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Monday, August 7, 2017


By: Julita Kantod

The Diocesan Family Life Ministry Commission members of Sandakan Diocese held a half day recollection on 22 July 2017, at St. Dominic Lahad Datu, from 10 in the morning to 4.30 in the afternoon.
The theme of the recollection was "Do as you say”, the words spoken by the three angels to Abraham in the book of Genesis, gathered some 18 members of Family Life Ministry, each representing their Parishes. There were 5 from St. Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan, 3 from St. Martin Telupid, 2 from Our Lady of Fatimah Beluran, 4 from St. Dominic Lahad Datu and 4 from Holy Trinity Tawau to be commissioned later in the evening during the Eucharistic celebration.
Recollection began with an opening prayer led by Sr. Evelyn Tivit, FSIC, followed by self-introduction of each member.
The session continued with an inspiring input presented by Eva Siruno, the Diocesan Family Life Commission Chairlady, on the meaning and purpose of Commissioning which reminds them to be faithful to their mission and commitment.
“The Great Commission by Jesus toward His disciples ( Matt.28: 19-20)“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.” is the most sacred commissioning ever done because it came directly from Jesus’ lips. Jesus’ promise “to be with us always” is the most consoling part of our mission,” she said.
 “Through commissioning, we gain affirmation from the Lord through the church, in our commitment to each other, and provide us a time where we can rejoice and give thanks together. The people’s prayer can charge us up and most importantly, we inspire others to serve in the church “she said.
Commissioning His disciples were the last instruction of Jesus to His disciples before ascending into Heaven. The Mission is to continue and the possible place, to begin with, is in the family, the Domestic Church, where they become the extension of the Church.
Followed by it was a video show about “The Nature and Mission of the Catholic Family, the Garden of Holiness”. This video addressed the need for Catholic families to stand firm by studying our faith and to live it “otherwise you wouldn’t stand the great challenges of today and the times to come”. It challenged everyone into seriousness of their spiritual life as a father, a mother and a child in the family, responsible to create an environment of holiness. The family is a pillar of society where stable families who are living the gospel values are able to transform others in the society.
The program continued with a short reflection session facilitated by Sr. Evelyn Tivit, FSIC. Members recalled and discerned on their experience serving the church and to make sense of every struggle faced. A short group sharing followed right after the session.
All members then proceeded to the chapel for personal reflection using a guided reflection from the Catechesis of Pope Francis to the family. The method that uses texts for personal reflection brought everyone to walk back on their journey, experiences and challenges that they faced along their ministry. There was a silent reflection spent with the Lord and being open to God's presence. Shortly after this, few members shared their reflection throughout their ministry in the Family Life and how God continually sustains them when they are on the verge of giving up.
Recollection ended at 4.30 pm as to prepare them for the Eucharistic celebration and the Commissioning.
The Diocesan Family Life Ministry Commission members were commissioned by Rev. Fr. Marcelinus Pongking , the Assistant Rector of St. Dominic Lahad Datu, during the Sunset Mass on 22nd July 2017.
The Family Life Ministry in Tampenau, Lahad Datu giving the Pre marriage course to 23 couples.
The next day, the Parish Family Life Ministry of St Dominic together with some members from Sandakan, joined the team in giving the Pre-Marriage course to 23 couples in Tampenau, Lahad Datu.

Serving in the Family Life Ministry indeed is a challenging ministry; they are there to help other families to sustain and protect the dignity of the family, and yet they themselves have to struggle to maintain and to sustain their own families in the midst of difficulties and disappointment.  The Lord’s reassuring voice in the gospel of Matthew echoes "do not be afraid; I am with you always; Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

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