Tag Archives: golden jubilee

SM Stella Maris celebrates 50 years of existence

Past and present principals and teachers pose with Msgr Primus Jouil (seated 4th from R) and Br Peter Foo (in white) after the Mass, 13 Apr 2018, Stella Maris Church Tg Aru.

TANJUNG ARU – SM Stella Maris here kicked off its golden jubilee commemoration with a Eucharistic Celebration at the Stella Maris Church on 13 Apr 2018.

The Mass was presided by Msgr Primus Jouil and attended by past and present principals, teachers, students, representatives from neighbouring SM La Salle, the religious sisters, and La Salle Brother Peter Foo.

Other commemorative activities include an 8 am – 4 pm Open Day Exhibition on the school premises Apr 14 featuring photographs and memorabilia charting five decades of education;  Jubilee souvenirs and DVDs on sale, a carnival bazaar; and a mini musical concert.

A jubilee dinner will be held on Apr 28 at the Hakka Hall Likas while a Charity Run will be organised on May 5.

Located in Tanjung Aru with an area of 1.78 acres, the secondary school was opened by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) in January 1968 with three classrooms, a teacher room, an office and a toilet block.

The school for girls opened with 31 students up to Form 3 only due to lack of instructors and other physical facilities.  Those who passed Form 3 (Lower Certificate Examination) had to move to St Francis Convent to continue their studies.  However, in 1987 it was able to open classes for Forms 4 and 5.

Down the years the school developed by leaps and bounds.

A second two-storey block was built in 1986 to accommodate the increasing student population and in 1994 it went into a two-session school system: Forms 1 and 2 in the afternoon and Forms 3-5 in the morning.

In 1989 the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) was formed.  In the same year, the school magazine “The Guiding Star” was published under the supervision of PC Poh.

In 1991 the school parliament was formed under senior assistant Lee Wah Ban. It replaced the School Watchdog, a regulatory body formed in the 1970s under Margaret Chin.

The school website was launched in 1999 while the open hall was constructed in 2000.

Today the school has an enrolment of 790 students with 14 classrooms.  It is looking forward to the construction of a new school block with 24 classrooms so that the school will have a single session system.  The building committee is in the initial stage of preparing the development plan to be submitted to the local authorities.

“We hope to target the construction to begin in 2019 and completing in 2020 using the Industrized Building System (IBS),” said PTA President Zahara Ismail at the launching of the jubilee celebration on 13 Jan 2018.

Themed “Glorious Golden Years,” the launch was organised jointly by the Stella Maris Alumni and PTA.

Alumni president Irene George Mojinggol urged all ex-students to do their part and to pledge to the building of the new school block.

“Let us work towards a school that is completely and fully equipped with high technology and quality amenities, to maintain the school’s remarkable achievements since  its establishment, and to  strengthen its competitiveness to become successful leaders in the country,” said Mojinggol.

Among those who served as principals were Franciscan Sister Stella Chin (1968-1971, 1979-1981), Sister Aquinas Voon (1971-1978), Sister Alphonsus Low (1981-1988), Pauline Wong Mee Kiong (1989-1994),  Grace Gan Lee Ping (1994 – 2005), Clare Sikodol (2006-2009), Girly Tan (2010-2014), and Gertrude Jock (2014-2016).

The current principal is Goh Kui Liang (2017), the first male principal in the girls’ school.

CWL Tg Aru celebrates 50 years of ministry

Nancy Fong, one of the oldest CWL pioneers, receives a memento from Msgr Primus Jouil, flanked by CWL chairperson Agnes Delgado (L) and organising chairlady Theresa William (R).

TANJUNG ARU – The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Stella Maris Tanjung Aru celebrated 50 years of ministry on 17 August 2017.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Thanksgiving Mass at the parish church.  Joining him at the altar were Msgr Primus Jouil, Fathers Moses Lui of Melaka-Johor, James Chia OdeM, and Martin Wong of Kuching.

In his homily, Abp Wong paralleled the Israelites crossing the Jordan River with their crossing of the Reed Sea from Egypt and related it to Christian Baptism.  He also stressed on Jesus’ call to forgive from the heart.

Some 500 people attended the dinner at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa.

The pioneering status of the CWL Tg Aru was the main theme of the speeches given by Organising Chairperson Theresa William, CWL Tg Aru Chairperson Agnes Delgado, Msgr Primus Jouil, ACWL Chief Coordinator Anita Tunggolou and Abp Wong.

It was mooted in 1967 by Fr Vivian De Souza who saw the need to have a group of dedicated ladies to assist the pastor in looking after the welfare of the church and carrying out fundraising activities. However, the first formal meeting was only held on 26 June 1968 by 29 women.  It soon spread to other parishes throughout Sabah.

William has served in the CWL for 34 years, 19 of them being the chairperson.

Mementos were given to past chairpersons, past serving priests, and to the oldest member Nancy Fong after the anniversary cake-cutting ceremony.

A slide show on the CWL history was screened as well.

The attendees were entertained by a variety programme by some groups.

Elias Carmelite Family celebrates founder’s golden jubilee

At the altar L-R: Bp Cornelius Piong, Fr Yohanes Indrakusama (jubilarian), Fr Peter Hwang of Limbang, Fr Anthony Mikat, 13 Aug 2017, Golden Jubilee Mass, Kaingaran Tambunan

KAINGARAN, Tambunan – The Elias Carmelite Family celebrated its founder’s golden jubilee of priesthood on 13 Aug 2017 at St Mary Magdalene Chapel here.

Visitors from Indonesia, China, Sarawak joined the local Putri Karmel (Daughters of Carmel), Carmelitae Sancti Eliae (CSE) and Komunitas Tritunggal Mahakudus (KTM) in celebrating the 50 years of priesthood of their Founder, Father Yohanes Indrakusama OCarm, 79.

Bishop Cornelius Piong presided at the thanksgiving Mass.  Joining him and the jubilarian at the altar were CSE Superior General Rev Sergius Paulus, Rev Giovanni C Sugau CSE,  Rev Peter Hwang of Limbang,  Anthony Mikat, Bede Anthonius, Gilbert Lasius, Joseph Gapitang, and Mario Tong of China.

Young dancers in traditional attire led the entrance procession from the St John Catholic Retreat Centre to the chapel accompanied by the beating of the gongs.

In his homily, the bishop told some 500 people present that he came to know the jubilarian in 1984 while attending a Charismatic Renewal Convention in Indonesia.

When he became the bishop of Keningau in 1993, he welcomed the Putri Karmel into the diocese in 1997 where it took root and flourished on a 32-acre of land at Kaingaran Tambunan.

After the Mass, there was a fusion of Chinese and Murut cultures in the performances by the Fook Xing Dragon Unicorn Lion Dance Troupe Tambunan, firecrackers and fireworks display outside the retreat centre in spite of the inclement weather.

The reception was held at the hall below the chapel where a video clip on the life of the jubilarian was screened.  The Elias Carmelite Family also entertained the guests with a variety show.  An exhibition on the founder’s life and history of the Elias Carmelites was displayed outside the dining hall.

Born in 1938 in small East Java town into a Chinese family, the jubilarian began his novitiate in a Carmelite monastery in 1960. Ordained as a priest in 1967, he pursued his studies in theology in Rome and Paris and later worked in various parts of the country. In the mid-70s, he spent time in a hermitage involved in contemplative life.

He founded the Putri Karmel on 19 March 1982 in Ngadireso, a small village in Malang Diocese East Java, followed by the Carmelitae Sancti Eliae on 20 July 1986 and the Komunitas Tritunggal Mahakudus on 11 January 1987.

On 12 Jan 2013, the St John of the Cross Institute (philosophy and theology) in Pontianak West Kalimatan founded by the jubilarian was officially opened by the Pontianak Archbishop.

Putri Karmel is a religious community of women, whereas CSE is for men and KMT for lay people.

The two religious communities have the same spirituality, way of life and ministry. Fundamentally they follow the spirit of the Carmelite Rule and Traditions, accentuating the contemplative aspect, integrated with the Charismatic Renewal.

The  Charismatic Renewal brings about the experience of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Carmelite Spirituality is a very rich tool to deepen it and settle it down.

The members may give counselling, retreats, seminars, or offer prayers for individuals.

Currently, there are 43 Putri Karmel Sisters, 16 CSE Brothers, and over 1,800 KTM members in Malaysia.  Aside from Indonesia and Malaysia, there are also communities in China, Italy and USA.

On 12 April 2017, Sister Maximilliane Soon became the first superior of Malaysia-China District with two communities each in Malaysia (Keningau and Sibu) and China (Xingtai Hebei Province in the North and Fuqing Fujian Province in the South) respectively while Sister Geraldine Marie is the local superior of Kaingaran.

Stella Maris CWL to mark 50 years of existence

CWL members pose with Abp Wong at his office during their courtesy call, 1 June 2017, Penampang.

PENAMPANG  – The  Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Stella Maris Tanjung Aru will mark 50 years of existence on 17 August 2017 with a thanksgiving Mass at 6:00 pm at the parish church.

Five hundred guests including Archbishop John Wong and Anita Tunggolou, Archdiocesan CWL Head, will grace the anniversary dinner at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa after the Mass.

CWL Stella Maris is the first Catholic Women’s League to be established in Sabah in 1968.  The idea of forming the CWL was first proposed in 1967 by a monk, Fr J Vivian De Souza, who was temporarily attached to Stella Maris parish then.  He saw the need to have a group of dedicated ladies to assist the parish priest in looking after the welfare of the church and in carrying out fundraising activities.

The first formal meeting was held on 26 June 1968 with 29 ladies.  At this inaugural meeting, five ladies were elected as committee members, whilst the other ladies were divided into five groups for the purpose of duty assignment.  Shiela D’Souza was elected as the first president.

In his message to the CWL on its silver jubilee in 1993, then Bishop John Lee wrote, “The Lord has blessed you abundantly.  The fact that you have gone through thick and thin throughout these twenty-five years is a blessing.”

The organising committee headed by Datin Theresa William paid a courtesy call on Abp Wong at his office on June 1.  In his remarks, Abp Wong pointed out that the more important part of the celebration is to give thanks to God for all his blessings.

Today there are over 100 groups of CWL throughout the archdiocese.

Initially, they worked independently of one another.  However, in 1987, a commission was established to coordinate the activities of the different groups. In 2013 the commission was renamed Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League under the umbrella of the Archdiocesan Women Commission.

400 catechists gather for PPKK/PUSKAT golden jubilee

Bishop Cornelius presents a token of appreciation to Fr Rudolf and his team at the golden jubilee celebration, 27-29 Apr 2017, Keningau.

KENINGAU – Four hundred catechists of the Keningau Diocesan Pastoral Centre (Pusat Pastoral Keuskupan Keningau [PPKK]), previously known as Pusat Latihan Katekis (PUSKAT), gathered for its Golden Jubilee celebration, held on 27-29 Apr 2017 at the centre here.

The three-day event saw the reunion of catechists who studied at PPKK/PUSKAT before with their trainers and course mates from other parishes and dioceses.

Bishop Cornelius Piong said the people should be grateful to God for the Spirit’s guidance under whom the late Father George Bauer, a Mill Hill Missionary and his team initiated and formulated courses for catechists in the early days, and founded PUSKAT in October 1966.

“Their effort has helped to develop a quality faith for Sabahan Catholics since the1960s. Although they lacked resources at that time, I believe they have put the right foundation for Catholic faith development in Sabah,” said the prelate.

According to him, the change of name from PUSKAT to PPKK is based on current pastoral needs where activities of the institution are no longer limited to train catechists for priestless service only, but it is also open to parishioners who want to obtain training on pastoral services such as leadership, leading prayers, catechetical guidance and many more.

Since its establishment, the bishop said, the institution has trained over 2,000 leaders and catechists for priestless service in Sabah. He commended the trainers in PPKK which is now headed by Father Rudolf Joannes, for their hard work.

One of the trainers, Franciscan Sister Veronica Kandaung, who taught at the centre from 1994-2006, said her life experiences teaching in PPKK has affirmed her faith and made her realise her personal limitations. Looking back at all the people that she has taught before, she said everything blooms in God’s own time. She admitted that PPKK is still relevant nowadays as a centre of knowledge and deepening of the Catholic faith.

By May 3, catechist Valintina Usad has reached her 25th year serving as a catechist for the diocese. She was only 22 years old when she joined the course in PUSKAT back in 1992. She said at that young age, it was hard for her to understand what was being taught on topics such as Catholic Religion, the Bible, Theory and Practical of RCIA, Priestless Service Liturgy, Catechist Leadership and Liturgy.

Nevertheless, the presence of teachers such as John Lainsin and Fredoline Umis has helped her a lot in her faith development, as well as Father Cosmas Lee who was serving in Keningau back then.  He gave them (catechists) the encouragement in their ministry. Fr Cosmas also taught them to reach out to the parishioners who reside in the interior.  This was where Valintina saw the apparent need for the catechist service.

The establishment of PUSKAT was based on pastoral needs as observed by Fr Bauer in the 1960s. He saw that the catechists were committed and loyal to their responsibility, but most of them knew very little about catechetics. At that time, much of the religious guidance was carried out by lay catechists, therefore Fr Bauer decided that a centre to train them was necessary.

Through the generosity of German benefactors and Missio-Germany in Aachen, Fr Bauer secured more than RM130,000 funding for the training necessities and the buildings in 1971.

Missio is a body that funds the spread of the Good News based in Germany.

In 1991, PUSKAT once again received funding from Missio-Germany, the Sabah government and local benefactors for more buildings.

The long term goal for PUSKAT/PPKK is to realise its vision for a new evangelisation to encourage a culture of praising God, faith formation and socially responsible community. Aldrin Benedict/John Lainsin

Stella Maris honours former shepherd

stella maris

TANJUNG ARU – Parishioners of Stella Maris here honoured their former shepherd by coming in a large group for his golden jubilee celebrated in Ranau on 9 Jan 2016.

“What do you see?”  Archbishop John Wong posed this question to the congregation during Fr Francis Tsen’s 50th anniversary Mass at St Peter Claver Ranau.

This writer described the jubilarian: “There stood a frail elderly man . . . his hair all white . . . his face wrinkled.  That was what we saw.  But when we see deeper we see a man of wisdom, a man who has gone through vast experiences in life, a man who carries his cross faithfully despite trials and temptations, a man who takes challenges as God’s given gifts, a man who grows with time and spends it wisely and patiently teaching God’s word wherever he is posted, a man who is obedient and serves widely in Malaysia, especially in Sabah.  Each parish Fr Tsen serves, he serves with passion.”

She added: “When I look at Fr Tsen, I look at a man who is fatherly . . . a soft-spoken father who listens, is calm and cool, and most all, when he gives advice . . . it’s a fatherly advice.”

For Neil Mah, Fr Tsen is a very caring person who attends to the needy and knows the importance of prayer and how to cultivate prayer among the people.

Stella Maris, says this writer, was blessed to have the opportunity to be shepherded by Fr Tsen.  While he was in Stella Maris, he initiated the daily evening Mass, he built the chapel, and inaugurated the 24-hour perpetual adoration.

“We are so grateful for this holy initiative of Fr Tsen,” concluded this writer. – Teresa Alberto

Carmelite Family Joins Fr Tsen in his thanksgiving Mass for golden jubilee

Fr Tsen cuts his commemorative cake outside Carmelite Chapel.

Fr Tsen cuts his commemorative cake outside Carmelite Chapel.

KOTA KINABALU – The Carmelite Family – Carmelite nuns and the Secular Carmelites – joined Fr Francis Tsen in thanking God for his golden jubilee at a Mass celebrated on 13 Jan 2016.  The jubilarian was joined by Fr Felix Chung, Fr Cosmas Lee, Fr Nicholas Stephen and Fr Rayner Bisius at the altar.  Deacon Stanley William of Sandakan Diocese, on his retreat in preparation for his priestly ordination on Jan 31, assisted at the altar.

In his homily, the jubilarian likened the seed of his vocation to that of the call of young Samuel described in the first reading.  Just as Samuel had to learn to listen to God’s call through Eli, so the jubilarian heard the voice of God through Fr Smit in Labuan when he was in Primary Five.  He grew up in the KK minor seminary just as Samuel grew up in the Temple in Shiloh.  As the seminary was just below Carmel, so he grew up serving at the Carmelite Chapel, where the nuns got to know him well and prayed hard and long for his perseverance.  Thus, years later, on his golden jubilee, Mother Prioress invited him to celebrate his thanksgiving Mass with them.

After Mass, about a hundred people joined the jubilarian for a simple repast prepared by the Secular Carmelites outside the chapel.

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