Tag Archives: 2018-10

Synod of Bishops: We must ask for forgiveness

Synod of Bishops on Young People Monday Press Briefing

VATICAN – The Synod Fathers had Monday off while the first draft of the Synod document was being finalised. This draft will be presented at the General Assembly on Tuesday morning. The draft will be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday the Synod Fathers will have a day off while a final draft is being prepared. On Friday the General Assembly will meet to elect a new Council for the Synod and, on Saturday, the final document will be presented to the bishops. They will vote on the document paragraph by paragraph, each needing a two thirds majority to be included in the final document.

We must ask forgiveness

Bishop Paolo Bizzeti, S.J., from Turkey said that he has been thinking about the kind of world that has been created for young people. We have not prepared a livable world for young people where they can work, express themselves and use their talents. We have to ask young people for forgiveness, he said, for creating a world in which we have deprived them of so many possibilities.

The Bishop also said that what emerged for him at the Synod was the vast differences between the Church in affluent wealthy parts of the world compared to many impoverished places. He said that in impoverished places it is very hard to talk about faith and discernment when many young people from the ages of 8 or 10 are not able to choose because choices are made for them, often by the desperate conditions they find themselves in.


We must change, we must take conversion seriously, so that we can become a better Church, said Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, S.D.B., General Superior of the Salesians of Saint John Bosco. He said that young people have asked the Church to be brave and bear witness, to testify to the faith. He said that this was a call to all adults, not just to the clergy.

Ms. Henriette Camara, an auditor and member of the Catholic Scouts from Guinea, spoke about her conversion. She said that she came from a Muslim family. She came into contact with the Catholic Scouts and explained how, through this movement, she chose to convert. She says that she received a lot of support from them, she was welcomed without any discrimination and that her commitment to the Church with other young people has been a very meaningful experience. She also said that, even today, her mother is not happy that she chose to convert but she is still supported by the scouts.

Feeling fatherless and motherless

Bishop Bizzeti and Fr Artime said that they believe that motherhood and fatherhood is missing in the world. Fr Artime says that he meets young people who suffer from this lack of parenthood. He said that even in families that are conventional the pace of life is such that children are often not given the presence and accompaniment they need.

He went on to say that he believed that there is a weakness in the Church’s vision. The Church is not only present in parishes but in schools, shelters and other institutions and it is precisely in these that the Church can offer and help young people with a truly mature and healthy motherhood and fatherhood.

Local Synods

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano from the USA, said that the work of the Synod has been to look at things from a universal level but that this now needs to be taken into local Churches. He said that Synodality doesn’t end now, it must be concretised in local areas. A big question for him, he says, is how he takes this forward in his own diocese. He said that he wants to bring young people in his diocese together so that they can put their heads together and find a way forward. He said that a diocesan synod or congress might be a way of taking the Synod forward.

Bishop Caggiano said that young people have a unique contribution to offer the Church in the form of the technologies they use. Young people have expertise on the “digital continent” and that needs to become real missionary territory. He said that the young people at the Synod are ready to be sent and that it is his hope that they unleash a new energy and power in the Church. Young people best evangelise young people, the bishop said.

Commenting on the sexual abuse of minors Bishop Caggiano said that abuse was both a crime and a sin and that there is no place in the Church for this at all. We need to let young people know that we are committed to rebuilding our credibility and trust. The Bishops said that when trust is broken it is very hard to rebuild and needs to be done one person at a time. He said that that is something the bishops will address and must have a definitive way of dealing with in the future.- Russell Pollitt, SJ, Vatican News, 22 Oct 2018

Reflection for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time B



First Reading
Isaiah 53:10-11
Through his suffering, the servant of Yahweh will justify many.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20,22
A prayer of praise for God’s mercy

Second Reading
Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus is the high priest who sympathizes with our weakness.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:35-45 (shorter form Mark 10:42-45)
Jesus teaches that those who wish to be great must be the servant of all.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we continue to read from the section of Mark’s Gospel that reports Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Last Sunday we heard Jesus lament the particular challenges those with many possessions face in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus then predicts his passion to the Twelve, who are amazed and afraid. In this part of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ words to his closest disciples seem to be intended to prepare them for the events that will occur in Jerusalem.

In today’s Gospel, James and John ask to be given seats of honor when Jesus enters into his glory. Once again, the disciples seem to be selective in what they hear Jesus say. They want to share Jesus’ glory, but do not appear to understand that his glory will be preceded by his suffering. Jesus notes their lack of understanding and predicts the suffering they will endure for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus says that the honor they seek is not his to give. When the other ten hear what James and John have asked, Mark reports that they are indignant. Jesus takes the opportunity to teach them.

Jesus explains the importance of service and sacrifice in the life of a disciple. In particular, he seems to be preparing the Twelve for their leadership roles in the emerging Christian community. Echoing the Gospel we heard several weeks ago (on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 9:33-37), Jesus acknowledges that his teaching is countercultural. In today’s Gospel, Jesus contrasts the dynamics within the community of disciples with those shown by the rulers of the Gentiles.

Following Jesus’ example of sacrificial love continues to be countercultural in our day as well. We might take this opportunity to consider our models of authority and examine our own exercise of authority. On whose example do we model our leadership? – loyolapress.com


To serve as Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

TANJUNG ARU – The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and Parish Finance Council (PFC) of Stella Maris Parish here ended its term on 30 June 2018, paving way for election of new PPC members by way of nomination from the parishioners.

The parish priest informed parishioners on the importance of participating in the nomination of candidates for the various roles and how the PPC/PFC play a role in helping the parish priests in executing parish tasks.

After the dissolution of the PPC/PFC and other ministries, an Ad-hoc committee was set up to oversee the incoming nominations as well as to help in conducting interviews with those shortlisted candidates.

All PPC nominees for 2018-2021 were given a formation talk at the Home of Hope by Fr Peter Abas. At this formative session, Fr Peter Abas explained the nature of the PPC’s role and how the “Pastoral Council” came into existence from the previous “Parish Council”.

Fr Peter Abas focused on three common questions:

  1. Why me, Lord? Negative self-implication! There are many other people better than me.
  2. What makes me be chosen? Positive notion! Lord, only you know who I am. But still, you chose me.
  3. How do I look at myself in this ministry that I am supposed to take? There is no right or wrong answer.

The distinction between Parish Council and Parish Pastoral Council was explained further; Parish Council is like an institution – waiting for people to come, while Parish Pastoral Council focuses on pastoring, shepherding, moving forward and coordinating. In a nutshell, the PPC should always be planning and coordinating, to assist the parish priests in the pastoral mission of the Church in the parish.

The presentation concluded with a Gospel verse taken from Mt 5:13-14, “the Salt of the earth” and “the Light of the World” and a special prayer.  As the new PPC, Fr Abas said, “you must continue to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin-infected world.” Fr Peter Abas quoted James Heller, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. He reminded the new PPC that if you light the other life with Love, Happiness and Peace, then God is there to light your life with divine gifts and blessing.

Sr Bernadine, a nominee, related her anxiety on her competency and her tasks, and found her answers in the formative talk. She can now move forward to accept her calling to serve the Lord as a PPC.

Petrus Augustine, who is serving for a second term, together with his wife Sylvia Jenneh appreciated the formative talk which has cleared their many questions.

The new PPC 2018-2021 was installed on 25 Aug 2018 during the Sunset Mass by Msgr Primus Jouil, followed by lighting of candles and reciting of pledge of service. Fr Abas reminded the new PPC to be loving, kind, non-judgemental and humble in serving the Lord and others. – SOCCOM SMP

Canonization Mass: Signs and symbols of sanctity

Pope Francis canonizes seven new saints during Mass in St Peter’s Square in a ceremony filled with verbal and non-verbal messages.

VATICAN – A pope who championed dialogue and mission. An archbishop who was murdered for defending the defenseless. Two priests and two women religious, who dedicated their lives to serving the poorest and most in need. And a layperson who died of bone tuberculosis when he was only 19 years of age.

Examples worth imitating

Paul VI, Oscar Romero, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Catherine Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nuncio Sulprizio. All witnesses to their faith in different ways at different times. All officially recognized by the Church as being worthy of imitation. By formally declaring their sanctity during Mass on Sunday, Pope Francis was acknowledging that their names may be entered in the canon (hence “canonization”) of the saints, churches may be built in their honor, altars dedicated, and prayers directed to them as special patrons.

In the words of Pope Francis

Reflecting on the Gospel of Mark for this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Pope Francis stressed the need to be uncompromising in giving ourselves completely to God. “Jesus is radical”, said the Pope. “He gives all and He asks all: He gives a love that is total and He asks for an undivided heart”. Turning to the newly canonized saints, Pope Francis said that all of them, “in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without being lukewarm, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything”. “May the Lord help us to imitate their example”, he concluded.

Signs and symbols

Aside from the gigantic images adorning the façade of St Peter’s Basilica, the presence of the new saints was evident in the seven reliquaries that stood to one side of the altar throughout the celebration. But Pope Francis chose three particularly personal elements to demonstrate his closeness to Paul VI and Oscar Romero, especially.

The chalice used by Pope Francis during the Canonization Mass was a favorite of Paul VI. As was the Pastoral Cross which accompanied him on many of his apostolic journeys around the world. And to celebrate Oscar Romero, Pope Francis wore the bloodstained cincture of the slain Archbishop of San Salvador, the one he was wearing when he was shot while celebrating Mass in the Chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence, on March 24th 1980.- Seàn-Patrick Lovett, Vatican News, 14 Oct 2018



Synod of Bishops: “Shake up the Church” Pope says

The Synod Fathers apologise to youth, African issues have been overlooked, and Pope Francis always shows respect.

Synod of Bishops Press Briefing

VATICAN – Ms. Corina Fiore Mortola Rodríguez from Mexico said that she wants to convey that she, and the young people at the Synod, are very grateful to Pope Francis for giving them this opportunity to be at the Synod and for the chance to speak. She said that the presence of young people has been fruitful and everyone is working together. She explained how, in a coffee break, she had a conversation with Pope Francis who told her that young people must “shake up the Church”. She says that the Holy Father told young to speak their minds.

Ms. Rodríguez said that young people want a Church that does not give up in the face of adversity – when confronted with migration, violence and abuse of all kinds. Young people want the church to be the trending place of charity. She told journalists that she felt very emotional but wanted to say how touched the young people were when the Synod Fathers humbled themselves and apologised for what has happened in the Church that should never have happened.

She said that young people don’t want to be directed, they want to be accompanied. Young people move away from the Church because an encounter is missing, they don’t encounter people who love what they are doing. If you love what you do, it is conveyed to others by the way you live, she said. With great enthusiasm she said that young people, like her, want to share the energy they have for their faith like a hurricane – one that brings something good.

Cardinal Juan José Omella Omella of Spain added that the Church preaches a lot and says religion is positive and that we must love God. He said that although this is done, young people claim that we do not practice what we preach. He went on to propose Pope Francis as a model saying that he does the things he speaks about, he is earnest and consistent. The Cardinal said that Pope Francis got rid of excess and that the Church must do that too.

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, OFM, of South Africa said that there were a number of elements missing from Africa in the Synod document. He expressed the hope that they will be captured in the final document. He said that in the West many young people are leaving the Church but in Africa young people are searching in the Church.

Another thing he highlighted was the scourge of unemployment, poverty and migration. He said these issues were touched on but mostly in the European context rather than Africa. The Cardinal said that there is uncontrolled exploitation in Africa, the extraction, for example, of minerals and the environment which is degraded as a result. He said that this leaves Africans with no other means of survival but to leave the continent.

He also mentioned how some families remove their children from school and put them into situations of child labour so that they can make ends meet. This means that children are not getting an education, and so the cycle of poverty continues.  The Cardinal mentioned bribery and corruption in governments which have a massive impact on the wellbeing of African youth.

Cardinal Juan José Omella Omella said that the Holy Father is always with the Synod in the gathering of the general assembly. He says he listens and takes notes and clearly shows the gathering that what they are doing is something important and significant. He says Pope Francis is always respectful, he knows how to listen and he knows when to speak. The Cardinal said that the Holy father spoke once, he summarised what had been said and made an important input himself. He said that when people speak the Holy Father looks at them, gives them attention, no matter who they are – young people, curial officials, bishops, auditors and members of other churches who are observing the Synod.

The prelate said that the Holy Father asked everyone at the beginning of the Synod to speak freely. The assembly heard things that some people didn’t like, he admits, but the important thing is that everybody is free to speak what is in their hearts. “I believe that there is a free climate and that is beautiful,” the Cardinal Omella Omella said.

Cardinal Napier said that he believed that the critique of Pope Francis was often unbalanced and that there are many things which Pope Francis has done that are not often spoken of. He mentioned how, in the Council for the Economy, there are now budgets and accountability which, he said, was not the case in the past. – Russell Pollitt, SJ, Vatican News, 13 Oct 2018









SHC migrant communities celebrate integration in concrete way

KOTA KINABALU – Heeding Pope Francis’ message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees with the theme “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees”, the Human Development Committee (HDC) of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish organized an “international bazaar” on Sep 16 to express solidarity with the migrant brothers and sisters of our parish in celebrating the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The event was a concrete gesture of welcome extended to the three migrant communities existing in the parish: the Koreans, Filipinos and Indonesians.  The running of the stalls by the migrant communities was a recognition and putting value to the abilities and gifts that they bring with them to the parish.

This year’s bazaar was the second edition, after the first which was successfully organized in 2017. Besides the migrant stalls, other supporters also opened three additional stalls.

Showcasing their traditional recipes, the communities made available an array of enticing food for everyone to savor, such as the lechon which needs no introduction, potu, adobo, grilled bangus (milk fish), star bun, pandisal, bubol, pudding, jeon (Korean vegetables pancake), and others.

The event launched off with a prayer and blessing by parish priest, Fr Paul Lo. In honour of the 55th Malaysia Day, a cake was cut by Fr Paul, together with Korean priest Fr Lawrence and other community leaders.

The crowd who patronized the bazaar was seen as a positive response from the parishioners who took up the opportunity to meet and greet the migrants present in the parish, and at the same time to appreciate their gifts and abilities in the delicacies sold. – C. Engsun

Holy Spirit helps confirmands be aware of occasions of sin

KINARUT, Papar – On Aug 28, 132 young parishioners came together at St Augustine Church to share in the gift of the Holy Spirit through receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

These confirmands had been preparing themselves for this special day for the past one year. They attended classes and participated in camps.

Archbishop John Wong, who celebrated the Mass and conferred the Sacrament, explained to the candidates that they now have the help of the Holy Spirit to become more aware of the occasions of sin, particularly in the daily usage of social media in a borderless world.

He also listed seven deadly sins according to Catholic teaching, namely: lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony, sloth, with pride being the deadliest of all, the root of all evil and the beginning of sin.

Speaking to his young audience, the Archbishop acknowledged that with technology advancement people freely and frequently express their views through the various social media channels, leading them to spend more time on the devices.

He warned that this phenomenon, if not balanced with a deep foundation of faith, can be a counter to knowing God and ultimately His creation by providing more attractive alternatives of beliefs easily available in social media especially to youngsters. – SOCCOM Penampang 

Training faith formators to “live life in the classroom”

LIKAS – More than 90 participants benefited from a recently held Ignatian Pedagogy training program for faith formators at St Simon Likas parish hall on Sep 14-16.

What is the Ignatian Pedagogy?  Very simply, it is a way of living our lives in the classroom. It is a way of learning and a method of teaching based on the life and spirit of St Ignatius. The basic Ignatian Pedagogy frame is made up of parts that are easily seen and practised in daily life, and thus positively effect both students and formators.

Fr Alvin Ho, SJ, from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur facilitated the formation and workshop targeted for the English speaking catechists and facilitators in the KK Archdiocese who are involved in the catechetical ministry in giving catecheses to the young in Sunday School, RCIA, RCIC and Kids of the Kingdom. They came from St Simon Likas, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Blessed Sacrament Labuan, St Michael Penampang, Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, Holy Family Telipok, and St John Tuaran. Of special note was the Chinese speaking catechists from Sacred Heart Cathedral who joined the training.

An educator by background, as well as a trained catechist, Jesuit priest Fr Ho is an expert in this field.  He is also the immediate past chairman of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission.

He reminded the participants that serving as a catechist is “not a part-time hobby”, but “of paramount importance to fully dedicate oneself to this ministry”.

“The goal is to help learners to attain the end for which they were created: knowledge and love of God, and salvation,” explained Fr Ho.

The elements of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm help the participants to consider the context (what needs to be known about the learners), experience of the learners (to engage the learners by relating to their experience) and to guide them to reflection and to move beyond knowledge to action.

After the inputs, participants were put into small group discussions on how to apply the steps given by the speaker.

The participants were enthusiastic, happy, inspired, motivated and encouraged in learning the new skills and methods of teaching even though it was difficult to apply in the beginning.  But after more sessions of discussion and clarification from the speaker, the participants were more enlightened and challenged to apply this method in their weekly catechism classes.

Some participants expressed that there were still many things they needed to learn, and that the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm was very complex. One remarked “We need refresher courses or workshops such as this.” Yet another said “This formation is very useful in order to mould us as catechists to better improve our ways of guiding and approach when it comes to dealing with children of God.”  While one found that the training program was very useful, and has provided the confidence to prepare lesson, and another opined that the examples given by Fr Alvin from his personal teaching experience were very helpful.

The feedback from the survey forms showed an overwhelming response where 90 percent found the program met their expectations and was useful for their application in their classes. – Sr Dariah Ajap 

Trauma healing through contemplation

KOTA KINABALU – Difficult life experiences such as adverse childhood experience could cause trauma and toxic stress on the person which can lead to physical and emotional illness and substance abuse problems.

“But there is hope beyond hurt,” said Fr Cornelio Jaranilla, OCD, at the talk on Trauma Healing through Contemplation, on 10 -11 September 2018 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, organized by Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS).

“The best therapy is contemplation. When you experience God, you will be released from your traumas and pain,” said the Filipino priest, who is also a clinical therapist, better known as Fr Kuni in the Philippines.

“Prayer of contemplation is like a ‘turbo-mode’ of healing because it is God’s unconditional love,” he said.

Fr Kuni said as age matures and the body develops, the mental and psychological areas also develop.  However, if traumatized during childhood they will either develop positively or negatively.

Trauma causes a psychological injury called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and can be intervened through therapy. As a registered clinical therapist, Fr Kuni generously conducted a group therapy to the 76 participants, as well as personal therapy to some.

The psychotherapy conducted is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) involving an erasing of painful memory and installation of positive beliefs.

Through his many experiences, he said in Asian countries like Cambodia, Pakistan, Myanmar and India, adverse childhood experiences are mainly caused by cultural structure where children suffer the most.

“The Church should emphasize on family therapy through the Basic Ecclesial Community (BECs) because change (healing) does not happen at the top but in the family and in the community.”

“To install positive beliefs, one needs two to five years, so we need a community-based therapy,” he said, thus the need for local therapists instead of a fly-in fly-out therapist.

Fr Kuni emphasized that mental and psychological development must go hand in hand with their spiritual development. Spiritual awakening happens at an early stage of life and a response to the awakening is always necessary. To the degree that a person responds to the awakening, life will be changed.

In the spirituality of the Carmelites, St Theresa of Avila and St John of the Cross call this spiritual development; the Three Spiritual Ways. It begins with Purification which is a stage of putting one’s life in order, Illumination where the person receives enlightenment and increased peace and finally Union where prayer of infused contemplation happens.

Fr Kuni said in order to progress in each stage, the person must enter into dark nights where he or she is stripped purposefully of consolations of God but at the same time, is assured of His presence.

“Mid-life crisis, which is characterized by tension, conflict and discontentment, can lead you to the dark night. It is a time for transition – leading one to open to the Mystery,” he said.

In each stage, Fr Kuni said God purifies the soul and thus heals the traumas, in order to bring the soul closer to Him. Linda Edward

Enriching spiritual life as a community through LSS

KOTA KINABALU – The Sacred Heart Cathedral English Prayer Group hosted a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) with international speakers at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre on 24-26 Aug 2018.

Father Varghese Mathew Parackal based in Holy Family Church, Australia is widely travelled and has facilitated retreats in Asia, Oceania, Africa and Germany for the past 15 years.  His retreats, among others, include Inner Healing retreats, Holy Spirit retreats, and Healing and Deliverance retreats.

The other invited speaker was Joseph Fernandez from the Archdiocese of Singapore.  He has ministered in Australia, India and the U.S. leading Praise and Worship and giving talks.

The seminar, themed “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”, received overwhelming response not only from local parishioners but also from as far as Sarawak and Labuan.

Among the highlights of the seminar were a session on Inner Healing before the Blessed Sacrament and an Exhortation on Deliverance.  The seminar concluded with Mass presided by Fr Parackal.

It is the hope of the English Prayer Meeting group that activities like these would assist in overcoming issues of secularism and apathy in the Archdiocese by bringing parishioners into a deeper experience of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Hence the English Prayer Meeting group looks forward to organize Life in the Spirit Seminar annually through the engagement of prominent speakers.

The organizing committee thanked all donors and the SHC parish for their support to make this seminar possible.

Faith formation and Praise and Worship will continue every Friday at 8:00 pm at Room F7. – Joseph Carlos Leong


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