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Friday, December 19, 2014

Taman Indah Jaya BEC Brings Chistmas Cheers And Joy To Those In Need

By DS
Photos by courtesy of
Dominic Sintar, Dalius LL and John Tan
Sandakan :  Pope Francis in his exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (#48) said Today and always, 'The poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel. There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.' 
During the 3rd Sunday of Advent, 13th December 2014 at St Mary's Cathedral, Bishop Julius in his homily shared that doing little good deeds for the underprivileged are signs of us preparing the path for the Lord's coming. Caroling definitely brings us joy, the joy of Christmas but we must endeavor to move beyond that. We need to reach out to those who have less in life. That act of charity will bring deeper and greater joy to the less fortunate, a much meaningful Christmas.

It has been the practice of Taman Indah Jaya BEC for the last three years to bring Christmas joy and cheers to at least one needy family within the community during the Advent season. The message of Love invites us to open our heart, to care about others, encouraging one another to practice charity, to do good work.
BEFORE
This Advent, Indah Jaya BEC has assisted to repair and renovate a 1960's dilapidated wooden house without toilet facilities at Sungai Manila, some 30 kilometers from town.
AFTER
They have constructed a toilet and bathroom at the back of the house, put up a 10 feet by 18 feet veranda with proper zinc roofing, repaired the staircase, changed wooden windows to louvers and painted the frontage of the house. It may not be a complete renovation but with the little assistance extended, the family of eight may at least enjoy the little comfort of life.

Dalius, (left) Chairman of Indah Jaya BEC presenting Bibles to Haslinda and her husband, Thomas
John Tan (3rd left), the Vice Chairman presenting the Daily Reading to Thomas (left) witnessed by Sr Veronica fsic (right)
Christmas 'ang paws' to the family
On 17th December 2014, members of the Taman Indah Jaya BEC visited the family. They presented among others, Bibles, Daily Reading and Reflection, Christmas 'ang-pows,' clothing and some tit-bits to the family. Also present was Sr Veronica Kandaung fsic, the person who raised the plight of the family to the attention of the mentioned BEC.

Dominic Sintar presenting mattresses, tables and chairs to the family
A Good Samaritan touched by the plight of the family, contributed two mattresses, a plastic banquet table and six chairs. The Samaritan who wished to remain anonymous said, 'I am happy to be able to contribute to others. Reaching out to the needy is in fact giving light and hope to them especially during this season of Advent.'
Dominic Sintar, the out-reach coordinator of Taman Indah Jaya BEC shared, 'Advent is a time to touch those in need. By doing so, we are sharing God's love with others. Our yearning for the Kingdom of God may be renewed within us. I hope every individual or community will commit to help someone else during this season of Advent.' 
Haslinda,a parishioner of St Peter's Chapel, Sungai Manila, the owner of the house expressed her sincere appreciation to all those who had come forward to assist her and her family.

She has this to say, 'This is the greatest Christmas gift my family and I have received from the community. We want to say thank you to Indah Jaya BEC and kind individuals for their contributions in cash or in kind and above all for sharing God's love with us. We will cherish this special day. We will treasure your kind deeds. Hopefully, one day we may be able to touch others like you have touched us today. May the Lord shower upon all of you his choicest blessings.' 
Putting in place the toilet and bathroom
It is out of this kind of little acts of charity during the Advent season that we learn to cooperate and move forth together to do something beautiful for God and worthy of our Catholic faith. May we live to be bearers of  light, giving hope to those in need within our circles and beyond.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME

Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : Children are to be guided not to miss out the true spirit of Christmas. It's an occasion that we teach them the miracle of Jesus birth, God's greatest gift to mankind. Holy Trinity Church, through the effort of the Catholic Women's Apostolate held the annual Children Christmas Party on 14th December 2014 to bring about the festive mood and joy for the children, developing a sense of belonging, nurturing friendship and cultivating peace.

Some 300 children, aged between 5 to 12 years old accompanied by their parents gathered at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall to celebrate the Children's Christmas Party.

This simple but meaningful occasion brought tremendous joy and happiness to all in attendance, including their parents. They met old friends and made new friends. The PPC Chairman, Andrew Kiat and a few other members were present including Sister Aquinas fsic. They were around to lend support to the event.
The program began with an Opening Prayer led by Fr. Johnny followed by games and activities. A short sharing by the game coordinator touched on the meaning of Christmas. A series of questions on the birth of Jesus were posed to the little children and the responses were encouraging. It was an opportune occasion for the children to learn more about Jesus.
It was indeed a wonderful environment to see the children accepting each other freely, embracing one another without hesitance.The get together set the mood for the festive season. Wishing everyone a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BE THE TONGUE AND THE LIP OF GOD TO CALL OTHERS TO HIS EMBRACE

By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : December marked a very meaningful month to all Catholics throughout the world. It is a special moment in relation to the history of the salvation of humankind, the incarnation and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The appearance of the angel to the shepherd bringing the joyous news, acclaimed that a saviour is born, the king of peace and a wonderful counselor.
A week before the commissioning, the HTC Home Caroling Committee held a one-day recollection for all carolers.  Home caroling began on 14th December and shall last for five consecutive nights. 
Carolers were commissioned by Fr. Johnny Raju, the assistant rector of HTC, during the Sunset Mass of the 3rd Sunday of Advent on 13th December. It marked the mid-point of our self preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
'God is a mystery. He sent Man to save humankind,' Fr. Johnny began his homily with his introductory words that touched the congregation. John the Baptist is the witness of light, 'the light of Christ'  and so we are called to be like him. As disciples of Christ, we are to light the way and lead others to Christ by proclaiming and sharing the joy and the love of God.
Addressing all carolers during the commissioning, he said 'God calls you to go and exult the joy of Christmas, the birth of Jesus to all families. Through this witnessing, they might be touched and return to God, believing in His mercy and love. Wherever and whenever we gather in the name of the Lord, He will be present in our midst. He then continued saying,  'Go  forth to share his love. May the blessing and grace of our Lord be with you always.'
After Mass all adjourned to the Parish Hall for the Caroling by Candle Light as part of the preparation for the next day home caroling. Some 800 parishioners including carolers and the BEC teams participated in the event.
The event began with an Opening Prayer followed by the Proclamation of the Gospel by Fr. Johnny Raju. He then proceeded to grace the 'lighting' ceremony symbolizing the power of light overcoming darkness of the world brought about by Christ Jesus.
The 'Nativity' presented by the Taman Semarak BEC members inspired and brought much joy to the audience. The sketch gave a deeper insight to the mystery of the birth of Jesus.
The choirs from the various BEC groups presented beautiful carols that touched everyone in attendance. When we were baptized we are called to be Disciples of Christ. We too are to be the tongue and the lip of God in proclaiming His wondrous plan of salvation to all humankind. We represent God's light, the light of peace, love and faithfulness.
This year around, there are 25 carol groups; 13 from the church and 12 from the various BECs. It is the hope of the church that the groups go forth to proclaim the Good News on the birth of our redeemer so that man will believe, will look for Him, worship Him or for those who have lapsed will came back to Him and acknowledge Him as the Son of God, the Light of the World.

Solemn Charge ~ Year of Faith - Read the Catechism Of the Catholic Church in a Year

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