Kuala Lumpur – Most Reverend Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur and members of the Archdiocesan Finance Committee presented a cheque amounting to RM1, 148,386.10 for Tabung Harapan to YB Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Finance at Putrajaya on 21st September 2018. His Grace presented the cheque on behalf of the Catholic Church in Malaysia. The money was raised during a weekend collection in most of the churches throughout Malaysia.
A section of the over 200 participants in the Women’s Conference
KOTA KINABALU – The Couples for Christ (CFC) – Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) organized the 9th HOLD echo Women’s Conference at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre on 16 September 2018.
An echo conference is a yearly initiative organized by the local CFC HOLD members who had attended the HOLD Icons (International Conferences) in the Philippines. The main objective is to share the same inputs they received in the conference, adapting it to the local context, making it beneficial to all the CFC Sabah Chapter who could not make it to the Icon. The CFC-HOLD have been organizing this echo conference since 2010, inviting participation not only among the members of CFC Sabah Chapter but also extending the invitation to other women in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.
The conference room was packed with more than 200 participants mostly from CFC-Hold members and CFC support groups and other interested individuals. It started with the recitation of the rosary at 7:00am, followed by Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Paul Loh, the CFC Spiritual advisor. The conference proper started at 9:30am, intertwining all the talks with life testimonies given by some selected HOLD members as well as creative presentations making the message more appealing and easily understood.
The theme for this year, on Fiery Wings, aimed to create enthusiasm to discover, through the talks, what it really means. The Conference was divided into five sessions, each facilitated by a different speaker. Interestingly, all the speakers quoted from the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy to support their points.
The first session, entitled The Gift, was presented by Rosa Java. She highlighted the precious gift of the Holy Spirit given to each baptized Catholic during baptism and confirmation. She challenged the participants to reflect on whether the gift and the power of the Holy Spirit is being put to good use in their lives and ministries. Unfamiliarity with the gift of the Spirit, ignorant of His power to change and transform individuals to the image and likeness of God, selfishness, keeping the gift to oneself, failing to use the gift for the common good, and inconsistency in their spiritual growth are some of the reasons why the power of the Holy Spirit is not unleashed in the lives of Christians. In 2 Tim 1:6, which the speaker quoted, Paul exhorted the young Timothy to rekindle the “gift that is within.” This is also the call for all, rekindling the gift and keeping it aflame will allow the Lord to accomplish His work and purpose that He has entrusted to each one.
The second session on The Solemn Charge was presented by Karen Sigawal. In 2 Tim 4:1-2a, Paul gave Timothy the solemn charge, an obligation, to proclaim the Word and made it clear that it was a responsibility to be taken seriously. Likewise, the speaker in her talk reminded the participants about the challenge as women and how they should respond to this solemn charge. She quoted Pope Paul VI who said there is much urgency for women to be proclaimers of the Gospel in every situation and circumstances, in the various roles they play in society: as students, teachers, mothers, healers and leaders. In fulfilling the solemn charge the speaker exhorted the participants to imitate the five wise virgins who always had their oil lamps filled and lit, always ready to seize every opportunity to answer the call for mission.
In the third session Wendy Chin talked about the Daunting Task of being proclaimers of the Word and the undaunted Spirit each one must possess in order to be able to pursue the mission. In 2 Tim 4:2b, Paul gave Timothy a solemn charge to proclaim the Word and fulfil his obligation to be persistent, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, to convince, reprimand and encourage all through practice and teaching. She said that the work of an evangelizer is never easy. It requires passion, dedication, total commitment to make Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation known and embraced. A challenging mission indeed that makes one shrink in fear and trembling with anxiety at times, but there is nothing to be afraid of because the Holy Spirit will enabled us to do the impossible.
In the fourth session, The Time Has Come, the presenter Maribel Oferina Chu also based her talk on the second letter of Paul to Timothy 4: 3-5, where St. Paul warned Timothy of the challenges that he could face in proclaiming the Good News. The speaker exhorted the members to do reality check on the various challenges that the present day evangelizers are facing too. “People will not tolerate sound doctrine …”, the speaker mentioned how many people have transgressed the 10 commandments, how modernization has allowed for same sex attraction or union, propagation of the LGBT lifestyle, in vitro fertilization, immodesty in dressing and in conduct. In all these challenges, St. Paul reminds us that in order to surmount the modern day challenges, it is important to invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to be self-possessed under all circumstances, to put up with hardship and enable us to perform the work of evangelists.
In the last session, Anne Labadin presented the topic on Fiery Wings. She described in detail who the Holy Spirit is: the giver of life, the Spirit of Love, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Unity, the Witness, the Paraclate and how the third Person of the Trinity has powerfully changed Christian lives. Anne pointed out the many instances in Scripture where the Holy Spirit manifested His presence, His glory and his power through fire. She said, “We have been baptized with the same fire of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 3:11) However, because of personal problems, problems in community, unfaithfulness to God, or becoming victims of lies, gossip and the like, the fiery presence of the Holy Spirit has been quenched, diminishing the ardour of faith. In order not to lose the gift of the Holy Spirit in oneself, the speaker reminded the participants of the duties they need to do: Immersing oneself in prayer, meditation on God’s Word, attending the Sacraments, the Eucharist, Confession, devotion to Mother Mary and the saints, faithfulness in attending household teaching, and following the example of St. Paul in bearing the marks of Jesus on his body (cf. Gal 6:17). We are also reminded to help others to rekindle the fire of the Holy Spirit by reaching out to them through prayer and encouragement and accompanying them in what they are going through.
The conference ended at 5:00pm with a Praise Fest, making the participants leaving the conference hall spirit filled with uplifting messages from the sessions, ready to soar high with the fiery wings of the Holy Spirit to carry out their mission. – kkdiocese.net
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:
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
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
.- The recent wedding of a young Brazilian woman with terminal cancer was a powerful witness to the sacrifice and permanence of marriage, said the priest who celebrated the sacrament for the couple.
Fr. Mario Silva celebrated the wedding of a young couple, Jessica and Fernando, in the chapel at the Napoleão Laureano Hospital in the Brazilian state of Paraíba Aug. 20.
Silva told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, that the couple had been civilly married in 2012 and had a three-year-old child.
Jessica, who is now 27, has been fighting a very aggressive form of bone cancer since 2016 and had been hospitalized when the priest was called to administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
“That night, she was in a lot of pain, and when I finished administering the sacrament to her, I asked her… if I could do anything else, and she told me she wanted to get married,” Silva said.
“She told me she had a great desire to receive the blessing of God and she knew that was missing. That would be a great healing and grace in her life. She did not want to die without receiving the blessing of marriage, because both were Catholics and had the dream of getting married in order to have a sacramental life,” he explained.
“I called her family and they gave me the husband’s telephone number. I asked him if he were interested in getting married. I began to visit the hospital more often and to go through with the process of determining whether they could enter into marriage or not,” he related.
Fr. Silva obtained the authorization of the Archdiocese of Paraíba to celebrate the wedding in the hospital and processed the couple’s corresponding papers. He interviewed the couple to ensure that they were certain in their choice and that there were no impediments or grounds for nullity.
He also discussed the nature of sacramental marriage with them.
“I emphasized that this was not simply a social event that lasts a night and then people need another one. I told them that marriage is something that they were administering, that they were giving themselves one to another and that I was just an assistant,” he recounted.
“I explained to them about love, fidelity, joy and sadness in sickness and in health. At that moment I turned to speak to the groom: Fernando, you are aware you are marrying Jessica in a very difficult moment in her life. If your love is capable of enduring these difficulties, you will be able to give her a definitive and free ‘yes’.”
During the homily, the priest spoke “about how people have little hope for Christian marriages” and that celebrating the wedding of Jessica and Fernando was a light for the whole hospital. “I think that that was what created such a stir, besides that the bride and groom had a beautiful appearance,” the priest said.
While Jessica rarely smiled while in the hospital, Silva said, “On the day of the wedding, she was smiling and spoke with great ease which was unusual. You could see that she was very renewed.” He said the bride told her that the sacramental wedding “was like starting over or being reborn.”
“Her husband takes very good care of her and wants to accompany her every day. He left his job and everything to take care of her. He gave witness to permanence and the Catholic marriage was a concrete realization of that,” the priest emphasized. – Maria Ximena Rondon, CNA