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SANDAKAN – Eleven members of the Regional Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei convened at the Sandakan Diocesan Pastoral Centre for a three-day annual meeting on 23-25 June 2014.
Present for the meeting were the Episcopal President for Mission, Archbishop John Wong of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, PMS Regional Director, Fr V A Michael of Kuala Lumpur, Secretary for PMS, Justina Sharon, Arch/Diocesan Directors: Fr Simon Poh of Kuching, Fr Victor Loius of Penang, Fr Isidore Gilbert of Kota Kinabalu, Fr Joseph Sebastian of Sibu, Fr Robert Leong of Brunei, Fr Paul Mikin of Keningau, Fr Jasery Emmanuel of Sandakan and Fr Sylvester Ding of Miri.
Fr Michael extended his appreciation for the warm welcome accorded to the members. He took the opportunity to explain briefly about PMS which is concerned with the missionary animation and cooperation of the mandate of Jesus to ‘Go, make disciples of all nations, baptize them…. teach them….’ (Matt 28: 19-20)
The Pontifical Mission Societies are Roman Catholic mission societies active throughout the whole world. Almost every country has a national office for the Pontifical Mission Societies and a national director. PMS is made up of four missionaries: The Society for the Propagation of Faith (SPF), The Society of Holy Childhood (SHC), The Society of St Peter the Apostle (SPA), and The Society for Missionary Union (SMU).
In the course of the meeting, members reflected on the Holy Father’s message of World Mission Sunday: “The Church is missionary by her very nature; she was born to go forth. We are to emulate the disciples, having received the call to follow Jesus and to be sent by Him to preach the Gospel, they were filled with joy.” (Mk 3:14) Hence, let us “go forth to proclaim the Joy of the Gospel and with Christ, joy is constantly born anew.” (Evangelii Gaudiun #1)
Fr Simon Poh of Kuching facilitated a session on Mission in a Parish Community. He stressed on ‘Re-Evangelization’ or ‘New Evangelization’ by Pope John Paul II. He touched on the encyclical Redemptoris Missio, dwelling briefly on missio ad gentes, pastoral care, new/re-evangelization and ecumenical dialogue. He also expounded on Pope Francis’ exhortation of Evangelii Gaudium which urges the faithful to go forth and bring Christ’s love to others for mission is central to the life of every local church, to every believer.
A prayer booklet for children will be printed for the month of October, to encourage children to pray, as well as to prompt savings from their pocket money. The money contributed for the Society of Holy Childhood would be used to help poorer children in other parts of the world. – DOSPO DS