Tag Archives: closing

Pope Francis prays for openness, courage at close of Asian Youth Day

Joyful faces of some of the participants at the 7th Asian Youth Day, 30 July – 6 Aug 2017, Yogyakarta Indonesia.

VATICAN CITY –  As young people gathered in Indonesia for the 7th Asian Youth Day prepare to head home, Pope Francis sent a message encouraging them to be courageous, and to turn to Mary as a model of what it means to be a missionary.

In the 6 Aug 2017 telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the prelate extended “warm greetings and prayerful best wishes” to all participating in the event on behalf of Pope Francis.

The Pope, he said, “prays that young people from across Asia will listen ever more attentively to God’s call and respond with faith and courage to their vocation.”

Looking ahead to the global World Youth Day gathering in Panama in 2019, Francis invited the youth to turn to Mary, the Mother of God as “ a model of missionary discipleship, to speak to her as they would to a mother, and to trust always in her loving intercession.”

“In this way, as they seek to follow Christ Jesus more closely, they too, like the young woman of Nazareth, can truly improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history,” he said, giving his blessing and entrusting the youth and their families to Mary’s intercession.

Pope Francis’ message was sent on the final day of the Aug 2-6 Asian Youth Day gathering in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, themed: “Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia.”

Over two thousand young Catholics from all over Asia took part in the gathering, which came a year after the international WYD gathering in Krakow, Poland in 2016, attended by Pope Francis.

The Pope was also present during the last Asian Youth Day, which coincided with Pope Francis’ 13-18 Aug 2014, visit to South Korea, and centred on the theme: “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines upon you!”

This year’s event in Indonesia featured talks and workshops on aimed at building mutual respect in Asia’s diverse, multicultural population, caring for the environment and learning how to be missionaries in a digital world.

As part of the multicultural aspect and in an effort to address growing fundamentalism in the area, the event hosted several encounters between Christian, Islamic and other religious leaders.

Among the Asian Catholic leaders who attended the event were Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and a member of the Pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of the Caritas Internationalis aid organisation.

Indonesia’s Vice President, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, was present at the closing ceremony Aug 6, when it was announced that India will be the location of the next Asian Youth Day.

The main celebrant at the closing Mass was Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, who at the end of his homily noted that attendees come from all over Asia.

“We do realise our differences: we are of different nationalities, different languages, different cultures, and so on,” he said.

“However, in this event, we do realise and experience that those differences cannot separate us, but the differences show the richness of the united humanity instead. It proves that the power of faith, hope and love unites us,” the prelate added.

Suharyo closed by voicing his hope that the event would help the youths to “diligently and faithfully live out the Gospel so that we may be filled with the joy of the Gospel. Thus, our life could mirror the glory of the Lord, which changes our lives.” – CNA/EWTN News

Vatican Radio’s English SW broadcast to Asia comes to an end

Pope Pius XI (R) and Guglielmo Marconi (2nd from L) at the inauguration of Vatican Radio in 1931.

VATICAN CITY – Vatican Radio’s English shortwave (SW) broadcast for Asia has come to an end, with its last transmission going out Friday evening, after nearly 60 years of service.

However, this does not mean it has disappeared altogether. What ultimately closed on 24 March 2017 as Vatican Radio’s English Service for Asia, is however very much alive online on Vatican Radio’s website.  The gradual phasing out of Vatican Radio’s shortwave frequencies is seen as part of the reform of the Roman Curia or the central administration of the Catholic Church here in the Vatican, called for by Pope Francis.  The Pope established the new dicastery or office of the Secretariat for Communications on 27 June 2015, ‎bringing nine media bodies of the Vatican, including Vatican Radio, under the Secretariat’s direction, with the purpose of overhauling, streamlining and ultimately merging them as a cohesive unit.

What ended on March 24 as Vatican Radio’s English Service for Asia began way back in 1958. The only ‎English programme of Vatican Radio then, headed by Jesuit Father Thomas O’Donnell, was repeated a number of times in different directions, ‎including towards Africa and South Asia.   It was a weekly 10-minute news broadcast for India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.   However, the need for special programmes adapted to the ‎distinctive cultural needs and tastes of Africa and South Asia gave way to independent programmes for ‎these two regions.

‎In 1964 South Asia got a boost when Pope Paul VI visited Bombay (today Mumbai), India for the 38th International Eucharistic Congress from 2nd to 5th of December.  Hence in May 1965, the Indian Section officially came into being with a 10-minute broadcast twice a week each in the evening in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam, while English went on air daily Monday through Saturday.   In 1982, all the four languages began re-broadcasting their evening programmes the following morning.   Three years later – on May 12, 1985, the Malayalam programme got extra airing time, broadcasting for 15 minutes in the morning, whereas the rest continued broadcasting for 10 minutes.

In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited India from January 31 to February 11.   Just prior to this visit, on January 7 that year, Hindi, Tamil and English were given extra time, and so all the four languages began broadcasting daily for 15 minutes each, in the morning, which was a feature programme.  The evening transmission consisted of 6 minutes of news only.   By the end of 1986 the evening six-minute news increased to 10 minutes and was repeated the following morning.

On 25 March 1990, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and English began broadcasting for 15 minutes each, repeating it the following morning.  And from 23 Sept 1993, the four languages were transmitting for nearly 20 minutes each, repeating the evening programme twice the following morning.

It was on 24 Oct 1993 that the fifth language, Urdu, that is spoken mainly in Pakistan but is also widely followed in India, especially in the north, was added to the Indian Section.  It began with a seven-minute Sunday programme, as part of the Hindi programme.  On 30 March  2003 Urdu became a stand-alone programme, broadcasting for 15-minutes on Sundays and Wednesdays, and repeated the following mornings.  The Urdu programme however closed down in  September 2013, after nearly 20 ‎years of service.

In recent years the English programme for South Asia broadened itself to cover the entire Asian continent becoming the English Service for Asia.  On 16 May 2015, Vatican Radio marked the 50th anniversary of its Indian programmes with a ‎Holy ‎Mass and a reception.  While the SW of the English Service for Asia has closed, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam continue to broadcast in SW as usual.  – Vatican Radio

KK Archdiocese YOM closing draws record crowds



KOTA KINABALU – The closing of the Year of Mercy (YOM) in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese drew record crowds on 20 Nov 2016 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.

Church personnel estimated the crowd to be around 9,000 based on the consecrated hosts distributed during holy Communion.

The people (some came as early as 1:00 pm)  gathered at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre for the screening of a videoclip on the YOM in the past year at 4:oo pm.  Then they went in procession led by Archbishop John Wong and over 30 concelebrants to enter the Holy Door before it was closed.  It took the people almost two hours to enter the Holy Door for the last time before its closing.

In his homily, the prelate highlighted the fact that Nov 20 marked three important occasions in the archdiocese: (1) the solemnity of Christ the King; (2) the 35th dedication anniversary of the cathedral; and (3) the closing of the Year of Mercy in union with the Universal Church.

He said: ” Today may mark the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, but the Good News is, the Father’s heart of mercy remains forever.”

This theme was similar to what Pope Francis said in his homily at the jubilee closure: “Because even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us. From the lacerated side of the Risen One until the very end of time flow mercy, consolation and hope.”

Abp Wong closed the Door of Mercy after post-Communion prayer.  It will reopen in the ordinary Jubilee Year of 2025.

The Holy Doors in Kudat and Limbahau were closed Nov 19 while that of Ranau was closed on Nov 13 simultaneously with other churches and basilicas around the world, including in Rome.

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera (Mercy with Misery), for the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Dec. 8, 2015 – Nov. 20, 2016  was published and presented by the Vatican the next day Nov 21.  It provides a special grace to all priests the faculty to forgive those who committed abortions: “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.” (MM # 12).

KK Archdiocese to close Year of Mercy


File photo: Archbishop Wong enters the holy door after opening it on 12 Dec 2015.

KOTA KINABALU – In union with the Diocese of Rome, the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese will formally close the Extraordinary Jubilee  of  Mercy on Sunday, 20 Nov 2016, at 5 PM, at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.

All the faithful are warmly invited to witness the event.  Archbishop John Wong will be the principal celebrant and homilist.

A video clip capturing the highlights of the Year of Mercy in the archdiocese will be screened at the end of Mass.

On 13 March 2015, Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  Traditionally, every 25 years the pope proclaims a holy year, which features special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession.

Extraordinary holy years, like this Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.  The last extraordinary holy year was in 1983.  Pope John Paul II (now St John Paul II) declared 1983 to be a holy year in commemoration of the 1950th anniversary of the Year of Redemption.

This Jubilee Year of Mercy began on 8 Dec 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and will conclude on 20 Nov 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Throughout the year, the archdiocese has witnessed the outpouring of graces upon the church. Thousands went on pilgrimages to the four Holy Doors in the archdiocese as well as to the Holy Doors in Keningau and Sandakan Dioceses.  Some went to Rome.

Among the activities  held during the year were the “24 Hours for the Lord” on  March 04-05, Sabah Youth Day in Tawau June 06-10, Jubilee for Youth Sept 15-17, Jubilee for Catechists Sept 24, and the 3rd Sabah Women’s Conference in Sandakan Sept 19-23.

A special gift to the archdiocese was the priestly ordination of Deacon Joshua Liew on May 03, following the Archdiocesan Kaamatan Celebration May 02.

Keningau Diocese celebrates Consecrated Life Year closing


keningau wdcl_edited

KENINGAU – The Year of Consecrated Life dedicated by Pope Francis for 2015 came to a close for the Religious and priests serving in the Diocese of Keningau on 5 Mar 2016 in conjunction with the World Day of Consecrated Life for 2016 at St Francis Xavier Cathedral here.

Present at the Eucharistic Celebration  presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong, were nine priests, four religious congregations and the secular Bethany community (FSIC, IJ, FSC, CSE and SKB).

In his homily, the prelate reminded those present to always be grateful for the gift of consecrated life, and recalled that the pontiff opened a Year of Consecrated Life as an occasion of renewal for men and women in consecrated life, as thanksgiving among the faithful for the service of the sisters, brothers, priests and nuns, and an invitation to young Catholics to consider religious vocation.

The prelate reiterated that the diocese — clergy, religious and laity — are committed  to realise the diocesan goal of walking together and building together a community of people who are committed and effective in serving God’s Kingdom.  Today the diocese is 23 years of age, and he hoped that the clergy, religious and laity are committed to constantly assess the development of the faith, whether it is growing or rather, the reverse.  The answer can be found in themselves, in their loyalty to and union with God.

The presider continued to reflect  that God desires “love and not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts” (Hosea 6:6); explaining that God desires from them above all a faith that is deeply rooted in a personal union with Him, in order to be committed and effective agents of service for the Lord.  This, however, cannot come from human ability alone, but from God Himself.

He continued,  “Living in union with God should be our culture, and a personal intimacy with God to be life itself.  Therefore, it is pertinent to always renew our commitment, as clergy and religious and laity, to God so that our union with God becomes our source of strength, holiness and wisdom.  We need to serve together with Jesus, and not on our own.”

After the celebration of Mass, all the religious and clergy adjourned to the parish hall to share a meal together. – Aldrin Benedict

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