Category Archives: Latest News

Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar new president of FABC

Pope Francis with Cardinal Charles Bo (L) in Myanmar in Nov. 2017.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences on Nov. 16.

Myanmar’s first cardinal has been elected the next president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new FABC president at the FABC Central Committee meeting on November 16.  He will assume office on January 1, 2019.

The Salesian cardinal takes over from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, whose second term ends on December 31.   Cardinal Gracias who earlier served as FABC secretary general between January and December 2012, is currently the president of both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Church in India, and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) which brings together the country’s Latin rite bishops.

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Pope Francis’ message to young people for 34th WYD in Panama 2019

Vatican – Pope Francis has a message for young people preparing for World Youth Day 2019: Ask God “What do you want from me?” — and allow God to answer you. 

Watch the Video Message of Pope Francis for the WYD 2019 at: https://youtu.be/9tQ3Et-6L5c?t=146

The Holy Father’s Message to young people in preparation for the XXXIV World Youth Day 2019, which will be celebrated in Panama, is centred on the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). The Message, published on the day of the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, concludes a cycle of three Marian messages dedicated to young people along their journey WYD 2016 to WYD 2019.

A statement by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life said that for the first time, the Message of the Holy Father in preparation for WYD is being published principally in the form of a video message, so that it can reach the greatest number of young people; and respond to their desire, expressed during the recent synodal process, to communicate with the Church through forms closer to their own language.

In his address, the Holy Father addresses all the young people of the world — believers and non-believers — encouraging them to discover the characteristic values of youth. It recognizes their willingness to serve others and invites them to put this attitude into practice from a Christian perspective: “To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded,” says the Holy Father.

The video message serves as an instrument of spiritual preparation for the next WYD in Panama 2019 and also as an inspiration for youth ministry throughout the world. The next World Youth Day will be celebrated from 22-27 January 2019 in Panama.- Vatican News, 21 Nov 2018

Caritas Pakistan in support of integral ecology, planting 700,000 saplings

Pakistan’s Catholic Church is behind a plan to plant a million trees by 2019. Lahore and Karachi are among the most polluted cities in the world. In 2025 Pakistan will be in absolute water scarcity.

Lahore – Caritas Pakistan has launched a campaign to plant a million trees. In doing so, it is putting into action the Church’s doctrine on integral ecology.

Planting beech trees and orchids trees began in 2016 and will end in 2019. The work is well underway, with 700,000 saplings already planted in various parts of the country.

The initiative is called ‘One Million Tree Plantation Campaign (2016-2019)’, and involves many primary school students.

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Marriage preparatory programs

Credit: Unsplash.

Singapore – The Archdiocese of Singapore has introduced a new policy to ensure couples are taking the time they need to properly prepare for marriage.

Catholics looking to getting married in any of the archdiocese’s 32 churches have to book their wedding date at least one year in advance, according to Catholic News.

Previously, the couples only had to notify the church six months before the wedding. Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye of Singapore made the decision in October after discussing the move with the archdiocese’s priests.

Couples must still undergo the same marriage preparatory programs, including a marriage course and a meeting with the priest who will preside over the wedding.

A Catholic spokesperson for the archdiocese told Strait Times that the new policy emphasizes the importance of the commitment of matrimony and helps Catholics prepare for it.

“In response to the feedback and to help our fellow Catholics prepare for such a major commitment in their lives, the Archbishop, in consultation with his Senate of Priests, is looking to refine the recommended policies presently in place,” he said.

“It marks the beginning of a journey that the Church and the couple take together to prepare the couple for their commitment to each other,” he added.

Numerous other Christian dominations in Singapore have similar requirements, which may range from six to nine months prior to the wedding day.

Daniel Seah is an engaged Catholic in Singapore who plans to get married in 2020. He told Straight Times that he was happy with the new policy.

“In my opinion, the divorce rate is quite high and I think the Church is looking at ways to help couples discern deeper if this is the right person for them before they walk down the aisle,” he said.

“Even if you book a hotel, you may also need to book one year in advance but people don’t grumble about that.” – CNA, 12 Nov 2018

Holy Father’s Invitation to Pray Rosary Everyday

Read here the Holy Father’s Invitation to Pray Rosary Everyday

 

 

For Tabung Harapan

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.

 

CFC – HOLD’s 9th Echo Women’s Conference

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.

Women’s Conference Speakers L-R (Maribel Oferina Chu, Karen Sigawal, Anne Labadin, Wendy Chin & Rosa Java)

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

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

 

 

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