PEKAN NABALU, Bundu Tuhan – Communications! That is the popular word spoken by the Catholic parishioners who attended the World Communications Day (WCD) celebration here in a small church, St Philip Neri, on 8 May 2016.
A skit show performed by the youth after the Eucharistic celebration, which was presided by Fr Michael Modoit, also took the theme ‘Communication’ through usage of latest technology such as smartphones, computer and tablet.
The message of the skit focused on the importance of effective communication between family and friends, as well as for spiritual development of the parishioners. It also encouraged the people to pray for those who work in the communications field as a service to the Church and the faithful.
Therefore, on WCD, ‘communication’ was a meaningful word for hundreds of people who were present in the church up on a hill, where the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese had chosen them to host the 50th WCD with the theme “Communications and Mercy: A fruitful encounter.”
The purpose of the celebration, which was organised by Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Social Communication Commission (SOCCOM) was to create awareness among the parishioners on the importance of using social media tools such as the Internet to spread the Good News.
Although St Philip Neri is located nearly 90 kilometers from the city centre of Kota Kinabalu, and sometimes even experiencing bad reception signal, that is not a hindrance to the locals to fully utilise these latest tools to communicate.
“Even birds and dogs know how to communicate with their kind. God has given them their own unique way of communication,” said Fr Michael in his homily.
He said there is a species of bird called ‘Surangkil’ in Dusun. Every year they would come once to the same trees. After that they would fly away and on the following year, they would come again on the same day and month, to the same trees.
He continued by telling a story of how a dog was able to communicate with another human being and asked for help because its owner at that time was in trouble. The dog communicated through his barking that cried out to others in an unusual tone and this was understood by the human.
“Isn’t this amazing?” asked Fr Michael of the parishioners during the Mass. He added that Pope Francis emphasised that communication between people must be done with mercy to avoid ineffective communication.
SOCCOM spiritual advisor, Fr Thomas Madanan said, the youth is the age group that understands most about the importance of communication as they own these modern technologies in order to connect.
Franciscan sisters, Sr Lucynia Jeprin and Sr Liza Anggie, agreed that usage of communication tools such as smartphone with apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter helped them a lot in serving the Church.
Sr Lucynia said, in the past, communication with the youth was done via letters and face to face, but with modern technology, all dealings could be done easily and fast.