GOGICC celebrates 30 years of God’s faithfulness

KOTA KINABALU – The Glory of God International Covenant Community (GOGICC) met for a 3-day conference at Gaya Centre Hotel from 27 – 29 July 2018. Ninety people from eight different countries came together for the celebration of God’s faithfulness of 30 years of GOGICC.

With a theme from Romans  9:25-26 “I will call them, My People”, we have taken the opportunity to hear once more God’s call to us to be His people, His beloved, His sons and daughters!

During these days we have had the privilege to have different beautiful moments: times to get to know our own stories and become aware that each of us is a brush stroke in the bigger picture of the GOGICC; times to share meals and company, deepening of friendships and fraternity; times of praying together and of bonding with each other in the Covenant that makes us one people. Our diverse backgrounds, from many different countries, manifested the boundless love of Christ.

As host to the event, LiFE-ICPE Mission Sabah extended our hospitality with the opportunity to meet Archbishop John Wong who celebrated the Holy Eucharist with all present.

On this occasion, we were able to share the internationality of who we are through various symbols.

Following Mass, as it is a tradition in the GOGICC, we enjoyed an Agape meal, together with the Archbishop and other guests. Also present were the leaders of the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community who are friends of the GOGICC, sharing the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities.

The 3-day conference was a close to the meetings of the ICPE Council, Directors, Coordinators and the GOGICC leaders’ meetings which were held since  16 July 2018.  Each day of gathering has been embraced in prayer:  praying the Liturgy of the Hours, times of intercessions, praying for each other and our communities, and praying over each other. All these culminated daily with the celebration of the Eucharist as a community of leaders, of all who we are and all that we will do as Missionary Disciples.

Days like these are times where we reflect on the past, not so much for the sake of reminiscing the past, but more so to realize God’s faithfulness and to dream new dreams for a new vision ahead. We have a God who journeys with us, accompanies us even when we are travelling in the wrong direction. This also gives us courage to take new steps forward knowing that the God who has been faithful in the past will continue to be faithful in the future. – Beatrice Chong

KK Archdiocese concretizes commission to “care for the environment”

In adopting this new vision-mission framework of Creation Justice, the Archdiocese takes a concrete step to respond to the call by Pope Francis to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” caused by a global crisis of climate change.

Fr Bernard Hyacinth, sj, of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, chairman of Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei facilitated a seminar on Creation Justice at Sacred Heart Parish Centre  on 11 August 2018.

The seminar was to provide exposure and explanation on the Commission to all parishes under the archdiocese, and was attended by 53 participants from 17 parishes.

Fr Bernard explained the emergency in which the earth is currently in, “The global climate crisis is at its breaking point…where ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option…” he said, quoting from Laudato Si’ (LS) 61.

A healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion. This includes recognizing our errors, sins, faults and failures (to care for the environment), that leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change,” (LS 218) he said.

He summarized that the whole process of upholding creation justice is actually an act of gratitude to God, “If we acknowledge that all are gifts, therefore we are grateful to God. The more we are grateful, the more we care.”

He said global warming is degrading earth and its inhabitants, causing atmosphere’s temperature to rise 1°C; this has led to numerous undesirable impacts such as ice-sheets destabilizing, rising of sea level, ocean acidification, droughts, double river floods, less food on land and sea, 400,000 deaths a year and 21.5 million climate refugees per year.

These are impacting the global communities, more so the poor who cannot afford to defend and rebuild lives; a reality which we cannot turn a blind eye.

Participants of the seminar said these global impacts are also happening in their own places; rise of temperature causing highland such as Kundasang to lose its coolness, frequent floods caused by development activities, plastic usage, imbalanced management of earth’s resources and many more.

This call of ecological conversion was issued by Pope Francis in his second Encyclical Laudato Si Mi Signore: On Care for Our Common Home.

Archbishop John Wong reflected on the renamed Commission as a fruit of the Archdiocesan Prayer said every Eucharistic celebration.

“The world is already talking about it but we are not behind time, we have always been praying for the environment in our Archdiocesan Prayer,” said the Archbishop, referring to the prayer line ‘to care for the environment, to promote peace and justice in our society’.

Efforts of creation justice in this region have begun since 2013 with the formation of Episcopal Regional Commission for Justice and Peace.

It was renamed as Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice in February 2017, in line with its focus in responding to the global climate emergency.

The Episcopal Commission carries the vision “People living in oneness with all creation, upholding creation justice”. Meanwhile its mission is “to advance creation justice and resilience”.

Its long-term objectives are: 1) To build a movement of ecological citizens and 2) Establishing living pathways of creation justice and resilience.

The same commission under KK Archdiocese supports the Episcopal’s vision and mission. Archbishop Wong has appointed Deacon Russell Lawrine as the Protem Commission’s spiritual adviser and Sr Calista Saliun fsic as its chairperson.

Moving forward, the Protem Commission’s immediate plans are to identify needs, local issues and existing capacities, celebrating Season of Creation (see separate story), training of facilitators and study of Laudato Si’.

Season of Creation will be held on 17 September 2018 at Pace Bene, Purak Papar, from 9am-4pm. It is open to all parishes and the FSIC congregation who upholds the spirituality of St Francis of Assisi, championing the cause of environment.

The celebration will carry the theme “Walking Together” in line with the universal theme; two inputs will be given during the morning session on Climate Change and Laudato Si, followed by an activity in the afternoon.  For further information, contact Sr Calista at 013-873 9396.

The Commission hopes that each parish will form their own Committee of Creation Justice (Environmental Committee) and walk together to realize its vision and mission. – Linda Edward

Christians unite and act for creation

IN 2015, Pope Francis established September 1 as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, inspired by the example of the Orthodox Churches who have observed this day since 1989. Since then, Christians all over the world come together every Sep 1 to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, uniting to save Mother Earth.

September 1 launches the start of the annual “Season of Creation” which will last until October 4 (Feast of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology in many traditions). Major Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican organizations join together during this Season to encourage the 2.2 billion Christians worldwide to pray and act on ecological issues during this time.

Christians or not, as people of faith and goodwill, we should be united in showing mercy to the earth as our common home and cherishing the world in which we live as a place for sharing and communion. – Pope Francis’ 1 September 2016 message

This year 2018, the theme for the Season is “Walking together”. We are invited to consider the Season as a shared journey to better care for creation.

Christian Churches are organizing and supporting hundreds of events worldwide during this Season of Creation, by collaborating through the ecumenical website seasonofcreation.org. Hundreds of prayer services across all continents have already been reported and many more are being planned, with lots of them being ecumenical in nature and with participation of local bishops and faith leaders. These actions are shining a light where it is desperately needed in the world today.

Will you join them?  Your action matters.  Help your community see the light of God’s love for creation. Whether it is a simple prayer service, hands-on clean-up, or a bold statement of advocacy, your Season of Creation event will be part of a big global movement to stand up for the sanctity of creation. But it won’t happen without you. Everyone’s personal commitment is essential.

The Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice in the different dioceses of Malaysia are focal points for celebrating this season through prayer and action. It’s not hard at all!  A complete celebration guide, training webinars, and a community of support are available through seasonofcreation.org. Register your Season of Creation events on the website so that everyone around the world will be able to be inspired and heartened by your events.

Let our parishes and communities commit in solidarity to pray for and with creation, change to a more selfless lifestyle, and advocate to protect our common home. Some suggested activities for the Season of Creation in Malaysia are given below – the list is by no means exhaustive. These may also be carried out at other times during the year.

a) Prayer

Hold Masses during the Season. Sample liturgies are available from https://seasonofcreation.com/worship-resources/liturgies/. Hold ecumenical prayer services, ecological recollections/retreats, a walk/procession for and with creation, a blessing of pets service, etc. A 3-hour Laudato Si’1 retreat template is available from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SYJ4n8ylJm4uiO-7raAvkEmgjC_Mt5xkGlq9_kX8qfM/edit.

b) Ecological education or advocacy actions

Examples include: gotong royong (clean-up); planting of local trees; composting; starting a kitchen garden; 6Rs workshop (Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Repurpose-Recycle-Regenerate) including demos on making bags from old T-shirts, etc.; Laudato Si’ and climate change workshops/talks/walks; awareness campaigns; commitment rituals on becoming an ecological parish/BEC; stopping the use of pesticides or open burning on church grounds; starting a recycling centre; promoting the transition to a vegetarian diet; becoming tree guardians; ecological art or song competitions; advocacy campaigns on moving away from fossil fuels, stopping plastics/styrofoam, opposing deforestation, saving wildlife, saving rivers*, etc.

(*NGO CLEAR is organizing a clean-up day for River Moyog, Penampang on 15 September 2018  in preparation for the local observance of World River Day at the Pesta Rakit or Bamboo Raft Festival on 30 September 2018. Contact Winnie @ 013-8108822 for more info.)

c) Commitment to reducing our ecological footprint

Parishes, dioceses and organizations can commit to shrinking their ecological footprint by reducing their fossil fuel dependency to a minimum in the next 5 years through the following ways: reducing use of electricity from the national power grid (which comes mainly from coal) by say, 5-10% every 6 months; moving towards sustainable, renewable energy sources like solar; reducing new buildings and deforestation; refurbishing old buildings to become less pollutant and more energy efficient; using renewable building materials; moving towards green structures/buildings/compounds; etc. We also need to ensure that Church land, buildings, and investments are not directly or indirectly contributing to excessive greenhouse gas emissions and pollution through, for example, encouraging deforestation or the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in plantations; and supporting harmful industries like fossil fuels, ecologically harmful mega projects, cement, mining, industrial livestock, industrial agriculture including plantations, etc.

d) Joining the global movement for creation justice

Solidarity is strength. Form groups and partnerships to celebrate the Season of Creation starting this year and pray and take action all year through to “hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” (Laudato Si’ 49).

Visit the Global Catholic Climate Movement website and sign on as a member (https://catholicclimatemovement.global/). Also, sign the Laudato Si’ pledge at livelaudatosi.org as individuals, families or organizations. – Clare Westwood/ECCJ Penang Diocese

 

Addressing abuse, church must address the betrayal of community

REMOVING McCarrick from his office as cardinal and from the clerical state suitably addresses the individual at the heart of this case, but it does not address the deeper issues.

Catholics understand behavioral problems, mental illness, sexual sin – we understand humanity that fails. To this point in time, the church has focused on the actual sickness of the abusers. The response has been modeled after and invokes civil law to punish the offender with jail time and expulsion from the community. Settlements and monetary liabilities are paid out. We support all these actions as appropriate and necessary.

The secondary crime, which cannot be dealt with in a civil court or bought off with insurance money, is the betrayal of the community by its leaders. Addressing the betrayal of community will take more than revised charters and canon laws.

That fact that this same man would rise to the highest ranks of the Catholic Church only heightens the sense of betrayal. It is the anguish felt at the knowledge of this betrayal that caused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on verge of becoming Pope Benedict XVI, to cry out against the “filth” in the church. On Good Friday 2005, in the Colosseum at the Ninth Station of the Cross, when Jesus fell the third time, Ratzinger prayed:

Think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church … How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused…How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures.

The McCarrick case shows how this betrayal happens at the sacramental level: Bishops who hid the crimes against children or who through intention or neglect enabled the crimes to remain hidden distorted the community’s understanding of God, of God’s presence in the community that we believe, according to our sacramental theology, infuses everything and everyone.

What must happen is a deep examination of conscience by all who have held power in the U.S. church these last 40 years when the abuse crisis began to emerge in the church. We need to know, and they need to tell us what they knew, what they tolerated and what they were silent about. Full truth telling is needed so healing can happen.

When our church leadership has publicly acknowledged – in the anguished tones Ratzinger modeled – its collective complacency in the abuse of its children, then can we move forward saved and sanctified. – NCR Editorial

 

 

SMP Divine Mercy group visits Cheshire Home

TANJUNG ARU – The Divine Mercy apostolate at Stella Maris parish visited the Sabah Cheshire Home in Likas on 14 July 2018 as part of their Corporal Works of Mercy monthly activity.

Participating in the visitation were Sr Bernadine, Sr Aquinas, Caroline Teo, Linah Gonsilou, Angelie Tee, Rose Moly, Felicity chong, and Mararetha James.  They were led by Divine Mercy coordinator, Theresa Williams.

During the visit, the group was given a briefing on the services and facilities provided by the Home.  This was followed by a guided tour of the Home by the Program Coordinator, Suziah Wan.

For the visit, the group donated provisions for the daily consumption and usage of the residents such as Milo, coffee, milk powder, condensed milk, potatoes, fresh chicken, cooking oil, oyster sauce, soya sauce, onion, salt, floor cleaner, clorox, dishwashing liquid, softlan and pampers.

The group also had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the residents of the Home, as well as the dedicated staff whose wonderful work at the Home has left the visitors much impressed. – Theresa Williams

Korean Talents Raise Funds for Woori Jib Home

From left Kim Su-Yeon, Hyunkang Lee and Kim Si-Yeon Agnes performing live at Woori Jib Charity Concert July 21

 POTUKI, Putatan – For the love of the orphanage children at Woori Jib St Francis Xavier here, three talented artists flew all the way from South Korea to perform live in a charity concert aimed to raise funds for the welfare home.  The home is run by the Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae, South Korea on 21 July 2018.

The Korean trio, Kim Su-Yeon, violinist, Concert Master at Gwangmyeong Symphony Orchestra and Professor at Catholic University of Korea, her husband, Hyunkang Lee, clarinettist, Principal Clarinet of Gwangmyeong Symphony Orchestra, and Kim Si-Yeon Agnes, singer, astounded the audience with 11 classical and spiritual instrumental numbers.

Among others were “Gabriel Oboe” by Ennio Morricone, “Air on G String” by Bach, St Ignatius Prayer, Lord Here Comes Your Servant, and a couple of pop-jazz numbers “Moon River” by Frank Ocean and “Fly me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

The first-ever Woori Jib charity concert attracted close to 200 people from around Kota Kinabalu,Penampang and Putatan itself.

The one-hour show opened with a singing performance by Woori Jib children, followed by the main performance, and closed with two songs, performed by combination of the trio and the harmonious choir group of Woori Jib Home.

Fr Andrew Kim Youngjun said that God’s grace has enabled the concert to take place and that it was dedicated to the children of Woori Jib. He hoped that through this show, they would become more motivated to live in the joy of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop John Wong, invited guest, said that the music that night lifted up their spirit and was very entertaining and very encouraging. Personally, he especially awaited the instrumental piece of St Ignatius Prayer.

Talking about the role of music in a person’s whole development, the archbishop said, “Our new federal minister of education has suggested that the amount of time allocated for music and arts in schools might be increased.

The minister said that given the fact that learning is not entirely academic, “by increasing more time to learn music and arts, our students will be more balanced in their development as human being”.

“I fully agree with him because education is for the development of the whole person’s mind, spirit and soul,” said Archbishop Wong in agreement.

He encouraged Woori Jib Home, “I hope through this musical performance, Woori Jib will promote greater interest among the children here in Potuki that in time to come, they will take up music.”

Encouraging the audience too, he said, “And all of us adults, I hope we too will learn to give time to music and allow music to calm our mind and our heart so that we can be wholesome in life.”

Taking the night’s concert as a beginning that leads to this development, the Archbishop said he hoped to see more concert in the future. – Linda Edward

Largest Mission Field is still the Schools

KOTA KINABALU – The hundred over delegates at a recently held Education Consultation Workshop in the city would not dispute that a clarion call has been sounded to recognize and realize that the largest mission field that faces us today is still the schools.

The Role of Mission Schools in the Present School System” was the theme for the Education Consultation Workshop jointly organized by the Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) and Sabah Council of Christian Mission Schools (SCCMS), held at All Saints Cathedral here on 7 July 2018 for school heads, boards of governors and mission authorities (the churches).

Altogether there are 100 mission schools in Sabah that are made up as follows: Anglican Mission (11), Basel Mission (15), Catholic Mission of Kota Kinabalu (43), Catholic Mission of Keningau (18), Catholic Mission of Sandakan (10) and Protestant Church of Sabah Mission (3).

Of the 174 delegates, 84 were school heads and senior assistants, 68 board of governors and 22 mission authorities representatives.  Church leaders who graced the event included Bishop Dr James Wong of BCCM, Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing of SIB Sabah, Neil Mah representing Archbishop John Wong of RC Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Pastor Chin Chi Kiong of Commission of Sabah Affairs (COSA) and Archdeacon Moses Chin of SCCMS.

In welcoming the delegates, Bishop Datuk Melter Tais, President of SCC affirmed that the mission schools are our Godly heritage and legacy. He recalled the audience to the Education Forum 2017 where various resolutions were adopted to reclaim the ethos, character and traditions of our mission schools. Foremost is “to restore the presence of God” in our schools. Next, is to strengthen the faith of the younger generation through Bible Knowledge and Christian Fellowship, and new programs are being put together to promote the holistic development of students who go through our mission schools.

The president noted that the educational landscape of our country has changed over time due to various policies implemented by the government. As such there is a need to revisit the role of our mission schools in the context of the present school system, hence the reason for the Education Consultation Workshop 2018.  It brings together the different stakeholders of our mission schools to engage in a dialogue of clarifying their roles as they revisit the vision for our mission schools, with the possibility of recasting of vision in order to stay relevant with the times.

The keynote address entitled “The Educational Development and Policies in Malaysia and Their Impact on Mission Schools” was delivered by Ms Moey Yoke Lai. She is the Chairperson of the Federation of Councils of Christian Mission Schools Malaysia (FCCMSM) which oversees the 437 mission schools in the country.

Moey pointed out several key issues that had impacted the mission schools, as follows: 1) The surrender of the control of the mission schools under the Aziz Report 1971 without any grant for maintaining the premises; 2) The reduction in non-bumiputra intake into the Teacher Training Institutions; 3) The maximum consultation with the Mission Authorities over the appointment of principals were not followed through; 4) The National Language Policy; and 5)The constant changing of the school curriculum.

Even with the above, Moey is utterly convinced that our mission schools have an important role in the present school system. She said that our mission schools’ emphasis on holistic education (academic excellence, co-curriculum participation and character formation) and its special character (Education for All and for Unity, Compassion for the Poor and Weak, Education that is Person-Centred, Discipline with Love, Prayer and Presence of God, Passion and Perseverance) have pursued the aspirations of the Rukun Negara and the National Philosophy of Education long before they were formulated.

In revisiting the Role of Mission Schools in the Present School System, Moey recommends that mission schools provide world class education, especially in English, at affordable prices. She also urged “We should provide character-first holistic education, focusing on the whole person. We should teach children the joys of learning and of respecting and appreciating God’s beauty. We should introduce students to the important aspect of religion and Christian virtues of discipline, diligence, charity, compassion and integrity.”

Other speakers included Sister Rita Chew of the KK Archdiocesan Education Commission who presented her paper on “The Role of Mission Authorities”, while Ms Yap Pak Shun of the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia Central Education Board spoke on “The Role of School Management Boards”.

In another session to highlight “The Role of School Heads”, Moey related her personal experience beginning with a quote from 1 Timothy 3:1 that whoever aspires to be an overseer (a school head) desires a noble task.

She maintained that the ethos and performance of a mission school depends on the qualities and character of the head. She underlined “The formula for success as head is to live out your Christian life in practical ways that all can see you are different because you are walking in the footsteps of the Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“A School Head is responsible for everything that happens within the school. That means the academic curriculum, the co-curriculum, the physical environment, the conduct and welfare of the teachers, support staff and students, the relationships with the State Education Department, PIBG, Alumni, Board of Governors, Mission Authorities and the public,” elaborated Moey.

Parallel workshops were also held for the different stakeholder participants: Mission Authorities, School Management Boards and School Heads to clarify their roles in relation to the theme.

The workshop concluded with recommendations made to enhance the leadership roles of the Mission Authorities, School Management Boards and School Heads.  With the realization that there are 10,000 schools in the country today, with a population of 10.59 million young people from the age of 1 to 19 years old, the workshop delegation could not but help recognizing that there is indeed a need to claim back our Mission Schools and make them our mission field. – Sabah Inter-D Education Committee

Pope Francis’ September 2018 Intentions

September 2018
Universal: Young People in Africa

                                                                   Photo by Doug Linstedt on Unsplash
That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

(Legend: Ab=Abbot  Ap=Apostle  Pp=Pope  Bp=Bishop  Ch=Children  De=Deacon  Dr=Doctor  Kg=King Ma=Married  Mt=Martyr  Pr=Priest  Qu=Queen  Re=Religious  Vg=Virgin  Fd=Founder)

Sept 02: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sept 03: Gregory the Great (Pp, Dr)

Sept 05:  Teresa of Calcutta

Sept 08: Birth of Mary

Sept 09:  23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sept 12: Most Holy Name of Mary

Sept 13: St John Chrysostom (Bp, Dr)

Sept 14: Triumph of the Holy Cross

Sept 15: Our Lady of Sorrows

Sept 16: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sept 17: Robert Bellarmine (Bp, Dr)

Sept 19: Januarius (Bp, Mt)

Sept 20: Andrew Kim Taegon & Companions (Mts)

Sept 21: Matthew (Ap, Ev)

Sept 23: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sept 26: Cosmas & Damian (Mts)

Sept 27: Vincent De Paul (Pr)

Sept 28: Wenceslaus (Mt)/Lawrence Ruiz & Companions (Mts)

Sept 29:  Michael, Gabriel & Raphael (Archangels)

Sept 30: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

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