Tag Archives: 2017-1

SMP PPC meets ministry and group coordinators

TANJUNG ARU – Twenty-two out of 30 ministries and groups serving Stella Maris parish came together to have a dialogue with the pastor and the Parish Pastoral Council on 8 Jan 2017 at the parish conference room here.

The meeting was to listen to the challenges faced by the members, as well as to be briefed by them on their programmes for the year.

Msgr Primus Jouil said he was pleased with the sharings and encouraged to see unity among them, indicating an active parish.

He said that his door is always open for any discussion. – Teresa Alberto

St Simon resumes catechism classes with Bible enthronment

LIKAS –  The catechism classes at St Simon Catholic Church here resumed with a Bible enthronement officiated by Father Cosmas Lee on 8 Jan 2017.

Led by coordinator Theresa Ham, the students ranging from seven to 16 years old sang “Jesus, We Enthrone You” as the Bible was carried to the altar at the chapel.

Among the highlights was the young people’s pledge to “respect the Word of God in our midst” and to “draw strength and inspiration from the Word of God as we learn more about God in class.”

Father Lee gave his blessing to the students and teachers before the event closed with the singing of “This Little Light of Mine.” – Kingsley Bakmiwewa

St Simon’s newest ministry focuses on personal call and mission


LIKAS – The Ministry for Mission, a fairly new group at the St Simon Catholic Church here, has been meeting since May 2016.

Its leader, Derek Chong, said that the calling support group meets about twice a month to explore “what it means to be called personally by God.”

“We plan to meet up for the length of one year where we will look into the fundamental truth that we need to come to a deeper knowledge of our calling,” he said, adding that their journey is divided into four parts namely: (1) Knowing the true God, (2) Knowing myself, (3) Know my personal call (from Being to Doing) and (4) Response – How can I express that practically?

He said the meetings are held on Wednesday evenings.  The nine members take time to get in touch with themselves, pray, give feedback from the previous meeting and how they had responded to their convictions.  Then they explore a topic that leads to a response.

Chong said the members have been serving actively in the different parish ministries and discerned a need to know their own personal callings.

The ministry plans to have a weekend retreat on ‘calling’ some time this year, which will be open to all. – SOCCOM St Simon

Sto Nino feast celebrated at Keningau Cathedral

KENINGAU – Four hundred Filipino parishioners, together with other communities, gathered at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral here to celebrate the third annual Feast of Sto Nino de Cebu on  15 Jan  2017 themed Let the children come to me.

The celebration started with a procession of the statue of the Child Jesus from the entrance of Dataran Solidariti to the cathedral.  The Mass was presided by Father John Emerson from the Diocese of Masbate City, Philippines.

In his homily, Fr Emerson reminded parents not to compare their children with other children.   He said that comparing one’s child’s grades with others’ does more harm than good, leading to stress and lowering the child’s self-esteem and worth.

He added that praising another child may lead to secret loathing and unbecoming behaviour as the parent may be passing on the message that the better performing child is favoured and loved more.

The priest urged parents to be proud of their children’s uniqueness,  efforts and give them their unconditional love and support.

After Mass, all adjourned to a luncheon fellowship, where parishioners were served with traditional local and Filipino delicacies.

Chairlady of the Filipino Pastoral Committee cum Chief Liaison of Persatuan Kababayn Sabah (PKS) thanked the organising committee for their effort and commitment.

Also present at the event were Father Rudolf Joannes, Father Francis Dakun, seminarian David Richard, members of the Filipino community from St Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan, St Theresa and Holy Cross Tambunan, Holy Spirit Church Sook/Nabawan, St Valentine Beaufort, and members of PKS Keningau. –  CherilyRondidasn

A Sunday School culture to make lifelong disciples

CHANGING “Sunday school” culture and Catholic schools’ religion classes into a relational process of faith formation is no simple task. It will require church leaders to admit that the path we have been on for decades is not sufficient to respond to today’s needs and cannot be fixed merely with different books, better curricula or more training. And it will require parents to demand and to help build parish communities that not only teach the faith but live it out joyfully. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them.” Now is the time for the church to reflect on these words and move urgently to develop religious formation programmes that introduce children to the person at the heart of our faith, who desires not only well-informed students but lifelong disciples.

To say that there is a crisis in religious education is not to discount the profound generosity of many volunteers and teachers who sustain parish programmes around the country. If their dedication were the only factor determining success, there would be no problem. Yet in many if not most settings, religious education is not accomplishing its purpose: to hand on the faith from generation to generation. Ineffective catechesis—whether in the parish setting or in Catholic schools—is not the sole cause of the rise of the so-called nones; but for the most part, religious education as presently conducted does not give these young people a compelling reason to believe.

The first step is admitting there is a problem—and any parent who has to drag a reluctant child to an hour of Sunday school can say what it is: Most 10-year-olds do not want to spend their weekend in a classroom. More fundamentally, the assumptions built into the current system of religious education, developed at a different time and in a different cultural context, no longer hold. There was a time when religious belief and self-identification were default positions, supported by social norms. But today, when young people are surrounded by a culture in which choosing to believe is more and more a revolutionary act, religious education must do much more than hand on the basic tenets of the faith. Unless the option of belief is made real by family and community relationships that offer examples of true Christian discipleship, creedal affirmations are taking root in rocky soil.

What seems to be the key is that models that show great potential are not just about education but formation. They work to make discipleship tangible and imaginable first, rather than focusing on transmitting the content of the faith. However, no programme, can ever replace the central role of parents as “the principal and first educators of their children” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 1653). We must also discern how to form parents for this mission. – Adapted from America

Bishops’ Conference holds 99th plenary session

Seated L-R: Sr Sta Maria, Abp Ha, Bp Francis, Abp Marino, Bp Sim, Abp Wong, Abp Goh
Standing L-R: Msgr Codamo, Bp Hii, Bp Ng, Bp Paul, Bp Poh, Bp Piong, Bp Gitom pose for remembrance.

PLENTONG – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (CBCMSB) held its 99th plenary session at the Majodi Centre here on 9-13 Jan 2017.

Present were Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio; Msgr Mario Codamo, second counsellor of the nunciature, and the eleven arch/bishops.

Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, president of the conference, welcomed those present and announced that Canossian Sister Margarete Sta Maria will replace Father Michael Teng as the new executive secretary of the conference.

In his opening address, Abp Marino said the elevation of Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez as cardinal has linked the local church more closely to its reality in Malaysia.

He emphasised the need for interreligious dialogue and urged those present to create a culture of dialogue.

“Dialogue is a school of humanity and a builder of unity,” the nuncio said.

The nuncio also told those present that the very essence of the bishop’s office is to preserve the unity of the particular community over which he presides, to be a sign of reconciliation outside the church, and to strengthen the unity among all the churches in union with the bishop of Rome.  Hence, the bishop is to be a true agent and minister of encounter and dialogue.

The conference discussed several matters pertaining to secularisation, Islamisation, College General, Bible Knowledge and FABC concerns.  They also received reports from the various FABC offices.

They also looked into matters and communications from Rome, organisational, spiritual and social issues affecting the local church.

On the last few days, the CBC had a joint meeting with the assembled Conference of Major Religious Superiors who had gathered there for their annual meeting.

The major superiors updated the arch/bishops on what is happening in each congregation and how they could deepen among their members their understanding and living out of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si and Amoris Laetitia.

Being election year, the major superiors re-elected Friar John Wong ofm as president, Sister Susan Thomas fmm as vice president, Sister Wendy Ooi fsp as secretary,  Brother Robert Teoh fms as treasurer, Father Christopher Soh sj and Sister Linda Lizada rc as committee members.

The bishops conference holds the plenary assembly twice a year.  Its next assembly will be on July 10-14 at Majodi Centre. – Vincent D’Silva

Pope: Consecrated Life should shy away from worldliness

VATICAN CITY  – Pope Francis spoke to the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life here on 28 Jan 2017.

In a world ruled by a culture of the transient and money, consecrated persons should shy away from the “logic of worldliness” and instead “maintain the freshness and novelty of the centrality of Jesus,” something to offer to young people, he said.

Francis pointed out that consecrated people must maintain fidelity even when it is tested. He noted that statistics show that the Church is “haemorrhaging,” which is weakening consecrated life and the Church herself. Given the number of dropouts, there is every reason to be very concerned, and to wonder why it is happening.

First, he said, there are the factors that “affect fidelity in this era of change.”  Indeed, “We live immersed in the so-called culture of the fragment, the provisional, which can lead to living ‘a la carte’ and be slaves to trends. This culture induces the need to have ‘side doors’ always open to other possibilities; it feeds consumerism and forgets the beauty of a simple and austere life, and in many cases causes an existential void.”

This “also produces a powerful practical relativism, according to which everything is judged in terms of a self-realisation that is often extraneous to the values of the Gospel.”

“We live,” he added, “in a society where economic rules replace those of morality; laws that dictate and impose their own frames of reference at the expense of the values of life; a society where the dictatorship of money and profit proposes a vision of existence in which those who do not contribute to it are discarded.” In this situation, “it is clear that we must first be evangelised and then engage in evangelisation.”

Francis then turned his thoughts to “the world of youth, complex but at the same time rich and challenging.”   For him, “there are many wonderful young people. Yet, even among young people, many are the victims of the logic of worldliness, which can be summarised as the quest for success at any price, for easy money and for easy pleasure.”

“This logic seduces many young people as well. We must commit ourselves to stand by them so as to infect them with the joy of the Gospel and [a sense of] affiliation with Christ. This culture must be evangelised if we do not want young people to succumb.”

The Holy father noted a third negative factor that comes “from within the consecrated life itself, where alongside great holiness,”  there are “situations of counter-witness that make fidelity hard to uphold.”

These include “routine, fatigue, heavy bureaucratic structures, internal divisions, the quest for power [. . .], parvenus, [. . .] a worldly manner of running institutions, a service by authorities that sometimes becomes authoritarianism and other times is laissez-faire.”

Yet, “If the consecrated life wants to maintain its prophetic mission and appeal, continuing to be a school of faithfulness for those near and those afar (cf. Eph 2:17), it must maintain the freshness and novelty of the centrality of Jesus, its spiritual attractiveness, and the strength of mission” as well as “show the beauty of following Christ and radiate hope and joy. [. . .] When hope is missing, there is no joy, and things are ugly.”

Francis went on to stress that we must “especially take care” of “fraternal life in community.” This “must be nurtured by community prayer”, and “active participation in the sacraments,”  as well as “mercy towards brothers or sisters who sin, and shared responsibilities.”

All this must be “accompanied by an eloquent and joyful witness of simple life alongside the poor and a mission that privileges existential peripheries.” At the same time, we must defend themselves “from trends and the culture of the ephemeral” and continue “to walk firm in the faith.”

“This means that we too must keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, always careful to walk according to the logic of the Gospel and not succumb to worldly criteria. Many times, great infidelities take small detours or distractions. In this case too, it is important to make our own Saint Paul’s exhortation: “it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep’ (Rom 13:11).”

The pontiff ended his address emphasising the importance of accompaniment. It is necessary, he warned, that “the consecrated life invests in training qualified guides to this ministry.”

Such accompaniment should “not create dependency,” but to help “discernment.”  This, he noted, is not solved only by “choosing between good and evil, but between good and better, between what is good and what leads to identification with Christ.” – AsiaNews.it

Patrick Lee keeps drum performance tradition alive every LNY Mass

Back L-R: Patrick Lee, Frankie Wong, Grace Sin (Patrick’s wife)
Front L-R: Brian Wong and Jessica Liew pose for the camera in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine, 28 Jan 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – For years now, Patrick Lee, 48, has been keeping the drum display performance tradition alive, enlivening every Lunar New Year (LNY) Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.

This year was no exception.  It was this drum display performamce before the Eucharistic celebration that lent the distinctive LNY festive atmosphere to the event on 28 Jan 2017.

The three drummers, Frankie Wong, 13 (Kota Kinabalu High School), Brian Wong, 11 (Shan Tao Primary School) and Jessica Liew, 11 (Chung Hwa KK), displayed their skills before an appreciative thousand over faithful including Archbishop John Wong, Abp Emeritus John Lee, Fathers Wilfred Atin, Rhobby Mojolou, Joshua Liew, Mitchelly Kiun, Max Hontor, and the religious sisters.

In an interview, Lee said that the drummers came for monthly training since March for two to three hours, learning the 14 steps involving the whole body.  Each student must have interest and patience to learn the skills.

The Chinese drum (played by Lee) was first used as part of the musical ensemble for the choir during LNY Mass in 1987 under Josephine Kung.  But in 2000 it was performed separately from the choir just before Mass and after Communion prayer.  Down the years, Lee has trained many young boys and girls for the performance incorporating the zodiac animal theme.

In his homily, Abp Wong related salvation history to the LNY celebration theme, urging everyone to be alert and live a life worthy of their calling.

At the presentation of gifts, 18 presenters brought candles, flowers, fruits, vegetables, sticky rice cake, kuazi, money, bread and wine to the altar.

After Communion Prayer, Abp Wong blessed 14 big baskets and several boxes of mandarin oranges to be distributed to the faithful after Mass.

The Chinese rite of bowing three times before the altar (representing God) by all, to the concelebrants by the faithful, and to each other took place before the final blessing and dismissal.

As part of their appreciation tradition, the Chinese community gave ang pows to the clergy and religious present.

After the distribution of oranges, many of the faithful and clergy adjourned to the front of the parish centre for the dragon, lion, and unicorn dance performances by the You Yi Troupe.

CLC Cerdas relocates to Penampang

Fr Ambrose Atang (R) represents the archdiocese at the CLC Cerdas opening, 26 Jan 2017.

PENAMPANG – The Community Learning Centre (CLC) Cerdas has relocated to Kg Kitiau here recently.

It was officially opened by the Indonesian Consul General Akhmad DH Irfan on 26 Jan 2017 in the presence of Hj Wahad,  Director of the Private Schools, State Education Dept, DSP Rosley, Head of Penampang District Police, Father Ambrose Atang, members of the Human Development Commission, CLC staff and pupils, the construction manager, Welly Abizar of Konstruksi Rekind, and village head Renee.

The centre was constructed with the help of the BUMN Indonesia and BUMN Malaysia, Rekaya Industri (Rekind) Sdn Bhd.  It has six classrooms and one staff room.  It is affiliated with the KK Indonesian School in Alamesra.

CLC Cerdas began in 2010 under Yohanis Solo with over 30 children at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing.  Through the years the population has increased to over 300, necessitating a relocation to a more conducive  place.

The construction began in 2016 and completed toward the end of the year.

There are around 210 CLCs in Sabah affiliated to the KK Indonesian School, catering to around 24,000 children of primary school level.






Emmaus youth camp integrates local history with spirituality

A section of the participants reading the text on the Double Six Monument, Petagas War Memorial, EYC-8, 8-21 Jan 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – The 8th Emmaus Youth Camp (EYC) integrated local history with spirituality for its 47 participants at the Catholic Student Centre here on 8-21 Jan 2017.

Organised by the Parish Youth Ministry Team under the Archdiocesan Youth Commission, the annual programme was attended by the youth (17-19 years old) from parishes within the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese.

Input sessions on (1) self-disovery (Imelda Soidi);  (2) Salvation History (Sr Juanah Saliun);  (3) Gift of Life (Nelson Fernandez);  (4) Youth Spirituality & Nationalism (Lester R Rubintinus);  (5) KITA (CMO & Anne Baltazar; (6) Local Church History (Neil Mah); (7) Personal Grooming & Resume Writing (Suzanne Dennis); and (8) Church Social Teaching (Sr Anita James) were given in the morning followed by reflection, sharing and creativities in the afternoon.

For the exposure section, the participants went to St Dominic Tombulion Kota Belud to learn about its history and to get acquainted with its youth ministry.

The participants also made a field trip to the Double Six Monument, Petagas War Memorial and the Jabatan Perpaduan Integrasi Nasional in order to broaden their understanding and appreciation of their local history.

Other activities included daily Eucharist, common prayers, daily chores, exercises and recreation.  The participants also had a day of recollection (Day 13) to help them reflect and process their experiences, learnings and discoveries during the entire camp.

The programme aims to strengthen the participants’ Christian identity, to enable them to live out their faith in the world, and to ignite their awareness and sense of responsibility towards the society. – Imelda Soidi

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