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PLENTONG, Johor – Around one hundred and thirty-five religious men and women of Malaysia and Singapore gathered for a two-day theological symposium to reflect and celebrate consecrated life at the Majodi Centre here Sept 15-16.
The religious came from 18 congregations in the region with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Sabah sending the largest contingent (40 of them!).
The symposium, organized by the Conference of Religious Major Superiors of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei headed by Friar John Wong ofm, and the Association of Religious of Melaka-Johor Diocese, was facilitated by Sisters Linda Lizada and Malen Java of the Religious of the Cenacle on Pope Francis’ challenge to the Religious to “wake up the world” in his apostolic letter on the occasion of the Year for Consecrated Life.
Providentially, this theme was highlighted by the Apostolic Nuncio, Abp Joseph Marino’s address to the participants Sept 15 through the three aims of this special year: looking to the past with gratitude, living the present with passion, and embracing the future with hope. Threading through this is the note of joy as reflected in Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel).
Indeed, all five sessions were geared towards seeing where the religious are vis-à-vis the three aims, looking at how they are realizing the expectations for the year, and praying with some implications arising from this special year through inputs, points for prayer, personal reflection, liturgical celebrations, faith sharing, and fellowship.
The point of “waking up the world” is that the religious themselves must be awake themselves through their lives and ministries—people of joy—to bring hope to those who have none, to show the merciful face of Christ. As one participant put it: it is truly providential that following closely on the Year for Consecrated Life is the Jubilee of Mercy, a natural flowing over, so to speak. The Consecrated Life Year will conclude on 2 February 2016 while the Jubilee of Mercy will begin on 8 December 2015.