Category Archives: Dec 2018

St Mary’s Cathedral Advent recollection

The Parish Catholic Women’s Apostolate collaborated with the Parish Pastoral Council of the Cathedral of St Mary to organise this year’s Parish Advent Recollection on November 24. Themed The Joy of Salvation, the half day recollection was facilitated by Fr Christopher Ireneus and Sr Theresa Martin, fsic and attended by 94 participants.

The Recollection started with the Enthronement of the Bible, followed by a gospel reading and reflection by Sr Regina Kimung fsic. The opening prayer was led by the Parish Rector, Fr David A. Garaman.
Sr Theresa gave the first session, What is Advent?.

She touched on the meaning of ‘Advent:’

— Brief explanation of the Cycle of Liturgy
— The origin of the language from which ‘Advent’ comes
— The focus of Advent
— The history of Advent

The second session, The Joy of Salvation was conducted by Fr Christopher Ireneus.

He said Advent is the first season of the Church year — the preparation for the coming of Christ. He then explained the symbolic meaning of the four candles of Advent 1) Hope (purple) 2) Peace (purple) 3) Joy (Pink) 4) Love (purple).

1. Hope – to be prepared and ready when Jesus comes again.

2. Peace – The necessity for the people to change their lives for the better. To give peace and be at peace with one’s self.

3. Joy – Rejoice! Jesus really is the special person that we have been waiting for.

4. Love – The love that overflows with small gestures of mutual care so as to build a better world, a contagious love.

Pilis Malim, the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman, expressed his gratitude to all the particpants for their attendance. He also thanked Fr Christopher and Sr Theresa for their input. He hopes that after listening to the talks all are aware of the significance of Advent.

The Recollection concluded at 1.00pm with a closing prayer by Fr Christopher.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Becoming a beacon of HOPE

The Gift of Hope project was launched during the World Day of the Poor celebration at the weekend Masses of November 17 and 18 at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (CHS). This initiative by the CHS Parish Human Development Committee (PHDC) is in response to the call by Pope Francis for all Catholics – clergy and laity – to get involved in an act of “loving attentiveness” towards the poor in the way God does.

CHS parish priest, Fr Joachim Robert, though away for the weekend, left his message in a video clip to convey to his parishioners the intent of the project. In his message that revolved around Psalm 34, Fr Joachim highlighted the verse: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,” to remind parishioners that the project provided an opportunity for all to become a beacon of HOPE in this troubled world. He invited all parishioners to visit the specially set up Advent Room to find out how they could be a part of this meaningful project to make a difference in the lives of the under privileged.

The presiding celebrants at the two Masses, Fr Simon Labrooy and Fr Francis Anthony, also spoke on the far-reaching benefits of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy towards the less fortunate. To mark the occasion, commemorative bookmarks with iconic representations and words on Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy were distributed to the congregation.

The verse from Psalm 34 must have struck a chord with parishioners who were reminded of another verse where Jesus clearly showed that action is more important than talk when he asked Bartimaeus, the blind man of Jericho in Luke 18:41, “What do you want me to do for you?” In reaching out to the cry of this destitute man, Jesus granted him both spiritual and physical healing.

Similarly, parishioners were exhorted to seek, invite and save the lost, the least and the little (cf. Lk 19:10). The response was encouraging as the colourfully illustrated and gift-stocked Advent Room turned into a hive of activity, with helpers guiding visitors through the five-step participatory approach to help fulfil the “Wish List” of the families or individuals in need.

Prior to the launch, the project organising team had done much groundwork visiting needy individuals and families and gathering information regarding their needs. After reviewing about 150 cases, they drew up a final “Wish List” of those most deserving of help. This list was posted in the Advent Room for parishioners to select the family/person they wished to help, collect the Gift of Hope Folio that contained detailed information, before reaching out to fulfil the needs listed.

Upon fulfilment, parishioners were to return and place the Star of Hope over Bethlehem City (a three-dimensional structure in progress) and duly confirm completion of their undertaking with the project organising team. The listed families/individuals will also be invited to our Parish pre-Christmas Party on December 15 — for added, meaningful cheer.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

CDM Penang plans for the Year of the Family 2019

The Church of the Divine Mercy (CDM) held its 5th Parish Pastoral Assembly on November 18, 2018. A wide cross section of the parish was present, aged from 93 years to just a few months old. The meeting began with everyone singing, Spirit Touch Your Church. This was followed by an opening prayer.

In his welcoming address, Parish Pastoral Council chairman, Rodney Gomez recounted that in the course of the parish’s growth over the past five years, they had been constantly challenged to do better each year. He said that as they continued to grow, they needed to remember that “the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” (Luke 10:2) and take the opportunity to invite family and friends to join in the harvest. He added that the best way to do this was through their personal witness. Mr Gomez said that when faced with difficult situations, it helps to reflect upon two questions, namely, “What can we do for others?” and “What would Jesus have done?” He then presented the financial report which included a brief update on the parish’s solar power revenue generation project and its performance so far.

Next on the agenda was a review of feedback given by parishioners. This feedback had been collected over a one-month period. The parishioners had been asked to answer four questions specially formulated to gauge what CDM parishioners expected of CDM and to elicit suggestions on how they could participate more actively in the parish. The answers received included requests for Masses in Tamil and Mandarin, more spiritual formations, a baby corner and more motorcycle parking space. There were also suggestions on how to implement more environment-friendly practices in church and how to encourage greater participation from migrants coming to CDM.

In the report on fundraising and parish performance, the assembly was updated on the status of the proposed new building to house the Community Hall and Free Learning Centre. The results of the various events held during the year were explained. These included the #JomENJOY Food & Fun Fair and various coffee mornings after Sunday Mass. The report illustrated how a schedule of planned giving and donations could generate adequate funds for the new building within five years. The success of this venture depends largely on the participation and resolve of the parishioners. Updates were also given on the status of other planned church activities such as formations, pilgrimages and the family visits conducted by the parish priest, Fr Martin Arlando.

In his address, Fr Martin revealed that it had become increasingly difficult to manage a fast-growing parish like CDM. However, he had noted a great sense of unity which pervaded the whole parish and he could not help but feel proud each time he saw his parishioners determinedly coming together as one church to meet a new challenge. He said that this sense of unity and shared purpose was so strong that it had been obvious even to the delegates and VIPs who attended the recently-concluded 4th Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy (AACOM) which CDM hosted. He explained that this unity was a sign of how much the parish had grown since setting out on their three-year liturgical plan, which began in 2017 with the parish focus on Prayer and continued in 2018 with the focus on the Word of God. Now, two years down the road, they were ready as a parish to step confidently into 2019, the Year of the Family.

Fr Martin went on to outline his plans for the parish in the coming year, which included activities for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, spiritual formations focusing on the family and on the care for the environment, an in-house BEC reflection paper more suited to CDM and a Ministry of the Sick. He gladly shared the news that CDM had just been granted a relic of Blessed Fr Michael Sopo?ko, the confessor and spiritual director to St Faustina. He also announced that the parish was looking into the possibility of building a columbarium. The assembly expressed their approval.

The last item on the agenda was a Q & A session during which Fr Martin answered queries regarding the affairs of the parish. The questions included the need for an assistant parish priest and the possibility of uploading Fr’s Sunday homilies onto the parish website.

The assembly ended with a prayer led by Fr Martin, after which everyone joined in to sing the hymn, Family of Faith. Although the attendance at this year’s assembly showed a slight drop in numbers, there was a general sense among those who came that CDM was growing and achieving its mission of becoming an inclusive community to all those who came.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Communicants receive Christ for the first time

Six children, four girls and two boys, received their First Holy Communion at the Church of St Matthew on November 17, 2018 at the 11.00am Mass celebrated by Parish Administrator, Fr Paul Wong.

Fr Wong, the Parish priest of the Church of St Andrew in Muar, Johor, congratulated the communicants after Mass and presented each with a gift.

In his homily, Fr Wong said the Church’s Liturgical Year will end soon. He asked, “Do we know when the world is ending? The angels and Jesus do not know, only the Father knows,” he answered. But it will come.

Fr Wong reiterated that we cannot say we are still young. Anytime, anyone of us can be laid down in a coffin. Not necessarily only when we are old. He cautioned all to get ready and to change now, as tomorrow, or soon, could be our next life. “Ask Lord Jesus to strengthen us and get ready for His coming. He will definitely come.”

A video clip entitled If Tomorrow Were Your Next Life was projected after Mass. The message was how we need to change and start being kind.

A cake was cut by the Communicants to celebrate them receiving the important sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Several students who excelled in their exams also received gifts. The Communicants later joined the students. The children of the parish then chanted the Ten Commandments in Mandarin.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Towards serving and being missionaries of the Church

Thirteen children from City Parish received their First Holy Communion on Mission Sunday.

The community witnessed this historic occasion at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows with newly-appointed parish priest Msgr Aloysius Tan as the celebrant. Msgr Tan began his homily by rephrasing the famous quote of John F. Kennedy, as he urged parishioners to “ask not what the Church can do for you, but ask what you can do for the Church.”

He said the readings showed that Jesus is offering a package of servant leadership for all to follow by giving up his life and sympathising with the sufferings of others.

“It is difficult to be good servants today because the world offers different things, but Jesus has made it clear that if we want to be leaders, we must serve faithfully,” he said.

Referring to the theme of Mission Sunday, Msgr Tan invited all to view serving and being missionaries of the Church as a privilege given to God’s children and to take responsibility by being witnesses of Christ and spreading the Good News.

“Through baptism, we are called to be evangelisers to everyone. Let people see Jesus in you by being missionaries in your school, workplace or neighbourhood because, when we are different, people will notice us and will be drawn to our faith,” he said.

He also asked for all to support and contribute towards the mission work of the Church and to spend some personal time reflecting on how to be involved in Jesus’ mission entrusted to us.

Msgr Tan then reminded the children that Jesus is within and closer to them through Holy Communion and urged them to be committed towards a life of discipleship.

Parishioners were inspired by the thanksgiving dance performance by the children. Certificates were presented by Msgr Tan who also expressed his thanks to the catechists who had journeyed with the children.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Archbishop Emeritus Pakiam celebrates 80th birthday

KUALA LUMPUR: In conjunction with Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam’s 80th birthday, His Grace Most Rev Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, cordially invites the faithful to join in the 6.00pm Eucharistic celebration on Sunday,December 9, at the Cathedral of St John and to a fellowship thereafter.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Three celebrate 40 years as priests

Three pioneer local priests, Msgr Francis Kuleh Usat, Fr Philip Empalah and Fr Peter Mering celebrated their 40th anniversary at the Church of Mater Dei on November 20 together with more than 2,000 parishioners.

Msgr Francis, from Long Banyok, Baram and Fr Peter, from Uma Akeh were ordained together on Nov 19, 1978 at Long Banyok, Baram. In the same year, Fr Philip was ordained on Sept 10 at St George’s Church, Sebauh. Msgr Francis and Fr Peter were the first Kenyah priests in Sarawak and Fr Philip was the first Iban Priest to be ordained in the diocease.

Msgr Kuleh is the first Kenyah to become Monsignor.

Bishop Rev Richard Ng and priests from all parishes in the Miri Diocese were present for the celebration.

Among those present were three missionary sisters (Mensa Domini Sisters) from the Philippines who were attached to the Miri Diocese, as well as family members of the three priests, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Lee Kim Shin and wife Datin Christina Kong Shui Lin, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting.

The Sacerdotal Ruby Celebration Mass started at 4.00pm. The three Jubilarians, accompanied by Bishop Richard Ng and other dignitaries and priests, were given a traditional welcome.

In his homily, Bishop Richard Ng congratulated the three Jubilarians and commended them for their unselfish dedication in carrying out their priestly duties despite the many challenges.

“Like all life’s journey, the journey of a priest is not easy. I am sure our three Jubilarians have their fair share of joys and disappointments, of faithfulness and failures, of being filled with God’s presence and his absence.

“But, in the end, what matters most is that they remain as friends of God and priests for the people of God. We thank and praise God for his choice of our three Jubilarians and for giving them the courage to say ‘Yes’. God not only chose them but also sustained and filled them with his love and mercy,” said Bishop Ng.

There were cultural performances by the various ethnic groups – Kayan and Kenyah dancers, the Melanau and Iban. The jubilarians jointly cut their 40th anniversary cake. Each was given a present with the Papal blessing and gifts.

Miri Diocese covers 53 per cent of Sarawak – stretching from Belaga District to Bintulu, Miri, Limbang and Lawas divisions, with a population of over 97,000 Catholics. Miri alone has more than 12,000 Catholics.

The three priests had dedicated themselves to the service of the various tribes in their parish. The first Catholic mission was actually in Marudi, a settlement on the Baram river, further inland from Miri. With the discovery of oil on the coast, everything was moved from Marudi to Miri in 1912. Fr Henry Jansen, a Mill Hill missionary, was the very first to set foot into the Baram in the 1930s. He started the first Catholic mission in Marudi, followed by Kampung Kuala Tutoh and then Long Banyok (Msgr Francis’ longhouse) before making his way upriver to Long San and Lio Mato in the upper reaches of the Baram river. He went by foot up the mountains to reach the furthest Kenyah and Kayan community. This challenging task of spreading the good news to the Kenyah and Kayan commnnity has been continued by the three priests for 40 years!


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Building multi-racial, multi-religious nation a tall order

TAIPING: Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Shah said building a multi-racial and multi-religious nation is a complex, complicated and ongoing process.

Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who is also  performing  the functions of theYang di-Pertuan Agong, said that various unity terms  had been introduced with a variety of slogans that were creatively crafted, logos, lyrics  aired, but they still did not show their full  impact.

“In fact, the slogans toward moulding united citizens in a sovereign state, lately, are raising doubts, inviting controversies and are increasingly being polemicised  and politicised.

“This development is very worrying,” he said when launching the 135th anniversary celebrartions of the Perak Museum, here today.

His Majesty also said the content component in developing united citizens and inspiring the patriotic spirit should be given a balanced emphasis in line with the pursuit of economic development and physical infrastructure.

“In the current scenario, such needs become increasingly urgent,” he said.

In this regard, His Majesty said museums could assist the country in building a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-political society that is united and loyal to the country under the auspices of the royal umbrella of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

He said that a museum was built, materials processed for exhibition and sequences of stories were presented to achieve a specific goal of injecting the spirit of statehood and patriotism.

“It can inject the spirit of statehood – the spirit of patriotism, breathe the spirit of courage – spirit of heroism, cultivate the spirit of unity – the spirit of unification, and depict the negative image of the enemy,” he said.

He said that a museum needed to meet the needs of the diverse backgrounds of the visitors, who were more critical in their thinking and have a high degree of literacy and hopes.

Sultan Nazrin said in line with the modernisation and wave of globalisation, passive visitors who simply looked at the exhibits had changed to visitors who were inquisitive and interactive.

“Museums should not be admired for artifacts, aesthetic characteristics or aura of mystery, but should, in displaying materials and presenting events, attempt to arouse past nostalgia and stir the memory.

“It also has the power to exhort the spirit of realisation – to unravel the spirit of awareness, through the exhibits that highlight various tragedies, especially the tragedies that sacrificed many lives and destroyed lives,” he said.

He said the original function of the museum to preserve and safeguard the country’s heritage, was now shifting to the role of research, education, marketing, technology and innovation.

“Collections of artifacts are just stiff objects if they are exhibited or stored without a well-thought-out story, based on careful research.

“The artifacts are stiff and dead, they must be given breath, so that they can be brought to “life”,  able to interact, connect, and give understanding to the current life,” he added. 


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Laity gives almost RM300k for Kerala

KUALA LUMPUR: The laity from the Kuala Lumpur Archdio-cese donated RM248,637.80 for the Aid for Kerala Floods during the second collection at Masses on September 8 and 9, 2018.

Earlier on August 18, Archbishop Julian Leow has authorised the immedi-ate release of RM50,000.00 from the Natural Disaster Fund of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur inaid of the relief work to all eviate the suffering and hardships of the people of Kerala.

The total sumof RM298,637.80 has been suc-cessfully transferred to the Catho-lic Bishops Conference of India through Caritas India.

Malacca Johore Diocese con-tributed RM75,000 from its Natu-ral Disaster Fund on August 20.The funds were sent to the Catho-lic Bishops’ Conference of India(CBCI) for them to disburse ac-cordingly.

Penang Diocese donated RM50,000 through the Penang Office of Human Development(POHD) to Kerala, India, to help in its recovery from the floods.



Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

BECs should be promoted in both urban, rural areas

MANILA: The Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) should be strongly promoted in all parishes nationwide, in both urban and rural areas, said the executive secretary of the BEC Committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Speaking during the assembly of Basic Ecclesial Communities in the National Capital Region, Father Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, said every city and every community have their own characteristic and there is no uniform way of forming BECs.

However, Picardal concluded that forming BECs in the cities requires ingenuity and creativity and it has to be a joint effort of the clergy, religious and lay faithful.

“We must keep on sharing our experiences with one another. We have to know the different places and characters of people in the city to find more suitable and effective means of evangelization, organizing and mobilizing for social transformation,” said Picardal.

He added that the BECs have to be developed where it can respond to the people’s needs –social, economic, spiritual, and moral.

“The needs of people such as the need for a sense of belonging, acceptance, support, security, friendship and intimacy; the basic material or physical needs especially those who are poor, unemployed, sick; and the need to grow and become better persons where they are capable of doing good, contributing to the betterment of others, the community and society,” Picardal added.

The Basic Ecclesial Communities are seen as the concrete expression of the renewed Church, the priest said.

Picardal explained that the common types of BECs are Liturgical BECs such as bible-service, liturgy of the Word or Mass; Devotional BECs like integrated with Marian devotion or block rosary; Prayer-Meeting Groups or Bible-sharing groups; Social Action or Livelihood Groups; and Integrated or Holistic BECs with bible-sharing, liturgical celebration, and social action.

Assembly seeks solution to govern communities 

During the assembly participants assessed and sought to find ways on how to answer the needs of the different ecclesial communities in the country.

Participants include representatives from the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Pasig, Cubao, Antipolo, Malolos, Caloocan, Novaliches and Parañaque who shared experiences and challenges on how they build up the BEC in their areas.

Gerry Mansueto, Diocesan BEC Animator of Cubao Diocese, shared that their BECs created a “BEC Kamustuhan” and a group in 42 or 91 percent of parishes looks and responds to the needs of the community. The BECs also integrated with the existing associations of some villages, local administrates, and core group of chapels.

The Malolos Diocese through BEC Director Rogelio Cruz said their BECs created a livelihood program for members such as manufacturing vinegar, throw pillow, rug and soap making.

The Archdiocese of Manila, meanwhile, mentioned it already build BECs in 72 parishes out of 87 and they are looking forward to establish the group in all parishes.

The Diocese of Novaliches has launched “Sharing the Mission Seminar” centralized in BEC as the pastoral direction of the diocese. It also wanted to clear the objectives of the BEC as an organizing group.

Parañaque Diocese, on the other hand, has build “BEC Institute” focusing on the social teachings of the Church. The BEC livelihood programs were funded by the Department of Labor and Employment as they coordinated their projects with the Poverty Alleviation Program of the government.

The Diocese of Pasig has created the “POBEC” or Panimulang Oryentasyon sa BEC to familiarize the communities on its objectives. They also created some guidelines and modules on how the BEC will be implemented, set to be launched on January 2013.

The Antipolo Diocese has started its BEC Trainers Training as one of the assets for continuous projects of the BEC in the whole Diocese.

The assembly held September 29 had the theme “Mga BEC sa Lunsod” (BECs in the City). It concluded with a Eucharistic celebration led by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara. 

The BECs first emerged in the rural areas of Mindanao and in the Visayas in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was cited that forming BECs in the rural areas was easier because the communities were homogeneous and closely knit. There were doubts about the viability of BECs in the city.

As early as the mid-70s, BECs were emerging in the urban centers of Davao, Cebu and Manila mostly among the urban poor communities. —


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online
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