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Friday, February 28, 2014

Sandakan hosts the Malaysian Catechetical Commission (MCC) Meeting

By DS
Commission members and observers with Bishop Cornelius Piong
L-R : Fr Paul Shie, Sr Christella Lim FSIC, Fr Mark Michael, Sr Veronica FSIC, Fr John Anandan OFM Cap, Sr Dariah FSIC, Susan Tay, Fr George Harrison, Fr Simon Yong SJ, Bishop Cornelius Piong, Roy Chua, Paul Voon, Priscilla Newn, Richard Lobinjang, N. Josie and Rayner Jailani
Sandakan : The Malaysian Catechetical Commission, a pastoral assembly for common action and cooperation on catechetical matters between the Dioceses in Malaysia, held its annual meeting at the Sandakan Diocesan Pastoral Centre from 25th - 27th February 2014. 14 members of the Commission, comprising bishop, clergy, religious and lay leaders coming from across all dioceses in Malaysia and Brunei attended the annual event, hosted by the Diocese of Sandakan.
Out of the nine arch / dioceses in Malaysia, eight were represented. Brunei came in as observer. The participants were Fr Mark Michael from Penang, Fr George Harrison and Roy Chua from Kuala Lumpur, Susan Tay and Fr Simon Yong SJ from Melaka-Johor, Fr John Anandan OFM Cap from Sibu, Paul Voon from Kuching, Sr Dariah Ajap FSIC from Kota Kinabalu, Sr Veronica Kandaung FSIC from Sandakan and Sr Christella Lim FSIC from Keningau. Fr Paul Shie, Priscilla Newn and N. Josie from Brunei attended as observers.
Bishop Cornelius Piong 
Rt Rev Cornelius Piong, the Bishop of Keningau who is the President of the Commission presided over the meeting session while Fr George Harrison, the Chairman of the Commission chaired the meeting proper. Each diocese is given a slot to share on the progress and development of catechetical matters in the particular church, what have been achieved throughout the previous year, the ongoing commitments and the way forward for the current year. Catechesis is the vehicle for the increase of faith and that faith must lead to change in life and behaviour of the faithful. The Commission is committed to explore effective and conducive ways and means to pass on the faith to all sections and bring them closer to God.
Fr John Anandan OFM Cap presided the mass on the second day, 26th February. In his homily, he said that our dignity lies in being the image of God and in our being accepted as adopted sons and daughters of the loving God in and through Jesus Christ. This frees us from insecurity and from being grasping. We will be able to see God reigning in all situations and be happy to realize that others too are contributing to the growth of the Kingdom of God. When it comes to serving the Lord, there is no exclusivity, no special groups, no monopoly but everyone is called to be of service to others. Everyone has a role to play and something to offer.
In the reporting session, members shared on the catechetical activities being carried out in the different dioceses of Malaysia and Brunei and to arrive at concrete recommendations to make the catechetical ministry more creative and appealing. 

The theme for this year's Catechetical Sunday, 'Be courageous. I have overcome the world' - John 16 : 33, was discussed at length. Much time was allotted for this interactive session to discern and reflect on related issues of catechesis. Fr John Anandan OFM Cap has been assigned to prepare the reflection paper. All dioceses will work out seven ways to promote Catechetical Sunday so that it will be celebrated more meaningfully and with greater impact. The actual date for this year's Catechetical Sunday falls on 21st September.

The church is most appreciative of the many catechists who serve willingly, skillfully and persevering in the many and varied catechetical programmes in the parishes. It is the love of Christ and the love of the church that has kept them serving faithfully.
The nearby BECs of Indah Jaya, Sunny Estate, Fajar, Chi Wah and Kampung Bakau hosted a dinner reception for the members of the MCC on Tuesday 25th February at St Leonard's Home, the operating centre for the BECs' core group.
After a two-full-day meeting and to take the stress out of each member, they were treated to a guided city tour, breakfast at the water village of Kampung Sim-Sim, and a visit to the popular Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre at Mile 14, North Road on 26th February.
Commission members with Bishop Julius
Front row L-R : Sr Christella Lim FSIC, Priscilla Newn, N. Josie, Bishop Julius, Sr Dariah FSIC, Susan Tay, Paul Voon, Sr Veronica FSIC,
Back row : Fr Mark Michael, Fr Paul Shie, Fr John Anandan OFM Cap, Fr George Harrison, Bishop Cornelius Piong and Roy Chua
Bishop Julius presided the concluding mass yesterday morning, 27th February whereby he said that the role of the catechists is to help others grow in their personal faith and spirituality. It is a vital ministry for it is through our words and actions as catechists that the real message of Christ continues to take root in their hearts. Once properly formed in faith, they will have something to hold on in life. It is faith that will keep us close to God. It is faith that leads us to salvation. We are in fact passing on a living faith. After the mass, the prelate presented the diocesan memento to all members of the commission.
The next annual meeting will be held at Holy Family Church, Kajang in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal… On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you” (Evangelii Gaudium #164).

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