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KOTA KINABALU – Extraordinary Ministers of Communion (EMCs) of the three language groups (English, Chinese and Bahasa Melayu) from Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang, Carmelite Chapel Karamunsing, St Paul Dontozidon, Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak and St John Kopungit gathered together for a recollection on 24 May 2018 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.
In his opening words, parish priest Archbishop John Wong said, “All of you (EMCs) are holy people, are you not?” Indeed, he said, it is a vital point for all EMCs to ponder and reflect on this very important ministry and for being chosen or called to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Communion.
In view of the language groups, the recollection was conducted separately by Abp Wong (Chinese), Father Paul Lo (English) and Father Maxmillianno Hontor (Bahasa Melayu).
To the English EMCs, Fr Paul explained the roles and differences of the ordinary ministers and extraordinary ministers. He said that bishops, priests and deacons are called ‘ordinary’ ministers, while lay people are described as ‘extraordinary’ ministers.
To strengthen the spiritual life and daily conversion, Fr Paul emphasised the importance of a personal prayer life, reading the Word of God, frequent adoration at the Blessed Sacrament and daily Mass (although it is not obligatory and compulsory).
Fr Paul also advised and reminded the attendees to always serve with the right spirit, wholeheartedly with love and humility. He said that EMCs should not get carried away by the privilege that they enjoy knowing that they always have seats reserved for them. He reminded the EMCs not to abuse the privilege or take advantage by reserving seats for their family members especially during festive seasons like Easter and Christmas celebrations.
During the Q & A before the conclusion of the recollection, one particular question which stood out was, “What is the retirement age for the EMCs? We all know that ordinary ministers like bishops and priests retire at the age of 75.”
In response to this, the archbishop said that there is no age limit for as long as the EMC is still fit and healthy to serve. However, he added, EMCs are advised to use their common sense that if they know that they are no longer fit to serve, such as having difficulty in walking or standing for long period of time or not being able to hold the ciborium steadily, then they should retire.
In conclusion, Abp Wong encouraged the EMCs to aspire to live a holy life, and at the same time to be wary of leading a double life.
All EMCs were commissioned on June 2 (Sunset Mass) and June 3 (Sunday) in conjunction with the Feast of Corpus Christi (Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ). – Michael Tai