Tag Archives: 2018-11

MYTC grateful to supporters and benefactors for success of 13th Open House

KINARUT – Montfort Youth Training Centre, better known by the acronym MYTC, organized its 13th Open House & Carnival on Oct 7 at its Residential Campus ground in Kinarut.

People from all walks of life, from the young to the elderly and those coming from places as far as Kiulu and Sandakan, came together to support and participate in this annual event.

Many regular patrons, local villagers and city folks came as early as 7:00 in the morning to visit the various stalls set up for the event although the official time for the event was at 8:00 am.

The Montfortian family prayed for good weather and God had definitely answered their prayers as the dry and sunny weather prevailed throughout the day.

Fifty one (51) stalls were set up with a variety of items for sale, ranging from food, religious items, second hand goods, as well as MYTC products from the Welding and Carpentry Departments.

The visitors were also entertained by The Jade who played their evergreen songs; and ‘Sape’ performance by Joefazley Igong and his brother Zenidine Igong, who was our former trainee graduated in 2017. A group of former trainees also did their part by performing the Beat Box, a musical trend among youngsters today.

There were also a few choices of games for the visitors, but the most popular game was fishing where the visitors were able to take home their catch of the day, comprising Tilapia and Patin fish.

Children were not left out for they were given equal opportunity to catch tiny fish for their keeping.

This year the Open House also coincided with the birthday of MYTC’s chairman, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, and on hand to celebrate his birthday were his family members and wife Diana, Board members, Management Committee members and Datuk Ewon Benedick, who is the State Minister of Rural Development.

The Brothers, staff and trainees of MYTC wished to record their appreciation and gratitude for the support of volunteer stallholders and benefactors who came together in making this event a memorable and joyful occasion for all. 

MYTC also thanked Archbishop John Wong, parish priests and parishioners for their overwhelming support during the coupon sales at their respective parishes.

Everyone with their unique roles came together to make the Open House & Carnival 2018 a success, living up to the Montfortian motto of “Together We Achieve”. – MYTC PAD

Catholic Family Life Apostolate embarks on 2nd consultative program

BUNDU TUHAN – The Catholic Family Life Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu held its second Family Life consultative program at the retreat centre here on 5-7 Oct 2018. 

 It was participated by 74 members of the Catholic Family Life Apostolate from 17 parishes under the KK Archdiocese. Most of the participants were newly appointed committee members of their respective parishes.

The commission hoped that through this program, the Parish Family Life Apostolate members may renew themselves and be committed in their ministry; focus and return to the Vision-Mission of the Archdiocese in implementing their activities or programs; and continue the threefold pastoral thrust of the Archdiocesan Vision-Mission.

A 3R methodology approach was engaged to facilitate the program: Recollect, Review and Renew, to equip the participants with knowledge and understanding of their journey, to strengthen their commitment, and to renew their self-confidence in their service.

Fr Michael Modoit, as spiritual adviser of the Family Life Commission, delivered the keynote address on behalf of Archbishop John Wong, who is the Episcopal President of the Family, Laity and Life Commission. He reminded the gathering on the importance of understanding the purpose of the consultation, and the need to journey together and to collaborate with other ministries to effectively combat the culture of apathy, secularization and political Islamisation.

A video on the Realities and Challenges faced by family in Asia was presented.  A recap of the previous year’s consultative program followed, contributed by sharings from St Peter Clever and St Paul Dontozidon, and testimony by Dr Jiloris and wife, Pauline.

 Interspersed throughout the 3-day program were group discussions/consultations based on prepared questions, and followed by experiential sharing of the ministry.

The group discussions have deepened the members’ understanding of the realities and challenges of their journey, while providing exposure to building self-confidence as a leader.

The re-interpretation of the Vision and Mission of the Diocese was presented by Dominic Lim, while Fr Michael deepened their understanding of the need of strategic planning, focusing on the archdiocese pastoral thrust.

The consultation concluded with Mass.  Head of the Commission Family Life Apostolate Sr Suzan Guntabid called on the members to continue to serve humbly and sincerely for every good deed that we deliver is a way to holiness. – Julita Kantod

Be non-selective, give charity to all

KOTA MARUDU – The outreach team of St Simon Catholic Church Likas Pastoral Care Ministry visited Kg Gosusu here on Sep 10.

“Go out as a community to help the communities in need. Remember to give charity to all – be non-selective,” advised parish priest Fr Cosmas Lee as he gave them the blessing ahead of the three-hour and a half journey into the rural village.

The northbound drive took the convoy of 19 members, in eight heavy-duty vehicles and a lorry packed with goods, along a 6.7km gravel road.

After a small hiccup along the way of having to pull the heavily-laden lorry up a steep slope, the team finally reached its destination – a small but neat village, sitting at the bank of a seasonal river in a valley.

Kampong chief Jose Latah, catechist Alpheus, some 40 women and children were on hand to welcome us at a small but solid community hall built with wood and bamboo.

After the formality of a welcome speech, Alpheus shared with us his vast experience of catechist work in various kampongs in the East Coast of Sabah over the past 30 years.

Although there are only a small number of Catholics – some 200 people – among the kampong folks here, the village is blessed to have Alpheus to guide them on the Catholic faith.

A tiny but well-maintained chapel called Assumption of Our Lady sits at a slightly higher ground in the vicinity and in front of it, a grotto that houses an immaculate white porcelain statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Alpheus proudly said the grotto was constructed two years ago with stones from the river.

“The majority of our construction materials such as stones and bamboos are extracted from the village vicinity,”  he said, adding that they also grow vegetables or gather them from the wild and rear chickens for food.

Under lead coordinators James and Dominic, who tirelessly coordinated with the Gosusu community leaders well ahead of our visit, the construction of a Tadika kitchen adjacent to the school had been completed. These were also located near the community hall. A young teacher, Evelyn Vincent, is employed at the Tadika to teach a present number of six pre-school students.

The team brought along donations of school furniture comprising four long desks and 16 stools as well as gas tanks, rice and various dried food stuff, sundries and other requested necessities.

The team also discovered that the lack of electricity in the area was the reason why less children want to go to school there. They were determined to fix the damaged solar power panels as one of the means to improve the situation.

Alpheus said there could be even less students next year as the older children would go to the public school in town. He was, however, determined to remain as the catechist and protect every sheep and let not one sheep be lost.

Besides teaching about the Catholic faith, Alpheus also taught them hymns.

This reminded us of what Fr Cosmas said “We need to be humble and learn from the people that we are visiting. They lead a simple life, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.” – SOCCOM ST SIMON

Great faith knows no bounds

KIRONGGU, Inanam –  Great faith knows no bounds when believers come together to knock on God’s doors!

The unabated prayer of the Catholic community in Kironggu in the district of Inanam for some land to build a new chapel to replace their old chapel that had to be dismantled 15 years ago finally bore fruit.

In 2017, former catechist Joanes Gubud came forward to offer 0.75 acres of his land for the construction of the new chapel. Further blessing came on the community when philanthropist Datuk Victor Paul responded to their hour of need and paid for the construction of the new chapel which was completed in September 2018.

More than 300 parishioners witnessed the blessing and officiating of the new St Michael’s Chapel by Fr David Sham, parish priest of St Catherine Church on Sep 29.

Present for the historic occasion were assistant priests, Fr Matheus Luta and Fr Mitchelly Kiun, Fr Paul Lo, former assistant priest of St Catherine, and Kenny Chua, Assistant Minister of Finance cum State Assemblyman for N13 Inanam.

The newly blessed chapel was constructed at the cost of RM50K, excluding its extended open hall which was funded through donations.  The chapel can accommodate 120 parishioners, and another 100 in the extended space.

The old chapel, which was built on private land owned by the late Linus Sapidang in 1983, has been dismantled some time in 2003 when its neighboring land was converted into palm oil plantation.

Although the chapel was dismantled, the Catholic community, estimated to be around 350, continues to thrive with regular gatherings, meetings, gotong-royong, rosary prayer in May and October, and other church activities during the seasons of Lent and Advent. – Michael Guntili

Deepening the harmonious integration of migrants in Blessed Sacrament parish

LABUAN – The 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees or known as Migrant Sunday was locally observed on 23rd Sept 2018 by Blessed Sacrament parish here as an opportunity to deepen the harmonious integration of migrants existing in the parish.

The celebration began with Mass presided by Msgr Primus Jouil, followed by fellowship at the Multi Purpose Hall.

Some 500 migrant parishioners from the various migrant communities (Indonesian, Filipino, KadazanDusun, Chinese, Indian) and other ethnic groups from Sabah and Sarawak participated in the celebration. 

The parishioners, led by Msgr Primus and the new Labuan Parish Pastoral Council (LPPC) line-up, proceeded to the hall, accompanied by a bevy of Indonesian traditional dancers.

Referring to Pope Francis’ message for the occasion, entitled “Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting, and Integrating Migrants and Refugees”, Msgr Primus reminded all of their responsibility towards caring for one another, especially the strangers in our midst. 

Migrants are to be welcomed as part of our community, in the Church, or at place of work. They face many challenges such as being away from their homeland, their families and relatives, as well as having to face legal requirements of the country where they are in. He reminded that our concern is to be manifested by our “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating” them into our community.

Organizing chairman Danny Ligunjang, who is also the coordinator of the Labuan Parish Human Development Committee, stressed on the equality of every human being and reminded that all of us are ourselves migrants in this world, while PPC chairperson Jocelyn Yeo took the opportunity to call on all to ponder on “How we are to integrate with one another”.

There was the usual ceremonious cake cutting by the parish priest, who was surrounded by children of the parish, followed by lunch.  The celebration was enlivened by dance performances, personal sharing and testimonies from several representatives of the various communities and ethnic groups, and lucky draw. – Julita Kantod

The impact on today of those “dark times”

FR GASTEL recalled in 1963 and the immediate years that followed the formation of Malaysia, mass conversions took place, school policies changed, societal changes took place, systematic expulsions of foreign priests and religious were carried out, etc.

“I was one of the eight priests who were actually arrested and expelled from Sabah,” confirmed Fr Gastel.

He listed them as Fr Tom Putman from Toboh, Fr Frans Frerichs from Kuala Penyu, Fr Paddy MacDonald from Papar, Fr Jan Goedhart from Limbahau, Fr Bertus Vissehedyck from Keningau, Fr Jan Thysen from Tenom, Fr Joe Haas from Telupid, and himself.

Though they were “well treated”, Gastel assumed that the imprisonment was more an intimidation to make them leave voluntarily.

Looking back at these “dark times”, however, it could be said that it backfired, said the octogenarian priest, as it proved to be a wake-up call, especially for the local population, to stand up for their faith and missionaries.

The Church grew, numerous local lads stepped forward to be formed as priests (still ongoing to this day), many became religious sisters and brothers, thus giving birth to local congregations to replace those who were expelled. 

Perhaps, the greater positive impact would be the involvement of lay people and the instilling of a community spirit, which plays a vital role in the success of missions.

     This has come up in sharp contrast to what is happening in the West and Europe where selfishness begets attitudes of “I do what I like to do”; the greed of wanting more and more; the ‘inconvenience’ of having more children in families, the lack of manpower in the teaching, nursing, housing industries; the inability to look at the bigger picture; and the inability to deal and integrate with the migrants influx. – CS

How the mission touches the life of other people

ALBEIT hearing many stories, Fr Gastel as a newly ordained priest found literally no clue to help him to navigate the strange people with strange customs and languages, whom he met for the first time arriving in North Borneo.

Besides having to “deal” with the authorities, school or otherwise, and the students and parents, the lay faithful, he has the opportunity to discover that the mission has also mysteriously touched other lives.

There was a non-Catholic “orang tua” in Limbahau, Papar, who knows his way about and knows everyone; he became an invaluable help for Father in finding his way about, and knowing who exactly to deal with.

In Papar, a non-Catholic Chinese shop-owner would only accept “small payments” from Father for stuff that he bought for the school boarders, for the students’ footballs, and generally for the school.

A friendship was struck with a district officer who was a Catholic in Tuaran.  He was helpful and useful to St John, particularly in the usage of the town ‘padang’.

In Tuaran, Fr Gastel befriended a Bajau Moslem, who gave his pony to Father for rides without any charge, which was quite rare.

Through St John’s efforts to promote ‘boxing’ as a sport and entertainment, not only St John’s boys had benefited from it by learning discipline and building of relationship, it had also helped charitable organizations, agricultural research stations, blind centres, etc.  to raise proceeds for their causes, while at the same time, the school benefited from donations on the side line. – CS

Build bridges not walls – migrant sunday shc

KOTA KINABALU – The meaningful celebration of Migrant Sunday provides the parish a way of  working towards greater integration and maintaining social harmony.

To this end, Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Human Development Committee (PHDC) spared no effort to organize a Migrant Sunday fiesta on 7 Oct 2018, beginning with Mass at 10.45 am.

Fr Joshua Liew, together with Korean priest Fr Lawrence Kim Jinsu, celebrated the Mass, which was attended by some 400 migrant parishioners and joined by the locals.

The Mass was made more meaningful with   migrant parishioners participating fully in the liturgy.

Fr Joshua reminded parishioners to always welcome the migrants among us for we too are  migrants.

He pointed out that “Jesus, Mother Mary and Joseph were once migrants when they had to flee to Egypt to escape the persecution by King Herod”.

“The church wants all parishioners to celebrate Migrant Sunday so that we can accept one another, be united in heart and love as we encourage and support one another while journeying together toward the kingdom of God,” he underlined.

Fathers Joshua and Lawrence, together with SHC and CMI PPC members joined the migrants for fellowship at the parish centre.

The migrants shared their culture through dance performances by the Indonesian children, K3ika, EFATA and Filipino groups.  Everyone had great fun when they got on the floor to dance the Poco Poco and the Jamilah.

PHDC was gratified as the migrant brothers and sisters shared how they were affected by the openness and welcome shown them by the parish.

They feel a real sense of belonging, slowly but surely seeping in, as the  visible integration among the communities begins to remove “walls” and instead to build “bridges”.

Pope Francis has himself frequently invoked the “bridges not walls” appeal in urging people and nations to welcome migrants. – SHC PHDC

Catholic bishops end synod with controversy and compromise

FOR those looking for Pope Francis’ synod of bishops on young people to settle the current divides in the Catholic Church between bishops and laity, conservatives and reformers, LGBT Catholics and those who regard that group as an oxymoron, the synod’s final report is bound to disappoint.

The 60-page document deals with a host of issues: treatment of women in society and in the church, the church’s attitude toward LGBT members, clerical sex abuse, warfare, poverty, migration, human trafficking and corruption. With such a large number of topics, generalities are necessary.

Those who had been to earlier synods however said that this synod was the least controversial – some called it “joyful” and “hopeful,” thanks to the presence of young people in the synod hall

Synods under John Paul II and Benedict XVI were much more controlled, with curial cardinals telling members of the synod what could and could not be discussed.

But experienced synod-goers praised this one for its organizers’ extensive preparations, including the pope’s meeting last March with young people.

Perhaps the greatest fruit of the synod is with the bishops who embraced the synodal process. The process involved looking at the real lives of young people, listening to them, reflecting on their situation in light of the Gospel, and only then devising programs to respond to their needs.

This is quite different from the church’s traditional approach of trying to cram its teaching and programs down the throats of the young. If bishops internalize this process and use it in their countries and dioceses, this would be the greatest fruit of the synod.

Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to become a synodal church, a discerning church where the church listens and responds to reality. Francis realizes that the church must become a listening and accompanying church, if it is to help people.

Sadly, not all the bishops got it. Fifty-one bishops, 20 percent of those voting, voted against the paragraph encouraging synodality in the church.

Some bishops insisted on adding a reference to Jesus and the disciples on the way to Emmaus as a biblical example of the synodal process.

This is truly a magnificent story, but if the bishops think they are Jesus and young people are the disciples, they missed the whole point Francis was trying to make. We are all disciples, and the disciples’ confusion before Jesus joins them is reflective of the entire church. Or to put it another way, sometimes Jesus may be the young explaining things to the bishops. – Thomas Reese @ NCR

Sandakan mission schools presented with Ethos

SANDAKAN – On 8 Oct 2018 the Board of Governors (BOG) of the five Catholic mission schools here visited the schools with parish priest Fr David Garaman and PPC chairman Pilis Malim.

Mission schools place great emphasis on holistic education, and balancing character development with academic excellence.

In line with the Rukun Negara, it promotes the dignity, self-esteem and full development of the person.

Chairlady of Sandakan Diocesan Education Commission Rose Solibun affirmed the need to preserve the identity of mission schools in maintaining the ethos and special character.

In order to have a sense of ownership, the BOG will play a greater part with active participation in the schools’ affairs.

For a start, the School Heads were made aware of the importance of Ethos in preserving the Mission schools’ special character.

Concise Handbills on Ethos, special character, and tradition were presented to all the Headteachers of SM St Mary Secondary, SM St Cecilia Secondary, SK St Mary Convent and SK St Mary Labuk.

Fr Garaman said that it has been his interest to look into the development of the mission school since being appointed as the rector.

He acknowledged the the importance of having a  sense of belonging through understanding the ethos, character, and traditions of the mission schools, while in the same note, he underlined the importance of cooperation between the BOG, School Heads and teachers to work together in order to realize the ownership of mission schools.

He noted that the schools walkabout was a good start and hoped to have more regular visits to the schools. 

He thanked the Commission for initiating the visits, and the Headteachers for giving their time, especially in helping the Church to realize that the schools are truly mission schools.

He requested that the cooperation and collaboration between the Church, BOG, and school Heads be maintained.

The walkabout session ended with a luncheon hosted by SK St Mary Convent. – Dalius LL

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