CHARIS launched in Sandakan

The Diocese of Sandakan launched the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service (CHARIS) at St Mary’s Cathedral on February 26.

Mar 17, 2023

Groups doing their presentation after the workshop sessions, February 24 and 25, 2023.

By Evelyn Jock
The Diocese of Sandakan launched the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service (CHARIS) at St Mary’s Cathedral on February 26.

It was carried out by the spiritual director of CHARIS, Fr Arthur John, in the presence of CHARIS leaders from St Mary’s Cathedral, Holy Trinity Tawau, Our Lady of Fatima, Beluran, St Martin, Telupid, St Dominic, Lahad Datu, and Paitan Mission.

Fr Arthur thanked the various parishes for their presence and participation. He entrusted them to return to their respective districts and explain the meaning of CHARIS to their members.

He also thanked CHARIS Malaysia coordinator Anthony Lim, who witnessed the launching. Anthony was elected coordinator from a pool of Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) leaders from within the nine dioceses of Malaysia.

The formation of CHARIS Malaysia was endorsed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on Aug 13, 2020. It was the first time a national body was able to serve the needs of the CCR in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak.

Before the launch of CHARIS Sandakan, the diocese’s CCR, headed by coordinator Adaris Sintan, organised a day-and-a-half workshop titled Explanation and Launching of CHARIS on Feb 24 and 25. Some 139 people attended the workshop, facilitated by Anthony.

The different language groups in Sandakan, the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community, and the Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese-speaking CCR groups, participated in Praise and Worship sessions to welcome CCR members from other parishes. The fruitful workshop comprised three briefing sessions by Anthony, group discussions, presentations, and Praise and Worship segments.

Anthony briefed participants on the history of CCR, established 57 years ago, in 1967. Since Pope St Paul VI and the succeeding popes endorsed it, CCR spread far and wide across the globe. In Sabah, nine youths under the guidance of the late Fr Tobias Chi, started CCR 49 years ago, in 1974.

The facilitator explained the Holy Father’s expectations when he launched CHARIS on June 9, 2019. CHARIS is a service meant to assist CCR groups around the world. Pope Francis invited CHARIS members to share the graces they received in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with everyone in the church, serve the unity of the body of Christ, the church, and the community of believers, and serve the poor and those in greatest need.

Anthony reiterated that the CHARIS groups must be in line with the framework of the Diocese of Sandakan.

The CHARIS vision should not contradict the diocese’s vision and must be a “Christ-centred community, serving one another with love”. Leaders must be clear and passionate about the vision of the diocese and of CHARIS, and that the prayer groups and communities are maintained and are on track. He encouraged the CHARIS groups to commission at least two youths below the age of 30, so they can continue the mission of CHARIS Sandakan.

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