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Monday, August 14, 2017

Parish Family Life Ministry establishment in the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Beluran

By Eva Siruno

Sandakan:  “If a family is strong in their faith, then our Church will also grow stronger” His Lordship Bishop Julius Gitom stressed in his opening remark.
On 29 July 2017 marked the establishment of the Parish Family Life Ministry in the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima Beluran, the fifth parish of Sandakan Diocese.
Some 30 parishioners gathered from as far as St Paul Church Ulu Dusun, St Anthony Church Bukit Garam, Church of Emmanuel Jaya Bakti and the neighbouring chapels of Beluran.
“It is about time to have your own Family Life Ministry in order to find out the challenges faced by families in your own parish. If you do not know your enemy, how can you overcome them? Therefore, be aware and identify them then together we find solutions”, the prelate said.
A slide show presentation was then elaborated by Cesar Siruno, Chairman of Sandakan Parish Family Life Ministry. He presented the scope of the ministry in the parish, diocesan and regional level, comprising of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei jointly participated by the clergies and the religious. Diverse and yet having almost similar tasks : helping to prepare couples before getting sacramental marriage in the Church, Marriage Enrichment Programs, advocating Pro-life through Natural Family Planning(NFP), helping and coordinating  Senior Citizens and single parents, collaborating with other Commissions and ministries in giving talks relevant to family life, visitation and pilgrimage.
“My faith in God was developed as I journeyed together with other members in this ministry”, Floresca James, a widow and a senior citizen said, “then I am able to help others who are journeying alone, just like me, for I cannot give what I do not have”. 

Dimeh Koyopo, of St Mark’s Church, shared: “It was through our (with his wife) experience in handling couples under crises that I was attracted to serve in this ministry. You need to be faithful and committed to your service. It is important to pay attention to my own role and responsibility as a father and as a husband, first of all, before I can tell others to do so. The words “I’m sorry” for a husband is not easy to say, but knowing our “marriage vow” should become a common practice in the home if I were to lead the parish”.

“We couldn’t promise that you will not encounter difficulties and challenges, but be brave, for if we managed to overcome and launched all the activities and programs, you too would be able to do the same” Richard Atilano, ex-PFLM Chairman.

“From the presentation and sharing, we are challenged to broaden our perspective in our understanding of a family as a whole” Hendrikus OLOF Chairman

Gabriel Bali, newly elected OLOF Family Life Chairman shared “I always think of a family in small groups, but now we need to spread our wings, knowing that we have a Mission to do in our parish starting from our family”.

The recent line-up of office bearers 2017-2019 are as follows:
Chairman - Gabriel Bali, 
Asst. Chairman - Camillus Bikanis
Secretary 1 - Linda Marcus, 
Secretary 2 - Anthony Valentinus ,
Treasurer - Cristina Heresilles and Committee members.
A luncheon fellowship followed among those who came. They parted each way at 3 pm.

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