Author Archives: Ken Wong

Fostering Unity

Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly: DAY 2

The Process

Using the See, Judge, Act method, Archbishop Emeritus John Ha led the as- sembly into a one-day recol- lection based on the theme, May they all be one, just as, Father, You are in me and I am in You, so that the world may believe it was You who sent Me (John 17:21).

Using a video presentation, Arch- bishop Emeritus Ha shared his per- sonal readings on the situation of Malaysia: the Church in the Penin- sular, Sabah and Sarawak. The uni- ty from pre-Malaysia days has seen a gradual erosion primarily due to a political agenda to divide and rule over the last three or four decades, which was also felt in the Church.

He emphasised that the Church, as a community of Christ’s disci- ples, is called to be a beacon of uni- ty in Malaysia. In response to this call, this first Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly was convened in the belief and conviction that deep- er communion among the clergy will lead to a greater unity amidst our diversity among the dioceses in Malaysia.

In Christian practice, this must be carried out in the light of the Word of God. Archbishop Ha preached on Judge in the homily at Mass.

Mission and communion are one: communion is for mission and mission seeks communion. “This is the reason why Jesus prays to His Father to make His disciples ‘one in Us’. With this communion, they will be credible executors of the mission Jesus has entrusted to them.

In this way, they will effectively draw the world to faith in Jesus so that they too may have eternal life, ie they will be drawn into the oneness rooted in, and modelled on, the mutual in- dwelling between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and by His power, these first Disciples of Christ, the apos- tles, carried out the mission Christ entrusted to them.

The Acts of the Apostles, sometimes called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit, records the ministry and mission of the apostles under the guidance of the Advocate. Like Jesus, they also ap- pointed successors to continue this mission. By this “apostolic succes- sion”, the name of the Father con- tinues to be made known, and His word proclaimed, so that people of every age continue to be led into a relationship with Him through Jesus. The high-priestly prayer of Jesus sweeps across all genera- tions to reach us today and those to come after us until the end of time. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have come to know the Father as the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. We now inherit the mission Jesus entrusted to His dis- ciples and, if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, the prayer that Jesus asked us to pray will be realised in our time.”

This took place in the after- noon. After time spent in applied reflection and personal prayer during the Adoration, the clergy then shared their experi- ences in groups and deliberated on the way forward to work to- gether for the Church in Malaysia.

The Teaching Moment : See, Judge, Act orientation of Lectio Divina
The Learning Experience : Group interaction Visit to parish communities

Pope John XXIII picked up Pope Pius XII’s expression the ‘signs of the times’ and used the phase to call the Church to renewal in its own life and in its involvement in the world by ‘reading the signs of the times’. A phrase that became popu- lar with the process of Vatican Council II.

In his writings he himself set about reading the hopeful and concerning signs of his time. In Mater et Magistra he affirms the process of See, Judge, Act as a way of reading and responding to the signs of the time.

“There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social prin- ciples into practice.

First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judge- ment on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what the circumstanc- es can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: observe, judge, act,” Pope John XXIII, Ma- ter et Magistra, 1961 (# 236). Source: http://socialjustice.

Today in Malaysia we use the See, Judge, Act method during our BEC gatherings.

Mater et Magistra
explores the role the Church in efforts to achieve social progress and justice in the world. Pope John XXIII calls for a greater awareness of the need for all peoples to live as one commu- nity with a common good.

Visit to Parish Communities: the Learning Moment
The first and second days of the assembly were a time for build- ing new friendship among the cler- gy and rekindling old ones among brother priests. Many who were classmates in the seminary years ago had the pleasure of strengthen- ing their bonds of friendship.

In addition, the clergy were brought to visit South Johor Vi- cariate parishes to experience and witness, first-hand, the reality of the Catholics from Sabah, Sarawak and Semenanjung living together in communion and mission.

They were welcomed by the pa- rishioners dressed in their tradition- al attire and treated to local food and drinks prepared by the various ethnic groups who were part of the parish community.

This reinforced the notion of unity in diversity which is a distinct character of the Malaysian Church.

The Bishops of Malacca Diocese

1. Bishop Antonio de Castro (Sep 3, 1738 – Aug 9, 1743)
2. Bishop Miguel de Bulhões e Souza, OP (Mar 28, 1746 – Feb 19, 1748)
3. Bishop Gerardo de São José, OP (Feb 19, 1748 – Jan 1760)
4. Bishop Alexandre da Sagrada Familia Ferreira da Silva, OFM Ref (Dec 16, 1782 – Feb 14 1785)
5. Bishop Francisco de São Damazo Abreu Vieira, OFM Obs (Oct 29, 1804 – Mar 15, 1815)

Vicariate of Malaya

Malacca Diocese ceases
By the Brief Multa Praeclare (Aug 24, 1838), Malacca Diocese lost its jurisdiction and the see of Malacca was transferred to the Vicariate Apostolic of Ava and Pegu (Burma). However, due to an acute shortage of missionaries, the whole Malay Peninsula was temporarily placed under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Siam in 1840. Then in 1841, the Vicariate of Malaya was established. The bishops were:

1. Bishop Jean-Paul-Hilaire-Michel Courvezy, MEP (Sep 10, 1841 – May 18, 1845)
2. Bishop Jean-Baptiste Boucho, MEP (Jun 3, 1845 – Mar 6, 1871)
3. Bishop Michel-Esther Le Turdu, MEP(Mar 6, 1871 – May 10, 1877)

Diocese of Malacca
AUG 10, 1888

The old See of Malacca was revived by Pope Leo XIII and raised from a Vicariate into a Diocese, as a suffragan to Pondicherry. Rt Rev Edouard Gasnier, the Apostolic Vicar from 1878, was appointed the first bishop. His residence was in Singapore as with the other bishops.

1. Bishop Edouard Gasnier, MEP (Apr 5, 1878 – Apr 8, 1896)
2. Bishop René-Michel-Marie Fée, MEP (Jul 21, 1896 – Jan 20, 1904)
3. Bishop Émile Marie Luc Alphonse Barillon, MEP  (May 10, 1904 – Jan 10, 1933)
4. Bishop Adrien-Pierre Devals, MEP (Nov 27, 1933 – Jan 17, 1945)
5. Bishop Michel Olçomendy, MEP (June 1, 1947 – Sept 19, 1953)


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

May we be one

PLENTONG, Johor: “The Malaysian Church began in unity,” said Bishop Bernard Paul at the 1st Malaysian Catholic Clergy Assembly (MCCA) July 16- 20, 2018.

With the growth of new di- oceses, disunity slowly crept in with each diocese chalking its own path. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has been moving towards unity. Today, she is moving more towards synodality and collegiality. From a pietistic and individualistic experi- ence, the local Church, following the example of Pope St John XXIII, has opened her win- dows to see the world beyond herself. This has enabled her to work with others. There is a greater acceptance of others who share a common vision.

“There are similar experiences that we share and in some areas, unity is found,” he ex- plained. “We began by having a common seminary, College General, in Penang. Many dioceses from East Asia sent their seminarians there.”

With our independence in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, new dioceses within Malaysia were created. With this came the appointment of local bishops who took over the responsibility of shepherding the new and vacant dioceses from the foreign mission- ary bishops. “This was followed by the emergence of pastoral infrastructures” and a new modus op- erandi.

“Besides our common beginnings, we also had some common grumblings: disparity of fi- nancial capablities including funding for min- istries. These inequalities we have seen.” With the formation of Malaysia, there was also a demographic shift where people from East Malaysia migrated to West Malaysia for education and career opportunities.

“This migration highlighted the emergence of the Bumiputera face of the Church. But, where is the indigenous leadership of the Church?” asked Bishop Bernard. We grew up “with a parochial attitude in our understanding of our mission which seems to say ‘It’s not my problem, but yours’.

“From the common grumblings, we found areas where we could work together and form common pastoral strategies. They are: the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei (CBCMSB), the Malay- sian Bishops Conference (MBC), the various Episcopal Commissions and the Annual Young Priests’ Gatherings. “We have also begun an integrated forma- tion for our Malaysian Seminarians.”

As a united Church, “we stood for some common issues – the ‘Allah’ case, the conver- sion cases and other court cases. We collabo- rated on the publication of the Alkitab versi Borneo. With the increased fluency in Bahasa Malaysia, it became necessary to celebrate Masses in that language.

We are also working together in the area of Mission schools and the staffing of our two main seminaries — St Pe- ter’s Seminary Kuching and College General Penang.

“We also have a common hope with the National Unity Consultative Council,” said Bishop Bernard.

Towards a Pan Malaysia Pastoral Convention 2026
“The post Vatican II growth of the Pen- insular Malaysia Church began with the 1976 Aggiornamento which focused on BECs for renewal and a spirituality of com- munion,” said Bishop Bernard Paul. This meant that there was one pastoral thrust with one pastoral think-tank — PMPT (Peninsular Malaysia Pastoral Team).

This ecclesiel growth was followed by a review every ten years by the Peninsu- lar Malaysia Pastoral Convention I, 1986 (PMPC I), PMPC II, PMPC III and PMPC IV.

There were representatives from East Malaysia at the 2016 PMPC IV, and some members suggested that we have a Pan Ma- laysia Pastoral Convention.”

“On Jan 17, 2017, the Conference of Bishops agreed for the 1st Malaysian Cath- olic Clergy Assembly (MCCA). “So what is next? The clergy must be united through friendship, learn from new experiences and accept challenges as op- portunities,” said Bishop Bernard.

“In John 17, Jesus prays for unity among the apostles — the Church’s struggles and joys at her beginning. A united Church is a Church commissioned for mission.

“The mission of the Church is to witness to the one who sent us. It is witnessing to our unity despite our diversity. It is becom- ing bridge builders so as to carry out the initiative of friendship among all peoples of goodwill,” Bishop Bernard added.

Bishop Richard Ng went on to say that after the clergy had met, it was time for the religious to meet to ensure that all are on the same wavelength.

The structures are already there. “We just need to bring our comments and sugges- tions for implementation.

“Those from the East and West Malaysia need to work together. The bishops have to come up with a common understanding with regards to priests and religious moving from one place to another in a more struc- tured way.”

PMPC V will be the First Pan Malaysian Pastoral Convention. “That is our focus but before that, the clergy and religious must first meet,” added Bishop Ng.

“On behalf of everyone here, we wish to thank all the bishops, clergy and religious for your participation at the 1st MCCA,” said Bishop Julius Dusin.

“We must not forget the Malacca Johore Diocese for hosting the MCCA. We thank you and the staff of MAJODI, including the kitchen staff too.”

Bishop Julius ended the meeting by thanking God for his blessings and im- plored His help in guiding the Malaysian Church to greater unity in the future.

–The process of planning the Pan Malay- sia Pastoral Convention (PMPC) which replaces the Peninsular Malaysia Pastoral Convention in 2026, has already begun.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Legal fraternity need two elements — prayer and humility

KUALA LUMPUR: Approximately 70 Catholic Lawyers gathered at St John’s Cathedral to begin the legal year with the celebration of the Red Mass.The main celebrant was His Lordship Richard Ng DD, Bishopof Miri.

Concelebrating at the RedMass were His Grace Archbish-op Julian Leow and ArchbishopEmeritus Murphy Pakiam, Fr Jes-tus Pereira and Catholic LawyersSociety (CLS) spiritual advisorFr Michael Chua. In his sermon,Bishop Ng explained two pointsthat resonate from the readingsof the day. The first was the em-phasis on prayer and the secondthe element of humility. He ex-plained that there is no short cut tothe Lord save and except throughprayer.


The communication with theLord through prayer is essential totransform us and get us through allobstacles.

He emphasised that prayer is anecessity and it comes in manyforms. Some prayers are formal,like the Rosary, others are infor-mal. He urged all to ask the Lordthrough prayer to heal us withhis love. Prayer may or may notchange God’s plans but it helpschange us. But he echoed St John’smessage (1 Jn 5:14-21) that if weask anything according to his will,he hears us.The second point he stressedwas on humility.

This, he says,is borne out from the gospel (Jn3:22-30), where the passage em-phasises John the Baptist’s humil-ity. Despite having many follow-ers and disciples, he was humbleenough to tell his followers thathe must decrease and Jesus mustincrease.

Bishop Ng invited all to prayand to work with humility. Heconcluded by reading Pope Fran-cis’ message of peace.CLS President, Rita Wong,thanked all who had helped toanimate the Mass. She remindedthe congregation about St ThomasMore who remained steadfast toGod’s call even though he wassubjected to imprisonment and,ultimately, death.

“Our duty is tosafeguard and work towards themission of the gospel,” she said.Archbishop Julian Leow thankedthe CLS for defending and offer-ing services to the Church and tosociety for the past 25 years.

He appealed to Catholic lawyers toparticipate and be active in theCLS and to build the New Malay-sia. He reminded us that the PrimeMinister has repeated the positionof the Government to uphold therule of law. “We rely on you law-yers to maintain the rule of law,”He said.Also participating at the Masswere YB Teresa Kok, Minister ofPrimary Industries, their Excel-lencies the Ambassadors of Italy,Peru, Switzerland and the Europe-an Union.

Also present was DatukSeri Michael Chong, MCA PublicService Department Chief.The Mass ended with fellow-ship and lunch. — By Dato JoyAppukuttan


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Hamper of Joy lunch for the elderly

Hamper of Joy lunch for the elderly


It was indeed a joyous and memorable experience forthe blind, the deaf, the physically challenged and the elderly as they gath-ered at Holy Rosary Church’s Hallon January 2, 2019 for the Epiphany Hamper of Joy Charity Lunch sponsored by the Church’s Centering Care of the Elderly, CCE.

They were feted to an eight courseChinese lunch together with one wholeroast pig. Gifts from their Christmaswish list, donated by the parishioners,were given to them after lunch.The occasion was also to celebratethe 55th birthday of Archbishop Julian Leow.

To mark this happy oc-casion, a cake was presented to himand he was asked to blow out the can-dles.In his speech, Archbishop Leowsaid that his birthday was not impor-tant.

The birth of Jesus Christ, whobrings Joy and Salvation to the world,is far more important. “Today we cel-ebrate the birthday of Our Lord JesusChrist.” Everyone applauded.The party ended with His Grace ask-ing all the priests present to join himin his apostolic blessings for us. Eve-ryone went home happy, with heartsfilled with joy.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Pursuing justice within oneself and globally

KUALA LUMPUR: In the KualaLumpur Archdiocese, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was celebrated on Thursday, Jan 17.

The two-hour gathering, hostedby Crossway Community Lutheran Church, was a reminder for Christians of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John17:21).

The 2019 theme, Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …was inspired by Deuteronomy16:18-20.

The evening was attended by heads and representatives of various Christian denominations. From the Catholic Church, HisEminence, Anthony Soter Car-dinal Fernandez, Archbishop ofKuala Lumpur Most Rev JulianLeow and Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam were pre-sent.Host pastor Rev Marcus Leongin his introductory speech said,“As Christians from separatedcommunities, we gather here topray for unity.

This (year’s) themeis imperative due to the recurring situations that bring divisions and conflicts. As we pray together, weare reminded that our calling asmembers of the body of Christ isto pursue and embody justice. Our unity in Christ empowers us to take part in the wider struggle for justice and to promote the dignity of life.”Methodist pastor Rev Tan ChewMae, Presbyterian pastor Rev Richard Tok and Anglican priestRev Joshua Ong took turns torecite the prayer of repentance.The Gospel according to Luke(4:14-21) was read by Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church’s Rev.Mathew Punnose.

Council of Churches Malaysiageneral secretary Rev Dr Her-men Shahstri, during his sermon,reminisced about a conference inVancouver Canada in 1983 whereArchbishop Rev Desmond Tutuwas asked, “If a church can makea difference in the world so filledwith insurmountable injustice.”To which Tutu replied: “Whenthe church is divided, injusticethrives and the world wins.

Whenthe church is united on Gospel im-peratives of justice, the power ofoppression will be dethroned inthe name of Jesus Christ, the lightof the world”.Rev Hermen went on to sharehow this year’s theme of puttingthe dimension of justice back atthe heart of Christian thinking isapt as the whole bible is a mes-sage of God’s righteous will andthe compelling exercise of justicefor all humanity.

“We cannot compromise, Jesusdoes not allow his disciples tocompromise on Kingdom values.We pray the Lord’s prayer in manylanguages and in many differentcontents. That shows the diversityand it’s no threat to unity. We canlive with it but if the Lord’s prayeris not lived out in just living, thenit threatens the very core of whatit means to be Christian. Chris-tians that pray the Lord’s Prayerpledge their allegiance to Christwho promised, he had come, soyou may have life and live in itsabundance.”

Most Rev Julian Leow sharedthe Word of Exhortation after thesermon, in which he reminded the250 strong congregation that thereare many injustices right here inMalaysia.“We all know from experience,trying to get into universities,quota systems, trying to purchaseproperties and you don’t get spe-cial discounts. Employment, it isdifficult to get into certain sectors– army, police and the list can goon, there is so much social injus-tice. But here we are.

I would like us to look within our selves. Am I acting justly? Am I loving ten-derly? Am I walking humbly withthe Lord?“It is good to look at myselffirst, whether I am living justice.Am I pursuing not only justiceoutside but am I living it in myown life? Am I behaving? Am Iprospering my neighbour? Or amI too busy accumulating just formyself? And so, justice and onlyjustice we must pursue.”Archbishop Leow went on toask if we should be seeking retrib-utive justice as in an eye for an eyeor seek restorative justice to givejustice to the weak, the orphan,the lonely, the destitute “Why are there the poor and homelesson the streets of Kuala Lumpur?What am I doing as Church, look-ing after my neighbour?

Are we asChurch doing enough?“Am I out doing one another indoing good? Whether I see myneighbour as someone better thanme or am I also in this competi-tive dog-eat-dog society, even inthe Church?“

Let us as a Church today, praythat we pursue restorative justicenot retributive – not an eye for aneye.


There will be blind and hand-icapped people walking aroundthe world if we go along that line.9-11 (Sept 11, 2001) has shownus peace can only be achievedthrough forgiveness. What ifGeorge Bush had forgiven? Wouldwe be in a safer place today? Be-cause of retributive justice, I thinkwe are worse off today.

The spiralof violence, violence begets vio-lence.“The only answer I believe,though it may be naïve, is loveconquers all.

The best way to getrid of your enemy is to love themto death.”There were also melodious per-formances by an Indonesian choirfrom Gereja Kristian Bahasa In-donesia, the Cantus Musicus andThe Ruth Education Centre Choirmade up of Myanmar refugeeyouths.The evening ended with thepriests and pastors praying ablessing over the congregationfollowed by a light supper and fel-lowship. — By Gwen Manickam


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Catechetical Sunday 2019

Catechetical Sunday will be celebrated on January 27, 2019 in Malaysia with the theme Christ, Our Mission. This year’s reflection is by Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, the President of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The theme for this year’s Cat- echetical Sunday, Christ, Our Mission (Phil 1:21) is a call to all baptised Catholics to make Christ known to others, especially those on the peripheries.

“For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21). In this verse, the apostle Paul is saying that everything he has tried to be, everything he is, and everything he looked forward to becom- ing, pointed to Christ.

From the time of Paul’s conversion until his martyrdom, every move he made was aimed at advancing the knowledge, gospel and Church of Christ. Paul’s singular aim was to bring glory to Jesus.

The phrase ‘to live is Christ’ should be central to each one of us. “To live is Christ” means that we proclaim the gospel of Christ. It means that we imitate the exam- ples of Christ. “To live is Christ” means that we pursue the knowl- edge of Christ. It means that we are willing to give up anything that prevents us from having Christ.

“To live is Christ” means that Christ is our focus, our goal, our chief desire. Christ is the cen- tre point of our mind, heart, body and soul. Everything that we do, we do for Christ’s glory. In his first apostolic exhorta- tion, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis reminds us that as baptised Cath- olics, we are all catechists and evangelisers. Thus, as baptised Catholics, we are always encour- aged to learn about our faith but, above all, we are called to give witness to the life of Jesus Christ that is at work within us.

The strength of our faith, at a person- al and community level, can be measured by the ability to com- municate it to others, to spread and live it in charity, to witness to it to those we meet and those who share the path of life with us.

St Pope Paul VI eloquently taught us that “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. We need to know our faith so that we can bear witness to it. “Nemo dat quod non habet” … We cannot give what we do not have.

Therefore, knowledge of the essential teachings of our faith is important. It’s a founda- tion that is essential to building life-long faith formation. Many youths ask, “When does Cat- echism finally come to an end?” It doesn’t! We are never through learning about, and experiencing, our faith. The truth of the Scrip- tures and the teachings of our Faith have been described as a great pool in which the smallest child can play, but one in which the brightest of theologians could never touch the bottom. We can and should spend a life- time swimming in that pool. As we celebrate Catechetical Sun- day, it’s a great opportunity for us to check in and ask ourselves if we have learned everything there is to know about our faith or if, perhaps, Christ is asking us to go a little deeper into the pool.

Let us rekindle our excitement for the gift of faith and develop our en- thusiasm for this treasure that we carry in earthen vessels. Our mission, our calling, our vocation as Catholics is to make God apparent in the world. We should let others see Him through us. This Catechetical Sunday, let us recommit ourselves to our vo- cation as teachers of the faith. Let us vow to proclaim the Good News, to be heralds of the gos- pel, to be messengers of heal- ing and hope.

We need to strive, very simply, to make our lives examples of what it means to be a Catholic: To love without con- ditions, to pray without ceasing, to be compassion and mercy in a world full of desperation and fear.

The writer M. Craig Barnes put it beautifully: “God is always present,” he wrote, “but not usu- ally apparent.” So let us live to make Christ, Our Mission, as in the words of St Paul, “conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ”.

Some ideas to celebrate
Here are some ideas to help you cel- ebrate Catechetical Sunday as a parish community.

Host Brunch The most timeless way to say “thank you” is with food! Cater brunch or ask the participating families in your class to sign up to donate dishes.

Host a brunch in your parish centre before the Mass in which catechists will be commissioned. Let catechists come together, share stories and laugh- ter with other catechists around the ta- ble, and feel appreciated!

A spiritual bouquet is a great way to pray for catechists, to invite students to do the same, and to say thank you! Pre- pare a poster board for each catechist. On each poster board, draw a group of flowers in the shape of a bouquet. (You can do this any way you like! Get creative, involve the students, and have fun!)

Invite each catechist’s students to write a prayer for their catechist on a slip of paper. In this prayer, invite stu- dents to tell God how thankful they are for their catechist and to include the things they’d ask God to bless their catechist with. Glue each student’s prayer to the individual stems drawn on the poster and present to catechists for a beautiful keepsake filled with gratitude!

Provide a Spiritual Experience just for Catechists
Often, once someone becomes a cat- echist, they spend more time giving themselves in their faith than receiving formation. While this can be a beauti- ful gift of self, it is important that we help to keep the faith lives of our cat- echists full and healthy.

A great way to do this is to provide opportunities that will inspire them on their own faith journey, completely separate from the classroom. As a way to say thank you, plan a day that focuses specifically on your catechists’ walk with the Lord which helps them grow deeper in their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Con- sider a retreat experience or a day of formation focused on this year’s Cat- echetical Sunday theme.

Mail Time
As part of your parish’s celebration of Catechetical Sunday, ask parents to write thank you letters to a particular catechist. Perhaps it is the catechist who taught their child this year, or one that has been particularly special to their family. Letters should extend gratitude for the catechist’s gift of service, with inspirational words, and maybe even anecdotes about ways she or he has inspired the family. Ensure you have a letter for every catechist, and then mail letters to the catechists’ homes. Try to time the delivery of let- ters to arrive the Saturday before Cat- echetical Sunday!

Celebrate the Eucharist
As Catholics, the most important way we celebrate any occasion is together around the table of the altar in the lit- urgy. Work with your pastor to plan a liturgy for Catechetical Sunday that fo- cuses specifically on the catechists and thanking them. Plan a special commis- sioning, ask your priests to speak par- ticularly about the catechists in their homily, and present a small token as a gift to catechists as they leave Mass.


About Catechetical Sunday

Why do we celebrate Cat- echetical Sunday?
In 1935, the Vatican published On the Better Care and Pro- motion of Catechetical Edu- cation, a document that asks every country to acknowl- edge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honour those who serve the Christian community as catechists. For the first few years after Catechetical Sun- day was established, national catechetical congresses were held in conjunction with the celebration.

What Does the Word “Cat- echetical” Mean?
The word might be more fa- miliar than you think. Many Catholics have used the word “catechism” for years, and they know it has something to do with the compendium of the Church’s teachings. The root word, “catechesis,” is from a Greek word meaning “to echo, or resound”. Catechesis is the act of resounding or bringing the Church’s teachings to the world. A catechist is one who teaches in the name of the Church.

Why do we have a special day set aside to commission cat- echists?
Catechesis is a distinct and special ministry in the Church. As the Catechism of the Cath- olic Church makes clear, “Cat- echesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life . . . her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on cat- echesis” (no 7). This ministry of teaching in the name of the Church has a profound digni- ty, which is why catechists are formally commissioned by the Church. It is only fitting that we set aside a day to highlight this ministry and invite the entire Church community to think about our responsibility to share our faith with others.

How are parents, the primary catechists of their children, recognised on Catechetical Sunday
Parents are truly the primary catechists of their children. They prepare the soil and plant the first seeds of faith. On Cat- echetical Sunday, we not only highlight the work of cate- chists in parishes and schools, but we also commend parents and guardians and encourage them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next gen- eration. This is why the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes an optional blessing of parents and guardians.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

MCCBHST pays courtesy call on Prime Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has vowed that his government will be sensitive towards all religions.

“At the same time, every one of us must obey the rule of law,” he added in a Twitter post on Jan 11. The posting came after his meeting with council members of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) at his office in Putrajaya.

The prime minister said despite the differences, Malaysia is more peaceful than some countries in terms of racial harmony and religious tolerance.

MCCBCHST vice-president Sardar Jagir Singh said Mahathir assured the government will be inclusive of all.

“We discussed various issues of concern and an inclusive Malaysia. Tun (Mahathir) heard all issues patiently and said he would personally look into them.

“He also affirmed that the Harapan government will be inclusive and will be guided by the Federal Constitution and the rule of law.”



Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Prayer for Extraordinary Missionary Year

Heavenly Father, when your only begotten Son
Jesus Christ rose from the dead,
he commissioned his followers to “go and make disciples
of all nations” and you remind us that through our Baptism
we are made sharers in the mission of the Church.

Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be
courageous and zealous in bearing witness to the Gospel,
so that the mission entrusted to the Church,
which is still very far from completion,
may find new and efficacious expressions
that bring life and light to the world.

Help us make it possible for all peoples to experience
the saving love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who lives and
reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Divine Mercy Church Penang, receives two more relics

The Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) Penang received two early Christmas presents last year.

In November last year, Fr Paul Zawadski SAC, from Korea, gave Fr Martin Arlando, parish priest of CDM, a phone call, asking him if he was still interested in obtaining a relic of Blessed Fr Michael Sopocko (1888 – 1975) who was the confessor and spiritual director of St Faustina. It was through her meditations that he was directly involved with the mystery of the revelations given to her by the Merciful Jesus. As a result, we are blessed to have all of the revelations recorded in her diary.

Fr Paul had made the acquaintance of Fr Martin when he attended the 4th Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy (AACOM IV) organised by CDM in Penang. By divine grace, official letters were sent and then we received word that we were granted this relic.

Fr Martin will go on a pilgrimage to collect it later this year.

On December 7, 2018, Fr Martin sent another letter with a supporting letter from the Rt Rev Bishop Francis Sebastian of Penang Diocese to the Missionaries of Charity at Calcutta, requesting for a first class relic of St Teresa of Calcutta (1910 – 1997). Shortly after this, a parcel arrived in the mail from India. CDM got its second Christmas present. This was announced to the congregation at the weekend Masses on the last Sunday of 2018.

The parishioners were given the opportunity to venerate the relic after Mass. With the two new relics of these people who experienced the Mercy of God in their lives, we at CDM are so blessed and will continue to encourage all who visit this parish to perform works of Mercy.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

SMC plans to bring everyone closer together

IPOH: St Michael’s Church (SMC) plans to bring all its parishioners closer together in har- mony, worship and in good works, throughout this year through its theme, SMC as our Home at its bilingual parish assembly.

SMC parish priest Fr Anthony Liew, said this when addressing the parish pastoral assem- bly here on Jan 13, which saw 210 people par- ticipating. SMC priest-in-residence, Fr Robin Andrews, was also present.

Fr Liew said this theme was chosen because there was a lack of sense of belonging amongst the people, and a lack of volunteerism for the various ministries and programmes. “If the church is our home, why would we need volunteers?

“We would feel the sense of responsibility to take care of it. Responsibility goes beyond volunteering,” he said.

This positive way of approaching the people will also enable them to grow more in faith, and help them to remain faithful to their calling to serve Jesus Christ, by using their time, talent, money and knowledge to build God’s kingdom in SMC, he said.

He noted that during his three months at SMC since becoming parish priest, there was a certain amount of lukewarmness and wavering in volunteerism, to serve in different ministries and programmes.

“That is the challenge and reality we face to- day, in the church,” he said.

“Now after three months here, I feel very tired doing so much, but God has a reason to put us together.

“So as your parish priest, I am striving to do my best to make SMC my home, and as one family of SMC we can do this together.

“Let us not run from hardships although the task is challenging. Find an alternative way to serve and reach out to others in the parish for it is a blessing to be called to serve,” he said.

SMC is our Home in Christ, because it is a place of worship connecting us to God and the Father, and also where we can experience the love of God.

Throughout this Extraordinary Missionary Year (EMY) we must have a personal expe- rience of God, meditate on the stories of the lives of saints and martyrs, attend formations to deepen our knowledge of church doctrine and do missionary charity, he added.

Fr Liew outlined the Penang Diocese’ s plan for the EMY, with the theme: Baptised and Sent: the Church on mission in the world. Formations will be held in Penang Diocese from Jan 5 until June 9 (Pentecost), and pil- grimages to the Church of Assumption from June 9 till Oct 20 (Mission Sunday) which marks the end of the EMY.

On Jan 20, there will be a launch of the dio- cese formations on Sharing Christ in Ipoh and Penang.

Registration will be ongoing for two weeks and there are limited seats. In Ipoh the registra- tion centre is at SMC.

The Formations will be held from March 2 until April 13. For SMC, the formation be held on May 1.

Its Family Day be held on Aug 31. “Before going out on mission, we must spend time in prayer with Jesus and God the Father who gives life to the work of God.

“We must know more about God, and the Father, before going to others to do His re- deeming work,”he said. He gave the example of the Samaritan Wom- an, an outcast, who turned to Jesus Christ for the “Living Water” that he gave her to bring her life back to God.

“Those whom we help, do they get to know about Jesus Christ? All of us are sent by Christ to the world. “Currently, the missionary groups in SMC include the Sahabat Orang Asli, the Wake (prayer) group and the Soup Kitchen.

“If they (the recipients) have not yet known Christ, then there is no difference between the work done here (in the parish) and outside or- ganisations,” he said.

After tea break, there was the evaluation of the 2018 projects – such as reading the New Testament, and the Bible Exhibition at SMC.

There were no print copies of the parish as- sembly plan as Fr Liew said it was more envi- ronmental friendly by not using paper.

Instead there were interactive discussions on topics and suggestions made to improve the parish environment and atmosphere for the people.

Globalisation and Community: The BECs Challenge the Modern World
The Basic Ecclesial Communities, as the Church, is called to be on mission in the world. The context and goal of this mission is the establishment of God’s Kingdom in this world. It is from this point of view that we have to look at the modern world in order to explore in what way the BECs challenge the modern world in view of the Kingdom. The BECs, of course, can choose to live apart, un- concerned about the modern world, busy with their religious practices, reading the Bible and celebrating the Eucharist. Then it will be un- true to its mission. The mission of the Church has been described as prophetic dialogue. The prophetic Word comes from the good news of the Kingdom and challenges the world to conversion in view of becoming the Kingdom. The Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed is a com- munity of freedom, fellowship and justice. The Church is its symbol and servant. It seeks to embody the Kingdom and at the same time to promote it in the world. The Eucharist is its dynamic celebration.

Science, Technology and Consumerism
In order to understand how the Church and the BECs challenges the world, we have to understand what and where the world is to- day. We speak of the modern world. What is modern about the world? Modernity is usually contrasted to tradition. We should not confuse modernisation with Euro-Americanisation in a colonial and post-colonial setting. The mo- dernity of the world can be understood from three different points of view. First of all the modern world is characterised by science and technology. These are not totally new forces. The discovery of the wheel and of the number zero (0) were epoch making. But the impact of science and technology on the people and their lives in the last 200 years has been rapid and extensive. Science seeks to discover na- ture’s laws and technology tries to use them through its machines. The result of the explo- sion of science and technology is a sense of knowledge and power. This has led to the pro- cess of secularisation where the humans affirm their autonomy from the divine. If the relation- ship between God and the universe is that of a Creator who is outside the creation then a world that functions according to its own laws can ignore, if not deny, the Creator. Science and technology has given birth, not only to a world without God, but also to a consumer- istic world. The human world today is full of machines that extend human power in unheard of ways. The humans can no longer do without them. From this point of view different parts of the world may be more or less modern. Consumerism joined to technology also leads to the exploitation of the earth and energy re- sources often leading to their destruction.

Secondly the modern world is a democratic world. In the past the world was ruled by kings and their nobles. Feudalism character- ised political order. Feudalism was further strengthened by colonialsm. Starting with the French revolution, democracy as the rule of the people, by the people, for the people is finding an increasing presence in the world. While a fully democratic country does not seem to exist anywhere, there are areas in the world where democracy is still absent. Multi- party democracy is only one form and is not the best. Eventually we should move towards a participative, consensual form of democracy. With such democracy will go freedom and a sense of agency. There is an increasing desire of the people for this. But it would not happen as long as politics is at the service of economy and commerce. Besides, the present world or- der is largely colonial in many hidden ways, economically and militarily, if not politically. The Church is not very democratic. It is said that it is not a democracy. It is not an autocracy either. It cannot be a majoritarian democracy. But it can be a participative and consensual one. It is so in the Eastern Churches. This could be experimented on in the BECs.

Globalisation and the Media
The third characteristic of the modern world is the phenomenon of globalisation. It is made possible by the technologies of communica- tions. Contacts across the world today are in- stantaneous. The speed of travel and of the ex- change of goods is amazing. The people can use these means to build a world community of sharing and fellowship. But the globalisa- tion of capitalism can lead to globalisation of exploitation and inequality. The globalisation of the market leading to the globalisation of a consumerist monoculture is destroying the local cultures and identities of people. The market of goods is in turn controlled by the money market and money itself has become a virtual good, present only in the mind of the traders who speculate with them. So we live in an imaginary world. The speed and extent of globalisation has led to a loss of depth and to a globalisation of superficiality. The gap between the few rich and the many poor is increasing both globally and locally. The in- equality is also seen in the abuse of resources. It is often said that 20 per cent of the world’s population use 80 per cent of its resources. It is also a concern that an unbridled use of resources may deprive future generations of their due, since some of the resources, like oil and minerals, are limited. A consumerist life style focusing on the body and material goods also alienates the person. The women are treated as sex objects. Children are abused.

The world is said to be getting flat. The young people in the call centres in Manila or Bangalore may be serving clients in the USA or England. But they are slaves selling, not their physical, but intellectual labour. Indi- vidualism, inequality and competition lead to open or hidden violence seeking to domi- nate and protect necessary resources. Even religions tend to justify such violence when their own identity is threatened and they also are used as political tools. — By Michael Amaladoss, SJ, Source: Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Chennai, India.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online
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