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Malaysian Catechetical Commission Meeting 2018

SIBU – There were many catechetical issues discussed in the recent Malaysian Catechetical Commission (MCC) Meeting held at the Catholic Diocesan Centre in Sibu, Sarawak from Monday 27th August to Thursday 30th August 2018.

Fr Alvin Ho SJ, Chairman of MCC led the meeting.  Twenty delegates from all arch/dioceses including the delegates from Brunei Vicariate attended this meeting. There were 10 priests including Most Revd Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese and Rt Revd Datuk Cornelius Piong, Bishop of Keningau Diocese, and 10 Religious Sisters and lay leaders. The Diocese of Melaka-Johor apologized for not being able to send any delegates to this year’s meeting.

The Catechetical Commission plays a very crucial role in the church as it is the pulse and the very life of the church. One of the many activities of the Catechetical Ministry is to prepare our young Catholics for the reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Confession, Confirmation and also spiritually prepare our children and teenagers to meet the challenges of the world. Without the dedication of the catechists in teaching and sharing the Catholic Faith, these students would not be well prepared and become strong in their faith. Therefore it is crucial that  formation of catechists to enable them to properly care for their students be given priority.

The meeting discussed numerous topics related to the Catechetical Ministry at the arch/diocesan level as well as at the national level:

  • The topic on formation and training for all those involved in catechesis especially for catechists to deliver effective lessons is one of the many topics that were discussed which included formation and training for catechists and/or facilitators of Christian Adult Initiation (CIA) team, Joyful Weekend Gathering (JWG) / Religious Education (RE) Classes, conducting Communion Service in the absence of priests, and becoming sponsors/godparents of candidates for the reception of sacraments. We also discussed how On-line Courses could help to update the Catechists.
  • Materials and catechetical books for JWG / RE need to be updated and improved by preparing supplementary materials to replace the existing ones. The meeting also discussed the necessity to have sufficient resources for the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) to respond to the needs of the candidates in all the arch/dioceses. We also had a discussion on Rites of RCIA.
  • The theme for 2019 Catechetical Sunday is “Christ, Our Mission” (Phil 1:21). A reflection paper for this theme would be prepared by Most Revd Julian Leow; together with this reflection paper, various suggestions of activities for this celebration would be distributed to each arch/diocese by November 2018. The theme chosen is in line with the Church’s focus on Mission and Evangelisation.
  • There was also a discussion on the management of the National Catechetical Office (NCO) in Kuala Lumpur. At this interim period, Dr Stephen Selvaraju was entrusted with monitoring the staff employed by Malaysia Catechetical Commission (MCC) for NCO.
  • All the eight arch/dioceses and the Vicariate of Brunei reported on their catechetical events, activities, programmes and plans.
  • At the end of the four-day meeting, the members elected a team of office bearers for the term 2019-2021. The result of this election is as follows:

Chairman                    :           Fr Nicholas Stephen (Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese)

Vice Chairman           :           Fr Mark Michael (Penang Diocese)

Secretary                     :           Mr Frederick Empanga (Miri Diocese)

Vice Secretary             :           Ms Stephanie Ng (Kuching Archdiocese)

The outgoing Episcopal President of the Malaysia Catechetical Commission, Rt Revd Datuk Cornelius Piong of Keningau Diocese, thanked all the MCC members for their tireless service, cooperation and friendship built throughout the term, led by Fr Alvin Ho SJ. His Lordship also heartily welcomed the incoming Episcopal President, Most Revd Julian Leow and hoped that the usual close cooperation amongst the newly elected office bearers would continue. His Lordship also congratulated the newly elected office bearers and encouraged them to serve with joy.

The outgoing MCC chairman, Fr Alvin Ho SJ, thanked all the MCC members for their cooperation given to him during his tenure as the chairman and he congratulated the newly elected office bearers.

The newly elected chairman, Fr Nicholas Stephen expressed his gratitude for the trust given to him by all the MCC members to chair the Commission for the next three years; he hoped that with cooperation of all the MCC members, together they could implement all that would be planned.

Most Revd Julian Leow, the incoming Episcopal President, thanked the outgoing office bearers for their tireless service. His Grace emphasized on the importance of catechetical ministry in a world where faithful, especially the younger generations, are being challenged by the worldly standard and secularism. Many young people who migrated to the West Malaysia compromised their Catholic Faith due to the shallowness of their faith.

Therefore, the archbishop said that there was a dire need to have ongoing continuous catechetical formation and training for catechists. His Grace emphasized that parents have to live up to their responsibility and to play their role effectively as the first catechists of their children, instead of fully relying on the catechists in the weekly Religious Education Classes. There was also a need to publish spiritual books and share the resources on-line for the catechists and parents to refer to.

The archbishop also acknowledged and appreciated the RE catechists for their time and energy. His Grace also encouraged all the catechists to continue with the good work and to engage in catechesis more creatively and effectively.

His Grace thanked all the delegates for their active participation in the meeting. The next MCC Meeting will be on 5th to 8th August 2019, and will be hosted by the Diocese of Penang.Sr Dariah Ajap, FSIC, MCC Member

 

 

Reflection for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

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First Reading
Wisdom 2:12,17-20
The just one is put to the test.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 54:3-4,5,6 & 8
A prayer for God’s protection.

Second Reading
James 3:16—4:3
James teaches about the wisdom from above.

Gospel Reading
Mark 9:30-37
Jesus teaches his disciples that the greatest are those who serve all.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus again predict his passion, death, and Resurrection to his disciples. The setting here is important. Jesus and his disciples are preparing to journey through Galilee, a Jewish territory in which Jesus has already encountered problems with the Pharisees. Perhaps this is why Mark indicates that Jesus was trying to journey in secret. In predicting his passion, Jesus is acknowledging the danger they will face and is trying to preparing his disciples for it. Yet Mark tells us that the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying and were afraid to ask what he meant. Such hesitation on the part of the disciples is not characteristic behavior. Peter had no fear about rebuking Jesus in last week’s Gospel. Perhaps this is an indication that the disciples were aware that a new situation was emerging.

Mark paints a vivid picture in today’s Gospel. Having arrived at Capernaum, Jesus and his disciples enter a house. In this private place, Jesus asks his disciples about the argument they had while they were journeying. Again, the disciples are uncharacteristically silent and afraid to answer. They have been found out. Jesus then summons the Twelve, whom Mark identified earlier in his Gospel as those chosen by Jesus to preach and to drive out demons. To this select group of disciples, Jesus teaches that those who would be first in God’s kingdom must be servants of all.

Jesus then calls forward a child and teaches the Twelve that to receive a child in Jesus’ name is to receive both Jesus and the One who sent him. We might easily fail to understand the significance of this action. In first-century Palestine, children were without status or power, possessing no legal rights. In this action, Jesus is teaching his disciples and us that when we serve the least ones among us, we serve Jesus himself. Who are the people without power or status in our society that Jesus is calling us to serve? Do we do so willingly? Jesus teaches that God’s judgment of us will be based on this criterion alone.- loyolapress.com

 

Fr Jerry Rosario on the clerical sex abuse scandal

KOTA KINABALU – Among other topics discussed by Fr Jerry Rosario SJ at the interview with Catholic Sabah on 8 September 2018,  he admitted that the recent clerical sex abuse in the US Church and the shielding and snuffing out of evidence by the Church leaders have greatly saddened him.

Though grieved by the deplorable state of the Church’s affairs, he sees light in the dark tunnel.  “I pray it is a transitional phase and we would encounter the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He added “I thank God for a certain amount of openness and transparency that is coming into today’s Church.”

He philosophized “In the past, these scandals would have been swept under the carpet.  Today we are living in a modernized world, with full availability of media.  The Church is today beckoned “to own up in order to grow up”.

It is plausible for victims of any sexual harassment or assault to get justice that is due to them, said Fr Jerry.

As I see, continued the lawyer-priest, Pope Francis is doing his best to not only call for ecclesiastical court for internal investigation, but also keeping the Church open to civil external investigation.  This is seen to be a position of readiness to do justice to the victims.

To the ordained and consecrated, priests, seminarians, religious men and women,  Fr Jerry comments “If any clergy or seminarian, or those under formation for vowed life, find difficulty to live a celibate life, they should be helped to discern their vocation, and should be encouraged to give up their priestly or consecrated life for the sake of a married life, which is, for Catholics, a sacramental life. – Catholic Sabah

 

 

Pope: True freedom is not being a slave to one’s sins

Sin is “slavery of one’s ego”: “the greedy, the lustful, the avaricious, the irascible, the envious, the slothful, the arrogant — and so on — are slaves of their vices, which tyrannize and torment them.” “Today it takes courage to get married”.

VATICAN CITY –  Sin, which is “slavery to one’s ego”, is what binds us more than anything else, because it forces us to look only at ourselves and makes us incapable of loving, which is true freedom. The day of rest as a memory of liberation was at the center of the reflection that Pope Francis addressed today to the participants in the general audience.

In fact, at the 30 thousand people present in St Peter’s Square, he spoke of the “day of rest, the prophecy of liberation”, inspired by the fact that in Deuteronomy, unlike Exodus, the reason for repose is not the blessing of creation, but the end of slavery. “On this day the slave must rest just like the master, to celebrate the memory of the Easter of liberation”.

In reality, the Pope continued, “there are so many types of slavery exist, be they interior or exterior.  There are the external constrictions such as oppressions, lives kidnapped by violence and by other types of injustice. Then there are the interior prisons, which are, for example, psychological blockages, complexes, limitations of character and others.”  History instead has offered us example of people who still succeeded in living this interior freedom despite exterior obstacles, “for example, of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, or of Cardinal Van Thuan, who transformed dark oppressions into places of light. There are as well persons marked by great interior fragilities that, however, know the rest of mercy and are able to transmit it. God’s mercy liberates us”.

“So, what is true freedom? Does it consist, perhaps, in the freedom of choice?  This is certainly a part of freedom, and we commit ourselves so that it’s assured to every man and woman (Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 73). However, we know well that to be able to do what one wants isn’t enough to be truly free, and not even happy. True freedom is much more. In fact, there is a slavery that chains more than a prison, more than a panic crisis, more than an imposition of any kind: the slavery of one’s ego”.

“The ego can become a tormentor that tortures man wherever he is and procures for him the most profound oppression, that which is called “sin,” which isn’t the trivial violation of a code, but failure of the existence and condition of slaves”.

Francis then pointed out how “the greedy, the lustful, the avaricious, the irascible, the envious, the slothful, the arrogant — and so on —  are slaves of their vices, which tyrannize and torment them. There is no truce for the greedy, because the throat is the hypocrisy of the stomach, which is full but which makes us think that it’s empty. The hypocritical stomach makes us greedy. We are slaves of a hypocritical stomach. There is no truce for the greedy and the lustful that must live of pleasure; the anxiety of possession destroys the greedy, always piling up money, hurting others; the fire of wrath and the worm of envy ruins relationships. Writers say that envy makes the body and soul yellow, as when a person has hepatitis: he/she becomes yellow. The envious have a yellow soul, because they can never have the freshness of the health of the soul. Envy destroys”.

The real slave, concluded the Pope “is he that knows not rest? Who is incapable of loving! And all these vices, these sins, this egoism distance us from love and make us incapable of loving. We are slaves of ourselves and we can’t love, because love is always towards others”.

“The Third Commandment, which invites to celebrate liberation in rest, is for us Christians a prophesy of the Lord Jesus, who breaks the interior slavery of sin to render man capable of loving. True love is true freedom: it detaches from possession, rebuilds relationships, is able to welcome and value one’s neighbour, transforms every effort into joyful gift and renders one capable of communion. Love renders one free even in prison, even if one is weak and limited”.

Finally, in the greeting to the Italian faithful, Francis described the newlyweds as “brave” because, he said, “today it takes courage to marry”.Asia News

 

Barefoot priest facilitates Sabah clergy annual retreat

KOTA KINABALU – Arch/bishops, clergy and deacons from the three arch/dioceses of Sabah were given a rare treat for their mid-year retreat with a barefoot priest from Tamil Nadhu, India as their retreat master at Bundu Tuhan retreat centre from 10-14 September 2018.

Natives going barefoot are not rare in the villages, but to have one barefoot Catholic priest walking and ministering amongst his peers, albeit from overseas, is a rare occurrence.  Fr Jerry Rosario  has earned his accolade as the “barefoot priest” internationally not because of his personal gratification but because he has willingly and lovingly accepted to live like this – embracing poverty and extending solidarity with the marginalized.

Fr Jerry Rosario SJ has just two sets of shirts and slacks, walks barefooted, sleeps on a mat and travels only through public transport.  Short distances he covers through his bicycle.  No TV, no mobile phone, no computer.  No bank account, no wrist-watch even.  He is a living legend.  To his credit, he has written 76 books and numerous articles. (Foreword by Fr Antony Pancras in Perspectives, Possibilities, Practicalities of Leadership in the Light of the Life of Jesus)

This being his fifth retreat for Malaysian clergy, the Jesuit priest, who is also a professor, lawyer and social activist, finds Sabah unique and declares that he has put his “heart and soul” in facilitating the retreat exercises for the Sabah clergy.

Given the traditions, the clergy have got into a certain comfort zone.  “Nothing wrong about it” he was quick to add, “but when comforts and conveniences consume the life of the ordained and consecrated, they need to be looked into,” underlined Fr Jerry.

He invited them to respond to this concern in a pragmatic way – to say ‘no’ in their personal life, to be ready to go beyond themselves to “make a difference”, to be at the service of the people of God, particularly the least and the poorest.

To concretize their response, Fr Jerry suggested that they make an analysis of society crossing the boundary of Christianity, to read the signs of times in terms of socio, economics, political, cultural, religious and ideological systems of the State, based on which they should monitor the pastoral responses in order to make their ministries relevantized and radicalized.

Taking the opportunity of the presence of the social activist priest in the State, Catholic Sabah invited Fr Jerry to speak about the minorities aspect shared by Malaysian and Indian Christians.

“Each time that I visit Malaysia, I could vibrate with the Malaysian Church and Society because of the various similarities that exist between India and Malaysia,” said Fr Jerry.

He threw the spotlight on two related issues; a certain amount of “majority complex” happens in any country (religion, culture, language) and creates tension for the minorities.  However, attempts to understand should be made so that response could be made.  For example, certain dialogues (religious, cultural, inter-lingual, etc) between majorities and minorities be freely done in view of a new future where all can live in harmony.

Meanwhile, the emerging and young generations should be encouraged to “think out of the box” in order to enter into a Malaysian Church and Society based on a culture of solidarity.

Secondly, “If you inwardly look into Malaysia or India, we are not going to solve any problems.  We need to widen our horizon of vision in broadening Asia, if not the world at large,” said Fr Jerry, drawing from his sociological inspirations when looking at the bigger picture, the problems within the smaller confine will diminish.

Moving on to the Christian commitment in the political arena, Fr Jerry, founder-director of the Manitham movement in India for political analysis and action,  sees it as two-fold: religion and politics.  He said “In order to be an authentic and matured Christian, one should not be churchy.  In other word, we need to be launching out to bring into politics the values of the Gospel of Jesus – justice, freedom and love.” (In the political language, these values are highlighted as equality, liberty and fraternity.)

He added “If we keep away from politics saying that ‘that is unjust’, it would amount to sin of omission.  God’s kingdom has to be ushered in the totality of society.”

Since we have a new government and lots of expectation on the part of the people, the Malaysian Church can render its service in three ways: 1) It can continue to conscientize people at large, as well as the government, that the policies and programs must respond to the needs of people who are at the periphery of Malaysia; 2) As and when the government does well, the Malaysian Church should extend its appreciation, thereby accelerating the process of progress.  Likewise, when the government does a disservice, the Church must not hesitate to raise its voice in protest; and 3) The Malaysian Church can organize workshops and seminars at both parish and diocesan levels focusing on the political commitment of our Christian faith.

Fr Jerry has also spoken extensively, as well as written, on the fast-emerging concern of eco-protection and eco-promotion.  In total agreement and support of Pope Francis’ contribution to this eco-call in his apostolic encyclical “Laudato Si’”, the green activist said “We need to promote Nature, preserve Nature, and protect Nature because God sustains our life through Nature, through Creation.”

He offered three suggestions to live Creation Justice in our life: 1) To begin with, we should stop throwing away anything that could be reused; 2) We need to learn to recycle the materials that we use on daily basis; and 3) We need to replant whenever we have to cut a plant so as to maintain the balance in Creation.  Imbalance means injustice.  We need to plant justice.”

As he strives to respond to God beckoning him to be His Co-Missioner and entering into a new covenant with humanity and Creation, he has taken the lowest step in the ladder of the Indian caste system, that is to live in solidarity with the poorest of the poor and those who are side-lined in society, the Dalits or the ‘untouchables’.  They are not permitted to wear shoes in public places, hence Fr Jerry’s philosophy of going barefoot to be in solidarity with them is in order to labour with them for their integral development.

In the context of Malaysia, the Church can be more and more one of simplicity, spontaneity and sensitivity, and as such be in solidarity with the poorest of the poor who are the migrants, the internally displaced, the uneducated, the unemployed, the vulnerable elderly, the widowed, the orphaned, and the natives.

The Vision Statements of the Sabah dioceses emphasize on “communion of communities”.  In order to concretize that, we first need to be in communion with the abovementioned “poorest of the poor” or the marginalized sections.  This would then snowball into the other sections of the community.  Fr Jerry believes that preferential option for a priority service to the poorest of the poor is the need of the hour. – Catholic Sabah

 

 

When is a Catholic not a Catholic?

THE President of the Philippines, in a profanity-laden message, has declared he is no longer a Catholic. He claims to have been abused by a Jesuit as a teenager, and while that allegation can no longer be met with outraged disbelief, only God knows whether it is true.

Nobody with any knowledge of history will doubt that those who perceive themselves as ex-Catholics are by far the most severe critics of the Church. One can think of excusable reasons for this, but drawing broad conclusions from the extreme criticisms of ex-Catholics is a little like assuming objectivity in a man who has divorced his wife. If we look back on our own relationships from a more mature perspective, we will usually find that defects in our own perceptions and personalities made a significant contribution to our contempt for those we thought insufferable.

Men and women who truly cannot emotionally and intellectually separate the divine character of the Church from the sins of her members must either be damaged (to a degree which mitigates guilt) or suffer from a dramatically reduced spiritual self-awareness (which in most cases will be at least partially guilty).

Awareness of our own sinfulness and guilt arises not only from the action of the Holy Spirit but from simple self-reflection. This awareness is not only essential to spiritual growth but a prime factor in helping us to distinguish the Divine and human aspects of the Church. But for any Catholic who foolishly seeks to flee the Church, the question remains: How does a Catholic cease to be a Catholic?

Surprisingly, this has no simple theological answer, except the answer that ceasing to be a Catholic is not absolutely possible. In the same way, it is impossible for a member of the Church to cease in an absolute sense to be a member of the Church. It is true that in descriptive terms we can cease to be Catholic when we knowingly embrace heresy, reject the Church, or incur excommunication. But even in these apparently decisive cases we remain baptized. Baptism impresses something that we describe, for want of better language, as “an indelible mark” on the soul. That mark is the mark of membership in the Church. That mark, in every case whatsoever, is the mark of a Catholic.

So the most fundamental answer is that we cannot really cease to be Catholic, though we can sever what we might call our voluntary connection with the Church and/or severely damage our relationship with her. The Church by her own authority can recognize that damage through a decree of excommunication, even if we did not consciously intend that result. But excommunication simply eliminates access to the sacraments and other engraced ministries of the Church. It does not make one a non-Catholic; nor does it remove the excommunicated person from the Church’s jurisdiction. – Jeff Mirus @ catholicculture.org

Amoris Laetitia formation attracts 288 participants

Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) is a post-Synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis on the family. It was signed on 19 March 2016 on the Solemnity of St Joseph, and brings together the results of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015.

The program is based on the 325-page book consisting of nine articles, and was facilitated by Fr Michael Modoit, the spiritual adviser for the Archdiocese Christian Family Life Commission. Despite time constraints, the facilitator managed to summarize the core messages from the book followed by lively interaction with the participants.

The formation program was officiated by Fr Mitchelly Kiun and closed by Fr David Sham, rector of St Catherine Church. – Michael Guntili

From yearnings to reality

SULIT, Paitan (CS) – The idea of the Pride Hostel Sulit Paitan to cater to girls and boys who have completed their primary education to continue their secondary schooling was inspired by a nun’s dream.

Franciscan Sister Dorothy Laudi dreamt about having a hostel to accommodate those students who were schooled at the eight mission kindergartens ran by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) in and around Paitan.

These students live in the remote regions of the sub-district of Paitan, roughly a three-hour’s boat ride from their villages to the one and only government secondary school in Paitan, SMK Simpangan Paitan. In order to reach school by 7:00 am, they need to start off from their house by 4:00 am. Besides, transportation costs for each person per boat ride is not within their means, which is at RM6 per ride or RM45 per month.

Pride Hostel, located in Kampung Sulit, Paitan is a single-storey concrete building raised on 18ft I-beam pillars, consisting of two dormitory rooms upstairs partitioned for male and female, and kitchen, dining hall and utilities downstairs.  The construction of the building began in 2015. Fully sponsored by Sabah Credit Corporation, the RM350,000 hostel can accommodate 40 girls and 40 boys of secondary school age.

The completed hostel was handed over officially in a simple ceremony on 3 August 2018 by Sabah Credit Corporation CEO Datuk Vincent Pung to FSIC Mother General Sr Frances Mani, in the presence of former Mother General Sr Grace Deosing, hostel caretaker Sr Hilary Laudi, Daniel Kong, Sergius Ramday, and members from the Sabah Credit entourage.

At the time of handing over, the hostel has taken in 14 boys and six girls who come under the care and supervision of Sr Dorothy and Sr Hilary. The students come from no less than 45 km radius within Pekan Paitan. Most of the students were from our FSIC kindergartens located in their respective villages.

There is an existing government-owned school hostel but it cannot accommodate all the students who are in need of accommodation. With the hostel facilities concretized by FSIC in partnership with Sabah Credit, eligible students have no excuse not to further their academic studies in secondary school. Furthermore, the location of the Pride Hostel is within a 20-min boat ride and walk to SMK Simpangan Paitan and the hostel provides boat transfer.

Sr Dorothy expressed the hope that retired teachers would volunteer to come to Sulit to give tuition to those students who need strengthening particularly in their Mathematics and English Language during the school breaks. Presently, the boarders are assisted in their studies by a diploma graduate Ms Royze Rudy and Form Six student Ms Erna Germanus who opted to go back to their roots for the betterment of their peers from the remote. They also act as cook and warden, one for the male boarders and one for the female boarders, for which they are paid.  As and when the need arises, they assist in the disciplining of the students.

The social involvement of Sabah Credit Corporation in the sponsorship of a hostel for students made a difference in the lives of the poor and marginalized. The generous act of lending a hand to others must impact society as it opens the hearts of the young and teaches them to be more compassionate and active in reaching out to others in need, regardless of geographical location.

With the hostel fully operational, sourcing for funds to manage the hostel becomes a dire need. The monthly expenses to feed the boarders, to pay workers’ salaries, and other expenditure run up to a minimum of RM7,000. Contributions to FSIC for the running of the Pride Hostel are most welcome.  Person to contact is Sr Frances Mani, Loreto Convent @ 013-8586567 or 088-711991 / 727977. – FSIC

Two new zones for St Michael Penampang parish

KOLOPIS, Penampang – Fr Wilfred Atin announced the creation of two more additional zones, Maang and Labak, to the existing nine zones under the care of the Penampang parish of St Michael at her 8th Family Day celebration hosted by St Theresa of Child Jesus Church, Kolopis Zone on 26 July 2018.

Presently, St Michael Parish encompasses  Penampang, Limbanak, Sugud, Kolopis, Minintod, Sukang-Madpai, Kinarut, Terian-Tiku and Timpangoh-Sugud zones.

Fr Atin added that the Archdiocese has also mandated Putatan to form its own Catholic Community, which will come under the  pastoral care of St Augustine Church, Kinarut zone, being the nearest.

The Family Day event kicked off with a Mass, presided by Archbishop John Wong.  At the event, the prelate reminded the faithful of the importance of preserving their mother tongues (Kadazan, Dusun, Chinese).

He urged them to liberally use their mother tongues at home and in the faith community, especially among the young, and not just for use during Church services, and cautioned them not to replace them with the national language.

Archbishop Wong reiterated that efforts must be made to promote their use as the medium of communication in the various activities and programs to avoid them from being diminished as time passes by. He added the faithful must be proud of their own dialects and to honor them as precious gifts for their particular race and culture.

Earlier, the week-long celebration had also organized a Kadazan Hymns Choir competition.

Divine Mercy Church, Maang has been selected as next year’s host for the Family Day event. – Soccom Penampang

 

Understanding marital love through theology of the Body

PENAMPANG – A three-day seminar organised by the Catholic Family Apostolate Committee (KKK) of St Michael Parish here on the Theology of the Body (TOB) on 18 – 20 June 2018 attracted 260 participants.

The seminar, based on the first major teaching project of Pope John Paul II during his pontificate, was guided by Romo (Father) Bernadinus Realino Agung Priharhana of the Missionaries of the Holy Family, based in Jawa Province, Indonesia.

TOB is a biblical reflection on the meaning of human design as created by God, particularly as it concerns human sexuality, marital love and erotic desire.  Simply put, it means that our bodies somehow reveal the mystery of divine love in the world through the mystery of sexual difference and the call of the two to become one flesh.

Through this seminar, the organisers hope to promote the importance of the family institution in emphasising the primary vocation of the human body as self-gift.

The late pope, through TOB, offers a fresh new vision for human sexuality rooted in the ancient Scriptures and Tradition of the Church.  Focusing mainly on the Biblical teaching that we are made in the image of God, the Holy Father challenges us to accept the body as a true gift from God, a profound vision for understanding sexuality as a beautiful gift in God’s design, a gift that is meant to be a means for self-giving love.

Romo Bernadinus guided the participants with a three-part series of talks with Q&A sessions in between, which generated much interest in the audience.

Traditionally, he explained, the Church has recognised three such vocations: marriage, religious life, and the priesthood.   Through the Q&A, the speaker helped the participants to understand the processes to determine the call to the celibate life as in a religious or priestly calling.

Seen through the prism of the theology of the body, the priesthood not only reminds us of Christ’s love for his Bride, but, in a way similar to vowed religious, also reminds us of the ultimate spousal meaning of the body.  To put it simply, when priests or religious neglect the spousal understanding of their vocation and their virginal relationship to God in prayer, it becomes nearly impossible to remain faithful to their calling.

The organisers took the positive attendance of the crowd throughout the three days as an indication of the desire of the faithful to understand deeper the teachings of the Church.  It motivated them to plan for more seminars in the future on related topics. – SOCCOM PENAMPANG

 

 

 

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