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KOTA KINABALU – Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission (ADKK Soccom) head Joseph Leong lauded the 52nd World Communications Day (WCD) celebrations for the archdiocese held at St Edmund Church in Kota Belud on 13 May 2018, 7th Sunday of Easter, as outstanding in many ways.
He expressed his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the organising committee headed by Jinuin Victor, chairman of the parish pastoral council, with the support of the parish soccom committee headed by Samuel Joseph.
Leong said the entire event was truly a joyful manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work. It was the Holy Spirit who impelled everyone within the hosting parish to ensure that this universal festival of the Catholic Church at the archdiocesan level was successful.
The most impressive sign, Leong said, that made the event outstanding is the ability of the organising committee to involve all groups at the main parish, seven zones, and chapels to actively participate by directly handling certain aspects of the programme.
He felt that the collaborative work among all parish groups and communities was done with the close guidance and support of Father Ambrose Atang, the parish priest, and his assistant, Father Florian Marcus, who both paid personal and close attention to various stages and aspects of the preparations.
The youth in the parish, for instance, played a key role in the conduct of the programmes, providing eloquent masters of ceremonies and presenting a relevant sketch on stage at the parish hall based on the theme for this year’s WCD, Fake News and Journalism For Peace – “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).
The zones within the parish not only set up stalls selling food and local handicraft items around the parish compound but also set up exhibition booths at the WCD expo at the hall.
Such spirit of working together created a very joyful atmosphere of harmony and unity among the people of the parish. The service of a combined choir at the Eucharistic celebration was another outstanding feature appreciated by all present, guests and locals alike.
Most significant and meaningful was the presence of Archbishop John Wong, who presided over the Eucharistic celebration and other programmes at the parish hall.
His homily centred on the universal theme and his concrete advice to members of the local church on the dangers of spreading fake news was appropriate and timely.
The head of the archdiocese advised everyone to exercise great caution when sending to one another messages from unknown sources and to put a stop to the further spread of fake news in our society.
Abp Wong said, “If you do come across an an article that seems to be too good to be true, check its authenticity. If the message involves something concerning our church, check with your parish priest before sharing it. Let none of us, from now on, be a party to the spread of falsehood.”
It was the first time that the head of the archdiocese personally presided over the celebration of WCD since its inaugural celebration in 2001. This made the celebration of the 52nd WCD at St Edmund a historic one.
Another new feature of the WCD programme this year was the official announcement by Abp Wong of the next host parish followed by a simple ceremony of handing over a WCD Host Parish plaque from Fr Ambrose representing St Edmund to Jonal Mogusun, a representative of St John Tuaran.
A factor that made this year’s celebration historic was the presence and support given by Soccom delegations from 11 other parishes. This was not so in the past.
Among parishes present were: Sacred Heart Cathedral, with its sub-parish of the Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang; St Peter Claver Ranau; St John Tuaran; St Michael Penampang; St Joseph Husband of Mary Kiulu; Holy Rosary Limbahau; St Theresa Kota Marudu; Holy Family Telipok; St Pius X Bundu Tuhan, Stella Maris Tg Aru, St Joseph Papar, and of course the hosting parish of St Edmund Kota Belud.
Members of the ADKK Soccom commission were also present in full force: Father Thomas Madanan (Spiritual Adviser); Joseph Leong (chairman), Sister Anna Yap (secretary); Gideon Abel (parish liaison); Claudina Wong, (publications and design); Ruben Sario (trainor); Jenney Juanis (translation); and Patricia Regis (documentation). Some of them came with their family members.
The commission had met with the members of the local organising team on Mar 24 to give them some directives and suggestions on the WCD celebration.
The commission has produced an information leaflet with the aim of improving the knowledge and understanding on the role and functions of Social Communications at the archdiocese and parish levels.
So the commission took the opportunity of the occasion to distribute copies of the leaflet to the Soccom delegations from parishes with the aim and hope that it would help parish committees to improve understanding of the role of social communications and motivate them in becoming active in the spread of the Gospel message.
Also present were Catholic Sabah staff: Linda Edward, Lily Akau, and Caterine Musa. – JLeong