In the heart of Lisbon, a city rich in history and spirituality, Friars Aiden Peter, Sixtus Pitah and Robin Toha, along with 59 young people from the Churches of St Mary of the Angels, Blessed Sacrament, and Immaculate Heart of Mary, shared in a global message of love, inclusivity and hope at World Youth Day 2023.
World Youth Day in Lisbon brought together more than 1.5 million young souls from around the world, offering them an array of spiritually enriching talks, solemn praying of the Stations of the Cross in the presence of Pope Francis, and a moving closing mass presided over by His Holiness himself.
Held from 1 to 6 August, World Youth Day 2023 transcended mere participation. It was a spiritual awakening that will echo in the hearts of the young pilgrims for years to come, a testament to the enduring power of faith and the joy of connecting with others through shared beliefs.
Pope Francis’ message of inclusivity and love resonated deeply with the youthful audience, who eagerly absorbed his words of wisdom.
Reflecting on the Holy Father’s message, Friar Aiden, who led the contingent, said,
“Pope Francis is the pope of relationships, the pope who welcomes all to the church. Everyone has a place in the church.”
Pope Francis, renowned for his warmth and approachability, appeared entirely at ease with the young pilgrims, and many pilgrims left the six-day event feeling cherished, enriched, and emboldened, holding on to the Pope’s profound message as a beacon of hope and unity.
As World Youth Day drew to a close, the Pope announced that the next World Youth Day would be held in South Korea in 2027. The excitement of the pilgrims was palpable; they were already looking forward to another spiritually transformative WYD experience.
Pope Francis also disclosed plans for a Youth Jubilee in Rome in 2025, underscoring the importance of youth engagement within the Church. These upcoming events continue the tradition of bringing together young people from every corner of the globe to celebrate their faith and deepen their connection with God.
“Jika Yesus tanya kita, adakah anda menyayangi saya?” merupakan soalan yang diajukan oleh Friar Don Don Ramerez, OFM dalam homili beliau semasa merayakan Misa Kerahiman Ilahi di Gereja St Ann, Kota Padawan yang disiarkan secara langsung melalui Facebook, YouTube dan aplikasi Zoom bagi seluruh Asia.
Salib merupakan lambang bahawa Tuhan mencintai setiap kita. Persoalannya, adakah kita mencintai Dia?
Tanyalah dalam hati kita, dan jika tidak, semoga kita mendapatkan kesembuhan dan pengampunan daripada Tuhan.
Misa Kerahiman Ilahi bagi seluruh Asia telah diadakan pada 10 Ogos 2023.
Misa tersebut bermula pada jam 7 petang waktu Malaysia yang sama juga dengan waktu di Filipina dan Singapura, manakala bagi Indonesia pula, ia diadakan pada jam 6 petang. Ramai juga umat yang menghadirkan diri untuk mendapatkan kesembuhan dan sentuhan Tuhan melalui Ekaristi.
Seventeen Religious Major Superiors and delegates of the different congregations gathered at George Adventure Base, near Mt Kinabalu, August 10-17, for their second gathering for 2023.
The Conference of Religious Major Superiors (CRMS) of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei is a canonically instituted association where Religious Superiors work towards greater collaboration with one another and also to “establish appropriate coordination and cooperation with the conference of bishops and also with individual bishops” (CIC 708).
For the past few meetings, CRMS president Friar Derrick Yap, OFM, focussed on the group’s attention and efforts regarding the Safeguarding and Protection of Minor and Vulnerable Persons. There is a two-prong approach to safeguarding: (1) the reactive approach is taken when there is a complaint of abuse, and (2) the proactive approach is adopted to promote mental and spiritual well-being and thus is a preventive strategy against any form of abuse happening in the first place.
This round of formation sessions were targeted on the proactive preventive approach. Dr Joachim Lee, a psychotherapist, was invited to inform and introduce the group to the latest research in Brain Science and Psychology. Under the guidance and sharing of Dr Joachim, the group experienced a powerful message to be open and recognise “The Wisdom of Trauma”, which is the title of a documentary the superiors watched before the input session.
The group learnt that dysfunctional behaviours and addictions are often trauma-based. It was with this awareness that Dr Joachim helped trace the journey in discovering a good enough authentic self, involving the brain, psychology and ourselves. Other topics covered included the mental health continuum, causes of anxiety disorder, stress, burnout and depression. These topics were contextualised within the life of a Religious and community living, and there was plenty of material to further our reflection on.
With such awareness of the struggles within religious living, this group of religious leaders found themselves confronted with this challenging reality and how to journey and accompany the Religious men and women under their care. The call to personal conversion and deep compassion rang in our hearts as we felt the continuous call to follow Christ more closely as servant-leaders and authentic Religious.
The second part of the gathering consisted of the official meeting. The Religious Superiors shared the latest updates in their respective congregations. They also had a brief Zoom session with Friar David Leary, OFM, reflecting on and studying issues and policies surrounding the protection of minors and vulnerable persons, which is focussed on the reactive approach.
This August meeting was also an opportune moment for feedback regarding the Malaysian Religious Assembly held in June; they have decided to carry on the good works and conversations that have taken place, and to keep it up-to-date for the Malaysian Pastoral Convention in 2026.
Finally, the superiors had open and free conversations in small groups about matters affecting our congregations in this part of our world. There was some alignment among the small groups revolving around issues of greater collaboration in the areas of ministries and formation; sharing and optimisation of human and land resources; care plans for aging and infirmed religious.
Being in Sabah and accompanied by the hospitality of the Sabahan Religious brothers and sisters, especially through Capuchin Friar Valentine Gompok’s arrangement, we spent our last day together visiting the interesting shrines and sites in Ranau, namely the Church of St Peter Claver (Ranau) and Puncak Kasih Bonda. They had us soaking our feet twice in a day, once in the river where beautiful fish swam close, and in the afternoon, at the Poring Hot Springs. It was truly a time of laughter, friendship and enjoyment of nature.
Taking time for relaxation and appreciating the gifts of God in these places provided us with a more holistic experience as men and women called by God to build God’s kingdom of love.
At the end of our time together, the 17 superiors returned to their communities refreshed and recharged with greater zeal for mission in the world, in and through advancing a more effective and authentic community living
In this most sacred of nights, the church and whole of creation welcomes the Light of Christ and proclaims Easter with the Exsultet. Through scripture we recall salvation history and journey toward the fullness of God’s revelation in Christ.
The celebration of the Easter Vigil is filled with so many gifts from nature, from beeswax, fire, incense to water, oil, bread and wine.
As we reflect on the salvation brought by Christ, we must ensure that we care and protect the fragile world that provides us all with these gifts. May the power and light of grace we have received, help to nurture the relationship we have with all creation.
First, we reflect on the death of the Lord’s anointed, as prophesied by Isaiah. We ponder His last words that echo the Psalms in hope. We follow Him on the way of the cross.
Next, we recognise Christ’s death as His conquest over the powers of darkness. Throughout the whole journey, Christ is the powerful One. The Good Friday service is a victory celebration that focuses on Jesus’ weapon, the Holy Cross!
Through Jesus, we are victorious in the battlefield of human misery. He has gained for us access to the throne of God! We can now bring our needs and those of the world to our Father.