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Penang hosts regional young priests gathering

PENANG – The annual gathering of young priests, or popularly known as the Young Priests Gathering (YPG) for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, was hosted by  the Diocese of Penang on  8-12 May 2017. The gathering serves the purpose of an ongoing formation for priests ordained five years and below.

Out of the 27 priests who came from the various arch/dioceses, four were from Sabah; Fathers Florian Dompok and Mitchelly Kiun from the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, and Fathers Hilanus Simon and Harry Dorisoh from Keningau Diocese.

The gathering was held at the Stella Maris Retreat Centre.  It was also attended by Bishop Richard Ng of Miri who is in charge of ongoing formation for priests under the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Bishop Ng, in his address, stressed the importance of being a ‘good shepherd’ for the people.

“Every priest should try his best to give his life to look after his sheep and minister to their needs,” said the bishop, taking his cue from the just concluded celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday, which is also Vocation Sunday.

The second talk was delivered by Fr Stephen  Liew of Penang, based on the theme chosen for this year, taken from 1 Tim 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Fr Edmund Woon, a Certified Counsellor for the Penang Diocese, gave an interesting session on  stress management and avoidance of temptation as a young priest.

A ‘mission activity’ was carried out at Sacred Heart Church Kulim in Kedah, involving the young priests in vocation promotion.  As part of their activities, they shared about their vocation journey, inspiring the youth, while seizing the opportunity to remind parents of the need to encourage their sons and daughters to be open to the priestly or religious vocation.

A visit to St Anne’s Church at Bukit Mertajam, including climbing the Stations of the Cross, and a general tour around Penang were also organised for the participants.

The gathering concluded with the announcement that YPG 2018 will be hosted by the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese. – Fr Mitchelly Kiun

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