Tag Archives: 2017-8

Pauline Sister conducts MLE in Keningau Diocese

Participants pose for remembrance after the session in Membakut, 26 Aug 2017.

MEMBAKUT – Pauline Sister Laura Anggie conducted two Media Literacy Education (MLE) sessions in the Diocese of Keningau recently.

The first session was held at St Patrick Membakut on 26 Aug 2017 on Church and Social Communication.

Membakut is a town about 80 km from the State capital of Kota Kinabalu.

Over a hundred people – young and old – attended the session organised by the Keningau Diocesan Social Communications Commission (KOMSOS).

The participants were divided into two groups – adults and children – for group sharing and discussion.

The next day Sr Laura left for St Peter Bundu Kuala Penyu for another session on Aug 28.

Kuala Penyu is about 20-minute drive from Membakut and is noted for its beautiful beaches.

Over 1000 young people including spiritual advisers took part in the diocesan camp for altar servers (boys and girls) from the nine parishes and one mission under the Keningau Diocese. However, some of the participants came from Sandakan Diocese and from Limbahau Parish (Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese).

Sr Laura’s session dealt with how social media influence anti-social behaviour in the family.

St Mary’s Cathedral celebrates feast day with Marian procession

A section of the candlelight procession from the pastoral centre to the grotto, 15 Aug 2017, Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – St Mary’s Cathedral here celebrated the feast of the Assumption with a Marian procession on 15 Aug 2017.

It began with the tri-lingual recitation of the Holy Rosary and the blessing of the statue of Mother Mary by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom at 6:30 pm at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

Over a thousand parishioners gathered for the procession and the outdoor Mass in front of the grotto. The statue of Mother Mary was carried in procession from the Pastoral Centre to the grotto.

Bishop Gitom presided over the Mass,  concelebrated with Father David Garaman, Father Christopher Ireneus, Father Thomas Makajil and Father Stanley Matakim.

In his homily, Bishop Julius explained that God has preserved Mary from original sin and chosen her to be the Mother of the Saviour.

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”  (Luke 1:46-47) was the theme of this year’s 134th Parish Day celebration.

The prelate reminded the people that this year marks the centenary of her apparitions at Fatima. Mary appeared at Fatima to the three shepherd children to tell them to bring the message of peace to the world. And her other message in Fatima is conversion. All need to be converted to God.

Pope Francis says that “hope is the virtue of those who experience conflict, those who are struggling between life and death, struggling between good and evil and still believe in the resurrection of Christ, still believe in the redemption of Christ.  And that is the victory of love.”

Due to the poor weather condition, the Eucharistic celebration was celebrated in the cathedral.

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I issue first joint message on ecology


File photo: Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I sign a Joint Declaration reaffirming their desire to overcome obstacles dividing their churches on 30 Nov 2014 at the Phanar Turkey. AP Photo.

VATICAN CITY – For the first time, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I are launching an appeal in a joint message, on the occasion of the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, celebrated on 1 Sept 2017.

On August 30, toward the conclusion of his General Audience in St Peter’s Square, the Pope himself announced this initiative.

Francis explained, “we invite everyone to adopt a respectful and responsible attitude toward Creation.”

“We also appeal,” he added, “to those who have influential roles, to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor who suffer most from ecological imbalances.”

In 2015, Pope Francis instituted this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, joining the Orthodox who have celebrated it on the date of September 1, for years. – zenit.org

PAS discusses inter-faith ties with Catholic leaders

JOHOR – Several PAS leaders met leaders of the Malacca-Johor Catholic Diocese on 21 August 2017 to discuss issues related to religious harmony in Malaysia, including the recently passed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

This marked the inaugural meeting between the PAS political leaders and the Malacca Johore Diocese under the leadership of Bishop Bernard Paul.

Chairman of Lajnah Dakwah PAS Central, YB Nik Mohamad Abduh bin Nik Abdul Aziz commenced the dialogue session by introducing his delegation and explaining the misunderstanding regarding the PAS party using religion for political gain. When explaining the objectives of Lajnah Dakwah PAS Central, he said that politics cannot be a priority when religion is directed towards maintaining the welfare of the citizens. PAS Central is aware of this and rejects conflicts caused by political differences amongst the Muslim community. At the same time, it is also building relationships between PAS and the non- Muslim community.

YB Nik Abduh quoted a Quranic verse Surah Al-Maidah 5:82 to explain the main intention of their visit to MAJODI Centre as a beginning. “You will find the nearest in love to the believers who say: ‘We are Christians.’”

Bishop Bernard Paul introduced the invitees to those representing the Diocese and the representatives of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Taoism (MCCBCHS). He briefed the guests on the history and formation of MAJODI Centre and presented demographical facts of the diocese.

Father Edward Rayappan introduced Shaykh Imran Angullia, who is actively in dialogue with the diocese through Hidayah Centre, Johor.

While there are differing doctrines between Islam and Christianity regarding Jesus (Isa), Hj Hussin Ismail, the Permanent Chairman of PAS Central said that a Muslim is not regarded a faithful if he does not place Jesus in the highest position of honour. In fact, all of mankind awaits Jesus’ return. He shared that Prophet Zulkifli had similarities with the Buddha from his experiences in Nepal.

During the exchange of views session, many matters of concern were raised, from religious unity to legal and political issues.

Calvin Ohsey, a staff from the Diocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, questioned PAS’ action in raising Act355 (RUU355) that stifled the discussion on Hudud and the position of the non- Muslim community under Syariah law.

In answer to the question, YB Nik Abduh assured all present that the Syariah Court Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 – Act 355 is applicable to Muslims only. He reiterated that the issue is related to the Enactment of Syariah Criminal Code 1993, amended in 2015 but was not implemented subject to Act 355. To enable the implementation of the Enactment in Kelantan, Act 355 has to be amended according to the democratic process in the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat).

Commenting on Act 355 which is said to open the way to full implementation of hudud laws, YB Nik Abduh said the Act was intended to bolster Syariah laws. In observing the circumstances in Malaysia, Act 355 cannot be fully implemented without the agreement of Malaysian citizens in general.

Sister Susan Dulang SSFS, as Head of the Diocesan Bahasa Malaysia Ministry, voiced her concern regarding the issue of seized Bibles, using the term “Allah” and other religious restrictions on the Christian community and asked PAS to state its stand.

In reply to Sr Susan, YB Nik Abduh mentioned that Islam does not forbid the Christian faithful from using “Allah.” All related issues originated from the irregularities in implementing Islamic law. The Islamic religion forbids such intolerant actions. He promised Sr Susan he will look into the matter with the government, if the opportunity arises.

Father Thomas George asked regarding the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164). YB Nik Abduh emphasised PAS’ firm stand to bring all stakeholders, namely, the government, both the ruling and opposition politicians, including eminent religious scholars, for discussions before tabling the amendment in parliament as the matter is complicated because it involves religion and children’s custody rights. When Act 164 amendment was brought before Parliament, PAS objected because it contradicted Section 88A and opposed the Federal Constitution regarding Islam.

In concluding the dialogue session, Bishop Bernard stated that the roles of leaders of political parties and religious leaders are vital towards ensuring that the prosperity and harmony of society are preserved. He continued, “We must always ensure that our loyalty is to one law only and that is the law of love, the law of our Lord God. Religion, when practised well, benefits everyone; it protects the rights of the minorities, builds bridges and includes everyone and we enjoy blessings from our Lord God.” – heraldmalaysia.com

Sandakan parishioners prepare themselves for 134th feast day celebration

Outdoor Mass and blessing of Meditation Hut cum Chapel on top of Marian Mount Sandakan by Bishop Gitom, 12 Aug 2017.

SANDAKAN – Parishioners of St Mary’s Cathedral here prepared themselves for feast day celebration through a series of spiritual activities.

It began with a novena of Masses on 4-12 Aug 2017 at the cathedral including a Mass for the sick, the poor, the needy and the suffering of the parish.

The organisers were delighted with the increased average attendance of around 800 people per night, with different intentions per Mass.

Formation talks and Marian catechesis based on the theme for the 134th Parish Day: My Soul Magnifies the Lord (Lk 1:46) conducted in Chinese by seminarian Raymond Lee, BM by Father Stanley William and English by Father David Garaman.

On the ninth day, a rosary rally was held – a 12-hour rosary recitation by the parish groups, communities, and ministries.  It started five years ago.  Held outdoors along the Rosary Corridor, it was halted temporarily at 10:00 am at the peak of the Marian Mount to give way for an outdoor Mass and solemn blessing of the opening of the Meditation Hut cum Chapel for visitors.

Bishop Julius Gitom officiated the rite of blessing before presiding at the Mass.

The rosary recitation continued after the Mass until the last group recitation concluded at the cathedral half an hour before Sunset Mass.

The cathedral parish celebrated its feast day on Aug 13. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

Over 200 East Malaysian Catholic women gather for 9th conference

Mdm Anita Tunggolou (2nd L) and Mdm Mildred Yii of Kuching (2nd from R) hold the host banner at the handing over ceremony, witnessed by Abp Wong (C) and heads of women groups in other arch/dioceses, 29 Aug 2017, Bukit Padang. Kuching will host the 10th conference in 2020.

PAPAR – Over 200 East Malaysian Catholic Women gathered for their 9th conference at the Pace Bene Retreat Centre here on 26-30 Aug 2017.

The 234 women came from the three arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan in Sabah and from the three arch/dioceses of Kuching, Miri and Sibu in Sarawak.

The conference, themed Challenges of the Catholic Family in the Present Time, kicked off with the opening Mass presided by Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, and concelebrated with Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau and Father Claudius Andrew of Keningau on Saturday, Aug 26.

The opening ceremony took place after dinner.

After the welcoming speeches by Mdm Anita Tunggolou, head of the KK Women Commission cum organising chairperson, and by Abp Wong,  the prelate beat the gong nine times to mark the opening of the conference followed by the inevitable cake-cutting ceremony and stage performances by the delegates.

A day of recollection followed, facilitated by Abp Wong, on Sunday, Aug 28.

On Monday morning, Aug 29, Anthony Lim of Kota Kinabalu and his team facilitated three sessions on the theme.

In the afternoon, the heads and chairpersons met and shared on their respective ministries.  They also came out with a mission statement at the end of the day.

On the last day, Tuesday, Aug 30, the women visited the nearby Holy Family Residence for Senior Citizens and celebrated the Eucharist at Holy Rosary Church Limbahau.

Some 1000 people including Abp Emeritus John Lee and Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan gathered for the closing ceremony and dinner at Putera Theatre Ballroom at Bukit Padang with stage presentations by the different delegations.

In her speech, Tunggolou said the theme of the 9th conference was aptly chosen because the family is the “foundation of society and we need to look deeply into ensuring that our families are deeply rooted in the faith as crisis of different types are presently springing up everywhere in the world and families are faced with so many trials and challenges in life.”

Recognition Awards were given to ten recipients who have attended all the conferences held so far: six from Kuching, three from KK and one from Sandakan.

Tokens of appreciation were also given to Abp Emeritus Lee and Bp Gitom for their encouragement and spiritual support down the years.

As Kuching will host the 10th conference in 2020, the host banner was handed over to Mdm Mildred Yii by Tunggolou.

The idea of Catholic Women of East Malaysia coming together was mooted by then Father John Ha of Kuching (now retired archbishop) and Mdm Anita Tunggolou, head of the KK Women’s League Commission.

With the backing of then Bishop John Lee of Kota Kinabalu (now retired archbishop), the first conference was held on 12-16 June 1993 in the KK Diocese with the objective of establishing and fostering good relationships and understanding among the women of the two states through gathering in prayer and sharing of ideas.

The conference would be held on a rotational basis in the participating dioceses every three years.

In its 25th year now, the conference was held in 1993 (KK), 1996 (Kuching), 1999 (Sibu), 2002 (KK), 2005 (Keningau), 2008 (Kuching), 2011 (Sibu), 2014 (Sandakan).

Catholic groups are mobilising to help in Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath

A woman uses a coat hanger to try and retrieve an item from a destroyed house on 26 Aug 2017 after Hurricane Harvey struck Fulton, Texas. (CNS photo/Rick Wilking, Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Catholic dioceses and charities are quickly organising to help in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with heavy rains and winds of 130 miles per hour late Aug 25, 2017 into the Rockport, Texas area, northeast of Corpus Christi. The National Weather Service said in a tweet Aug 27 that the rainfall expected after the hurricane and storm are over “are beyond anything experienced before.”

The hurricane, named Harvey, is said to be the strongest one to hit the United States in more than a decade and perhaps the strongest one to make landfall in Texas.

Catholic Charities USA, as well as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services, announced early on Aug 26 that they’re mobilising to help an as-yet-unknown number of persons affected by the hurricane. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has a list of charities helping with the disaster listed on its website at https://txcatholic.org/harvey.

Authorities reported at least five casualties as of Aug 27, but because of safety issues, not many emergency teams have been yet able to respond to the aftermath and much of the damage is unknown. Texas Gov Greg Abbott declared the state a disaster area, which will allow federal money to help in reconstruction. Catholic groups said they want to help with the immediate needs of the communities affected.

“We will be sending in rapid-response teams to help our impacted St Vincent de Paul councils and we are coordinating nationally with the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta and (Catholic Charities USA),” said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of the Society of St Vincent de Paul USA.

Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Aug 27 urged “all people of goodwill to closely monitor future calls for assistance for victims and survivors in the days ahead.”

The cardinal also is the head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, one of the hardest-hit areas.

“Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in a catastrophic and devastating way this weekend, bringing with it severe flooding and high winds which have taken human life, caused countless injuries, and severely damaged homes and property throughout the region,” said the cardinal in an Aug 27 news release. “The effects of this storm continue to put people in harm’s way, with horrific scenes playing out all around, such as those of people trapped on their rooftops as water continues to rise around them. Many dioceses of the church in the United States have been affected; many others will be as the storm continues.”

He asked for prayers but also for assistance for those affected. One of the first to pledge help was the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, where Bishop Daniel E Flores authorised a second collection to be taken up at the diocese’s local churches on the weekend of Aug 26-27 to send to Catholic Charities in nearby Corpus Christi and “other places hardest hit by loss of power, storm damage, flooding.”

Though the brunt of the hurricane’s winds has passed and Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm hours after landfall, heavy rains and “catastrophic flooding” are expected for days, said the National Hurricane Center.

In an Aug 26 statement published by the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, Cardinal DiNardo said powerful winds and heavy rainfall have already impacted many lives and homes throughout the region, and many in the southern counties of his archdiocese have already suffered substantial property damage and losses

In Houston, the country’s fourth largest city with 6.6 million residents, many struggled seeking safety in flooded residential streets, which are expected to get up to 50 inches of rainfall by the time the rain stops sometime at the end of August.

Up to 250,000 have been reported without power in Texas, a number that’s expected to rise.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in a statement that the archdiocese pledged its support to recovery efforts that will start after the rain and wind subside.

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo asked for prayers for emergency personnel and volunteers who are out and about in dangerous conditions and also “for those residing in our archdiocese, in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and may God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey.” – CNS

Kuching lad ordained deacon in Bunan Gega

BUNAN GEGA — A Kuching lad was ordained to the diaconate in Bunan Gega on 23 Apr 2017.

Over 2000 people including family members and friends witnessed the diaconal ordination of Galvin Richard Ngumbang at St Jude Bunan Gega by Archbishop Simon Poh.

Born and bred in Kuching, the thirty-four-year-old is the youngest son of the late Richard Lee Ngumbang and Iris Ulat Pasa. Galvin underwent his primary and secondary education at St Joseph’s school and later graduated from UiTM Samarahan Campus in 2004 with Diploma in Science. Prior to entering Initiation Year in 2010 in Kota Kinabalu, he worked as an Assistant Science Officer with the Malaysian Pepper Board in Sibu.

In his speech, the newly ordained deacon encouraged young people to courageously answer God’s call to the priesthood or religious life.

“Offer up everything to God, your family and your anxiety. Be assured that God has a beautiful plan for those who totally give themselves to him,” he said.

At the end of the ordination Mass, Abp Poh thanked the community of St Jude’s Parish for hosting the ordination event. He also thanked the deacon’s mother, Iris Pasa, for offering her only son to God in the service of God’s people in the Archdiocese of Kuching.

The new deacon will continue to serve in St Jude’s Parish, Bunan until further notice. – todayscatholic.com.my

Pope Francis to visit Myanmar, Bangladesh in November

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Myanmar from 27 -30 November 2017 and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017.

Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, made the official announcement in a statement on Monday, 28 Aug 2017,  also revealing the logos for the trip.

He said the Pope had welcomed “the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops.”

Whilst in Myanmar (also known as Burma), Pope Francis will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. In Bangladesh, the Pope will visit Dhaka.

The logo for his visit to Myanmar depicts Pope Francis releasing a white dove from within a heart drawn in the colours of Myanmar’s flag: yellow, green, and red.

An outline of Myanmar’s landmass sits beside the Pope within the heart, while the motto for his journey is shown above: “Love & Peace.”

The logo for Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh has coloured streamers in the shape of a dove, with a cross raised over a water lily (Bangladesh’s national flower) within it.

Above, the official motto for the Apostolic Journey, “Harmony and Peace”, is written in red. – Vatican Radio


50 attend half-day faith formation for catechists

SANDAKAN -Fifty catechists attended a half-day faith formation on 19 Aug 2017 at the St Mary’s Cathedral Parish conference room here.

The participants – Sunday School teachers and RCIA facilitators – came from St Peter Sungai Manila, St Mark and St Mary.

Franciscan Sister Martina James, Catechetical Commission chairperson, facilitated the sessions.

There were three sessions (1) General Directory of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC); (2) Methodology and Structure – catechism, structure, time frame; (3) 4 Pillars of the CCC  (a) The Profession of Faith (Creed);  (b) The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (Sacraments); (c) Life in Christ (Commandments); and (d) Christian Prayer (Our Father).

After the input on methodology and structure, the participants were divided into language groups to discuss and share on the subject.  A report was presented at the end of the session. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

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