Thousands Turn Up To Celebrate Historic Occasion
KOTA KINABALU(CS Online).- About 3,000 of the faithful from all over Sabah turned up to celebrate the historic occasion of the threefold event of the erection of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kota Kinabalu, the elevation of the KK Diocese to archdiocese and the appointment of Bishop John Lee as first Archbishop of the Province on the sunny morning of 1 September 2008.
The celebration took place at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.
Twelfth arch/bishops, including Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, and over 70 priests from the Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei Region, Philippines and England concelebrated the Eucharist presided by the new archbishop.
The seminarians too - 16 of them - took part in the celebration as altar servers. Among those who came were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk VK Liew, Agriculture and Food Industry Assistant Minister Datuk Bobby Suan and former State Secretary Tan Sri Richard Lind.
The entrance procession started from the parish centre, along a route lined by colourfully attired young tambourine dancers, flag wavers, traditional dancers and lion-dance performers before the clergy and lay ministers reached the cathedral.
"It is a double feast for you, dear brother in the episcopate, and for the newly erected Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu with the two suffragan dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan," the apostolic delegate said before reading out the proclamation of the decree from the pope on the elevation of the diocese into an archdiocese and appointment of Bishop John Lee Hiong Fun-Yit Yaw as archbishop.
This was followed by the presentation of the bull - signed on 23 May 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI - to the archbishop who then gave it to Fr Michael Modoit to be placed on a stand in front of the altar.
The usual Liturgy of the Word followed.
The readings were in three languages: First Reading in Bahasa Malaysia, Second Reading in Mandarin and the Gospel in English.
In his homily, Archbishop John Ha of Kuching said, "Successors of the Apostles in every generation are servants raised up by God for His people. In this way, God has been taking care of every generation of His children on earth, in every period of the history of His people and the Church."
The erection of a third Ecclesiastical Province in Malaysia - the Province of Kota Kinabalu - is undoubtedly evidence of "God's grace and care in bringing the Church to its present level of maturity," Ha continued.
The Prayer of the Faithful was also done in different languages: English, BM, Mandarin, Kadazandusun, Indonesian and Filipino.
KK Archdiocese Holds Third Educators' Conference
BUNDU TUHAN(CS Online).- Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese held its third conference for educators August 15-18 at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre after months of preparation.
"We looked at the world of the young, refined our role as educators and traced the paths for our way forward," said La Salle Brother Anthony Rogers in his synthesis of the proceedings on the last day.
The conference, which drew more than 120 Christian educators from the three arch/dioceses, resource persons and moderators, was organised by the KK Archdiocesan Education Commission headed by Sr Rita Chiew fsic.
The participants had time to pray, reflect and discern together their teaching vocation in the context of Sabah.
The theme of the conference was .
Archbishop John Lee, in his keynote address presented by Msgr Primus Jouil, reminded the participants of the radical changes in the world and the challenge to respond in new ways as part of the Church in Sabah.
Part I of the conference dealt with the reality of the young in Sabah today, an invitation to the participants to a renewed commitment.
Two papers: (Anne Lasimbang) and (Neil Mah) were presented during Session I which was moderated by Lee Wah Ban.
Part II, moderated by John Ng, dealt with "redefining Christian eductors today."
Brother Rogers presented education as a lifelong process of renewal, calling for a Christian vision in the context of Asia and what the implications of this vision are.
Jeyan Marimuttu moderated Part III, which focused on the challenges for Catholic educators and the way forward.
In this third part, three papers were presented: (Mary Magdalena Komuji); (Sr Rita Chiew) and (Prudence Lingham and La Salle Brother John de Cruz).
Brother Rogers presented a synthesis of the whole process at the concluding session, with recommendations and lines of action to be taken.
Malaysian Catholic Education Council Executive Secretary-General Kenneth Wong gave the closing speech.
One of the recommendations was to compile the proceedings and reflections to be distributed to all schools. It was also suggested to start any future conferences with a retreat.
Another was a hope that an interdiocesan education commission could be set up and to create more publicity through "roadshows" organised by the commission.
Kuching Hosts 6th Women's Conference
KUCHING(CS).- Three hundred delegates from the five arch/dioceses of East Malaysia gathered Aug 16-21 in Kuching Archdiocese for the 6th Conference of the Catholic Women of East Malaysia.
The triennial conference hosted by the Ladies' Guilds of the Kuching Archdiocese began with Mass presided by Archbishop John Ha and concelebrated with Fr Claudius Andrew of Keningau Diocese at the Penview Hotel.
In his message, the presider said that the triennial conference gathers the Catholic women of Sabah and Sarawak for prayer, reflection, sharing and fellowship.
These four aspects, Ha continued, reflect the "four pillars" of the early Christian community described in Acts 2:42.
"Your sharing flows from the breaking of bread, the Eucharist. It is part of fellowship, the koinonia or communion, that marks the Eucharistic community," he said.
In the conference, the fellowship takes on the form of sharing of food, thoughts, experiences, prayers and concerns, as well as engaging in recreational activities together, the archbishop told the delegates.
Mrs Catherine Tamoh Liom, chairperson of the Kuching Ladies' Guild and organising chairperson of the conference, welcomed the delegates in the opening ceremony after the Mass.
She said that the theme Towards a Caring Generation reflects the Church's sincere concern in bringing up our young ones to be more caring, guided and nurtured with right values while living in today's world of tension and violence.
The night also saw stage presentations by the delegates from Kuching, Keningau and Sandakan.
Puteri Karmel Sister Maximillane Soon of Keningau Diocese gave a talk on A Caring Generation Reflects God's Loving Concern for Us while Father Stephen Lim of Kuching talked on The Roles of Various Lay Organisations in Our Church at Present in Promoting a Nurturing and Caring Generation.
Margaret Bedus then gave a sharing on her involvement with the Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS).
Father John Wong of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese facilitated the reflection day on the third day.
The chairpersons of the various women groups of the participating arch/dioceses presented their reports of their respective arch/dioceses after the meeting of the chairpersons.
The fifth day was spent in visiting Bunan where they had Mass with Fr Jerome Juling and fellowship lunch with the local Ladies' Guilds members.
In the evening they had dinner at St Theresa's Parish Centre with Fr Augustine Jepy and around 700 diners.
On the last day, the delegates visited the Blessed Sacrament Church in Kuching and the Carmelite Sisters.
The closing dinner was held at the Ecumenical Worship Centre in Kuching, graced by Archbishop Ha, clergy, local dignitaries and heads of various women groups from the different Christian Churches.
The guests were entertained by stage performances by the Kuching and KK delegates.
The first conference was held in 1993 in KK, Kuching in 1996, Sibu in 1999, KK in 2002 and Keningau in 2005.
Sibu will host the next conference in 2011 with the theme Challenges Faced by Women and the Family in the 21st Century.
Tawau Nurses Organises Spiritual Camp
TAWAU(CS).- The Persatuan Komiti Kristian of the Nurses College Tawau organised a spiritual camp entitled Be a Witness of Christ in collaboration with the Catholic Nurses Guild and Health Care Workers July 25-27 at the Holy Trinity Church Tawau.
It was conducted in Bahasa Malaysia by the core group of the CCR BM and attracted around 100 participants, mostly students from the Nurses College.
The objective of the camp was to "serve in faith with God's love in the caring profession."
Most of the participants were from various parts of Sabah studying in the college and a few of them were from other denominations.
According to the organiser, the camp is part of the nursing curriculum.
In his welcoming address, Parish Priest Msgr Nicholas Ong said he was very happy to know that many of the students are Christians and he welcomed them to Tawau as most of them were freshies.
Pastor Eric Lee of Calvary Church focused his talks on the need to know oneself in faith and be able to guard oneself from outside influences.
Matron Ester Ginibun, chairperson of the CNG Tawau gave a talk on the role and functions of being Christian nurses, emphasising on the challenges faced by nurses in dealing with patients.
Franciscan Sister Tauria shared on inner healing and said that inner healing is a lifelong process.
Many of those who attended were touched by the Holy Spirit, especially during the healing and deliverance, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Many shared their experiences during the infilling of the Holy Spirit, that it was gentle and powerful.
A few were very happy to receive the gift of tongues. They did not regret attending the spiritual camp.
Stella Maris Holds JWG (secondary) Facilitators/parents/students Meet
TANJUNG ARU(CS).- Stella Maris Parish Tanjung Aru held a meeting for facilitators/parents/students of secondary Joyful Weekend Gathering (JWG) classes at the parish hall June 29.
The objective of the meeting was to provide opportunity for the participants to bring up concerns, suggestions and give feedback as well as for the facilitators and parents to get to know each other.
In his address, Parish Priest Fr Fundes Motiung pointed out that the work of faith development in children has to be a two-way process, involving both parents and facilitators.
He reminded parents that their children have only one hour a week in JWG aka Sunday School.
He stressed the importance of parents being good Catholic role models for their children.
He said that if a child loses interest in the faith, there should not be any finger pointing as all (priest, parents, facilitators) have to play active roles to help the growing child in his/her faith development.
Richard Teo, chairman of the JWG Secondary, highlighted some of the problems faced by the faciltators: students fiddling with handphone rather than listening, declining attendance as the weeks go by, students spending time at the back of the school instead of being in class.
He said some were caught smoking - although these were mostly non-registered children who should be in JWG.
He sought the parents' cooperation to encourage and send their children to the JWG weekly.
Many parents gave positive feedback regarding the classes and also constructive suggestions.
They were very interested to know about their children's conduct and knowledge in class.
Overall, there was good interaction among the facilitators and parents.
2008 National Day Message Catholic Bishops Of Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR(Catholic Bishops of Malaysia).-
As Catholics we rejoice with all Malaysian citizens as we celebrate our 51st anniversary of national freedom with joy tempered with sadness at recent events.
Joy, because we have attained a certain maturity with greater freedom of speech and expression for a new era of democracy.
Sadness, because there are some who frustrate the march to higher levels of freedom, of truth, of justice and peace.
In the situation prevailing at present in our country, we bishops think it necessary to highlight certain points in the Teachings of the Church on the political community of a nation.
"Christians must be concious of their specific and proper role in the political community:
They should be a shining example by their sense of responsibility and their dedication to the common good.
They should show in practice how authority can be reconciled with freedom, personal initiative with solidarity and the needs of the whole social framework, and the advantages of unity with profitable diversity.
They should recognise the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organisation of worldly affairs and show respect for their fellow citizens, who even in association defend their opinions by legitimate means.
Political parties, for their part, must support whatever in their opinion is conducive to the common good, but must never put their own interest before the common good." (Vatican II Documents: Church in the Modern World - Participation by All in Public Life, No 75)
We also raise a few concerns over recent happenings:
Racial and religious tensions have re-surfaced with mob action in disrupting the forum organised by the Bar Council on 9 August 2008 and the action of federal ministers in condemning the organisers of the forum and threatening them with the use of the Internal Security Act and the Sedition Act.
The demonstration of the students of UiTM against the legitimate suggestion of the honourable Menteri Besar of Selangor is another lost opportunity towards racial integration at the core of human formation through education.
The continued rise of the cost of living, especially fuel, electricity and food prices which is causing great hardship to the poorer segment of our people.
The displacement of peoples through mega housing projects has not only eroded our environment drastically, but also has given rise to other social problems, especially the rise in horrendous crimes.
"We need to remind ourselves and to reassert our fundamental belief and dream that peace and harmony cannot be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency or economic efficiency. It is the right of each person to have his or her voice heard and for each community to make known its views. We need to convince ourselves of the centrality of the democratic processes and take upon ourselves the responsibility to promote and ensure greater peace and harmony."(Stepping Stones to Greater Peace and Justice - August 1998: Archbishop Soter Fernandez)
In the light of these, we exhort lay people who have been blessed by God with leadership positions in the social and political arena to strive for the common good, especially the unity and progress of the country where justice and respect flourish for all.
We pray for our Prime Minister, that he will carry out his promises to the Rakyat against any odds that may deter his right judgement.
We pray for our representatives in Parliament, that they will be single-minded in their service to the Rakyat.
We call upon all God-fearing people to pray for God's blessings upon Malaysia - for a greater enlightenment in areas of religion, politics and social life.
Let us truly work towards one Bangsa Malaysia.
God bless Malaysia!
Archbishop Murphy Pakiam
Catholic Bishops' Conference, Malaysia
Archbishop John Lee's Message: Backgrounder To SYD2
KOTA KINABALU(12 Aug 2008, CD documentary).-
Sabah Youth Day (SYD) was an idea of the youth leaders of both KK and Keningau Dioceses after the Great Jubilee Year 2000.
It was inspired by the World Youth Day (WYD) initiated by the late Pope John Paul II.
The leaders wanted an event where Catholic youths throughout Sabah could gather to express and celebrate their faith once in four years.
That idea was endorsed and accepted by the local churches in the two dioceses, and I know Bishop Julius too would be pleased to include this event in his diocese.
Confidence in the youths
In the Jubilee Year 2000, the youth leaders have shown that they were capable of organising large-scale youth event.
They were also able to link such event with the life and mission of the Church.
To me that is important because an event organised in the name of the Church has to be relevant and responsive to the needs of the target group.
The young people are easy preys to changes around them. They need to know that they are not alone in facing these challenges; the Church is there to help them through and guide them in making the right choices in life.
Large-scale youth events like World Youth Day and Sabah Youth Day are moments where the youths feel at home with the Church and with their peers who profess the same faith.
Many who joined such events have remained faithful to the Lord and are actively involved in the life and mission of the Church.
That is why when the youth leaders suggested having the Sabah Youth Day or SYD, I gave them my full support.
A gradual process
However, since the first SYD in Keningau, some of our people are still skeptical towards the need for such event.
They expect immediate results, and when they do not see them coming, they are hesitant to support such event.
But like any other church events, the fruits are normally gradual and slow to yield.
We need to give chance for the youths to go through their faith journey. We just need to be a bit more patient to what the Lord has in store for them through such events.
Event for and with the youths
Like the World Youth Day, the SYD is an event of the Church for and with the youths.
In other words, not only the youths but the whole local Church needs to be mobilised to make the event a success.
For example, at the parish level, parish leaders and groups need to give their support and encouragement to their youths to participate in the event.
They need to show interest by being present when the Youth Cross arrives at their parish. They need also to support the youths in areas where only adults are capable of handling.
To do that, it is important that everyone is clear about the objectives of the events.
In 2004, the SYD1 was held with specific objectives, the same too with SYD2 this year.
When all of us have the same focus, then I believe we can work together towards the attainment of the objectives.
Prayer and hope
I understand that SYD2 has attracted more than 2,000 youths to Ranau.
There must be something that drives them to join this event.
With the help of the early preparations at their respective parishes, I hope and pray that each and every participant will experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in him or her.
I hope that the catechesis in the form of talks, sharings, debate, concerts and paraliturgies will empower them in their desire to be witnesses of Jesus Christ in this globalised era.
I pray that SYD2 will be an impetus for our youths to be courageous in countering the negative values in today's society.
The Holy Spirit will never fail to reach out to all who cry out to Him for help.
Finally, my dear young people, do not be afraid to profess your faith among your peers. Dare to be different! Turn to the Holy Spirit who is given to you by our Lord. He will guide you in your search for the true meaning of life.
La Salle Comes Out With Its Latest Attraction: Wall Of Fame
TANJUNG ARU(CS).- La Salle has come out with its latest attraction - its Wall of Fame.
Head of State Tun Datuk Seri Ahmadshah bin Abdullah of Class 67, graced the dedication ceremony Aug 16.
He met up with 10 of his classmates in the event.
Some of the dignitaries present at the event were Archbishop John Lee, Father Cosmas Lee, La Salle Brother Visitor Thomas Lavin, Br Peter Phelan, Br Justin Mobilik, Br Egbertus Severinus and Mill Hill Br Martin Snoeren, Minister in the Prime Minister Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and MP for Putatan Datuk Marcus Mojigoh.
The Wall of Fame was mooted as a highlight of the 50 years of La Sallian Heritage celebration, according to Ho Kim Wong, chairman of the Board of Governors.
In his address to the assembly, Ho said,
"The occasion was an opportune time to reflect how for over half a century, the Mill Hill priests in 1903 followed by the La Salle Brothers in 1958, had shaped and changed the destiny of thousands, particularly the poor, the marginalised, irrespective of race, religion and affiliation."
Ho then illustrated his talk with his own case 33 years ago when he was accepted into the school by Brother Charles O'Leary.
However, he lamented, "...a hundred years on, our schools still have to live on charities. Each year we still have to raise funds for the maintenance of the schools or building new structures."
This, Ho said, is proving increasingly difficult, firstly because Boards, PTAs and Alumni are overstretched and also because of the "mistaken perception" that government aided schools are essentially government schools and so should be supported by the Government.
"My fear is that the current situation of many government-aided schools are untenable and unsustainable," Ho said.
The Wall of Fame, a three-wall design, sited at the Junior Campus' former boarding house area, symbolises SM La Salle's three eras, namely, the Mill Hill Era (1903-1957), the La Salle Brothers' Era (1958-1986) and the present La Sallian Era from 1987.
It is also to pay tribute to all those who had and are contributing towards the heritage financially in the form of stars on the Wall of Fame.
For instance, those that have their stars already on the wall are Class 1967, Class 1973, Class 1975, Class 1982, De La Salle Brothers of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong and Marians (St Mary Sandakan).
Meanwhile, in his address, former principal Brother Charles O'Leary, one of the original three Brothers who first set foot on North Borneo soil in 1958, reminded the assembly that people err in assuming educating the masses was always considered a noble mission.
He pointed out that when the congregation was founded in the 17th century by St John Baptist de La Salle, it was "almost a crime to educate the poor and underprivileged."
"Speaking on behalf of my fellow La Salle Brothers who taught here and elsewhere in Sabah, I can say we are humbly proud of this modest part we have made to this heritage and though we are now few in number and some of us in declining years and health, we feel privileged and happy to be here celebrating with you this morning," he said.
He continued, "We are privileged to be initiators of a La Sallian system of education characterised by faith, zeal, service to the community, especially to the poor, the underprivileged in our society."
The La Salle Brothers currently have three communities: Benildus House Tg Aru, Asrama Smart Tambunan and Asrama Butitin Nabawan.
Through its 50 years of existence on Sabah soil, the congregation has only three local vocations: Brs Justin Mobilik, Herbertus Gampok and Egbertus Severinus.
But it has a network of La Sallians who are willing to continue the work of the Brothers in providing educational services to the young, the poor and the underprivileged.
EAM Organises Retreat For Members
TATAL, KENINGAU(CS).- The Eucharistic Adoration Ministry (EAM) of Stella Maris organised a retreat July 18-20 at the Tatal Retreat Centre, Keningau.
Invitations were extended to all Catholics of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, especially the members of the ministry.
The objective of the retreat was to help Catholics to grow deeper in the love for Christ's real presence in the eucharistic mystery.
The main speakers were Bishop Cornelius Piong, Fr Francis Dakun and Sr Beatrise Nemesius CSBS.
In the first session, the bishop expounded on Who the Eucharist Is and that eucharistic adoration is serving the Lord.
He shared his personal experiences and suggested ways for conducting the eucharistic hour.
Each session concluded with guided eucharistic adoration and benediction.
Dakun spoke of the Eucharist as the heart of our life and the principles of adoration.
Most of the participants took the opportunity to go to confession before attending Sunset Mass.
Sr Beatrise Nemesius, a member of the Community Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, talked about the hindrances to taking part in eucharistic adoration.
She also shared her personal experiences in adoring the Eucharistic Lord.
All the participants were happy with the retreat. Some shared their personal experiences of being committed adorers while others expressed what the retreat had meant for them.
RBC Holds "Meet The People Session"
KOTA KINABALU(CS).- In conjunction with a meeting of the Regional Biblical Commission (RBC) - Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei (MSB), the members took the opportunity to meet the faithful in a "Meet the People Session" Aug 6 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Karamunsing.
Msgr Eugene Vaz of Singapore first introduced the members of the commission before going into the history of the RBC.
He said that the RBC was born from the Vatican II document Dei Verbum.
Vaz said that the document led to the setting up of worldwide Catholic Biblical Federation and the subsequent setting up of biblical commissions at bishops' conference level around the world.
These commissions would organise meetings at continental and sub-regional levels.
The MSB Bishops' Conference decided to look into the biblical apostolate in the region, Vaz continued.
The first meeting was held on 28 May 1991 with one representative from each arch/diocese.
Then Archbishop Peter Chung of Kuching convened that meeting.
In his opening remarks, Chung said that the need for a regional biblical commission was felt due to the following factors:
- the great interest in and thirst for God's word in the Bible among Catholics
- the current movement of evangelisation for the year 2000 in the Church
- the Charismatic Renewal everywhere
- the need to provide inspiration and nourishment for the laity today and
- the increasing ecumenical activities in our region.
Vaz said the members at the meeting agreed that this was important and necessary. And so the RBC was set up.
The RBC is a coordinating body to provide services, materials and audio-visuals to the arch/dioceses.
It meets twice a year in a different arch/diocese on rotation.
Vaz observed that through the years the RBC has seen to the celebration of Bible Sunday on the second Sunday of July yearly.
It has also encouraged several initiatives at local level.
The RBC has put out two publications, The Father Reaching out to His Children, to help the faithful appreciate the historical-critical method of exegesis; and a study-cum-discussion presentation on the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum.
In 2004, Vaz said, the RBC initiated a three-year Bible Course for Laity with the possibility of obtaining a Diploma in Biblical Studies offered by the MSB Bishops' Conference.
"The RBC is happy to serve the Church in this region of MSB and we hope that we have helped make the Bible more accessible to our fellow Catholics in the region," Vaz said.
Vaz then ended his presentation with a word of thanks to the faithful present on behalf of the RBC President, Archbishop John Ha [of Kuching] and the members.
He also told the faithful that the RBC would be happy to listen to any suggestions on how it can help the people "even more."
Following the introduction, Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei gave an exposition on "A God Who Speaks," - how God spoke to humanity since time immemorial.
More than 200 people turned up for the session.
SMC Organises Talks For Teens
TANJUNG ARU(CS).- Stella Maris Parish organised a series of talks for teens with the objective of helping the teens to lay good foundations for their adult life.
The teens were from the Form Four and Five Bible Class.
On June 15, Montfort Brothers Francis Chua and Peter Kolaidasamy touched on "Growing up as a Christian Man" for the boys while Teresa Alberto touched on a similar topic for the girls.
The topics focused on practising Christian values at home, in school, in relationships and daily life, and how young people can contribute positively towards society.
Brother Francis stressed on the important of respect for parents.
He pointed out that almost all teen problems arise from disrespect for parents.
Alberto advised the girls on how they should conduct themselves in church and in society.
She also pointed out that dressing or attire plays an important role as well.
Stella Maris Parish priest Father Fundes Motiung gave a talk on "Sex and You" on July 13.
The talk was an eye-opener for the teens.
Motiung explained about the nature of sex and abortion and why it is important to have sex after marriage.
He stressed on the importance of faith as well.
The students took a lively part in this session by asking many questions.
Alice Kunjan gave the last talk on "Growing as a Catholic Teen" on July 20.
Kunjan shared her personal experiences as a Catholic mother and leader.
The students enjoyed the session for it brought up questions about their own future, goals and what being a Catholic means.
The speaker advised the students to be aware of their priorities and to spend more time with God, even while walking to the bus stop.
During a workshop, the students split into four groups to identify one critical challenge facing teenagers.
Interestingly, three out of the four groups identified stress or pressure (from parents, friends, teachers, studyloads, etc) as their greatest challenge.