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KOTA KINABALU (CS) – Good mentors are hard to come by. If you want a mentor to keep mentoring, showcase how their actions have paid-off. All of us are inspired when we see the fruits of our labors. Mentors are no different. Show them the results – it speaks volumes!
The Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League (ACWL) of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu is a fruit of Archbishop Emeritus John Lee’s labour, no doubt! While the ACWL can never thank him enough, they hope it demonstrates to him that they are appreciative of his leadership, and above all, his role as their mentor, with a great turn-up at the grand dinner celebration, organized by the ACWL, in honour of his 50th anniversary of priestly service at the Putera Theatre Ballroom Jan 27. This was despite an earlier dinner celebration which saw more than a thousand attendees.
Gracing the dinner of more than a thousand, were the 23 CWL from the parishes of Sacred Heart, Bukit Padang, Labuan, Papar, Limbahau, Penampang, Inobong, Dontozidon, Nosoob, Kepayan, Tanjung Aru, Terawi, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Ranau, Inanam, Telipok, Menggatal, Tuaran, Kiulu, and Bundu Tuhan. The rest were made up of clergy, religious and faithful from the different parishes. Among these were three visiting Salesian priests, who were the guests of Archbishop John Wong.
Anita Tunggolou, in her welcoming address, took pains to showcase the impact the Emeritus has made and contributed to the growth of the Women’s League from a League Coordinating Committee to a Commission of the Catholic Women’s League and finally to the present Archdiocesan Women’s Commission, spanning a period of 29 years (1983-2012). He began his illustrious role as their Advisor and Spiritual Director since his Rector-days, and was instrumental for the formation of the Sabah Catholic Women’s League Coordinating Committee which was later upgraded to become the Commission of the Catholic Women’s League. Before handing over his episcopacy to Archbishop John Wong, he initiated the formation of the present-day Archdiocesan Women’s Commission, which encompassed all the women’s groups in the Archdiocese as well as the CWL. This meant that the formation of the Women’s Commission for the Archdiocese is the epitome of the progress for the women in the local Church.
Greatly indebted to the Emeritus for being the fatherly figure as well as a pillar of strength, Anita continued to extol his virtues and underlined that the CWL could not let this significant milestone in his life, the celebration of his Golden Jubilee as a Priest, to go by without celebrating it with him and his friends.
With great enthusiasm, the various groups of CWL put up some presentations in the form of songs and dances, a courageous feat for which the Emeritus commended and expressed much appreciation.
Archbishop John Wong was invited to speak, in which he acknowledged the hard work of the ACWL in organizing a wonderful dinner celebration for the Emeritus, the man who has been guiding them in their apostolate. He also saw it as an opportune reunion time among the CWL themselves.
He reiterated the need to thank God for the faithfulness and commitment of the Emeritus as a priest, and later as a bishop. He attributed the growth of the diocese, in terms of baptism and the number of priestly and religious vocations to his pastoral leadership. “According to the 2012 statistics, our Archdiocese has around 200,000 Catholics ministered by 35 priests and 109 religious spreading over 17 parishes. Since 1993, we have multiplied from one diocese to three dioceses, Kota Kinabalu being elevated to a metropolitan see in 2008,” enumerated Archbishop Wong.
He also took the opportunity to call on the people to move on after the evening’s celebration to focus on building up the families and the local Church. He called to mind the Diocesan Vision and Mission, launched by the Emeritus in 1997, which is a clarion call to journey together in communion, through Christ-centered communities, in the evangelizing mission of building the Kingdom of God.
With that, he hoped that the Church community would speed Emeritus on to a peaceful and enjoyable retirement.