Tag Archives: 2018-7

Fr Paul Lo appointed SHC rector

File photo of Fr Paul Lo (R) who is being affirmed by Abp John Wong (L) at his 12th anniversary breakfast at the Sacred Heart Parish Canteen, 7 Dec 2017.  At the centre is Fr Maxmillianno Hontor, the other assistant pastor of the cathedral.

PENAMPANG – Father Paul Lo has been appointed by Archbishop John Wong as the rector of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing effective 16 Aug 2018.

Lo replaces the archbishop who became the parish priest of the cathedral in October 2014.

Born in Kudat in 1973, Lo joined the preparatory course at the Catholic Diocesan Centre Penampang in 1997 and went on for his philosophical and theological studies at St Peter’s College Kuching in 1998.  He was ordained priest by then Bishop John Lee in 2005.

After ordination he served in Sandakan and Tanjung Aru before being sent to Rome for a licentiate in Biblical Theology in 2010.

Upon his return from Rome in 2014, he served in Inanam, Manggatal, and Telipok until his appointment as assistant pastor at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in 2017.

Currently, he is also the spiritual director of the lay movements/apostolate in the archdiocese.

Fr Raju celebrates 16 years of priesthood

Among guests celebrating the 16th sacerdotal anniversary of Fr Johnny Raju (standing 3rd from right) were: Archbishop John Wong (seated 4th from left); Msgr Nicholas Ong (seated 3rd from left); and Sr Carmen (seated 3rd from right), at his family residence in Kg Nosoob Baru, Penampang on  22 July 2018.

PENAMPANG – Keningau-born Father Johnny Raju, 53, celebrated the 16th anniversary of his priestly ordination with family members, friends and church officials at his home at Kg Nosoob Baru here on 22 July 2018.

Among those present were Archbishop John Wong, Msgr Nicholas Ong of Tawau, Vicar General of Sandakan Diocese, Father Jeffri Gumu, who was home in Sabah on holiday from his studies in Manila, and Sister Carmen Cordova fisc who teaches at St Francis Secondary School, Kota Kinabalu.

Fr Raju was ordained at the Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) in Kota Kinabalu by then Bishop John Lee on 20 July 2002.

He now serves as assistant parish priest at Stella Maris Church Tanjung Aru, St Thomas’s Church Kapayan, and Blessed Sacrament Church Labuan.

At the same time, he is chaplain for the sick at hospitals in Kota Kinabalu City, as well as being active in the Prison Service, visiting and giving a word of hope to male Christians at the central Prison in Kapayan on Thursdays.

He studied for priesthood at the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan Seminary in Rome and ordained as deacon at the Basilica of St John Lateran there in 2001.

Fr Raju previously served in St John Tuaran (2002-2006); St Joseph Papar (2006-2008); SHC in Kota Kinabalu (2008), and at the Holy Trinity Church in Tawau before being transferred to Tanjung Aru in the state capital.

The faithful in Kepayan marked the anniversary on July 26 while those in Labuan celebrated the event on July 29. – JL

MJ hosts historic Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly

JOHOR BAHRU –  ‘Hari Ini Dalam sejarah.’ That is how Archbishop Julian Leow of Kuala Lumpur  began his welcoming address at the 1st Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly (MCCA) in Majodi Centre on 16-21 July 2018. It was truly a historical moment for the Malaysian Catholic Church, where 278 clergy, comprising of arch/bishops, priests and deacons from the nine arch/dioceses in Malaysia gathered together in discernment, prayer and fellowship.

May they be one (John 17:21) i.e, the high priestly prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John was the theme of the assembly. In his address at the opening Mass, Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, highlighted the call to follow Jesus in our humanity as priests and to be conscious of the struggles of the people of God. He added the Malaysian Church must continue to be a welcoming church and a sign of love after the heart of Jesus.

Archbishop Emeritus John Ha led the assembly into a recollection the following day. He emphasised that the Church as a community of Christ’s disciples is called to be a beacon of unity in Malaysia. In response to this call, the first Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly was convened in the belief and conviction that deeper communion among the clergy will lead to a greater unity amidst our diversity among the dioceses in Malaysia.

Thus, the first day of the assembly was a time for building new friendships among the clergy and rekindling old ones among brother priests. Many who were classmates in the seminary years ago had the pleasure of strengthening their bonds of friendship. In addition, the clergy were brought to visit South Johor Vicariate parishes to experience and witness first-hand, the reality of Catholics from Sabah, Sarawak and Semenanjung living together in communion and mission. They were welcomed by the parishioners dressed in their traditional attire and treated with food and drinks prepared by the various ethnic groups who were part of the parish community. This reinforces the notion of unity in diversity which is a distinct character of the Malaysian church.

The second day was a time of learning the history and journey of the Catholic faith in each of the dioceses in Malaysia. This was done through multimedia presentation of interviews and sharing from clergy and laity on the culture and time in which the seed of the Catholic faith was sown and later grew into the Malaysian church as we see and experience today in the respective dioceses of Malaysia. The clergy were also given the opportunity to meet in small groups to share on their inspirations to the faith and towards serving God as deacons, priests and bishops. They also shared on their hopes and aspiration for the future of the Malaysian Church.

The third day was a time of addressing the challenges they face together as Malaysian Catholic clergy. Issues on the family, youth, vocation, secularisation, faith formation, evangelisation and mission witnessing were among some of the topics that were addressed in the hope of greater collaboration towards living the mission entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus in Malaysia.

Archbishop Simon Poh in his talk on Pastor after Heart of the Shepherd spoke on the crisis in the church. He cautioned them against clericalism and urged them to be accountable and transparent in all their dealings.

At the close of the assembly, the three cochairs namely, Bishop Bernard Paul (Malacca- Johore Diocese), Bishop Richard Ng (Miri Diocese) and Bishop Julius Gitom (Sandakan Diocese) spoke on the history and growth of the Malaysian Church. This MCCA is the first step taken to achieve the desire first voiced during the Peninsular Malaysia Pastoral Convention IV in 2016 that is, to have the 1st Pan Malaysian Pastoral Convention in 2026. The next step would be an assembly for all the religious — sisters, brothers and priests.

During the Mass on the last day of the assembly, Bishop Sebastian Francis, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei in his homily said, “The Holy Spirit is asking us, as the Malaysian clergy, to make a commitment to strive for unity, so that the world and Malaysia will believe that the Father has sent us. We do not want an elite church. We want a church for the masses — the People of God.”

Towards the end of the Mass and as a sign of new growth, each member of the assembly was given a palm oil seed as a sign that something did take place. “It is a reminder to connect with your ground — the history, situation and culture wherever you are planted,” explained Bishop Bernard.

“Befriend your situation, befriend your history, befriend your culture and befriend your people. Learn from one another’s stories, embrace your challenges as they are also your opportunity,” he added.

Then the members of the organising committee lit their candles from the paschal candle and handed them over to their respective arch/bishops. These candles signify the light of Christ. The arch/bishops who are the shepherds of their arch/dioceses are a symbol of unity who care for their priests, religious and laity.

The assembly came to an end with the clergy praying the MCCA prayer. CWC team, Herald Malaysia

Over 100 turn up for choir workshop

The participants pose for remembrance after the choir workshop on 29 July 2018, St Simon Likas.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 100 members from parish choirs across Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese turned up for the choir workshop on 27-29 July 2018 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.

The English choir workshop was organised by the Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission under Father Cosmas Lee.

The workshop was conducted by the Singapore Liturgical Music Team: Father John Joseph Fenelon, Jennifer Anthoney, and Julian Soh.

The 105 participants were key choir conductors, key leaders and musicians from Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, St Simon Likas, Stella Maris Tanjung Aru, St Catherine Inanam, Good Shepherd Manggatal, Holy Family Telipok, St Paul Dontozidon, Holy Nativity Terawi, Holy Trinity Inobong, St Joseph Papar, Holy Rosary Limbahau, St Michael Penampang, St Joseph Kiulu, and St John Tuaran.

Also present were Father Paul Lo (short while) and Father Thomas Madanan.

In his introduction, Fr Fenelon affirmed the centrality of the Mass in the liturgical life of the Church and explained what sacred music or music in the liturgy means: “a humble handmaid of the liturgy.”

Quoting from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, Fr Fenelon said:

“Sacred music is to be considered the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the liturgical action” (SC #112), a “humble handmaid” of liturgy (TLS 23) for its value in the liturgy is located in its ability to enhance the ecclesiastical ceremonies, to highlight the liturgical text, and to inspire the faithful.

In relation to this, the participants were introduced to the plainchant and the pipe organ.

For the practical sessions, the participants were divided into two groups: one composed of cantors (chants, choral) and the other of  musicians (keyboardists, organists, guitarists, etc).

Plainchant is a form of medieval church music (CE 100) that involves chanting or words that are sung without any instrumental accompaniment. It is also called plainsong.  It was the only type of music allowed in Christian churches early on.    Gregorian chant is a variety of plainchant.

It was believed that music should make a listener receptive to spiritual thoughts and reflections.  This was why the melody was kept pure and unaccompanied.  In fact, the same melody would be repeatedly used throughout the plainsong. There are no harmonies or chords that embellish the melody.

In the early centuries, there were many different kinds of plainchant without standardisation. Around the year 600, Pope Gregory the Great wanted to compile all the different types of chants into one collection. Named after him, this compilation was known as Gregorian Chant, which later became a term used to describe this variety of music in general.

As opposed to modern music notation, plainchant is written on 4 lines instead of 5 lines. Also, a symbol called “neumes” was used to indicate pitch and syllable phrasing. There is no record of notation for the earlier forms of plainchant.

The pipe organ  is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up the human mind to God and to higher things.

The participants were led through the experience of using the plainchant in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) and in the concluding Mass at St Simon Likas on July 29.

23 catechists make it to level two of ongoing formation course

A section of the participants of the catechists level 2 course at Pace Bene Formation Centre Purak, 8-26 July 2018, organised by the Archdiocesan C atechetical Commission.

PURAK, Papar – Twenty-three catechists made it to level two of the ongoing formation course for catechists organised by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission at Pace Bene Formation Centre here on 8-26 July 2018.

They had participated in the first level last year.

Among the topics given were Bioethics, Vatican II Documents (Fr Michael Modoit), Canon Law (Fr Rudolp Joannis), Joy of the Gospel (Fr Nicholas Stephen), Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sr Patsy Limun fsic), Ecclesiology, Church Social Teaching (Dominic Lim), Evangelisation (Sr Grace Deosing fsic), Salvation History, Pastoral Applications (Fr Paul Lo).

Aside from the inputs, the participants were also sent to help out at the outstation chapels of Papar and Limbahau during the weekends.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the concluding Mass followed by the certificate presentation to the participants on July 26.

Labuan parish marks feast day with procession

Confirmands pose with the concelebrants after the Mass, 3 June 2018, Labuan.

LABUAN – Blessed Sacrament Parish marked its feast day with a Eucharistic procession on 3 June 2018, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Over 2000 faithful took part in the procession from the church to the multipurpose hall and back to the church. Archbishop Wong explained why there was a need for leading the procession.

He said: “To us as Catholics, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is a living testimony of our faith where we follow Jesus as his children.  We walk and follow him in displaying the practice of our faith in love, tolerance, humility, and devotion to the Sacrament.”

The occasion also marked the annual pastoral visit of the Archbishop John Wong to the parish who came a day earlier.

The prelate’s visit included a meeting with the Pastoral Council and coordinators of the various parish ministries, where the main discussion was centred on the necessity of a resident priest for the island parish.  The expressed need was made in tandem with the growth of the local Catholic population, as well as the need for an extension for the existing Church building.

The Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred upon 90 candidates, 23 from the English class and 67 from the BM class during the Mass, which was concelebrated with parish priest, Msgr Primus Jouil.

After Mass, the parishioners adjourned to the hall for a fellowship with ceremonial cutting of three cakes: one for the confirmands, one for the parish feast day and one was a surprise birthday cake to celebrate the archbishop’s birthday on June 6.

Archbishop Wong was happy with the feedback on the commitment and cooperation between the parish groups.

To the faith community, he shared the concern of a dwindling Catholic population, and encouraged bigger families.   He also called on the parish to look into the needs of the Catholic students from the island’s higher learning institution.

Msgr Jouil took the opportunity to remind the parishioners that they are the only Church/parish in the State with the name of Blessed Sacrament.  “We should give witness to our family members and others in our belief that the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is a living testimony of Jesus giving his life for our salvation.” – Gerard Lean

Stella Maris celebrates Unity Kaamatan

Msgr Primus thanks God for his double joy.

TANJUNG ARU – On 27 May 2018, Stella Maris parish here held a 4-in-1 joyous celebration.

The occasion was Trinity Sunday when the parish celebrated Unity Kaamatan, and doubled up with the parish priest Msgr Primus Jouil’s 38th sacredotal anniversary and 69th birthday.

The parish KKDs (Tatana, Lokawi, Putatan, Tanjung Aru and Faustina) joined hands to organise the celebration.

The event kicked off with Mass in Kadazan- Dusun, presided by Msgr Primus.

To add to the cultural flavour of the festivities, everyone turned up wearing their black traditional costume.

Traditional music was performed by the parishioners, complemented by cultural dances and songs.

Unity Kaamatan was officiated by Msgr Primus cutting the padi.  Local delicacies, which were cooked by the organisers, were served.

An anniversary cum birthday cake was cut by Msgr Primus to mark his double joy, and to give thanks to God.

He thanked the organisers for fostering a unity impact on the parish.  He also commended the parishioners for their continuous hunger for the spiritual.. – Teresa Alberto

CWA marks 10th anniversary with joy

The women pose with Father David Garaman after Mass marking the 10th anniversary of the Catholic Women Apostolate in Sandakan Diocese, 19 May 2018.

SANDAKAN – The Sandakan Diocesan Catholic Women’s Apostolate (CWA) marked their 10th anniversary with an elaborate two-day event themed “The Joy of Thanksgiving” at St Mary’s Cathedral parish here on 19-20 May 2018.

It commenced with a telematch on the cathedral grounds May 19 with the participation of 108 members from across the diocese. The event kicked off with an opening prayer by Sister Apollonia Gumpu.

Prior to the telematch, St Martin Telupid CWA and St Mark Sandakan CWA led in the warming-up with exercise and group dance.  The CWA of Holy Trinity Tawau coordinated the telematch.

Also present was Father Christopher Ireneus, CWA’s spiritual director. He was given the honour to pick the lucky member from among the participants to receive a special gift. The activity was coordinated by St Dominic Lahad Datu CWA.

The day’s programme culminated in an evening Eucharistic Celebration, presided by Father David Garaman, at the cathedral. After Mass, members adjourned to the parish hall for dinner and prize presentation to the telematch winners.

Sister Grace Deosing presented the prizes to the winners, with the Blue Team emerging as the overall champion.

Everyone regrouped on the evening of May 20 for the highlight of the 10th anniversary celebration,  a fundraising dinner in aid of the Diocesan Seminarian Fund held at the Hakka Hall.

At the dinner, Bishop Julius Gitom expressed his appreciation to CWA for taking up the challenge to build up the Seminarian Fund, and encouraged all to help the seminarians and religious as they are the future of the Church. He also exhorted the CWA to carry on their services to help the Church and all women of Sandakan Diocese.

Cecelia Polo D’ Souza, CWA chief coordinator, acknowledged the hard work of her CWA team for the success of the event.

She urged all members to continue their service to the Church with humility and full commitment, to work and journey together as a Christ-centered committee, hand in hand with all the CWA groups throughout the Diocese, as well as all other Church groups in their respective parishes.

After the cake-cutting ceremony, the local seminarians were introduced and invited to share their faith journey.

The diners were entertained by CWA stage performances, showcasing the diverse ethnicity, cultures, and traditions.

It concluded with a few local dances by all CWA members, as well as few local hits, accompanied by an invited local artiste. – Victoria Salati


KK clergy study day focuses on priestly holiness

PENAMPANG – As a preparation for the observance of the Day of Prayer for Priestly Sanctification, KK clergy had a half-day study day on priestly holiness.

Thirty priests, one archbishop and two deacons gathered for the half-day study day at Vianney Home here on 7 June 2018.

Pope St John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests in 2002 on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus because the feast of the Sacred Heart celebrates God’s merciful love, and that becomes tangible for priests in the Eucharistic Mystery, which they celebrate daily, and in the sacramental pardon which they administer and receive.

This year Father Mattheus Luta facilitated the reflection based on the theme “The Personal Sanctification of the Priest,” drawing his sources from The Priesthood by Stockums W, Vatican II Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priest Presbyterorum Ordinis (7 Dec 1965) n.18, and Priestly Ministry and Priestly Holiness by Carter E, in his book Shepherds of Christ Issue 5 (1999) 1-8.

The objective of the Study Day is to create awareness on the personal sanctification of priest.

The facilitator challenged the participants to look into their own personal lives.  He referred to Bishop Wilhelm Stockums’ book, The Priesthood where he stated, “The priesthood is an objectively holy state, holy in its origin, holy in its nature and goal, holy in its functions.”

The author elaborated further that the priest’s person is sacramentally consecrated. It means that, the whole person of a priest is being consecrated. This would include the priest’s hands and feet, tongue and lips, eyes and sight, and the heart.

Fr Mattheus also suggested to the participants to look into means for helping priests in their progress in holiness by means of Presbyterorum Ordinis. The document presented some means for holiness such as the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Confession, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Meditation, just to name a few.

He concluded his reflection with article from Fr Edward Carter SJ:  “To grow in holiness, to advance in the spiritual life, requires a growth in surrender to Christ. Growth in holiness means allowing Jesus to possess us more and more. The more He possesses us, the more He can use us as instruments in the work of the kingdom. The more the Saviour possesses us, the more fruitful our ministry.” (Priestly Ministry and Priestly Holiness).

Time was given for personal reflection before the concluding with a Holy Hour.

Before heading for lunch, Archbishop John Wong took time to recall with them the recent recollection for the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMCs) where he reflected with the EMCs their required state of holiness because they carry and distribute the Holy Communion, the Body of Christ.

“The sanctity of priestly life is therefore affecting the whole person of the priest, that is, his eyes, hands, and feet,” said Abp Wong.

He then invited the priests and deacons to join in the Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the cathedral at 7:30 pm.  – Fr Mattheus Luta

The soul of holiness

The Second Vatican Council tells us that Christian holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full (1 Jn 4:16).

Now God has poured out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5:5); therefore the first and most necessary gift is charity, by which we love God above all things and our neighbour through love of Him.

But if charity, like a good seed, is to grow and fructify in the soul, each of the faithful must willingly hear the Word of God and carry out His will with deeds, with the help of His grace.

To put it simply, it means never leaving a Sunday without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist; this is not an additional burden but is light for the whole week.

It means never beginning and never ending a day without at least a brief contact with God.  And on this path of our life it means following the “signposts” that God has communicated to us in the Ten Commandments.

It seems to me that this is the true simplicity and greatness of a life of holiness: the encounter with the Risen One on Sunday; contact with God at the beginning and at the end of the day; following, in decisions, the “signposts” that God has communicated to us, which are but forms of charity.

During the Liturgical Year, the Church invites us to commemorate a host of saints who lived charity to the full, who know how to love and follow Christ in their daily lives.  For me, I would like to add that not only a few great saints whom I love and whom I know well are “signposts,” but precisely also the simple saints, that is the good people I see in my life who will never be canonised.  They are ordinary people, without visible heroism but in their everyday goodness I see the truth of faith.  This goodness, which they have developed in the faith of the Church, is for me the most reliable apology of Christianity and the sign of where the truth lies.

How can we take the path to holiness, in order to respond to this call?  Can I do this on my own initiative?

The answer is clear.  A holy life is not primarily the result of our efforts, of our actions, because it is God, who sanctifies us, it is the Holy Spirit’s action that enlivens us from within, it is the very life of the Risen Christ that is communicated to us and that transforms us.

I would like to ask all to open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, who transforms our life to be small pieces in the great mosaic of holiness that God continues to create in history, so that the face of Christ may shine out in the fullness of its splendour.  Let us not be afraid to aim high, for God’s heights; let us not be afraid that God will ask too much of us, but let ourselves be guided by His Word in every daily action. – Excerpt from Benedict VI’s General Audience on 13 April 2011

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.