PENAMPANG – Archbishop John Wong challenged more than 2,000 participants of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference 2016 to find an answer to the question, “Why do we repent?”
At the conference (conducted in Bahasa Malaysia) which was held in Hongkod Koisaan Hall (KDCA), 10-13 Mar 2016, Archbishop Wong said the theme ‘Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ is an important message proclaimed throughout the history of human salvation from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
The message, he said, was specially brought by John the Baptist to prepare a way for the coming of Jesus the Saviour. The repentance message was then spread by His disciples through their teachings and writings.
“The Church through her mission has never stopped inviting her people to continuous repentance,” said the prelate.
“Why is this message important? Is it relevant to the people of this age and why does the Church continue to encourage us to repent?” he asked in his opening address, welcoming thousands of participants to the conference which saw two speakers from Indonesia.
This year’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference was jointly organized by three arch/dioceses and it was the third of its kind. First conference was held in year 2006 and second in year 2014.
The main purpose of this conference was to call on God’s people to follow His plans for their lives, to discern what God wants of them, to truly repent so that everyone can be saved.
According to the prelate, this year’s Charismatic Conference was more meaningful as it was held in the Year of Mercy, which is also being celebrated by the Universal Church to proclaim the great mercy of God. Various catecheses and programmes have already started since Dec 8 last year and will end this year on Nov 20.
“The Church is sure that people of this age need to be reminded of who God really is; God is LOVE. He does not spurn anyone who comes to Him, but is full of mercy, He forgives the evil and sin done by humanity.
“This is our faith. This is the good news that we want to share throughout this Jubilee,” he said while calling on all who came from Sabah and some from Sarawak, to be agents of God’s mercy.
Meanwhile, Fr Paul Lo in his homily reminded the charismatic leaders and participating parishioners of the state-wide Catholic Church in the opening Mass not to forget the Giver of gifts after receiving from Him, like the Israelites.
He hoped that this conference would help the participants to look for the Giver and not just for the gifts, and to know Him in a deeper way.
The opening Mass was presided by Archbishop Wong while Fr Paul Lo delivered the homily, It was also concelebrated by Fr Thomas Madanan and Fr Antonius Gunardi.
Participants of the four-day conference had the opportunity to listen to eight talks delivered by National CCR Indonesia Moderator, Fr Antonius Gunardi and Kaderisasi National CCR Indonesia, Vincent Chandra, alongside other programmes including praise and worship, deliverance prayer and Mass.
To be healed physically and spiritually were the hopes of most participants. Lydiana Anggang, 76, from Kg Tikolod Tambunan, came not only to walk closer to God but she asked to be healed from her heart problem. She said the conference was good for her and she asked God to forgive all her sins.
Noi Kutang, 66 and her husband Mir Anggaran, 66, from Kg Sook Keningau, also hoped to be healed physically. They were also thirsty for the Word of God and were eager to listen to all the talks. – Jenney Juanis, Archdiocesan SOCCOM