A fruitful 24-hour encounter with Bishop Sebastian

Six young men made up the first batch who responded to the invitation to spend 24 hours with Rt Reverend Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang Diocese February 4-5.

Mar 16, 2017

PENANG: Six young men made up the first batch who responded to the invitation to spend 24 hours with Rt Reverend Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang Diocese February 4-5.

Designed for those interested in discovering their vocation to the priesthood and mission, the overnight programme brought single young men who have, at least completed their SPM together. The encounter was held at the Penang Diocesan Pastoral Institute (PDPI). It began at noon on Saturday, Feb 4, with the introduction of the participants, who came from as far as Rawang to the nearest parish on Penang island. Bishop Sebastian had three sessions with them which enabled both sides to get to know each other. Participants had the opportunity to ask about the call to the priestly vocation, as well as the joys and challenges which Bishop Sebastian himself experienced.

Dinner was served at St Joseph’s Home, an orphanage and home for children in need. This time, the participants joined Bishop Sebastian as he spent time with the boys and girls there.

The group was then shown a home-movie which further depicted the priest’s role in upholding love and peace amidst the greed and violence in the world.

Right after breakfast the following day, Bishop Sebastian took them around the Catholic and Protestant cemeteries located just behind PDPI. He pointed out the tombs of the first missionaries in Penang who planted the seeds of faith in the northern part of Malaysia. While inside the Church of St Francis Xavier, he explained about the lives of the missionaries as he pointed out the different names engraved within the Church.

The 24-hour experience concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Sebastian. The participants were joined by other young people who took part in the video shoot featuring the Bishop promoting the upcoming Malaysian Catholic Campus Students’ Day to be held in Penang.

One of the participants, Matthew Ang, from the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang said, “I attended this event with a question in my head. ‘What would I discover during this 24 hour event with Bishop?’ It was answered when we had our small sessions with him. I discovered that we all must have the mindset that we are on a mission if we are to become disciples of Christ — the mission to spread his name and teachings to everyone.

“It was a very interesting event. Of course, there were other reasons why I attended this programme — which was to find my calling, either to marriage or priestly vocation. This event, even though it was short, somehow opened my eyes and widened my perspective in discovering our primary mission; which is to be a disciple of Christ.”

Assisting Bishop in the organisation of the experience were Vincent Joseph and Mayette Bugaoan.

For more information and enlistment to the programme, contact Penang Diocesan Pastoral Institute (PDPI) 04-2611350 (office hours) Monday – Friday or email to pdpi2005@gmail.com

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