KIRONGGU, Inanam – For the last fifteen years Kironggu Catholics travelled long distances to attend Mass, as well as to fulfill their parish services or to take part in parish events at the main parish of St Catherine Church in Inanam.
Today the faith community of Kg Kironggu is abuzz with plans and activities to celebrate their first Christmas service on December 24 at the new St Michael Chapel, blessed by Fr David Sham, parish priest of St Catherine barely three months ago.
Sheedy Ng, 50, head of St Michael KUK (Christian Community), enthused about the multiple proposals by the members to build up the community.
To start with, the KUK launched the Advent Messenger four weeks prior to Christmas, which visited with 60-strong families, preparing them to herald the coming of the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Eliesa Soidin, 34, secretary of the KUK, who works as a teacher at the local Kironggu School, and a promising Sunday School resource when it is set in place, chipped in “We prepare the carolers, formed mainly by the youth and children, with a catechesis before sending them out, so that they are effective evangelizers.”
The Advent Sunday services were spent focusing on helping the faithful to grasp more meaningfully the season and its celebration, with the help of symbols (Advent candles).
The KUK head added “we look forward to the whole community coming together to spruce up the chapel, putting in place colour lights and the nativity crib. Then only Christmas will be complete, with both the spiritual and physical.”
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the community would gather for prayer and communion service, and caroling, followed by fellowship.
The Christmas celebration does not end on Christmas Day. It stretches to the Feast of the Holy Family when all families would come together once again for prayer and to bless themselves with a shared meal contributed by each family.
Ng revealed that the coming together under one roof (chapel) is something they treasured and yearned for since the dismantling of the old chapel in 2003.
Soidin shared when the news of the availability of land to build the new chapel broke out, the faithful were filled with overwhelming joy and excitement. The anticipation of the completion of the construction was almost too much to bear.
People came forward spontaneously to respond to the numerous needs, from the clearing of the land, leveling of the access road, building a retaining stone wall to control soil erosion, sponsoring of fans, liturgical item such as the Lectionary, to the sourcing of monetary funds.
It was palpable to see the Kironggu Catholics regaining their sense of belonging, commitment and sacrifice. Ng revealed that the KUK, whose members are mostly farmers and housewives, was able to raise RM15,000 within a year to cover the expenditure over and above the construction of the chapel.
The chapel was built at the cost of RM50,000 by philanthropist Datuk Victor Paul, on a land donated by former catechist, Joannes Gubud, who is also the adviser for St Michael KUK.
The community, being at the heart of the larger parish community, provides a strong visible and emotional presence in the villages that the Church serves, which would otherwise be lost if KUK members were expected to travel to the larger parish some distance away.
Kg Kironggu is one of the six ecclesial communities (KKD) that come under the care of St Michael KUK.
Small communities like St Michael KUK work well, especially with the presence of a little chapel. It has a strong identity as a parish church, supporting its members in their lives and becoming a natural place for people to gather to mark life events.
Ng spoke of the exciting plans projected for 2019, from constructing little huts (pondok) to cater to Sunday school classes, to a multipurpose hall (dewan) to cater to community events; from forming a choir with proper catechesis, to encouraging a strong youth participation in the parish/community life with accompaniment by existing leaders.
Already the migrants from a neighboring oil palm plantation have expressed their expectant joy of becoming “family” with the locals at the chapel.
St Michael KUK encourages its members to become a community of nurture and growth by being involved and engaged.
Already each KKD family has been advocated to live “Creation Justice” by actively planting and beautifying, not only the chapel, but their homes as well.
Interestingly, St Michael Chapel, is the first of its kind in this region to be fitted with a solar panel, providing power to light up the cross on the chapel’s roof. – CS