KOTA KINABALU – New aspirants and seminarians have been accepted for year 2015. A Mass was celebrated Feb 12 in the chapel of IY Formation House to mark the opening of the academic calendar for 2015. The Mass was presided by Archbishop John Wong and concelebrated by Fr Rayner Bisius, Fr Wilfred Atin, Fr Jalius Sading, Fr Paul Lo and Fr Jeffri Gumu.
As the seminarians and aspirants begin their journey in discerning their calling, the Archbishop said in his homily, “Know this that it is Jesus who called you, not you who called him. If you believe he is the one who called you, then you will go to him like how the woman called out to him in the Gospel.”
Taking the Gospel reading, he explained how the pagan woman showed a good example in approaching Jesus to cure her sick daughter. In her desperation, she approached Jesus in the most humble manner, bowing down in mind, spirit and body showing her faith and trust in Jesus, although she may not know who Jesus really is. The Archbishop then asked the seminarians, aspirants and all present, “In our desperation, where do we go? If we go to Jesus, what is our attitude? In approaching him, do we believe that he will do everything as what he has done to this woman?”
He further expressed his joy on the chosen theme for this year, ‘the Joy of the Gospel’, adding that we should dirty our hands and feet to reach out for God, whether in the community or in our personal lives.
After the Mass, all gathered for dinner at the garden lawn which provided a new way for fellowship. Fr Rayner, as the new IY Director, explained in his speech, that the seminarians hope to absorb the spirit of ‘the Joy of the Gospel’ in their own community in hope to become a missionary of Joy. He thanked the Archbishop for giving him the new responsibility to be the IY Director, a task he happily takes up. He then introduced the 10 seminarians: 1 from Sandakan, 1 from Kuching, 5 from Keningau and 3 from Kota Kinabalu.
Meanwhile Fr Wilfred, as Director of the Aspirants Formation House, introduced 11 new aspirants to the guests: 4 from Bundu Tuhan, 3 from Telupid, 1 from Sook, 1 from Keningau and 2 from Inanam. He further explained that 1st year aspirancy emphasizes on the harnessing of the English language because throughout the next 7-8 years priesthood studies will be conducted purely in English.
A new requirement of SPC for aspirants to possess a Band 4 in English Language necessitates them to sit for the MUET (Malaysian University English Test), and the formation house has since been able to source for volunteers to teach and prepare them for the MUET.
The Archbishop also thanked the benefactors for their support and he affirmed his prayer to all of them. The celebration then continued with dinner and performances from both the seminarians and aspirants. – Linda Edward