Tag Archives: 2017-10

64 pastoral leaders attend retreat on spirituality of pastoral ministry

BUNDU TUHAN – Sixty-four pastoral leaders attended a retreat on spirituality of pastoral ministry on 3-5 Nov 2017 at the retreat centre here.

The participants came from Sacred Heart Cathedral Karaminsing, Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, St Paul Dontozidon, Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak, and St John Kopungit.

In two sessions followed by group sharing, Father Cosmas Lee (Nov 4) guided them to a deeper understanding of the spirituality of pastoral ministry based on St Paul’s Letter to the Romans (12:3-21).

“Spirituality,” he said,  may be understood as a concrete path led by God the Holy Spirit to live the Gospel in a particular vocation, station or role in life – and here as ministers involved in the pasturing of the parish community.

Fr Lee singled out five principles of the pastoral ministry spirituality in Rom 12:3-21:

  1. Grace and Faith: the only basis to true discernment and evaluation of ourselves as ministers (Rom 12:3). Though ministry is necessary to meet the many needs of the church, the first and primary purpose of service is that one grows in godliness and holiness which is only possible with the right spirituality.
  2. Communion and Belonging to Each Other and to Christ (Rom 12:4-5).  To become holy is possible only when each lives and journeys in faith as one who vitally belongs to the whole community, in one’s own ministry, in the parish, and in the whole church.  There is no place for an individualistic spirituality in ministry.  When we don’t work in union with others, we will not grow in Christ or become a part of Christ’s Body, or capable of sanctifying those we serve.
  3. Service in Accordance to the Particular Gift given by the Spirit (Rom 12:6-8).  Cheerfulness (not without pain) in the ministry is a sign that God has given us the appropriate charism indeed.  Charisms are not mere gifts.  Though they often include natural gifts, charisms are driven by a divine power to serve for the glory of God and the person’s spiritual growth which naturally and mystically will spill over for the good of neighbour.
  4. Virtues and Attitude Needed While Carrying Out Ministry (Rom 12:9-13).  The three virtues (powers) are a) sincerity in service; b) brotherly or sisterly love with profound respect for each other; c) serve untiringly and earnestly – with great passion and cheerfulness undistracted by anything unrelated to the goal of serving; and the attitudes of unceasing prayer and hope.
  5. The Do’s and Don’ts While Ministering (Rom 12:14-21).  They are: a) Bless those who persecute you and do not curse them; b) Be in solidarity with all in good and bad times; c) Treat everyone with equal kindness and never be condescending but make real friends with the poor; d) Never be self-satisfied or complacent; e) Always share with others – amenities, time, and talents; and e) Be hospitable always.

The retreat ended with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

The night before, the participants viewed a movie entitled Silence – directed by Martin Scorsese in 2016 – about two 17th century Portuguese missionaries who travel to feudal Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumoured to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Christianity.

On the last day, Archbishop John Wong led the participants to reflect a bit more on the Archdiocesan Misson statement reflected in the Archdiocesan Prayer recited on Sundays.

Time was given for participants to share their learnings or questions before the closing Mass presided by Abp Wong.

Pauline Family celebrates Solemnity of Jesus Divine Master

KOTA KINABALU – Members of the Pauline Family – the Daughters of St Paul and Association of Pauline Cooperators – celebrated the Solemnity of Jesus the Divine Master on 30 Oct 2017 at the Sisters’ convent at Jalan Sang Kancil Satu Karamunsing.

Joining them were their collaborators, friends and the Initiation Year students.

Father Mattheus Luta presided at the Mass.  After the Mass, all were invited to the potluck fellowship at the lobby.

At the centre of the Pauline spirituality is Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life, the heart of the Pauline vocation and mission.  It does not include only the “praying” aspect but is a “style of life” covering the whole of spiritual life, studies, apostolate, external activities – according to Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Pauline Family  (Pr 6 [1958], 5).

The Pauline Family celebrates the solemnity on the last Sunday of October.

How can you tell if someone is demon-possessed?

ROME –  Recognising the difference between a person who is possessed and a person struggling with a mental illness or other infirmity is a vital part of the ministry of exorcism, according to a long-time exorcist and priest.

Father Cipriano de Meo, who has been an exorcist since 1952, told CNA’s Italian agency ACI Stampa that typically, a person is not possessed but is struggling with some other illness.

The key to telling the difference, he said, is through discernment in prayer on the part of the exorcist and the possessed – and in the potentially possessed person’s reaction to the exorcist himself and the prayers being said.

The exorcist will typically say “(a) prolonged prayer to the point where if the Adversary is present, there’s a reaction,” he said.

“A possessed person has various general attitudes towards an exorcist, who is seen by the Adversary as an enemy ready to fight him.”

Fr de Meo described the unsettling reaction that a possessed person usually has, detailing a common response to the exorcist’s prayer.

“There’s no lack of frightening facial expressions, threatening words or gestures and other things,” he said, “but especially blasphemies against God and Our Lady.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between demonic activity and mental illness. From paragraph 1673: “Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.”

In April of 2015, the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and the Sacerdos Institute hosted a seminar at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University, specifically aimed at training priests and lay people in spotting the differences between psychological problems and demonic possession.

The conference included interventions from a wide range of experts in the field of exorcism, including practising exorcists, medical professionals, psychologists, lawyers, and theologians.

Fr de Meo also emphasised that not all cases of possession are going to look the same, which is why it is so important for exorcists to go through rigorous training.

“It’s up to the priest serving in this ministry to know how to deal with the case, by the will of God, with love and humility,” he said.

“For this reason, with my bishop’s authorisation, for 13 years, I’ve led a school for exorcists. I’ve tried to especially prepare those who are beginning this ministry,” he said.

However, even though cases of demonic possession are not as common as cases of psychological illness, most people are too unaware and unfamiliar with spiritual realities, he said.

In 2014, the International Association of Exorcists (AIE) called the rise of occult activity a “pastoral emergency.”

“It usually starts out of ignorance, superficiality, stupidity or proselytising, actively participating or just watching,” AIE spokesperson Dr Valter Cascioli told CNA at the time.

“The consequences are always disastrous.”

Father de Meo said that people often turn to “the chatter of magicians and Illusionists” for answers, rather than “the weapons the Lord has put at our disposal.”

While people often seek radical answers or signs, the best defence against demonic possession is a simple and sacramental life of prayer, the priest said.

“It’s absolutely fundamental to get rid of sin and live in the grace of God,” he said.

“The Church, in fact, wants a life of prayer, Not just on the part of the priest but also the (member of) the faithful asking for the intervention of the exorcist, who benefits from the help of family members as well,” the exorcist explained.

The Catechism offers further guidance on how to avoid demonic activity: anything that involves recourse to Satan or demons, or that attempts to conjure the dead or reveal future events, is to be rejected.

From CCC paragraph 2116: “Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honour, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”

As for the exorcists themselves, it is important to remain humble and to remember that their power comes from Christ, Father de Meo added.

“Regarding spiritual preparation, humility and the conviction that we exorcists aren’t the ones who are going to cast out the demon that’s fighting Christ. We’re called to fight on behalf of Christ.” – CNA/EWTN News

This article was originally published on CNA 17 March 2016.

Singles conference draws 150 participants

KOTA KINABALU – The Singles for Christ (SFC) South East Asia and Borneo Regional Conference held at the Lintas Platinum Hotel here on 28-29 Oct 2017 drew 150 participants.

The participants came from Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Sabah).

Based on the theme “Eimai Katholikos,” Greek for “I Am Catholic,” the participants were given the opportunity to deepen their Catholic faith and grow in their prayer life through a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

They learnt how to “Live Catholic” with the four cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice.

The participants were led to explore the challenges of being a Catholic in today’s society and to meet and build friendships with likeminded Catholics from around South East Asian.

All these objectives were realised through the Catholic Festival: singing and dancing, accompanied by music, colourful decorations and Catholic elements.

One of the basic elements of a Catholic Festival was the Catholic Booth with four sections:
i) The Creed: what we believe, human response, profession of faith through trivia and bible quiz;

ii) Sacraments: how we celebrate the Christian mysteries, sacred signs, seven sacraments through matching/memory games, and fill in the blanks;

iii) The Commandments: life in Christ, the ten commandments through word scramble; and

iv) The Lord’s Prayer: how to pray through prayer walk, rosary, Mass (Father Paul Lo).

The SFC is one of the family ministries of Couples for Christ (CFC), a Catholic non-profit renewal community, and is a ministry for young professionals aged 21-40 years.   “Single” refers to anyone within that age group who is free from any legal impediments to marriage. The pastoral care offered by the ministry, though, is not limited to those who are called to marriage but includes as well those who may be considering either single blessedness or religious vocation as a state of life.

The regional conference is part of the SFC activities in the second half of the year, July to October, when members from the Philippines and nearby countries gather in an area grouping for a two/three- day conference full of various activities such as talks, workshops and competitions.

Pope urges members of secular institutes to act and be God’s Word

File photo: OCDS members pose with Fr Aloysius Deeney ocd (back row, 3rd from L) and Fr Felix Chung (back row, 3rd from R) after making their Definitive Promise or Renewal of Promise, 28 July 2007, Carmelite Chapel KK.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Saturday, 28 Oct 2017,  reminded members of Secular Institutes about their ‎prophetic presence in the world, especially by being and acting the Word of God they hear.  ‎

‎The Holy Father’s exhortation came in a message he sent to the Italian Conference of ‎Secular Institutes(CIIS) that is holding a conference in Rome, Oct. 28-29, on the theme, “Beyond and ‎in the Midst: Secular Institutes: Stories of passion and prophecy for God and the world.”

A secular ‎institute is an organization of consecrated persons who live in the world, unlike members of a religious ‎institute or congregation who are required to live in a community.  ‎

Pope Francis told the conference participants that their laicity consists in knowing what God has to say to the ‎world, where “saying” means acting and not talking.  This, he said is very much needed in our times ‎where difficulties could tempt one to isolate herself or himself into a comfortable and secure situation ‎and withdraw from the world.  But the Pope said, “your place is to “stay in” with the transforming ‎presence of the Gospel.”   He admitted it is a difficult path, but assured them the Lord wants to walk ‎with them.‎

Pope Francis said that their vocation and mission is to be aware not only of their surroundings, without ‎stopping at appearance but going deeper, but also discovering where God manifests Himself.  In other ‎words –  aware of the world but with hearts immersed in God.    ‎

In this regard, Pope Francis suggested five spiritual attitudes.  One needs to pray to be united to God and to listen to Him.  One needs discernment to distinguish between essentials and unimportant things.  Like Jesus, one needs to share the lot of ‎men and women even in tragic and dark times.  One should never to lose confidence and courage, knowing how to find ‎good in everything. And lastly, one should be animated by Christ’s sympathy for the world and the people, to be free and passionate like salt and ‎yeast in the world.‎

In Sabah, there are four secular institutes: Secular Franciscan Order (OFS), Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation (IMSA), and Institusi Komuniti Betania (ISKB). – vatican radio/kksoccom

St Simon Likas marks parish feast day with launching of fundraising for Catholic Centre

The confirmands and first communicants pose with the concelebrants and their teachers, 29 Oct 2017, St Simon Likas.

LIKAS – St Simon’s Church here marked its 33rd anniversary with the launching of the fundraising for the Catholic Centre on 29 Oct 2017.

The occasion was the pastoral visit of Archbishop John Wong on its patronal feast day – St Simon the Zealot, Apostle and Martyr.

Concelebrating the Mass with Abp Wong were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee and Father Cosmas Lee, the rector.

As in past years, the prelate administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 29 candidates and First Eucharist to 31 children.

To the confirmands (rite of passage to spiritual adulthood), Abp Wong warned them of three enemies they have encountered and will encounter: lack of self-acceptance, worldliness (greed for worldly possessions), and temptation to do evil.

After Mass, all adjourned to the parish hall for the reception and the launching of the fundraising for the Catholic Centre.

Instead of the usual speech, Fr Lee explained the need for a new Catholic Centre, which he said was not a new idea but one that was mooted 20 years ago.

The parish has been tasked to contribute about half a million Ringgit toward the building project which will be sited at the former Shan Tao Primary School at Jalan Sang Kancil 3 near the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Fr Lee said there will be three fundraisers: food fair/bazaar on Feb 4, a monthly third collection and personal pledges.

However, he reminded the parishioners that part of the proceeds from any common fundraisers will go toward the building projects of the two schools under the parish: St James Primary School Hall (20%) and an IT block for SM Shan Tao (30%).

In his brief address before he declared the fundraising launch, Abp Wong urged the parents of the first communicants to help them “fall in love” with Jesus so that they will become his disciples and be sent by him to others.

KK prelate urges parents of first communicants to help them “fall in love with Jesus”

The six candidates from the sign language class as they wait outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing for the entrance procession, 28 Oct 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Archbishop John Wong urged the parents of first communicants to help them “fall in love with Jesus” in a homily on 28 Oct 2017.

He said this during the Sunset Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here where 146 children including six from the Sign Language Class received Jesus for the first time.

He explained that if the children are helped to fall in love with Jesus, it will be the beginning of a relationship with Him.

Joining him at the altar was Msgr Nicholas Ong of Sandakan Diocese.

Around 87 children received their first Holy Communion at the BM Mass Oct 29 while another 45 will receive theirs at the Chinese Mass on Nov 5.

First Holy Communion is the common name for a person’s first reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist.  The Church recognises the importance of this event as the Eucharist is the central focus of the sacramental life of the Catholic Church.

Special clothing is usually worn. The clothing is often white to symbolise purity. Girls often wear fancy dresses and a veil attached to a headdress while the boys will wear a bow tie.

After the Mass all adjourned to the parish hall for the reception and presentation of certificates.

KK hosts Malaysian Bishops Conference for the first time

L-R: Bp Bernard Paul (Melaka-Johor), Bp Sebastian Francis (Penang), Bp Richard Ng (Miri), Bp Joseph Hii (Sibu), Bp Cornelius Piong (Keningau), Abp Emertus John Ha (Kuching), Bp Julius Gitom (Sandakan), Abp Julian Leow (Kuala Lumpur), Abp Simon Poh (Kuching), Abp John Wong (Kota Kinabalu), Holy Cross Tower Nulu Sosopon Keningau, 26 Oct 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese hosted for the first time the Malaysian Bishops Conference at Vianney Home Dontozidon on 23-27 Oct 2017.

Ten arch/bishops attended the conference which tackled various issues faced by the local Malaysian Church and coming out with common guidelines on those issues.

Among the guidelines are those on child protection and education.

The participants also discussed the forthcoming Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly scheduled for September 2018 at Majodi Centre Plentong Johor.  This explained the presence of Archbishop Emeritus John Ha of Kuching who has been tasked to facilitate the recollection of the participants.

Penang Diocese will host the next conference 0n 23-26 Sept 2018 while the first conference was held in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Since the participants were able to finish their agenda early, they had time to visit the Cross Tower, a part of the newly constructed Holy Family Pilgrimage Centre located on Nulu Sosopon or Sosopon Hill, sitting on a 10.2-acre  hilly land overlooking Keningau town on Oct 26.

LSS draws over 100 participants

A section of the participants attending the Life in the Spirit Seminar, 26-29 Oct 2017, SHPC.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 100 people participated in the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) on 26-29 Oct 2017 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here organised by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (LJCCC).

The LSS is commonly used by Catholic groups in the context of renewal in the Church.  It is an instrument for bringing people into a deeper experience of the work of the Holy Spirit. The seminar offers the basic presentation of the Gospel and the basic teaching about what the Lord is willing to do for all who come to Him.  It provides a way to learn more about living in the Spirit.  And the participants can take steps which will allow Jesus to establish, restore or deepen a relationship with them.

For those who have experienced the sacramental graces, Jesus will give them a new and fuller relationship with Himself.

The Church has never lost the life of the Spirit nor the experience of the Power of the Spirit.

Ever since the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) has swept Sabah shores in 1974, the LSS has been one of the stable features in the life of the Local Church and is conducted once or more in a year in English, BM, Chinese or Kadazan.

BM RCIA coordinators add their insights in revised syllabus

KOTA KINABALU – Over 80 coordinators and facilitators of the BM Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese added their insights in the revised syllabus in a workshop organised by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission (ADCC) at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 28 Oct 2017.

The commission has been tasked by the Malaysian Catechetical Commission (MCC) under Bishop Cornelius Piong in 2015 to come out with a revised syllabus in the Malaysian context with a grace period of three years.  The pilot project has been used by Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish in the past year.

Previously the syllabus was based on the one prepared by Lumko Institute South Africa.

The new syllabus – with enriched footnotes, relevant and useful appendices  – is due to be published by year-end and scheduled for use next year.

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