Baptism is our common identity

The Diocese of Sibu’s Pastoral Assembly, held at the Sibu Kemuyang Pastoral Centre November 24-25, resonated with a message of unity and communion.

Dec 08, 2023

Parish and religious representatives sharing their experiences and concerns during the group discussions.

The Diocese of Sibu’s Pastoral Assembly, held at the Sibu Kemuyang Pastoral Centre November 24-25, resonated with a message of unity and communion.

The event, attended by 133 individuals from 12 parishes, and a religious representative, saw the launching of the official theme song, inspired by Psalm 133: Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in Unity.

Led by Capuchin Friar Raphael Samosir and the Puteri Karmel sisters, the theme song reverberated the call for unity and communion in the mission of Jesus Christ, echoing the diocese’s vision, That we may all be one (John 17:11, 21-23).

Bishop Joseph Hii, in his welcoming address, emphasised on the theme ‘Celebrate our Baptism’, urging all to recognise baptism as the common identity uniting them as children of God and siblings in faith.

The assembly delved into reports from the 12 parishes and the religious representative, highlighting each parish’s distinctiveness and their journey in transmitting the message received during the preparatory events of the Jubilee Year 2025 and the Malaysian Pastoral Convention 2026.

A significant highlight was the introduction of “Spiritual Conversation,’ a concept stemming from the Synod on Synodality, facilitating discussions among the assembly’s 10 groups in three different sessions.

Delegates shared their profound experiences and the most striking messages that resonated with them.

The assembly culminated with Mass, celebrated by Bishop Joseph Hii and the clergy of the diocese concelebrating.

In his homily, Bishop Joseph reiterated that our baptism calls upon us the duty to transmit our faith. He reminded parents of their baptismal vocation. “You should be the first catechist of your children. The obligation to transmit faith to your children, foremost falls upon parents, not the Sunday school teachers or catechists.”

He emphasised the importance for all representatives and priests to embrace their leadership roles with humility, embodying the spirit of humble servants offering selfless service. Particularly in their engagement with the youth, he stressed the necessity of meeting them on their level, advocating against condescension.

“Our role isn’t to instruct but to walk alongside them. Listening outweighs speaking in this journey.” He cautioned that a lack of this approach might inadvertently alienate the youth, hindering their connection with Christ.

Regarding communal living among fellow believers, he underscored the significance of fostering encounters with God through acts of forgiveness and mercy. Ultimately, he urged everyone to remain receptive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, highlighting how assemblies like these present opportunities to heed the Spirit’s call through attentive listening and discernment.

The Sarawak Regional Pastoral Assembly is scheduled to be held from September 16-20, 2024. — Sibu Social Communication Team

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