SANDAKAN – An exorcism seminar at St Mary’s Cathedral here drew about 350 participants recently.
The 350 participants came from the four parishes in Sandakan Diocese: Telupid, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan. The seminar on exorcism, organised by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service Team (CCRST), took place on 9-10 Sept 2016.
Organising chairperson, Adaris Sintan, said the decision to organise such seminar was because so many Catholics treat too lightly the existence and the interference of the power of darkness in their lives, especially in trying to break up the institution of Christian marriage and family.
Bishop Julius Gitom presided at the opening Mass Sept 9, concelebrated with Father Charles Chiew. In his homily, the bishop underscored the need to organise such seminar in order to correct the misconception of what exorcism is.
He added that Fr Chiew was qualified to speak on the subject since he had taken courses on it in Rome. The seminar was meant to help the participants to grow closer to Jesus, the source of strength for them in all situations.
Fr Chiew, a clinical psychologist, emphasised that not all cases are cases of exorcism. Before a case can be referred for exorcism, the person must undergo a medical and psychological diagnosis in order to establish whether it is a paranormal case (diabolical possession). He said many cases are psychological in nature because of depression, which does not require exorcism.
The speaker also presented a talk on the powers of darkness. The seminar ended with a special session for CCR leaders or elders. These leaders and committee members were given a special blessing and sent forth to serve the people during the Mass Sept 11.
In one of his Masses at St Martha’s House in Rome, Pope Francis affirmed the existence of the devil: “The devil does not want people to follow Christ so he tempts them. This is not an old-fashioned rhetoric because the devil is here even in the 21st century. We must learn how to fight against Satan.”
Currently, there are 250 priest-exorcists worldwide. – DOSPO