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Friday, February 25, 2011

AMOS Program in Sabah ~ Land below the wind

Sandakan : During the 2nd annual conference of he Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants in Penang on 23rd - 25th April last year, it was agreed that all dioceses in Malaysia-Singapore- Brunei region would need to seriously look into the issue of ministry to the migrants. The phenomenon of migration is a sign of time which we cannot ignore.

Some 120 participants coming from across the three arch / dioceses in Sabah converged at Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center for the AMOS program themed 'One Human Family' from 18th - 20th February 2011. 

AMOS, jointly organized by the Human Development Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Social Action Commission of Keningau Diocese and the Bishop's Office of Sandakan Diocese was aimed at the following;
  • to provide a forum to discuss and look at the issue of migrants in Sabah as concerned Catholics
  • to understand Church's teaching on migration and other social issues
  • to propose common responses
The key speakers of the program were Fr Dr Charles Chiew from the Diocese of Keningau and Br Anthony Rogers fsc the Director of the La Salle Brothers in Malaysia. The program adopted the approach on ORR which focused on the processes of 'Observe, Reflect and Respond' the basis for planning and commitment.

Day 1 - 18th February 2011
Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom DD
The program began with an Opening Mass in St Pius X Church Bundu Tuhan on Friday evening 18th Feb 2011 presided over by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan con celebrated by Fr Dr Charles Chiew,  Fr Benedict Daulis, both of the Diocese of Keningau and Fr Ambrose Atang, rector of the said Church.

The prelate in his opening address reminded the participants that the AMOS program offered an opportunity for all to reflect on Christian hospitality and welcome, for, in migrants the Church has always contemplated the image of Christ who said, 'I was a stranger and you made me welcome.' (Mt. 25 : 35)

He went on to share that in the Church, no one is a stranger and the Church is not foreign to anyone, anywhere ... the Church is the place where all, migrants as well are recognized and accepted as brothers and sisters.
Dominic Lim
Sr. JosieRGS

The first session in the evening began with Dominic Lim, the Executive Secretary of KK Archdiocese  giving an overview of the current situation of the global issues on migration  and in particular  Sabah as a receiving and sending state moderated by Sr Jossie RGS.   The session concluded with group dynamics discussing on the three most disturbing  global happenings confronting the people.

Day 2 - 19th February 2011 
Rev.  Dr. Charles Chiew and Martin Idang
The first session of the day kicked off with Fr Dr Charles Chiew presenting an input session on understanding migration and the current global migration phenomenon moderated by Martin Idang followed by parish group discussion on the political, social and economic impact of migration in Sabah.

The Eucharistic celebration on the second day was presided by Rt Rev Datuk Cornelius Piong, Bishop of the Diocese of Keningau con celebrated by Fr Dr Charles Chiew and Fr Benedict. He called on the people to reach out to the migrants and refugees in giving them hope, love and compassion as in Mt 25 : 40  'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.'
Yohanes, Josephine and Simon
Rev. Benedict
The second session in the afternoon, moderated by Fr Benedict was on reflections by three migrants, Simon and Yohanes Solo both Indonesians of the Diocese of Keningau and Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu respectively and Josephine Rosario, a Filipina from the Diocese of Sandakan.They shared on the reasons of uprooting themselves from their country of origin, their plight as migrants, adapting to life in a foreign country, their joys and hopes and the support they received from the local Church.

Peter Zeter

The third session for the day moderated by Peter Zeter was on the theme of the program 'One Human Family' presented by Br Anthony Rogers fsc.

 Br Anthony Rogers fsc
He started the session on the implication of migration and the process for globalising solidarity which has to begin with a process of renewal of the Church.  He cited  (No. 5) of 'Ecclesia in Asia' which points out that there is an intimate relationship between a greater awareness of the complex and diverse realities  of Asia and our self - understanding of Church. It has to move us to discern the insights into life that can only come from experiencing God in the context of our lives. He also deliberated on the call to be Good Samaritans in a globalized world especially to the vulnerable and that includes migrants.The Church is called to exercise the mission of the 'Good Samaritan' extending its arms to aid the immigrants  and families who have to face the difficulties of survival.

Group discussions and presentation of report
Francis Tan addressing the participants - 'you are the light, salt and yeast of the world'
Sr. Maria Dipal RGS - Diocese of Sandakan
The fourth and final session held in the evening on responses of the the three dioceses towards the migrants was moderated by Francis Tan, the Executive Secretary of the Diocese of Sandakan. Sr Maria Dipal RGS of the Diocese of Sandakan, Fr Benedict of the Diocese of Keningau and Peter Zeter and Dominic Lim of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu presented their reports respectively.

Day 3 - 20th February 2011

Anne Lasimbang

Ann Lasimbang, a member of the Archdiocesan Human Development Commission of Kota Kinabalu moderated the session on the final day on responses towards migrants, those coming into Sabah and those moving out of Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia and those moving away from the rural districts to the city and major towns within Sabah in search of a better tomorrow. Participants were grouped according to parishes and had a lively exchange of views and proposals as individuals and as communities.

Most. Rev. Datuk John Lee, Archbishop of K.K.
In the Concluding Mass, presided over by Most Rev Datuk John Lee, the Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, con celebrated by Fr Dr Charles and Fr Benedict, he congratulated the three dioceses for coming together in organizing the said program and all participants for responding to the apostolic ministry to the migrants .He quoted 'Therefore love the strangers, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.' Exodus 23 : 9 and 'Love one another as I have loved you.' John 13 : 34. Based on that he called on the people to extend a welcoming embrace to those on the move especially those who crossed the border seeking for greener pastures. Make them feel at home, welcome them into the community and integrate them into the parish life moving forward together to build up the Church.


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