SHC kicks off weeklong fiesta activities with triduum and talks

A section of those attending the English talk by Father Paul Lo in conjunction with the Sacred Heart Cathedral Feast Day, 6 June 2018, Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here kicked off its week-long fiesta activities with a triduum of Holy Hours and concurrent talks on the Sacred Heart Devotion.

These activities were held from Monday – Wednesday, 4-6 June 2018.

Parish groups / communities / ministries took turns to pray before the exposed Blessed Sacrament at the chapel: Monday (English), Tuesday (Mandarin), and Wednesday (BM), from 6 pm to 10 pm.  The last hour ended with Benediction.

The talks (8 pm – 9:30 pm) were held at the parish centre, also in the different languages: Monday (Mandarin) by Archbishop John Wong, Tuesday (BM) by Father Max Hontor, and Wednesday (English) by Father Paul Lo.

In his talk, Fr Lo touched on the history of the Sacred Heart Devotion from a biblical perspective and how it reached the parish through the Mill Hill Missionaries (1881-1971) as they have a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart and to St Joseph.

The following except from the cathedral’s centenary souvenir book may illustrate this devotion better:

In Fr Henry Heyden’s letter of June 1903, when the community was still stationed at the shop-house in Jesselton, the Mission was already called Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Was it possible that, surrounded by, and experiencing so much human misery and suffering, Fr Heyden thought of God’s compassionate love for His children in Borneo, and remembered that Jesus also suffered and died for them?  Perhaps, not by coincidence, the church in Sibu, also a community of newly arrived emigrant Chinese, and opened at about the same time as Jesselton, was also named Sacred Heart.  Both have become cathedrals since, the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Sibu and the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kota Kinabalu. (100 Years of Good News, 1903-2003, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu 2003).

90 AECEC members convene for two-day conference

Participants pose for remembrance after the conference organised by the Board of Governors and Head Teachers of Mission Kindergartens, Pace Bene Purak, 28 Apr 2018.

PURAK, Papar – Ninety members of the Board of Governors (BOG) and Head Teachers (HT) of Mission Kindergartens in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu convened at Pace Bene on 28 Apr 2018 for a two-day conference on “Enhancing the Quality of Education in Mission Kindergartens.”

Members from 32 out of the current 34 mission kindergartens took part in the event, representing Labuan, Papar, Limbahau, Kinarut, Limbanak, Terawi, Penampang, Inobong, Kota Kinabalu, Inanam, Manggatal, Telipok, Tuaran, Tenghilan, Kiulu, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Ranau, and BunduTuhan.

In his keynote address, Archbishop John Wong said that until 2015, the number of mission kindergartens in the archdiocese had stagnated at 12. He said that AECEC was set up three years ago to establish new mission kindergartens to meet the urgent need of inculcating Christian values in young children.

The archdiocese currently has 34 kindergartens with a total enrollment of over 2500 children.

The prelate said that it is now  “time to take stock of what we have,”  and to develop and implement plans to upgrade the quality of the new kindergartens.

He urged the delegates to ensure that “while we try to meet the requirements of the national curriculum, we must also put in place a process for imparting our Christian values in the daily interactions with the children.”

The archbishop was happy to note that some mission kindergartens have started Chinese and Kadazan/Dusun language tuition after normal class hours, and encouraged the other kindergartens to follow suit to ensure that our children do not lose the ability to communicate in their mother tongue.

The delegates actively participated in the topics presented during the conference which included:

  • Current developments in mission kindergartens
  • Faith formation
  • Self-evaluation process for continuous improvement
  • Moving to excellence in teaching and learning, and
  • Forging partnerships in achieving excellence

This was the first time that the Board of Governors and the Head Teachers were brought together in a conference with the hope that the best practices that were shared during the conference would inspire both the BOG and the teaching staff to forge a strong partnership and to move forward together towards excellence.- Ephraim Kouju


Penampang parish hosts 211th police day celebration

Fr Atin and some of the police at the exhibition booth, St Michael Penampang, 6 May 2018.

PENAMPANG – St Michael’s Church here hosted the inaugural celebration for Catholic police personnel in conjunction with their 211th Police Day with Mass at 10:30 am on 6 May 2018.

The Mass, presided by Father Wilfred Atin, was well attended by the Catholic police personnel and their family members who are on posting from the west coast region.

A mini booth exhibition was mounted by the police force.   Present for the exhibition walkabout was the State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli bin Din, accompanied by a police delegation.

A lunch reception at the parish hall rounded up the event. Fr Atin thanked the police leadership and its Christian community committee for their initiative in selecting St Michael’s Church as the venue for this historical event.

He believed that a programme like this would only bring a better understanding and perception towards the police.

In his turn, Datuk Ramli acknowledged the important value of receiving blessings and divine protection for its police and community members, particularly when performing their duties.

He also assured them that efforts were being made to establish a link with Church authority to ensure direct communication in preventing crimes affecting church organisation.

Datuk Ramli also presented cash contributions on behalf of the police Christian welfare community to Fr Atin for the church’s pastoral activities, the Tadika Harmony and the Sunday school. – Penampang SOCCOM

The peace that Jesus gives

The peace that Jesus gives does not work in a vacuum. Neither is it the calm after a storm. The peace that Jesus gives is a calm and quietness of heart in the midst of a storm! It is a peace that the world cannot give.

In the last few days we have been preoccupied with the search for the peace that the world gives in the aftermath of the nation’s general election. We propose to bring it about by conquest and coercion. After we have conquered, we will convene conferences, make covenants, and appoint committees to monitor our “peace.”

History has proven that the peace the world gives is passing. It will last only as long as the resolve of the worldly men who make it. “The war to end all wars” often fails to bring lasting peace. “Peace in our time” always seems to be a thing of tomorrow … and you know that tomorrow never comes.

The peace that Jesus gives, on the other hand, is the result of a relationship with the Prince of Peace. As such, it is inward and personal. Like the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom, this peace starts with God and cannot be had apart from a personal relationship with God. It is as lasting as is our willingness to “abide in the vine” and draw peace from Christ’s spiritual supply. It is a personal peace that passes all understanding.

The peace that the world gives fails because it leaves out the Prince of Peace. There can be no permanent peace among men until men make peace with God. The vertical relationship must precede the horizontal relationship. But when the vertical is put up against the horizontal, together they form a cross, and it is through a cross that Jesus made possible reconciliation between men. “He is our peace who hath made both one!” (Ephesians 2:14).

Christ is our great example of peacemaking. Ephesians 2:14, 15 says it eloquently. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”

The peacemaker claims no rights. He refuses to become part of the problem. He refuses to think of himself. His whole concern is the reconciliation of others, and he is willing to suffer to see it done! Jesus did no wrong … but He took the blame for the wrong we had done … thus making peace.

Jesus was a peacemaker, and He has passed on to us the work of peacemaking. “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20). –

SFCS management board takes time off to celebrate advisor’s 50th birthday

Members of St Francis Convent Schools Management Board, Building Committee, Alumni, and Consultants pose with Abp Wong at a gathering marking his 50th birthday at the atrium between the two newly completed blocks, 6 June 2018.

BUKIT PADANG – The Management Board of St Francis Convent Schools took time off to organise a small gathering in honour of its advisor’s 50th birthday on 6 June 2018 at the premises of the newly completed St Francis Convent Secondary School here.

Archbishop John Wong, in his capacity as parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral, acts as advisor to the schools management board.

The mission kindergarten,  primary, and secondary schools are under the pastoral care of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Karamunsing.

Around 50 people from the management board, building committee, consultants, alumni, past and present principals turned up for the event.

The event was a milestone as it fulfilled the board’s promise to complete the building project in time for the advisor’s 50th birthday when the members were appointed in 2014 under the chairpersonship of Mary Florence Gomez.

The secondary school first began in 1955 as a separate block from the primary school at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman Karamunsing.

In 1959 it moved to Jalan Harrington (now Jalan Kebajikan).  It was officially opened by Mr GD Muir, then Director of Education in 1961.

As termites invaded the primary school buildings in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, efforts were made to find alternative location.  The primary school together with the management board succeeded in acquiring a 20-acre piece of land in Bukit Padang with plans to re-site both the primary and the secondary schools there.

The primary school relocated to Bukit Padang in 1993.

Towards the end of 1999, the management board authorised the setting up of the secondary school building committee amidst growing concerns for the dilapidated state of the school and high maintenance costs.  The secondary school would be located behind the primary school.

Although the groundbreaking for the secondary school was officiated by then Chief Minister Chong Kah Kiat in Oct 2002, it took about 16 years for the project to materialise.

The revised development plan was approved in June 2014 and the new building plans were approved in August 2014.

The estimated RM12 million school has two 4-storey blocks with a central atrium.

  • One block of 22 classrooms and living skills workshops;
  • One block of science laboratories, administrative offices, staffroom, library and
    special rooms

Meanwhile,  the management board hopes to apply for the Occupational Certificate to the relevant authorities within the next few weeks.

Classmates concelebrate Mass at Carmel

Father Jeffri Gumu (R) and his three Filipino classmates pose for the camera after Mass at the Carmelite Chapel, 5 June 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Four classmates concelebrated the morning Mass at the Carmelite Chapel here on 5 June 2018.

The four – Father Jeffri Gumu, Carmelite Father Willow Andaya (presider), Father Reymar Olila, Father Gilbert Vidanes – are currently taking up licentiate studies in canon law at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila Philippines.

The trio came here for a week’s break together with Seminarians Julius Callanga and Glenmar Gamboa OP.

They arrived June 4 and will leave June 8.  While here they will join the local clergy for the study day on June 7 in preparation for the evening’s Mass of the Sacred Heart cum  Sanctification of Priests at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

SHC celebrates Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ with procession

Father Max Hontor carries the montrance under the canopy held by the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion as they process into the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing, 2 June 2018.

KOTA KINABALU –  Sacred Heart Cathedral here celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) with a candlelight procession on 2 June 2018.

The procession started after the post-Communion prayer from the cathedral to the parish centre via the basement car park.  Benediction was given by Father Max Hontor after a period of silent adoration.

Joining Fr Hontor were Deacon Russell Lawrine, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMCs) who have just renewed their commitment to serve for another year after the homily, the English choir, and all the faithful present for the Sunset Mass.

Of the 37 EMCs, 16 serve during the cathedral’s Sunset Mass, 16 the Sunday Morning Mass, and five at the Morning Mass at the Carmelite Chapel.  Those serving in the Chinese and BM Masses would renew their commitment the next day at the 7 am Chinese Mass and 10:45 am BM Mass respectively.  Those serving in Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang would renew their commitment at the 9 am Mass.

“The feast of the Blessed Sacrament was established in 1246 by Bishop Robert de Thorte of Liege at the suggestion of St Juliana of Mont Carvillon. [It was] extended to the universal Church by Pope Urban VI in 1264. The office composed by St Thomas Aquinas and customary procession was approved by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. Celebrated in June, the first Sunday after the feast of the Trinity.” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, by John A Hardon, SJ)

Pope: Sport is a place of unity and encounter

Golden Gala athletics event in Rome (AFP or licensors)

VATICAN CITY – In a letter addressed to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life on 1 June 2018, Pope Francis reflected on how precious sport is in current culture which, he said, is “dominated by individualism and the gap between the younger generations and the elderly.”

“Sports,” the Pope said, “is a privileged area around which people meet without any distinction of race, sex, religion, or ideology”.

It’s where, he continued, “we can experience the joy of competing to reach a goal together, participating in a team, where success or defeat is shared and overcome.”

This, he said, helps us to reject the idea of conquering an objective by focusing only on ourselves.

The Pope’s letter came as the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life presented a new document entitled “To Give the Best of Oneself. On the Christian Perspective of Sport and of the Human Person.”

Pope Francis spoke of the need for a team spirit that helps each one of us give the best of ourselves.

“When a father plays with his son, when children play together in the park or at school, when an athlete celebrates the victory with his or her supporters, in all these environments we can see the value of sports as a place of unity and encounter between people. We reach great results, in sports as in life, together, as a team!” he said.

The Pope also reflected on the value of sports as a ‘formative vehicle’ for the young who look to sportsmen and are inspired by them.

He pointed out that athletes exemplify the virtues of generosity, humility, sacrifice, constancy, and cheerfulness and they contribute to the group spirit, to respect, healthy competition, and solidarity with others.

Pope Francis also emphasised the role of sports as a “means for the mission and sanctification” explaining that the Church is called to be a sign of Jesus Christ in the world, also through the sports practised in oratories, parishes, schools, and associations.

“Every occasion is good for announcing Christ’s message, whether the time is favourable or unfavourable” the Pope said quoting from St Paul’s letter to Timothy.

And describing sports as the “discovery of the human potentials that incite us to unveil the beauty of creation and of the human being, made in the image and likeness of God” he said “sports can open the way to Christ in those places or environments where, for different reasons, it is not possible to announce Him directly”.

Pope Francis also said that to give the best of oneself in sports is also a call to aspire to holiness and he expressed his conviction that young people nurture the hope of giving the best of themselves, the important thing is “that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts.”

Pope Francis concluded his message with the exhortation to deepen the close connection that exists between sport and life drawing on the fact that an athletic discipline also serves as a stimulus to always improve as a person, in all of life’s aspects.

Sport, he concluded, is a very rich source of values and virtues that help us to become better people, training, practising, discovering our limits without fear, struggling daily to improve.

In this way, “to the extent that each Christian grows in holiness, he or she, he said, will bear greater fruit for our world.” –Linda Bordoni, Vatican News

MJ Diocese to make a collection for Tabung Harapan Malaysia

PLENTONG, Johor – In his circular dated 1 June 2018, Bishop Bernard Paul has decided to make a collection in his diocese for Tabung Harapan Malaysia (Malaysia Hope Fund) under the purview of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to settle the nation’s debt.

The bishop said that nation’s archbishops and bishops are inviting all bishops, religious houses, and individual Catholics to partake in this cause.

The first collective collection will be made on 22-24 June 2018.

Individual Catholics are encouraged to participate by sending directly to the trust fund’s Maybank Account  5660-1062-6452 payable to Tabung Harapan Malaysia.

The closing date for the parishes’ submission to MAJODI is 20 July 2018.

The THM fund was set up after numerous Malaysians expressed a desire to donate to help the country alleviate its national debt, which Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said was now more than RM1 trillion.  The fund was launched on May 30.

All monies donated are tax deductible and Malaysians are advised to keep their receipts.

The public are asked to be careful of imitation posters, which look like the official THM poster, but with a fake account number.

Papar parish celebrates teachers day on Trinity Sunday

The teachers pose with Father Rayner Bisius and Sister Juanah Saliun after the Mass, St Joseph Papar, 27 May 2018.

PAPAR – Papar Parish celebrated Teachers’ Day on Holy Trinity Sunday with Mass and fellowship on 27 May 2018 at St Joseph Church here.

In his brief homily, Father Rayner Bisius said that belief in the Holy Trinity is the core of our Catholic identity and the greatest mystery of our faith and Catholic life.  He said this is emphasised by Christ’s command to his disciples to baptise everyone in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

He added that the love and communion in the Trinity inspire us to develop the communion of love with one another, family, community and the church in spite of the diversity in the parish.

After the Mass, the educators and teachers adjourned to the Fr John Tsung hall for a luncheon fellowship.

In his address,  Johnny Sitamin, Parish Pastoral Chairman, invited the attendees to reflect on this year’s theme: Teachers as Drivers of Education Transformation and to serve with love.

He said that during his childhood days, teachers were his idols.  He was happy that some of the teachers present were active youth ministry leaders and members in those days and now are part of the lay leaders.

Likewise, he updated those present on the three pastoral challenges laid out during the 2015 PAX Assembly and how they affect not only society but also the students.

While lunch was being served, the audience was entertained with song presentations by some of the teachers.

The event closed with a prayer by Franciscan Sister Juanah Saliun. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar)

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