Tag Archives: 2018-1

Council of Religious holds election of office bearers after six years

File photo of the Council of Religious in one of their meetings at the Daughters of St Paul Convent Karamunsing in 2015.

KOTA KINABALU – The Council of Religious in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese held election of office bearers after six years on 14 July 2018 in a meeting at a local venue here.

Seven members were able to make it to the meeting during which the office bearers were elected for the term 2018-2021.

Elected were Brother Thomas Paul SG (chairman), Father Andrew Kim SST (vice chairman), Sister Magdalene Chong FSP (secretary), Sister Joan Michael FSIC (treasurer).

They took over with immediate effect from the outgoing council: Sister Christine Henry Sundin FSP (chairperson), Sister Rita Chew FSIC (secretary), Sister Alice Lopez FSIC (treasurer).

Other members present were Sister Lilian Unsoh FSIC (representing Sister Frances Mani FSIC), and Sister Grace Deosing FSIC.  There were no representatives from the La Salle Brothers, the Marist Brothers, and the Good Shepherd Sisters.

With the encouragement and guidance of Bishop John Lee, the Council of Religious (COR) was formed in August 1997 in the diocese.  The elected office bearers were: Sr Aquinas Voon FSIC (chairperson), Br Justin Mobilik FSC (vice chairperson), Sr Agnes Wong FSP (secretary), Sr Angeline Lau RGS (treasurer), Sr Grace Deosing FSIC (member), and Sr Cecilia Liew FSIC (member).

The objectives of the COR are:

  • To serve the organism of mutual liaison among the religious institutes;
  • To act as a means of promoting and renewing religious life in fidelity to the magisterium and to the distinctive charisms of each institute;
  • To provide the forum for the discussion of mutual concerns of the archbishop, priests and religious; and
  • To co-ordinate the activities of religious institutes with the pastoral action of the archdiocese under the guidance of the archbishop, without prejudice to relations and negotiations which can be carried out directly by the archbishop himself with any individual institute.

There are now four women religious institutes and four men religious institutes serving in the archdiocese: Order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD), Daughters of St Paul (FSP), Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC), and Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS); Brothers of St Gabriel (SG), Brothers of the Christian School or La Salle Brothers (FSC), the Marist Brothers (FMS), and the Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae (SST).

Long Lama becomes a parish

Bishop Ng exchanges bows with the welcoming dancers after the Mass in Long Lama, 21 Jan 2018.

BARAM, Sarawak – Long Lama church in middle Baram became a parish on 21 Jan 2018.

Bishop Richard Ng installed Father Lazarus Swinie of Kuching as rector of the new parish of the Blessed Sacrament during the installation Mass in the presence of about 500 people from the different longhouses.  Long Lama was formerly under Lapok Parish.  The new parish has over 30 longhouses and a few schools under its jurisdiction.

Earlier, the bishop made a pastoral visit to Long Banyok, a Kenyah Longhouse in middle Baram. This is also the longhouse of Msgr Francis Kuleh, the Vicar General of Miri Diocese. The bishop celebrated Sunset Mass for about 200 people at the Church of Yesus Juruselamat and later blessed a statue of Christ the Redeemer at the entrance of the church. – dioceseofmiri.blogspot

Fundraising dinner raises over RM200,000 for Kuching Carmelite Monastery rebuilding fund

The Carmelite nuns and Carmelite Seculars pose with Abp Poh at the mock cheque presentation, 16  Dec 2017, Kuching.

KUCHING — A total amount of RM513,870.04 was presented to the Carmelite nuns of the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 16 Dec 2017. Out of the sum presented, RM213,870.04 came from the fundraising dinner raised on the previous day and a grant of RM300,000.00 from the State Government. Another RM300,000.00 is still needed.

The fundraising dinner in aid of the rebuilding of the Carmelite Monastery in Kuching was  held at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) on Oct 15. It was organised by Christ the King OCDS Community (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites) and Friends of Carmelites headed by Datin Sri Annie Fong OCDS. Tickets were sold at RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM1,000 per table respectively. Archbishop Simon Poh, Archbishop Emeritus John Ha, Father Kenneth of the Cross, OCD who represented the Carmelite Friars, priests, religious brothers and sisters from the Archdiocese of Kuching together with well-wishers attended the dinner.

During the dinner, Abp Poh explained the revised cost for the rebuilding.

“When the rebuilding of the termite-infested Carmelite Monastery was mooted quite a few years ago, the simple estimate was that RM4 million should be sufficient. By the time the drawings were ready for tender in 2016, the cost of materials had gone up, government service tax had to be added and the Ringgit had depreciated. When we calculated the allocation for interior furnishing, kitchen equipment and utensils, etc, the total budget ballooned to RM5.9 million to complete the whole monastery,” said the prelate. He further informed all present that there was still a shortfall of RM1.1 million.

Carmelite Father Charles Serrao, a former Definitor General whom the nuns know well for 25 years, was invited to the dinner. However, he could not make it due to other commitments in his Province back in India. His speech was pre-recorded and played that evening. He highlighted the charism of the Carmelite nuns and explained why it is necessary to rebuild such a big monastery for them.

In another video, Mother Prioress Sister Marie Evelyn addressed all those present and thanked them for their support towards the rebuilding project of the nuns. The video also featured the cloistered life of the nuns, the making of altar bread and the progress of the construction work of the new monastery. They also had the privilege to hear the sweet voices of the nuns, who sang for them towards the end of the recorded video.

All invited guests together with the working committee and OCDS members took part in the cake cutting ceremony to mark the Solemnity of St Teresa of Jesus and the 17th Anniversary of Christ the King OCDS Community. Thereafter, the Secular Carmelites led in the singing of the song “Salva Regina”. The working committee also entertained all present with a song entitled “I will follow Him.”

The nuns of Kuching Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and organisers would like to thank everyone for their presence and contribution towards the success of this first fundraising dinner. The rebuilding of the new monastery is scheduled to complete by June 2018. Contribution towards the rebuilding project can still be made by using the Brown envelope or directed to the Archbishop’s Office.  – Catherine Sim OCDS

Kuching prelate officiates groundbreaking ceremony of Sarawak’s first Catholic columbarium

Artist impression of St Peter Columbarium Kuching.

KUCHING — The blessing and ground breaking ceremony by Archbishop Simon Poh for the construction of the Columbarium at St Peter’s Church took place on 5 December 2017. About 50 people consisting of consultants, contractors, parish councillors, members of the Humanitarian Foundation and some parishioners attended the auspicious occasion.

In his welcoming speech, the archbishop thanked the councillors, parishioners and benefactors, especially the Humanitarian Foundation, for making this project possible. He said that the columbarium is a sacred place for keeping the cremated remains of the departed. Through the Humanitarian Foundation, some of the niches will also be made available for the needy and poor Catholics as their final resting place.

A columbarium is a building where ‘niches’ are placed to house cremated remains of the deceased. The name derives from an Italian word ‘columba’, which means ‘the dwelling place of a dove’. Niches are spaces in the walls of the columbarium for the inurnment of human remains after cremation.

When asked why the parish decided to build a columbarium in the parish compound, the rector of St Peter’s Church, Father Vincent Chin, explained that they are trying to restore an old tradition of the Church. “The old tradition of the Church was to have a cemetery next to a church to make sure that those who passed away were close to the believing community. So all the while, wherever there was a church, there was always a cemetery next to it,” he said.

The proximity of the cemetery to the church makes it convenient for church-goes to visit and pray for their departed loved ones as often as they go to the church. It also serves as a reminder that it is their responsibility to pray for those who are gone, and that they too would be laid there one day. It is also to show that there is nothing to fear about the dead.

With the current scarcity of land in Kuching and the government regulations on burial places, having a cemetery near a church is next to impossible. That is why Catholic cemeteries are located further and further away. The nearest cemetery in Kuching accessible to most Catholics is the one at 13-1/2 Mile.

“In this kind of situation, people would probably only go to the cemetery twice a year, once during the death anniversary of the person, another on All Souls Day,” remarked Fr Chin. “Other than that, they (the dead) are mostly forgotten,” he said. “The presence of the columbarium will bring that old tradition back.”

“When we decided to have this columbarium, we make it our responsibility and commitment to include the departed on every All Souls Day and every Friday in November and in their death anniversary month, regardless if their families offer Mass for them or not,” said Fr Chin. He said a lot of parishioners are worried there is no one to pray for them when they passed on because their children are overseas and they have no other relatives or friends in town. “We assure them that they will be taken care of,” he added.

The document Ad resurgendum cum Christo, an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation” issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 15 August 2016, mentions that although the Church prefers burial at cemeteries, she has no doctrinal objections towards the practice of cremation. “Cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life,” the instruction says.

Instead, the Church is more concerned about the proper handling of the cremains. “In the past there was no ruling or guidelines, and so people just simply threw the ashes away,” Fr Chin explained. The document highlighted three points: firstly, the ashes must not be scattered anywhere; secondly, no subdividing of the cremains; and thirdly, the cremains are not allowed to be kept at home.

The practice of scattering of the ashes into the natural environment is a Buddhist practice, he pointed out. “The Buddhists believe that when we die, we enter into nothingness. The ashes are no longer important, and so you can do whatever you like with them,” he said. “However, for us, Catholics, once a person is cremated, the cremains is still the remains of a person, just like the remains of a person who is buried in the ground. So the Church emphasises that proper respect to the ashes must be given,” he added.

On why the Church forbids keeping the ashes at home, Fr Chin said, “Your children may respect you and hence, they would want to keep the urn properly. But for the subsequent generations who do not know you, the chances that the ashes are not properly cared for are high.”

One of the reasons for building a columbarium is that the local church still does not have a decent place for Catholics who opted for cremation. As a result, their ashes have to be interred at Buddhist columbaria. “This is not a good reflection on the church,” he said. “If we allowed for cremation, we must also have a proper place for them too.”

Asked on the procedures to secure a desired niche at the new columbarium, Fr Chin said parishioners can give a specific donation. The donation will be used to build the columbarium, while the excess will go to pay for the construction of the new parish church. “In appreciation of the donation, we offer the donors a space in the columbarium. They don’t own the space. Everything is still owned by the church,” he said.

Such arrangement is made so that, if in the future, should the columbarium need to be relocated to make way for a more important development, or the government suddenly wanted to take back the land where the columbarium is, the church would not need to ask permission from every family whose family members’ remains are kept in the columbarium.

“When that kind of unforeseen circumstances arise, we will relocate the whole columbarium to another new place at our own expense,” said Fr Chin. “The family may choose to bring back the urns or continue to let the church does the safekeeping for them without extra payment,” he said. “The placing of the urn is as permanent as the cemetery.”

There are two types of niches offered, for married couple and single person. The donation for single ones range from RM5K – RM8K, while the donation for married couples range from RM8K – RM13K, depending on the levels. There will be six levels of the niches. The two-storey columbarium can house approximately five thousand people.

Those who are interested to secure a space would need to contact Fr Vincent Chin personally at his office.

The whole contract sum of the project is RM4.028 million. The parish is very grateful to the Humanitarian Foundation headed by Dr Jeffrey Goh, which kindly sponsored RM3.666 million for the building project.

The construction of the columbarium is expected to complete by December 2018. – Audrey Yu, todayscatholic

55 Kuching single women attend first retreat

Fr Albert Jacobse celebrating the anniversary Mass for the Single Women Ministry prior to the retreat conducted by Wendy Louise (inset)

KUCHING — The Catholic Singles Women Ministry (CSWM), formed in August 2016, headed by their spiritual advisers Father Jerome Juleng and Sister Marie Celine SSFS, had their first retreat themed ‘Daughters of Light’ on 18 -19 November 2017. 

Wendy Louis, the speaker, is the Executive Secretary of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Office, Singapore. She has been a formator and trainer for over 20 years. Her rich experiences in working with various church organisations and speaking from the perspectives of a lay person yet in total conformity with church teachings, makes her a good speaker.

Wendy took the 55 retreatants to a new level of understanding of what it means to be beloved Daughters of Light. She shared on how to be a light to others and how to exercise the common priesthood in daily life. In other words, how to be Church with a mission.

She opened the minds and hearts of the participants to the tender gaze of God and helped them experience the joy and fruitfulness of the single life and to be a gift to others.

Wendy reminded all that there are challenges in every state of life. Nevertheless, the singles can stay engaged and connected in their lives with God through contemplative prayer, a ministry of presence and a culture of love and service.

Each lay ministry in the church must embody the four hallmarks of the church: One (united to the parish), Holy (God centred), Catholic (being inclusive) and Apostolic (servant leadership).

Retreatants were also given time for self-reflection and personal resolution.

Father Albert Jacobse MHM who presided over CSWM first anniversary Mass and the Sunday Mass preached on using one’s talents for the good of others. He reminded the daughters of light to always walk in the light of God.

The feedback from the retreatants was very positive and encouraging.  – todayscatholic

Fr Bingham dies at 86

SIBU – Catholics in the central region of Sarawak are mourning the loss of one of their longest-serving priests, Father David Bingham, who passed away peacefully on 27 Jan 2018 in England. He was 86.

News of his passing was conveyed by Mill Hill Missionaries to the Catholic Church here.

The late Fr Bingham had served as priest in the region for over 40 years.

A parishioner, Clement Chieng, gave thanks for Fr Bingham’s work in Sarawak.

Augustine Siaw said the late Fr Bingham had been an outstanding missionary for many years in the Sibu Diocese.

According to a statement from Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr David Bingham was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 7 April 1931 to Francis Dennis and Mary Bingham.

Fr David’s father served as an engineer in the Royal Navy and the family settled in Kenya where they took up farming.

Fr David received his secondary education with the Benedictines at Ampleforth from 1944 to 1949.

After performing compulsory military service, he studied in Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in History in 1956.

He then got a job with a shipping line in Singapore where he first made contact with people from Malaysia.

In his memoirs, Fr David wrote that through his contacts with the Church in Singapore, his Catholic faith had been strengthened and the first stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood made themselves felt.

Eventually, he applied for admittance to the formation programme of the Mill Hill Missionaries.

After a bridge-year in Osterley, he entered the Mill Hill formation programme in Roosendaal for studies in Philosophy.

In 1961, he entered St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to study Theology.

On 1 May 1964, he took the Perpetual Oath and the following year, on July 10, he was ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral.

He received an appointment to Malaysia, where he taught for two years in Sarikei followed by two years of mission work in Kanowit.

He was transferred to Simangang in 1971 and served there for some five years.

Subsequently, Fr David worked in the missions of Bintangor, Julau, Sibu, and Song.

Altogether, Fr David spent 46 years working in Sarawak.

He learnt the Iban language, reportedly with a pronounced English accent, as well as a little Hokkien.

In May 2005, Fr David started working in the British region and in October 2014, he took up residence in the Mill Hill Missionaries retirement home in Freshfield. Liverpool.

On the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 2015, it was noted that Fr Bingham had “great energy, an enquiring mind and a good sense of humour. “

In July 2001, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his mission work.- thestar.com.my

Highlights of Veritatis gaudium

Cover for Veritatis Gaudium. Credit: Vatican Media

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis begins his new Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium,  with this thought:  “The joy of truth expresses the restlessness of the human heart until it encounters and dwells within God’s Light, and shares that Light with all people.”

The Holy Father emphasises that “truth is not an abstract idea, but is Jesus himself, the Word of God in whom is the Life that is the Light of man”; and this, he says, “is the joy that the Church is impelled by Jesus to bear witness to and to proclaim in her mission, unceasingly and with ever renewed vigour.”

A courageous renewal of ecclesiastical studies
In “the changed social-cultural context worldwide,” characterised by “a wide-ranging ‘anthropological’ and ‘environmental crisis’,” Pope Francis says there is need of a “wise and courageous renewal” of ecclesiastical studies “for a more effective mission in this moment of history,” as laid out in his programmatic Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium.

Catholic universities for a missionary Church
Starting from the “primary need today” for a “missionary transformation of a Church that ‘goes forth’,” and which involves the whole People of God, Pope Francis says that ecclesiastical studies are called not only “to offer opportunities and processes for the suitable formation of priests, consecrated men and women, and committed lay people” but constitute “a sort of providential cultural laboratory in which the Church carries out the performative interpretation of the reality brought about by the Christ event and nourished by the gifts of wisdom and knowledge by which the Holy Spirit enriches the People of God in manifold ways – from the sensus fidei fidelium to the magisterium of the bishops, and from the charism of the prophets to that of the doctors and theologians.”

A cultural revolution in the light of tradition
This, the Pope said, requires “a radical paradigm shift, or rather… ‘a bold cultural revolution’” in which “the worldwide network of ecclesiastical universities and faculties is called to offer the decisive contribution of leaven, salt and light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the living Tradition of the Church, which is ever open to new situations and ideas.”

Today, he continued, it is becoming increasingly evident that ‘there is need of a true evangelical hermeneutic for better understanding life, the world and humanity, not of a synthesis but of a spiritual atmosphere of research and certainty based on the truths of reason and of faith. Philosophy and theology permit one to acquire the convictions that structure and strengthen the intelligence and illuminate the will… but this is fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and on one’s knees. The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre. The good theologian and philosopher has an open, that is, an incomplete, thought, always open to the maius of God and of the truth, always in development.’

Discovering God in every human person
Pope Francis points out four “fundamental criteria” for the renewal and revival of the contribution ecclesiastical studies can make for a missionary Church: “First, the most urgent and enduring criterion is that of contemplation and the presentation of a spiritual, intellectual and existential introduction to the heart of the kerygma, namely the ever fresh and attractive good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which continues to take flesh in the life of the Church and of humanity.” From this arises that universal fraternity “which is ‘capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does’.” This leads to “the imperative to allow our hearts and minds to heed the cry of the earth’s poor and to give concrete expression to the social dimension of evangelisation, which is an integral part of the Church’s mission. For ‘God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men’.”

Dialogue with believers and non-believers
A “second guiding criterion” is “that of wide-ranging dialogue” with believers and non-believers; “not as a mere tactical approach,” but rather as an authentic culture of dialogue “between all the authentic and vital cultures, thanks to a reciprocal exchange of the gifts of each in that luminous space opened up by God’s love for all his creatures.”

Unity of knowledge in the face of an uncertain and fragmented pluralism
The third fundamental criterion proposed by Pope Francis is “inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches carried out with wisdom and creativity in the light of Revelation,” according to “the vital intellectual principle of the unity in difference of knowledge”; and this also “in relation to the fragmented and often disintegrated panorama of contemporary university studies and to the pluralism – uncertain, conflicting and relativistic – of current beliefs and cultural options.” The Holy Father cites Benedict XVI, writing in Caritas in veritate: today “there is a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis.” This, Pope Francis says, “is where the specific mission entrusted to the programme of ecclesiastical studies comes into play,” so that they might have “real cultural and humanising importance.”

Finally, the fourth fundamental criterion concerns “concerns the urgent need for ‘networking’ between those institutions worldwide that cultivate and promote ecclesiastical studies, in order to set up suitable channels of cooperation also with academic institutions in the different countries and with those inspired by different cultural and religious traditions. At the same time, specialised centres of research need to be established in order to study the epochal issues affecting humanity today and to offer appropriate and realistic paths for their resolution.”

Reviving research
Pope Francis says “the revival of ecclesiastical studies entails the pressing need to give new impulse to the scientific research conducted in our ecclesiastical universities and faculties.” Ecclesiastical studies, he says, “cannot be limited to passing on knowledge, professional competence and experience to the men and women of our time who desire to grow as Christians, but must also take up the urgent task of developing intellectual tools that can serve as paradigms for action and thought, useful for preaching in a world marked by ethical and religious pluralism.”

Theology lives on the frontiers
“Theology and Christian culture have lived up to their mission whenever they were ready to take risks and remain faithful on the borderline,” Pope Francis says. Today, he concluded, we face “a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal” – a path of renewal that is also demanded of ecclesiastical universities and faculties. – Vatican News

New papal document seeks ‘paradigm shift’ at ecclesiastical universities

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has called for a “radical paradigm shift” and a “bold cultural revolution” at ecclesiastical universities, in a new apostolic constitution issued on 29 Jan 2018.

The new 87-page document, entitled Veritatis Gaudium (“The Joy of Truth”) replaces the apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana, issued by St John Paul II in 1979. Pope Francis writes that the older document “urgently needs to be brought up to date” in light of changes in society and in academic life.

(The new papal document applies specifically to universities and other academic institutions that offer degrees and courses of study approved by the Holy See. It does not apply directly to most Catholic colleges and universities, which remain governed by the norms of the 1990 apostolic constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.)

In Veritatis Gaudium the Pontiff stresses that ecclesiastical faculties serve the primary need of the Church today, which is “for the People of God to be ready to embark upon a new stage of ‘Spirit-filled’ evangelisation.” He writes that this challenge requires “a resolute process of discernment, purification, and reform.”

The need for a new approach is clear, the Pope writes, in light of “a true epochal shift” in society, made evident in “a wide-ranging anthropological and environmental crisis.” He continues:

Indeed, we daily see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation; these are evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises. In a word, this calls for changing the models of global development and redefining our notion of progress. Yet the problem is that we still lack the culture necessary to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths.

To guide the new approach to learning at ecclesiastical institutions, Pope Francis offers four criteria:

  1. the presentation of “the ever fresh and attractive good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”;
  2. a dedication to “wide-ranging dialogue” and the “culture of encounter”;
  3. a commitment to inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to study; and
  4. an emphasis on “networking” with other institutions to promote studies of mutual interest.

Veritatis Gaudium includes new norms for the direction of ecclesiastical faculties, which are to be implemented by national bishops’ conferences under the guidance of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. The norms call for a concentration on magisterial texts, with a special emphasis on the documents of Vatican II. Teachers, the Pope says, must be “conscious of their duty to carry out their work in full communion with the authentic Magisterium of the Church, above all, with that of the Roman Pontiff.”

The new norms will take effect with the opening of the academic year 2018-2019. Each pontifical faculty is required to bring its own statutes and curriculum into conformity with the new apostolic constitution, and submit the revised plans to the Congregation for Catholic Education before 8 December  2019. – CWN

The full text of the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium can be found on the Vatican website.

American young adult delegates to pre-synod gathering span vocations

Young people at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, July 2016. Credit: Jeff Bruno/CNA.

WASHINGTON DC – The US bishops have selected the young adult delegates who will represent the country at the pre-synod gathering in Rome on 19-25 March 2018,  before the 2018 Youth Synod of Bishops in October.

The three delegates, all 20-somethings, represent a variety of vocations and will be able to bring their personal perspectives, as well as what they have learned from working with young people at local and national levels, to the gathering in Rome, said a representative of the US bishops’ conference.

“What was not really intended, but certainly was wonderful to see, was that they really reflect the vocational diversity (of the Church),” said Paul Jarzembowski, assistant director for youth and young adult ministries at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“This is a pre-synod meeting on the reality of young people but also the vocational pathways, so it was wonderful to see that the three representatives…represent the three particular phases and experiences of the vocational journey, it just made for a wonderful diversity of the vocational and ministerial experiences,” he told CNA.

The chosen delegates are: Brother Javier Hansen, FSC, a LaSallian Brother who teaches religion at Cathedral High School-El Paso, Texas; Nick López, a single young adult who is the director of campus ministry for the University of Dallas and a guest columnist for the Catholic News Service; and Katie Prejean McGrady, a wife, new mother, youth minister, and speaker from the Diocese of Lake Charles in Louisiana.

The pre-synod gathering is significant because it is yet another way that the Church is listening to and gathering information about youth and young people, ages 16-30, the demographic on which the synod will focus, Jarzembowski said.

Typically, the bishops gather pre-synod data from questionnaires sent out to episcopal conferences, but this year the bishops are also including this pre-synod gathering as well as the pre-synod youth survey, which was available online last year.

“So when the bishops meet in Rome in October, they will have a lot of information at their fingertips in terms of what is the experience of young people today,” Jarzembowski said.

The Youth Synod’s theme is “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” While an official agenda has yet to be set, the preparatory document outlines some of the things that the bishops will be discussing, while the rest will be determined by the pre-synod survey as well as the gathering.

Brother Hansen said that he looks forward to representing young adult religious vocations, as well as his students, at the gathering.

“I believe I offer the perspective of many young religious in this country and those who are currently discerning religious life,” he said in a statement. “I not only will represent the people of my generation but also the young people I interact with every day in the classroom.”

For Lopez, the gathering is an opportunity to share what he has learned working in youth ministry, as well as his perspective on the American and Latino youth experience.

In comments to CNA, Prejean McGrady said she is looking forward to learning from other youth ministers throughout the word, as well as sharing what she’s learned in her work with young people in America.

“…I’ve noticed that American youth are hungry for authentic encounter: with each other, with their families, with the Church, and ultimately with Jesus,” she said.

“They are seeking the chance to communicate and share their hearts, and be guided on their journey, but they’re confronted with the noise of the culture and struggle to find opportunities to authentically share, be heard, and listen. I hope to convey that our American youth want to know Jesus, and there are many successful ways we are helping young people meet Him in our country.”

Fostering vocations; the impact of technology and social media on individuals and communities; and best practices for youth and young adult ministry are likely to be some of the key topics going forward in the gathering and the synod, Jarzembowski said.

He added that he was excited about the chosen delegates because not only are they young people themselves, but they are accompanying other young people in the faith.

“They’re young people working with young people, which in and of itself is a wonderful model for the way we should accompany one another,” he said.

“We don’t do this Church thing alone, we walk with each other. And these are three examples of young adults who are walking with other young people, and we can’t go wrong with that model.”

Jarzembowski encouraged young people to continue offering their perspectives and follow along with the pre-synod gathering as well as the synod by following @Synod2018 on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Youth and young adults can also follow along on the official Vatican website for the synod and the pre-synod gathering, as well as on the USCCB web page for the synod. – CNA/EWTN News

SHC parish catechists commissioned for another year

English parish catechists pose with Fr Max Hontor and Sem Russell Lawrine after the Mass, 27 Jan 2018 SHC.

KOTA KINABALU – Over the weekend celebrating Catechetical Sunday on 27-28 Jan 2018, parish catechists of Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) here and Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang were commissioned for service for another year.

Parish catechists refer to the volunteers serving in Faith Formation (Sunday School) and Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA).  Some of them also serve in the Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW).

Thirty-seven were commissioned by Father Max Hontor at the English Sunset Mass Jan 27 while on the next day 61 were commissioned at the Chinese Mass and 80 at the BM Mass both by Father Paul Lo.  Four were commissioned at CMI by Fr Hontor at the 9 am English Mass.

Earlier, on Jan 18, all the parish catechists prepared themselves for the event with a short programme of Holy Hour at the cathedral and reflection-group sharing at the parish centre.

The theme for this year was Christ our Hope who places his hope in us.

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.