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KK Archdiocese cancels Kaamatan Festival in the face of COVID-19

KOTA KINABALU – Head of KK Archdiocese, Archbishop John Wong has decided to cancel the Archdiocesan Kaamatan Festival celebration this year due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

The bi-annual festival is scheduled to be held on May 26 at the Church of Holy Nativity Terawi.

Although the Movement Control Order is extended until May 12, it is best that the people still practise social distancing. “It is for the common good that the people stay at home to break the chain of the virus infection,” the archbishop asserted.

In his message to the archdiocesan faithful, he informed that the theme chosen for this year’s Kaamatan is “Living out the purity of culture in the family to continue the Mission of Christ”.

“The theme implies that to continue the mission of Christ, the family is called to live out a culture that is not adulterated,” explained the archbishop.

He underlined, “The mission of Christ is to save the world from the virus called sin which has upset the beauty of creation…and we see the consequences of sin in today’s world.

“If culture is defined as ‘the ideas, customs, attitudes and social behaviour of a society or a particular people’, then we can say that right from the Fall of our first parents, human culture has been adulterated by sin because humankind can no longer relate properly,” he added.

To continue the mission of Christ, Archbishop Wong maintained that the key word for ‘purity of culture’ in the family is Love. He touched on Benedict 16th encyclical “Deus caritas est” (God is love), which differentiates ‘agape’ from ‘eros’.

“The former is sacrificial love while the latter is self-centred love. To move from eros to agape love, we must first recognize that God is love…If He loves us unconditionally, we in turn should love others… unconditionally,” he elaborated.

Therefore as Kaamatan approaches, the archbishop urges everyone to find time to examine this ‘purity of culture’ in the family.

“Do we give time to each other at home? Do we speak and listen with love? Do we allow media to replace our personal touch? Are our ideas, attitudes, customs and social behaviour at home and in society motivated by agape or eros?” he asked.

In the uncertain time of COVID-19, the archbishop said we may see the fear and suffering of family brought about by the pandemic as a blessing in disguise.

“While the fear of COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to stay at home, let us proactively make use of the time to purify our family culture,” he suggested. As he called on the faithful to make this a resolution, Archbishop Wong cherished the hope that Kaamatan this year would have a deeper impact on our culture. Linda Edward

Full text of the Kaamatan Message 2020

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