|Seated L-R : Fr Jasery, Fr Sylvester Ding, Archbishop John Wong, Fr V A Michael and Ms Justina Sharon|
Standing L-R : Fr Paul Mikin, Fr Joseph Sebastian, Fr Simon Poh, Fr Isidore, Fr Robert Leong, Fr Victor Louis
Sandakan : Eleven members of the Regional Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei convened at the Sandakan Diocesan Pastoral Centre for a three-day annual meeting from 23rd - 25th June 2014.
The eleven members present were Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, the Episcopal President for Mission, Fr V A Michael of Kuala Lumpur, the Regional Director, Ms Justina Sharon, the Secretary, Arch/Diocesan Directors: Fr Simon Poh of Kuching, Fr Victor Loius of Penang, Fr Isidore Gilbert of Kota Kinabalu, Fr Joseph Sebastian of Sibu, Fr Robert Leong of Brunei, Fr Paul Mikin of Keningau, Fr Jasery G Emmanuel of Sandakan and Fr Sylvester Ding of Miri.
On arrival, 23rd June, the eleven representatives were feted to a welcoming dinner hosted by St Mary's Cathedral Parish. Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector bade them a warm welcome and hoped that they would have a pleasant and memorable stay in Sandakan, the nature city while at the same time he wished them a fruitful meeting.
Fr V A Michael, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Setapak, the Regional Director of PMS reciprocated by extending his sincere appreciation for the warm welcome accorded to the members. He took the opportunity to explain briefly about PMS, concerned with the missionary animation and cooperation of the mandate of Jesus; 'Go, make disciples of all nations, baptize them ......teach them all...' (Matthew 28 : 19-20)
The four societies of PMS, viz
- The Society for the Propagation of Faith (SPF)
- The Society of Holy Childhood (SHC)
- The Society of St Peter the Apostle (SPA)
- The Society for Missionary Union (SMU)
In the course of the meeting, members reflected on the Holy Father's message of World Mission Sunday. The Church is missionary by her very nature; she was born to go forth. We are to emulate the disciples, having received the call to follow Jesus and to be sent by Him to preach the Gospel and so they were filled with joy. (Mk 3 : 14) Hence, let us move forth to proclaim the 'Joy of the Gospel' and with Christ, joy is constantly born anew (Evangelii Gaudiun #1)
Fr Simon Poh of Kuching facilitated a session on 'Mission in a Parish Community.' He stressed on 'Re-Evangelization' or 'New Evangelization by Pope John Paul II. He touched on the encyclical 'Redemptoris Missio', dwelling briefly on missio ad gentes, pastoral care, new / re-evangelization and ecumenical dialogue. He also expounded on Pope Francis exhortation of 'Evangelii Gaudium' which urges the faithful to go forth and bring Christ's love to others for mission is central to the life of every local church, to every believer.
Fr V A Michael in wrapping up the meeting said, 'It's part of our mission to have the meeting here in Sandakan. It is a privilege to learn more about Sandakan, the Parish and its mission stations.'