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KOTA KINABALU (CS) – On February 2, 2015, the global Catholic Church celebrated the World Day for Consecrated Life. This is a day of special celebration and prayer by the Universal Church for men and women who have consecrated their lives to God.
In the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, observance of this Day was celebrated with a Mass at Stella Maris Church, Tanjung Aru on Feb 2, to praise and thank God for the great gift of consecrated life in the local Church, to bring awareness to the faithful an esteem for the consecrated life, and to be one with the consecrated persons in celebrating together the marvels which God has accomplished in them.
Well attended by members of the religious orders represented in the archdiocese, namely, the La Salle Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Brothers of St Gabriel, the Daughters of St Paul, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and the Good Shepherd Sisters, Archbishop John Wong began the celebration with the blessing of candles at the ‘gathering place’ in front of the Church before the procession to the altar. The blessing and procession of candles symbolizes Christ as the light of the nations.
Together with him at the altar were Fr Collin Tan, Fr Jestus Pereira, Msgr Primus Jouil, Fr Tony Mojiwat, Fr Fundes Motiung, Fr Rayner Bisius, Fr Thomas Madanan, Fr Cosmas Lee, Fr Jeffri Gumu, Fr Rhobby Mojolou, and Deacon Abel Madisang. Fr Collin Tan, Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus of Malaysia Singapore Region was here to facilitate for the Day of Recollection (see separate story on page 31) for the religious communities, while Fr Jestus Pereira is from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
A good show of support from the faithful was evident at Mass, which includes students from the Montfort Youth Training Centre.
Speaking from his homily, the prelate reminded that the Church is not only celebrating the Presentation of Our Lord, but also the presentation of each of us, as well as the presentation of God’s promises to us.
He pointed out that Simeon and Anna, who waited and longed for Jesus and were rewarded by the coming of Jesus into their life, denotes also the encounter between ourselves and the Messiah. However, he also said that we have many times failed to recognize His coming because we were not alert to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
The prelate continued to invite the people of God to recognize the Light of the World, just as Simeon and Anna did, and directed us to what Simeon had foretold about the baby Jesus: that He would meet the opposition, that He is the source for the salvation of many, and that He is the Glory and the Light to the nations.
In asking us to celebrate the Consecrated Life, the Church also reminds that all are consecrated to God. Together with the consecrated persons in our local Church, let us join Jesus and present ourselves to the Father who accepts our repentant heart and so find favor with Him, while at the same time to recognize Him as He comes to reveal and present Himself to us as the source of our salvation and as our light.
As Mass concludes, Sr Christine Sundin, chairperson of the Council of Religious, expressed gratefulness for the participation of the lay and clergy in their celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life, in particular for the support and encouragement of the prelate.
Highlighting on the Day of Recollection just concluded for the purpose of the celebration of the Consecrated Life, she called on her fellow religious sisters and brothers to live the message of Pope Francis for the Year of Consecrated Life to “Wake up the world” and “Be Glad, Rejoice and Radiate Joy”, and together with the pontiff thanked the Father “who called us to follow Jesus by fully embracing the Gospel and serving the Church, and who poured into our hearts the Holy Spirit, the source of our joy and our witness to God’s love and mercy before the world.”
Fully endorsing their spirit and courage, Archbishop John Wong in his concluding address underlined that they, as consecrated persons, are especially chosen by God and having responded generously and courageously, they are to heed the call “to wake up the world’ amidst all its challenges, and urged them to do so with “gladness, rejoicing and joy”, pertaining to the theme for the Year of Consecrated Life.