Category Archives: Latest 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.

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.

Bishops ask for 24 hours of prayer for GE14

KOTA KINABALU – The Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia has asked all parishes in Malaysia to hold  24-hours of prayer for the 14th General Elections.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here will begin with Mass on Friday, 27 Apr 2018 at 7:30 pm followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 5 pm on Saturday, Apr 28.  It will conclude with the Sunset Mass at 6 pm.

All parish groups and the general parishioners are asked to commit themselves to pray for the coming election and are encouraged to join the 24 Hours of Prayers.

And all parishioners who are registered voters are strongly  urged to exercise their right to vote in this election on Wednesday May 9.

Five things you didn’t know can get you in trouble at the next Malaysian General Election

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Five things you didn’t know can get you in trouble at the next Malaysian General Election.

You wake up early in the morning to the singing of birds and golden beams of light. After getting dressed, you put on your best smile and head down to your designated polling station.

You’re doing your part in deciding Malaysia’s future, after all, and that is something to be proud of.

This certainly would be a beautiful day to have an election, no?

You arrive at the polling station and – yay! – the queue isn’t too long. And there’s even a nice man offering cupcakes with your favourite politician’s face on it. You gladly accept one, eager to sink your teeth in to his face (and your vote in his ballot box) when a uniformed officer taps you on the shoulder. He informs you that you’ve just broken the law, and you may not be allowed to vote at all.

This is one of the 5 following actions – which you may be surprised to learn are illegal! Do take note of them and their respective penalties, and be sure to avoid them at the next Malaysia General Election (GE).

1. Accepting food and drinks from strangers

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine between RM1,000.00 and RM5,000.00, and a suspension of your ability to vote for a period of 5 years.

If you are approached by someone who offers you food, drinks, refreshments, or any other treats before, during, or after the voting process, we strongly advise against accepting this treat. This is especially the case if that person claims that these treats are tokens of gratitude to you for voting.

If the provider does so with reference to voting for a specific candidate, be even more resolute in avoiding them.

Why? The Election Offences Act 1954 identifies accepting these possibly corrupt treats as a part of the illegal act of Treating. This is highlighted specifically in the following section of the act: Section 8 of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Treating (in part):

“…and every elector or voter who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, or refreshment or provision or any such money or ticket or who adopts such other means or device to enable the procuring of such food, drink, refreshment or provision shall be guilty of the offence of treating.”

The keyword here is “corruptly”, which indicates knowledge of ulterior motives behind the provision and acceptance of such treats. However, because it may be hard to ascertain the motives of those who provide these treats at times, it is best to avoid them altogether. Needless to say, accepting money or financial tokens in this context is unacceptable too!

2. Taking ballot papers out of, orb ringing them into polling stations

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine of no more than RM5,000.00, if not both, and a suspension of your ability to vote for a period of 5 years.

Under no circumstances should you leave the polling station with a ballot paper in hand, regardless of whether it is an extra, used, unused or empty ballot paper.

If you find yourself in possession of two ballot papers, even if due to a mistake or oversight, be sure to return the extra piece immediately to the nearest Election Officer, instead of carrying it out of the station.

The act of taking a ballot paper out of the polling station is illegal, based on the following segment of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 3(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Offences by any person (in part):

Any person who—

(h) without due authority takes out of the polling station any ballot paper or is found in possession of any ballot paper outside a polling station;

Additionally, you should be cautious of printing any replicas of ballot papers or documents that are capable of being used as ballot papers during GE, not to mention avoid bringing them to a polling station. The same section of the act states the following:

Any person who—

(c) forges or counterfeits or fraudulently defaces or fraudulently destroys any ballot paper or the official mark on any ballot paper;
(j) without due authority prints any ballot paper or what purports to be or is capable of being used as a ballot paper at an election;

Concurrently, when leaving a polling station, be sure to check yourself to see if you have any excess or suspicious pieces of paper either in hand or attached to yourself.

3. Waiting or loitering around polling stations after casting your vote

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00, if not both.

As soon as you are done voting, be sure to leave your polling station in an orderly and legal manner– for example, while avoiding item number 2 above – and only wait for someone beyond 50 metres from the polling station.

Loitering or waiting within 50 metres of the vicinity of a polling station is considered an election offence, as explained by this section of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 26(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Limitation on polling day (in part): Any person who —

(e) within a distance of fifty metres from the limits of any polling station —

(iv) wait or loiter except for the purpose of gaining entry to the polling station to cast his vote…

This translates to say that while you are encouraged to come with your family members and friends to perform your duties as voters, all attempts to rendezvous with them after casting your vote should be made at least 50 metres away from a polling station.

Naturally, loitering around after voting isn’t a good idea either

4. Wearing items of clothing with your favourite party’s logo

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00, if not both.

This law is one that may be particularly alien to many, but carries a severe penalty nonetheless if breached – which is why you should make it a point to be informed about it.

On the day of the GE, those who visit polling stations – or happen to be present within 50 metres of any polling station – should not do so while wearing items of clothing on which the name of a candidate or the name, emblem or symbol of any political party is printed or imprinted.

This includes almost all categories of clothing items and a range of accessories, as given by the following section of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 26(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Limitation on polling day (in part):

No person shall on polling day —

(g) within a distance of fifty metres from the limits of any polling station and in a polling station wear, hold or carry any form or type of clothing, head covering, ornament, rosette, water bottle or umbrella on which the name of a candidate or the name, emblem or symbol of any political party is printed or imprinted.

A neutral approach to dressing is probably your best bet when visiting a polling station, as such. Plain clothing, with minimal or no prints is a safe choice, lest you wish to attract suspicion and possible trouble

5. Not giving your employees sufficient time to perform their duties as voters on polling day

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00. Malaysian employers, here’s some food for thought. Have you been allocating – or are you planning to allocate – sufficient time for your employees to step away from the office and vote on the day of the GE?

Believe it or not, failure to do so is categorised as an offence against the law. Specifically speaking, it is a violation of the section of the Election Offences Act 1954 that is highlighted below:

Section 25(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Employers to allow employees reasonable period for voting: Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.

Going against this directive may also be regarded as preventing your employee or a qualified voter from performing his duties, which the following section of the same act identifies as an illegality:

Section 3(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Offences by any person (in part): Any person who — (n) obstructs or prevents a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote from voting at an election;

Yes, it is important to keep the engines of your businesses running – but it is also imperative that we avoid unnecessary costs while doing, especially in legal terms.

If something seems wrong, it probably is.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you shouldn’t do during voting season, but some measure of common sense can be used as well – such as not taking selfies or having heated political discussions with the person lining up behind you. – Herald Malaysia, 13 Apr 2018


Peninsular bishops clarify Mass offerings

From the Peninsular Bishops To Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful

In response to queries about the Holy Father’s comment that the Mass is free (“the Mass is not paid for, redemption is free. If you want to make an offering okay, but the Mass cannot be paid for”. General Audience, 7 March 2018), we would like to clarify that the practice of accepting mass offerings does not in any way contradict the above statement.

The Mass or the Eucharist represents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross (CCC 1366). In terms of the “price” for such sacrifice, it has already been paid by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. In terms of us being the beneficiaries of that great sacrifice, it comes unmerited and without any further payment on our part. Thus, Pope Francis is right to highlight that the Mass, which is the sacrifice of Christ, has been and is always “free” in that we need not and cannot possibly make any additional ‘payment’ to that one eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Church cannot and will not impose any “entrance fee” for assisting at Mass.

The practice of Mass offerings, which is an ancient one that dates back to the early Church, does not constitute “paying” for the Mass. It is not a “fee” for the Mass, which is always free. According to Canon 945§ 1 of the Code of Canon Law, “any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention”.

The purpose of Mass offerings stated in Canon Law (Canon 946) is: “The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share its concern to support its ministers and works.”

According to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s Motu Propio, Firma in traditione, the donors of Mass offerings “associate themselves more closely with Christ’s act of offering himself as victim and in so doing experience its effects more fully”.

The final and most important note is to remember that you are not paying for the graces from God (which are of infinite value and cannot be paid for). With that in mind it makes much more sense and is not something that should cause scandal.

Mass intentions are a great treasure of the Church and have a spiritual weight that is incalculable. For this reason, the bishops of Peninsular Malaysia would like to recommend to Catholics to continue this laudable practice, although we must constantly and judiciously be on guard against abuse.

Rt Rev Sebastian Francis, DD
Bishop of Penang

Most Rev Julian Leow, DD
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur

Rt Rev Bernard Paul, DD
Bishop of Malacca-JohoreHerald Malaysia, 14 Apr 2018

SM Stella Maris celebrates 50 years of existence

Past and present principals and teachers pose with Msgr Primus Jouil (seated 4th from R) and Br Peter Foo (in white) after the Mass, 13 Apr 2018, Stella Maris Church Tg Aru.

TANJUNG ARU – SM Stella Maris here kicked off its golden jubilee commemoration with a Eucharistic Celebration at the Stella Maris Church on 13 Apr 2018.

The Mass was presided by Msgr Primus Jouil and attended by past and present principals, teachers, students, representatives from neighbouring SM La Salle, the religious sisters, and La Salle Brother Peter Foo.

Other commemorative activities include an 8 am – 4 pm Open Day Exhibition on the school premises Apr 14 featuring photographs and memorabilia charting five decades of education;  Jubilee souvenirs and DVDs on sale, a carnival bazaar; and a mini musical concert.

A jubilee dinner will be held on Apr 28 at the Hakka Hall Likas while a Charity Run will be organised on May 5.

Located in Tanjung Aru with an area of 1.78 acres, the secondary school was opened by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) in January 1968 with three classrooms, a teacher room, an office and a toilet block.

The school for girls opened with 31 students up to Form 3 only due to lack of instructors and other physical facilities.  Those who passed Form 3 (Lower Certificate Examination) had to move to St Francis Convent to continue their studies.  However, in 1987 it was able to open classes for Forms 4 and 5.

Down the years the school developed by leaps and bounds.

A second two-storey block was built in 1986 to accommodate the increasing student population and in 1994 it went into a two-session school system: Forms 1 and 2 in the afternoon and Forms 3-5 in the morning.

In 1989 the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) was formed.  In the same year, the school magazine “The Guiding Star” was published under the supervision of PC Poh.

In 1991 the school parliament was formed under senior assistant Lee Wah Ban. It replaced the School Watchdog, a regulatory body formed in the 1970s under Margaret Chin.

The school website was launched in 1999 while the open hall was constructed in 2000.

Today the school has an enrolment of 790 students with 14 classrooms.  It is looking forward to the construction of a new school block with 24 classrooms so that the school will have a single session system.  The building committee is in the initial stage of preparing the development plan to be submitted to the local authorities.

“We hope to target the construction to begin in 2019 and completing in 2020 using the Industrized Building System (IBS),” said PTA President Zahara Ismail at the launching of the jubilee celebration on 13 Jan 2018.

Themed “Glorious Golden Years,” the launch was organised jointly by the Stella Maris Alumni and PTA.

Alumni president Irene George Mojinggol urged all ex-students to do their part and to pledge to the building of the new school block.

“Let us work towards a school that is completely and fully equipped with high technology and quality amenities, to maintain the school’s remarkable achievements since  its establishment, and to  strengthen its competitiveness to become successful leaders in the country,” said Mojinggol.

Among those who served as principals were Franciscan Sister Stella Chin (1968-1971, 1979-1981), Sister Aquinas Voon (1971-1978), Sister Alphonsus Low (1981-1988), Pauline Wong Mee Kiong (1989-1994),  Grace Gan Lee Ping (1994 – 2005), Clare Sikodol (2006-2009), Girly Tan (2010-2014), and Gertrude Jock (2014-2016).

The current principal is Goh Kui Liang (2017), the first male principal in the girls’ school.

SHC holds follow-up parish assembly

A section of the delegates present at the second Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Assembly, 9 Apr 2018, Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Around 131 representatives from Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish and subparish of Church of Mary Immaculate turned up for the follow-up parish assembly at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 9 Apr 2018.

At this gathering, Dr Jeffrey Soon, coordinating chairman of the parish PAX committee, presented to the delegates the summary of the reports they had gathered from all the groups/ministries/communities existing in the parish since the first gathering on March 13.

Prior to that, Soon also gave a brief overview of how the three parish priorities – issues on family life, faith formation and reaching out to nominal parishioners – came about and how they are related to the three challenges of apathy, secularisation and islamisation as well as the archdiocesan pastoral thrust of “going inward, going smaller, and going outwards” highlighted by PAX Assembly 2015.

In his turn, Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) chairman Jason Joenoi gave the overview from the PPC, highlighting the efforts to meet the needs of the parish, and calling on the groups to work together for the common good.

One of the issues highlighted during the Q&A session is the need to help the newly baptised to grow in their faith development which calls for the involvement of all the parish groups and communities.

The two assemblies were held in preparation for the archdiocesanwide Pre-PAX Assembly on May 1 at the SHPC.

Indonesian priest shares on BECs with Papar parishioners

Cake-cutting ceremony by Father Thomas Yip, Romo Eduardo Raja, Sister Juanah and others at the Easter gathering, Fr John Tsung Hall Papar, 7 Apr 2018.

PAPAR – Indonesian priest Romo (Rev) Eduardo Raja of Ende Archdiocese Flores gave a sharing on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs or Komuniti Kristian Dasar [KKD]) to Papar parishioners on 7 Apr 2018 at the Fr John Tsung Hall St Joseph Parish here.

The sharing was given during the Easter gathering after the Sunset Mass.

In his welcoming speech, PPC chairman Johnny Sitamin thanked the parishioners for their participation during the Holy Week celebrations,  Romo Eduardo’s ministry to the Indonesian migrant and local communities at the outstation chapels and estates in Papar and Limbahau.

In his sharing, the visiting priest told his audience that the Ende BECs (or Komunitas Umat Basis or KUB as it is known in Indonesia) were started in the 1950s under the Congregation of Santa Maria and became an official body in the 1980s, providing prayer services with gospel reading and reflections,  spiritual and economic community services.

Since 1987, the KUB has become a centre of generating and collecting ideas and discussion platform in dealing with all aspects of lives and thereafter stamped its direct involvement in pastoral activities.

The priest said the KKD works best in smaller groups of 10-20 Catholic families living in a neighbourhood that  know each other well, meeting weekly, praying, reading and sharing the Gospel, celebrating the Eucharist, sharing problems encountered,  and  searching for possible solutions to these problems.

Romo Eduardo stressed the need for all the BECs to work together in ensuring that pastoral faith formation and development are in line with the archdiocesan vision and mission.

Prior to this sharing, the audience witnessed the Easter cake cutting led by Father Thomas Yip and rendition of the blessed birthday and congratulation songs accompanied by the choirs, parish pastoral councillors, catechist, Sister Juanah Saliun and her novices, and the parishioners. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

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