HAVING consulted the College of Consultors, His Grace Most Reverend…
KOTA KINABALU (CS) – Arriving on the first day of his first pastoral visit to the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Marino, met up with all the priests of the archdiocese together with Archbishop John Wong and Archbishop Emeritus John Lee at the Vianney Home.
Also present at the gathering with the Nuncio and the bishops and the priests were some representatives of the Franciscan Sisters, the Daughters of St Paul, Monfort Brothers and La Salle Brothers. It was truly a blessed occasion and after dinner, time was set aside for a conference with the Nuncio.
In his conference, Archbishop Marino on behalf of the Holy Father conveyed the warmest greetings and love to all. Quoting mainly from the Pope’s Encyclical Letter, Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), he stressed the wish of the Holy Father, which is to make things ‘new’; to call the church to examination, reflection and conversion in order to renew the church; to return to what is essential and necessary as Christians; and the type of church he wishes to see us be, and has constantly given us concrete ways to come to this conversion.
The Nuncio then followed with a brief explanation of what the document is all about. He defined the four words that describe an out-going church, a missionary church. The first word is joy. He reminded that the entire message the scripture brings forth is joy. So before one goes out, one must be filled with the message of joy first and then bring it to those whom they evangelize. We should flow from the stream of joy that comes from the New Testament.
The second word is mercy. The church is composed of those who received mercy from God. So we must have the endless desire to show mercy. The church must be a place of mercy where everyone feels welcomed, loved, forgiven, and be given a new life of the gospel. To be a church of mercy is to be involved in the life of the world, to reach out to everyone. As such we must be with the people, to be involved in the life of the people, to touch human misery.
The third word is beauty. Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the way of beauty. Proclaiming Christ in following him is not just something right and true but also something capable to fulfill life in splendor, even in times of difficulty. Beauty can attract people to be involved. The church did not grow because of proselytizing but by attraction.
The fourth word of an out-going church is inclusiveness. The church should always open its doors to everyone. No one should be left out of the church; the church is to go out to the poor, the marginalized; the church that lives on face-to-face encounter where we meet people for who they are. We do not live in isolation because isolation has no place for God.
The conference ended with a short session for questions. Then he wished everyone the very best and a fruitful ministry. He reminded that the documents he shared was not just for reflection but something to act on. – Fr Rhobby Mojolou