Oi tobpinai ngaavi ku id di Tuhan Otumbazaan zou do…
There comes a time when it is hard to find any priest to administer sacraments. These times are usually twice a year – January and September. In this bi-annual event, all the bishops and priests of the three dioceses in Sabah are gathered at one place for meeting, which is in January, and retreat, which is in September.
It is understood that when they go for retreat, they are on retreat; but what do they do during the priests’ meeting? Do they just have meetings for the three days that they are absent from the parish?
Recently on 13-15 Jan 2014, the priests of the three dioceses are again gathered for the priests’ meeting which was held in Tatal Retreat Centre in Keningau. Though the Sandakan Diocese priests would be having their own meeting later this month, they still came. The priests’ meeting is not just about having serious table talk. It is a meeting of brothers, of togetherness, of oneness in the ministry, in the fraternity, in the presbyterium.
For this year, it began with a friendly football match against the Keningau parishioners. It was not about winning or losing, but highlighting the importance of keeping the body healthy. In addition to that, it is a time for the priests to mingle with the parishioners and have fun apart from team building and teamwork.
During the night, a time for fellowship is provided whereby the priests have the opportunity to share with one another of their experiences in their ministry. In this way they can help, support and encourage each other.
The second day began with the office prayer and holy hour. During this session the priests have the opportunity to recollect themselves as they prepare spiritually for the meeting. The Word of God is central to the life of every Christians especially priests. So after the holy hour, Bible Sharing, based on the Sunday readings, takes over.
The actual priests’ meeting only begins in the afternoon. It began with the recitation of the office prayers. During this meeting, the priests with the Bishop discuss matters concerning the parishes and diocese as a whole. The liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life. So it is only fitting that the day is ended with a daily Mass. A simple fellowship followed after dinner to wind down.
The third day is usually reserved for the meeting to continue if it cannot be concluded on the second day. The recent meeting went smoothly and not many matters arose so most of the priests returned to their own parishes after the morning Mass and breakfast. – Deacon Rhobby Mojolou