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Thursday, September 8, 2011

7th Conference of Catholic Women of East Asia

Sibu : The 7th Conference of Catholic Women of East Asia, a tri-annual event hosted by the Diocese of Sibu drew some 228 delegates from across the Arch/dioceses in East Malaysia. Participating arch/diocese included the archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, the Diocese of Keningau and the Diocese of Sandakan of Sabah, the archdiocese of Kuching and the Diocese of Sibu of Sarawak. The 5-day event, from 29th August to 2nd September 2011 and themed 'Challenges faced by Christian Families in the 21st Century' was held at the Sibu Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

Annie Rokneh, the Chairperson of the Sandakan Diocesan Catholic Women's Apostolate led a delegation of 23 members, 10 each from St Mary's Cathedral Parish Sandakan and St Martin's Parish Telupid and 3 others from St Dominic's Parish Lahad Datu to the conference.

Rev. Fr. Claudius, Diocese of Keningau

The first day of the event  29th August 2011, started with the Opening Mass presided by Co-adjutor Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu concelebrated by Bishop Dominic Su of Sibu and Fr Claudius of Keningau at the New Jerusalem Hall  at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre. After Holy Mass, participants were feted to a dinner reception in a local restaurant with cultural presentations from the various arch/dioceses.

Most Rev. John Wong,
Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu
Gracing the occasion, Coadjutor Archbishop John Wong, the Spiritual Advisor of the conference called upon the women to take a serious re-look of our way of being Church, a Church that supports families in dealing with the challenges of the 21st century.

The second day, 30th August 2011 started off with a recollection session facilitated by Coadjutor Archbishop John Wong, assisted by Fr Claudius. touching on 'Who is God?', 'Who am I?' and 'Why am I here?' Participants reflected on the passage from Mt 16 : 13 - 20, 'Who do you say I am'            

His second reflection paper was on the purpose of life calling the delegates to be fully aware of our existence and our relationship with God. We should respond to God's call for conversion for Christ has come and is offering us a New Life. The session concluded with the screening of a video show, 'The Way Home' focusing on family, faith and the community.

Anita Tunggolou, the Chairlady of the Catholic Women's League of Kota Kinabalu, presented a paper on 'Challenges faced by Christian Families in the 21st century' on the 3rd day, 31st August 2011 followed by Capuchin Fr John Anandan delivering a session on 'Don't be afraid, trust the Lord.'  Winding up the day's program was a paper on 'Responsibilities of Parents' presented by Rt Rev Dominic Su, the Bishop of the Diocese od Sibu.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Dominic Su, Diocese of Sibu
The fourth day, 1st September was a day long exposure to Kanowit, a small town in the Sibu Division, some 174 km from the coast. Participants visited the long house and had a dialogue session with the local Ladies' Guild. The local ladies performed some cultural dances and presented some traditional songs to the delight of the participants.

The fifth day being the final day, 2nd September, the participants paid a courtesy call on Bishop Dominic Su and Auxillary Bishop Hii. Mr Daniel Ngieng, a councilor of the Sibu Municipal Council representing YB Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh graced the closing ceremony. He called on the participants to build up a strong family bond anchored in Church teachings so that the children will not be led astray in the secular world.

The Diocese of Sandakan has been entrusted to host the 8th Conference in 2014.

Cecelia D' Souza

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