Youth talk with the deaf ministry

This Sign Language Ministry has been very significant during online Masses which started with the MCO. Bishop Cornelius Piong, in his closing message during the 5th Sunday of Lent, thanked the interpreters from the Deaf Ministry who translated the liturgy and homily in the context of sign language for the deaf.

Aug 01, 2020

KENINGAU: What is the Deaf Ministry? This question was discussed in the Youth Talk organised by the Keningau Diocesan Youth Commission (KDYC) which was posted via Youtube on July 19.

This Sign Language Ministry has been very significant during online Masses which started with the MCO. Bishop Cornelius Piong, in his closing message during the 5th Sunday of Lent, thanked the interpreters from the Deaf Ministry who translated the liturgy and homily in the context of sign language for the deaf.

Two panellists from the Keningau and Tenom Branch Deaf Association, Fransisca and Anastasia, were invited to an online programme facilitated by Juanis Marcus.

Fransisca, who is from Keningau, used to be an altar server. She said her interest in learning sign language arose after her colleagues took sign language classes. From there, Fransisca joined the Society for the Deaf, and subsequently joined the Deaf Ministry at the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier (KSFX).

Anastasia started learning sign language in 2001. Last Christmas, some deaf people visited her house. From then on, she felt the urge to learn sign language in order to communicate with them. She is still learning  to improve her skills in sign language. In fact, Anastasia is one of the sign language interpreters who often appear online for Mass at KSFX Parish.

The Deaf Ministry has helped  many special people to get closer to God, to know the Sacraments and participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. According to Fransisca, the deaf are just like us. They also want to pray and celebrate the Liturgy.

In the same conversation, Fransisca and Anastasia also signed the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be.

To what extent do youths understand and realise the role of the Deaf Ministry? Albert John of Holy Cross Toboh Parish understands sign language as a means of communication among this community. These special people will be happier if we can communicate and know what they need. Albert also said that he was interested in learning sign language.

Cassey Carrie of the Minawo  Zone felt grateful and appreciative of God’s given gift when she saw the sign-language interpreter. With the contribution from the Deaf Ministry, the deaf people no longer feel excluded!”

During the talk, Nelly, 29, conveyed her experience of attending an online Mass using sign language. Nelly thanked Bishop Cornelius Piong and the church for understanding the spiritual needs of special people. I hope that this online Mass continues till we can all return to the church as usual.”

According to Fransisca, one of the Deaf Ministry’s plans is  to continue their postponed activities since MCO, for example, visiting the special groups who have not been to church for a long time, visiting the sick, giving encouragement and praying with them.

Fransisca and Anastasia, representing fellow interpreters and the Deaf Ministry, thanked the Church for giving them the space and opportunity to serve the special needs people.

The deaf are like ordinary people. They too want to pray and celebrate the Mass. Hopefully our presence can bring them to appreciate the Eucharist!”

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