Mass for Pastoral Care graduates

A graduation Mass for 13 Pastoral Care Ministry graduates from Ipoh and Penang was celebrated at St Michael’s Church on Mar 10.

Mar 21, 2014

IPOH (Herald Malaysia): A graduation Mass for 13 Pastoral Care Ministry graduates from Ipoh and Penang was celebrated at St Michael’s Church on Mar 10.

The Mass was concelebrated by His Lordship Rt Rev Bishop Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang, with six other priests, Fr Francis Andrew of Our Lady of Lourdes, Fr Edmund Woon, SMC parish priest, Fr Stephen Liew, Fr Robin Andrews, OMPH parish priest Fr Eugene Fernandez CSsR and Fr Patrick Massang CSsR.

This is the third course of PCM held so far, the other two having been held in Penang last year.

The PCM course was conducted by Rev Fr Edmund Woon, of the Penang diocese Family Life Commission and Counselling, and Sr Mary Cyrilla, FMDM, of the Mt Miriam Hospital in Penang. It was held for one weekend a month from June 2013 till Feb 2014.

There were seven participants from SMC, three from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ipoh and one from Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church. Another two were from the Anglican church in Ipoh and a Christian church in Penang. However only twelve came for the graduation Mass.

Subjects covered and conducted by other priests and experts in various fields, included basic counselling skills, anger management, depression and suicide, grief and bereavement, sexuality issues, spiritual accompaniment, an introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy, an introduction to Satir therapy, addictions and care for the sick and dying.

The participants also attended two retreats throughout their nine-month journey. A healing retreat was given by Fr Matthew Linn, SJ, in St Michael’s Church, and another by Fr Edmund Woon and Sr Cyrilla in Bukit Mertajam.

In his homily Bishop Sebastian said the pastoral care ministers receive strength and grace from the Good Shepherd himself,
Jesus Christ.

“When you minister to someone even for a little while, that is holiness, and that is where our training should bring us. The gospel speaks of six questions: whether we minister to those who are hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked, those who are sick and in prison. For when we do, we are touching the wounds of Christ, especially in those who are broken, depressed, and injured spiritually and emotionally.

“It can be unpleasant and even draining at times, but we must remember as pastoral care ministers, there must also be self-care, a time for silence and contemplation to regain our strength,” he said.

He added that Jesus had called them, chosen them and sent them out, to be commissioned as pastoral care ministers.
“Let us thank God for this wonderful gift and pray for the grace of holiness,” he said.

PCM graduates Patrick Louis and Jennifer Cheah spoke about their experiences and inner healing.

SMC graduate Placida Kek, said the PCM course was a very good experience which helped her and her family greatly.

“I found that I grew personally, and had a change in attitude towards my son and daughter, and it was easier to communicate
with them.

“It was a change from negative to positive thinking,” she said.

Her daughter, Matilda, 20, and son Timothy, 17, attested to this.

Matilda said the first thing she noticed in her mother was her change in attitude, as she became more patient and tolerant. This had a great impact on their family relationship, and helped in expressing their feelings for each other and improved their prayer life.

“We were so happy and I felt so impressed that I attended the independent sessions on sexuality with her. I want to learn more,” Matilda said.

Evelyne Yeoh of SMC said the PCM course had brought her to the core of her being, in awareness, self-knowledge and love.

“If I don’t make peace with my past, it will keep showing up in my present. I thank God for leading me to be part of this group, and for Fr Edmund, Sr Cyrilla and my fellow travellers,” she said.

For those interested, the Penang Diocesan Family Life Ministry will be organizing a personal growth and pastoral care minister formation in the Church of St Anne, Bukit Mertajam from April till Oct 2014. The dates are Apr 26-27, May 24-25, June 7-8, June 28-29, July 12-13, Aug 9-10, Sept 6-7, Sept 27-28 and Oct 18-19. The fee is RM750 and the closing date is April 1.

Those who wish to attend should contact the parish office or the Administrator, 04-2610273 from 9.00am till 12noon except on Tuesdays and Sundays. They can also email goodshepherdcs@gmail.com for further details.

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