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KOTA KINABALU – Over a thousand charismatic renewal group members turned up to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) Movement in song, sound, dance and image on 21 May 2017 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.
Organised by the Archdiocesan Service Team (ADST), the rally was divided into four parts.
Part I consisted of a time of praise and worship with shofar (ram horn) blowing, songs of praise, flag and tambourine dancing.
Hector Jintoni, ADST chairman, welcomed the participants and introduced them to the floor while their video clip greetings were screened. They came from Labuan, Kinuta, Inobong, Kolopis, Penampang, Dontozidon, Kobusak, Kopungit, Tanjung Aru, Kepayan, KK (BM & Chinese), Inanam, Kokol, Manggatal, Telipok (BM & Chinese), Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu (no video), Ranau (no video), KK and Papar Covenant Communities.
Part II comprised thanksgiving for 50 years of CCR in the universal church through songs and video sharings from Leonard Tham of Kota Kinabalu (Mandarin), Ambrose Stephen of Labuan (BM) and Paulus Jouil of Dontozidon (Kadazan). It ended with a powerpoint presentation on the history of the CCR in Sabah by Daniel Kong.
The third part was the renewal and recommitment to serve in the CCR. The participants acknowledged their failings and weaknesses as they sang the song Renew Me, O Lord by Jude Antoine.
Father Paul Lo, Spiritual Adviser of Lay Movements, along with all renewal group coordinators, went on stage to unveil the Altar of Renewal and Recommitment (made of stones as in the OT). The priest then led the Prayer of Renewal and Recommitment.
In Part IV, after the shofar blowing, all present went forward to cross the wave cloths – signifying trials and challenges – in a symbolic act of stepping forth with renewed strength and spirit, to continue serving in the CCR, to bring it towards greater glory towards the next jubilee.
After the rally, all prepared themselves for the Eucharistic Celebration at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass. Concelebrating with him were Abp Emeritus John Lee and six priests.
In his address after the Mass, Abp Wong remarked that in the beginning of the CCR in Sabah in the mid-1970s, big crowds turned up for the Life in the Spirit Seminars. However, he continued, nowadays, participation to such seminars and other renewal activities has shrunk. He noted that there is a need to study why this is happening.
The prelate urged the participants to intensify their prayers, especially that the Holy Spirit may shower the gifts of wisdom and courage on the people who are facing the erosion of their faith through apathy, secularisation and Islamisation.
He also exhorted those in CCR leadership role “to play their part well” and to “pray that the fire of the Holy Spirit which has set aflame the hearts of our people 50 years ago” [in USA and in Sabah 44 years ago] may do so again so that the people may be “prepared to face the external threats that could weaken the faith of Christians in this country.”
The archbishop ended his address with a request for prayers for him and for the priests and religious so that they too “will be more attuned to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.”
The event concluded with a fellowship dinner at the parish centre.