Gospel follows Jesus’ healing of the man born blind and the rejection of this miracle by the Jewish leaders who question Jesus’ authority to heal. Jesus responds to this challenge by calling himself the Good Shepherd. He is criticising the leadership of the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders. The Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are so angry that they attempt to stone and arrest Jesus (see John 10:31,39). This controversy with the religious leaders continues until Jesus’ death.

In the portion of the chapter that we hear proclaimed today, Jesus describes his relationship with his followers as similar to the relationship between a good shepherd and his sheep. As a good shepherd will risk and lay down his life in order to protect his sheep, Jesus willingly sacrifices himself for the sake of his sheep. Jesus contrasts the actions of the good shepherd with the actions of the hired shepherd who abandons the sheep in the face of danger. In the verses following Jesus’ teaching, we learn that the Pharisees and the other religious leaders understand that Jesus is referring to them when he describes the hired shepherds.

The concern of a good shepherd for his sheep is part of the shepherd’s job. Jesus says, however, that the actions of the good shepherd are based upon the relationship that develops between the shepherd and the sheep. This is at the heart of the difference between the good shepherd and the hired shepherd. The good shepherd knows the sheep and therefore acts out of love. For the Good Shepherd, this is never simply part of a job; this love-in-action is integral to his identity.

As with so much of John’s Gospel, one hears in this passage John’s particular focus on Christology. As the sheep are known by the Good Shepherd, the Father knows Jesus and Jesus knows the Father. There is an essential unity between the Father and the Son. The freedom with which Jesus acts when he lays down his life is rooted in the unity that he shares with his Father.

In this context, Jesus also refers to others with whom he shares a relationship. By this reference, John probably understands the eventual inclusion of the Gentiles in the Christian community. Our modern ears hear this as a reference to Christian unity. The work of ecumenism is to restore unity among all Christians so that we form one flock under one shepherd, as God desires.-

Pastoral staff, volunteers, and aspirants gather to celebrate the risen Lord

The clergy, staff, volunteers, aspirants pose for remembrance in front of the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing after Mass, 17 Apr 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 90 pastoral staff, volunteers, and aspirants gathered to celebrate the Risen Lord at the Sacred Heart Cathedral premises on 17 Apr 2018.

The staff came from Catholic Archdiocesan Centre Penampang, Cathedral Parish staff, Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, the aspirants, and their English teachers.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass held at the cathedral chapel.  Joining him at the altar were the two assistant pastors, Fathers Max Hontor and Joshua Liew.  Deacon Russell Lawrine was on hand to assist at the altar.

In his homily, Abp Wong exhorted those present to reflect on how they celebrate Easter and the reason for doing so.

After Mass, all adjourned to the parish hall for the fellowship.  Aside from a sumptious lunch, there were games and dances.  Joining them for the fellowship was assistant pastor Father Paul Lo.

The event concluded with a prayer-blessing by the archbishop.

Keningau prelate testifies to God’s love, presence, and protection in 25 years as bishop

Bishop Cornelius Piong (C) sits on his chair between Bishop John Lee (L) and Archbishop Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur (R) after the Rite of Ordination, 6 May 1993, KSFX Keningau.

KOTA KINABALU – Keningau prelate testified to God’s love, presence, and protection in his 25 years as bishop.

In  a testimony released 16 Apr 2018, Bishop Cornelius Piong said:

“I know He (God) loves me because in spite of my unworthiness, He calls me to serve Him through the people He has entrusted to me to serve, Keningau Diocese.

“I know that He is with me because without Him I don’t think I can serve the people entrusted to me with joy and perseverance for 25 years in spite of the challenges that I had to go through.

“I know that He protects me from the power of sin and sustains me in spite of my weaknesses.  His divine mercy always gives hope.”

Born in Kuala Penyu on 1 July 1949, Piong was ordained priest on 27 Mar 1977.  He was serving at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu when he was appointed bishop of the newly created Keningau Diocese on 2 Feb 1993.  His episcopal ordination and installation took place on 6 May 1993 at the Katedral St Francis Xavier Keningau.

In the past 25 years, Keningau Diocese has grown and developed by leaps and bounds.  Not only has the Catholic population increased (56,852 [1993] to 135,544 [2016]) but the diocese has become a spiritual powerhouse through its two retreat centres in Tatal and Purun and a family pilgrimage site in Nulu Sosopon.  Moreover, it has many vocations to the priestly and religious life (7 priests [1993] to 19 [2016]); 2 religious institutes [1993] to 5 religious institutes and 2 secular institutes [2017]).

What has the silver jubilarian learnt about himself down the years?

“I have learnt that in spite of doubts, I need to be convinced that God loves me, cares for me, and protects me.  Through prayers, His words, Eucharist and community, His call, His presence, and His protection, become a reality and a source of strength and joy in serving Him,” the prelate said.

Moreover, he continued, “I have learnt that commitment cannot be taken for granted” and that he needs to “focus and refocus on Jesus who calls, sends, and sustains me.”

This, he found, can only be done when he makes time to listen and to speak to the Lord through His word, adoration, and pastoral responsibilities in teaching, leading and sanctifying.

He acknowledged that it is the Holy Spirit who enables him to choose to serve the Lord.

“I have also learnt that on my own I am nothing.  It is only in union with Jesus that I am able to be His instrument and be the channel of His presence to the people entrusted to me,” the silver jubilarian said.

He expressed his gratitude to the Lord for His divine mercy and the Holy Spirit that “enables me to be united to Him, faithful to Him and stays with Him.”

The silver jubilee celebration will begin with a dinner at 6:30 pm at the Dewan Keluarga Kudus Pusat Ziarah Keluarga Kudus Nulu Sosopon on Friday, May 4, and ends with a fellowship at Dewan MPP Katedral SFX Keningau after the Thanksgiving Mass at 10 am at Dewan Solidariti Dataran Keuskupan Keningau on Saturday, May 5.

Alumni’s role highlighted in school completion

Class 1993 reps (L) presenting the mock cheque for RM6,300.00 to Mary Gomez (2nd R), witnessed by Abp Wong (4th R), Aminah Ambrose (3rd R) and Leena Toyoi (R).

KOTA KINABALU – The role of the Alumni of St Francis Convent Schools (SFCS) in completing the construction of the new St Francis Convent School (SFCSS) was highlighted at the 4th Franciscan Night on 14 Apr 2018.

In his message, Archbishop John Wong, adviser to SFCS Board of Governors, noted that it is the school’s motto Amare et Servire (Love and Service) which led the Alumni as well as the building and fundraising committees to “see the completion of the new secondary school.”

He expressed his hope that the schools and alumni members be united as “one big family of Franciscans” able to assist and cater to the many needs of the schools and bring them to “greater heights” in the students’ academic and spiritual development.

In her speech, Alumni president Datuk Aminah Ambrose (Class 1975) acknowledged the hard work of the alumni in organised the previous three annual dinners, which were all about fundraising, classroom pledges, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies involving donors.

However, she said that the fundraising effort is not over yet as the school is “not complete without furnishings and equipment for the classrooms and special rooms.”  So she called on alumni members for their continual support to meet the school’s needs.

Ambrose took the opportunity to thank immediate past principal Pang Shat Muai for her support of the alumni’s projects and to welcome new principal Theresa Chong into the Franciscan Family.

Mary Gomez (Class 1979), chairperson of the Board of Governors, said Pang has been instrumental in ensuring that the construction went on smoothly by submitting the documentation and obtaining all the relevant approvals from the Ministry of Education.

Class 1993 sprang a surprise when it presented a donation of RM6,300.00 raised from its Awesome Zumba 2018 in aid of the school building fund.

Gomez received the mock cheque from the class representatives, witnessed by Abp Wong, Ambrose, and Leena Toyoi, chairperson of the fundraising committee.

Among those present at the dinner were Toh Puan Hjh Rahimah Stephens, patron of the alumni, Mother General Sister Frances Mani of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, past Mother Generals Sister Cecilia Liew and Sister Grace Deosing, Dora Loi, headmistress of the primary school, and Grace Shim, headmistress of the kindergarten.

Remembering eight brave war heroes from WWII (Part 2)

File photo of the day of exhumation of three heroes in 1957.

During the annual 2018 official ceremony for all war victims Jan 21, eight men’s names were commemorated on a new plaque at the main war monument at the Petagas War Memorial Park. This is the second installment of a write-up to remember particularly six men out of the eight, with the perspective on how their Catholic faith had helped them to survive life’s ordeals.

In the second war crime charge, the four victims Paul Lee Fook Onn @ Paul Lee Onn, Simon Thien, Paul Chong Pin Sin and Stephen Pan Tet Liong lived in Tamparuli during the war. The war crime charge stated they were “native residents, chief of the village and very influential.”

SIMON THIEN and Paul Lee Onn shared some land that they applied for in Tamparuli, across from Charlie Peter’s property. Simon was also one of the Fr Weber’s ‘old boys’ from Sacred Heart School as was Charlie. He worked in the Customs as senior officer collecting taxes at the port. He was married to Hiew Nyet Kiao and they had three adopted children Agnes, Rose, and John. He is survived by his siblings, nephews, and nieces.

PAUL CHONG PIN SIN was born in 1903 and came to Jesselton in the 1920s from China and worked as a “house-mate” for “orang putih.”  With the little savings and experience he had from working with them, he first started a ‘laundromat,’  then moved on to trading and became a successful merchant owning a grocery shop in Jesselton town.

A written account by his only surviving child, Rose Chong states that in 1944 a troop of Japanese army marched from Sandakan to Ranau, and reached their house which was near the roadside at Tamparuli. The Japanese army stayed at their house where they required Paul Chong, Simon Thien, Stephen Pan and Paul Lee to supply food and other rations to them.

PAUL LEE FOOK ONN @ PAUL LEE ONN was the first born of three children to parents Anthony Lee Biang and Maria Liew Fung Kiao in Jesselton in 1902. He worked as a chief clerk at Harrisons and Crossfields Shipping. When his father fell ill and eventually died at a young age, his mother sent them to mission schools. Paul was also a former student of Sacred Heart School under Fr Weber. Church records show he was a devoted Catholic and prominent lay leader particularly of the Chinese congregation of Sacred Heart Church in the 1920s and 1930s.

Like Vitalianus Ubing, Paul Lee was also a volunteer with the North Borneo Volunteer Force and was ranked a Sergeant. After the war, the family received a scroll commemorating and honouring his sacrifice. Paul was the father of nine children. His wife was pregnant with their youngest son John when he was taken away and killed. Today, his six surviving children live around the globe.

BUNG AH TEE @ STEPHEN PAN TET LIONG previously worked at the British rubber estate in Sandakan as supervisor and owned a rubber estate in Bakut, near Tuaran. According to his grandson, Stephen’s family was originally from Papar and he was educated at St Joseph mission school, Papar. He was married to Francisca Chin Kon Kiao, and they had ten children.

As with the other families, because of safety Stephen moved his family to Tamparuli. The Pan family lived very near to the other three Chinese families at Tamparuli and became good friends. He was appointed as village Chief or as Kapitan at one time.

In 1945, all four men were captured by the Japanese and never returned. The reason behind the capture was that all the four men’s names were found on the Defender (undercover) list of names. They were accused of, “not supplying the Japanese army with foodstuffs, planning to attack the Japanese in the rear in the event of an Allied landing and in contact with bandits in Kinarut, and to attack the Japanese units which came from Ranau to Tamparuli.” (War crime trial proceedings)

After the Japanese surrendered, the Australian army caught the Japanese and they went house to house to find out how many victims were missing and forced the Japanese to tell where those innocent victims were killed and buried. It was then they knew Paul Chong, Simon Thien, and Stephen Pan were killed together on June 12 at the same place and their bodies shared the same burial ground.

Three months after the killing, the families followed a map given by someone and located the ground in the Telipong area. They recognised and confirmed the bodies by means of personal possessions which were with the remains. However, nothing much could be done then as life was difficult for the families and no one could afford to do anything with the remains. Twelve years later, the three families got together again and transferred all the three men’s remains into a burial jar which was then buried at the Tuaran Christian Cemetery.

Paul Lee was taken away on a separate day while the family was having dinner. He was taken away, badly tortured and returned home twice prior to his final departure on June 16. Although a map of his killing place was also provided by the same person (as mentioned above) months later but sadly, the remains of Paul have never been found.

Out of adversity comes strength, sometimes formidable strength and courage. After the death of Paul Lee, his widow Margaret Liong Choi Chin, like the other three widows in Tamparuli, struggled to bring up their children. The widows got together to form a strong support network.

Due to constant floods, the children were often prevented from going to school, which was located on the other side of the river. So Margaret, with the help from the widows and older children of the families, decided to raise funds to build a school for the children who lived on the south side of the river – about 20 of them from their own families alone. The boys led a Dragon Dance team and the girls sold handmade paper flowers. They went everywhere by bus or on foot. Margaret went as far as Labuan to raise funds for the school.

Their children were first schooled in Charlie Peter’s house in 1946.The families also gathered at the house on Sundays for service or Mass, if there was a priest visiting. Apparently, faith has put the families together and helped them survived through the difficult times.

While going through the hardships of raising funds, the school had to shift to an old Japanese warehouse when the number of students grew too big for Charlie’s house. In 1949, they had to move again to an abandoned two-storey attap house on the land between the properties of Paul Lee and Simon Thien. After some persuasive negotiations between Margaret and the land owner, they bought the land on which the Gong Gao School grew and rebuilt.

Being nearly illiterate, Margaret sought the help of Yong Tao Pin @Yong Chen Koon, who was educated in China, with the school’s administrative work. Meanwhile, Mrs Simon Thien, affectionately known as Nyet Kiao Ji, her sister Fook Kiao, wife of Paul Chong, and others helped with chores and the never-ending fundraising.

In the late 1950s the school was handed over to Father Tepstra who was in charge of the Tuaran Catholic mission. Around 1964, the school became known as St Philip’s School, under the care of Bishop James Buis. The school is very much in operation today and has educated many successful students.

The third war crime charge involved the killing of Lim Hock Beng and Mohinder Singh. They were the two non-Catholics who were also recently commemorated at the Petagas War Memorial Park.

LIM HOCK BENG was working as a wireless operator at the Jesselton Post Office. He was considered the “chief of the rebellion who used the wireless set to catch intelligence that was against the Japanese army and carried out an agitation to the native residents”. According to a family member, Lim Hock Beng was a Christian belonging to the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, now known as the Anglican Church. His wife was Rose Walker, a Catholic, who was also a close family friend of Lothar Manjaji’s wife, Otillia. With the untimely death of Lim Hock Beng, the children were separated. The two eldest, Lucy and Richard were sent to stay in the convent in Singapore where they were taught Catechism and subsequently they and their families became Catholics. The other three siblings, Jane, Victor, and Timothy studied in St Mary’s School, Sandakan where they were also taught catechism and accepted the Catholic faith.

MOHINDER SINGH, a 19-year old male nurse at the Jesselton Hospital, assisted Lim Hock Beng in keeping an eye out for enemy planes using his binoculars. They were captured and killed around early July 1945 and buried unceremoniously together in a shallow grave. Both bodies were later exhumed and taken away by their families.

Many gaps in the stories of these brave men remain and it is hoped more will be uncovered as the families embark on learning about their loved ones. Their story, set against a backdrop of the cruelties of the war and the horrific suffering they must have endured show how only their unwavering faith must have given them courage in their greatest hour of need, surrendering to God their lives and the families they were leaving behind. They also bring to mind the many other brave victims who were taken and killed during the war.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9-10 – Contributed by Vera Chin and Susanna Lye, granddaughters of Lothar Manjaji and Paul Lee.

Korean Clerical Society opens religious items shop in ITCC

Father Andrew Kim blesses the Woori Jib religious items shop, ITCC Penampang, 16 March 2018.

PENAMPANG –The Korean Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity has opened a shop selling religious items in the ITCC Shopping Mall here.

Known as the Woori Jib Holy Item, it is owned and managed by members of the Korean congregation headed by Father Leo Choi Sangki.

Some 50 parishioners from nearby parishes, friends and supporters witnessed the blessing ceremony of the new premises on 16 Mar 2018.

Franciscan Sisters Dariah Ajap and Imelda Angang, and Marist Brother Anthony Choi were among those present.

Other guests included Penampang District Officer Luvita Koisun and Datin Sylvia Wong Bongkos.

The Rite of Blessing was officiated by Father Andrew Kim Youngjun, one of the three resident priests of the Society in Kota Kinabalu. With him was Father Lawrence Kim Jinsu. Fr Leo was away in Korea for a pastoral commitment.

The religious items are sourced from South Korea, and Fr Andrew said all sales made under the store are channelled to Woori Jib St Francis Xavier Potuki, their welfare orphanage home located at Kg Potuki, Lokawi Putatan.

Therefore, he calls for continuous support from all to Woori Jib to sustain the orphans who come from poor local Catholic families.

Woori Jib Holy Item is located at Lot No. 1-202, (Corner), Tingkat Satu, Bangunan ITCC (International Technology& Commercial Centre) Penampang, and operates from 10 am-6 pm daily.

For any enquiries, contact the management at 019-8822418. Linda Edward

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