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KENINGAU – Two hundred and eighty catechists attended the biennial retreat and conference on 31 Aug-2 Sept 2017 at the Tatal Retreat Centre here.
In his talk, Bishop Cornelius Piong, episcopal president of the Malaysian Catechetical Commission, told the participants in no uncertain terms that “Christ is the source of our joy especially in our service as a catechist. Therefore, we need to strengthen our spiritual life by having a close relationship with Christ, and be faithful in our prayer life in spite of all the challenges in the world.”
The theme chosen “Christ our Joy” was based on the theme for Catechetical Sunday 2017.
The retreat cum conference is organised once in two years by the KK Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission for the spiritual renewal and recommitment of all catechists in the archdiocese. The retreat also serves to instil a spirit of unity and good relations among the catechists who come from the different parishes in the archdiocese.
Accompanying the participants were Franciscan Sister Dariah Ajap, head of the commission, and Father Nicholas Stephen, spiritual adviser.
The retreat kicked off with Opening Mass presided by Bishop Piong. Besides assisting the catechists to reflect on the theme, he also led the Eucharistic Adoration in the evening.
Father Rudolf Joannes of Keningau Diocese facilitated the inputs on the second day, in which he challenged the catechists to reflect on themselves, their uniqueness, strengths and limitations. He helped them to discover how they could improve themselves, their families and communities as a whole. The reflection enlightened and inspired the participants as they listened, and identified solutions to the numerous problems relating to their pastoral ministry as catechists.
In conjunction with the universal celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima this year, Fr Stephen shared on the role of Mother Mary in the salvation history, and screened a video of the centenary celebration.
In the evening, Fr Stephen organised a rosary procession carrying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the retreat centre to the chapel at kg Tuarid, Tatal. About 500 Catholic faithful in the vicinity of the kampung joined in the procession. It took another two hours to walk back to the retreat centre.
On the third and last day, Fr Stephen presented the pastoral thrust of the archdiocese – Go Inward, Go Smaller, Go Outward to counter the challenges of globalisation, secularisation and Islamisation faced by the families and church today. This was followed by parish-based group sharing to discuss these issues and to plan concrete actions to counter these challenges within a year’s time frame.
The retreat concluded with the commissioning of the catechists. – firstname.lastname@example.org