Malacca Johore Diocese News Update #132

The Unity Government Convention just ended, with a call for “the rakyat and the economy to be put first” and to end all old animosities.

May 26, 2023

Greetings again dear people of God. The heat wave is here. The water rationing days are near. The state elections are next. The Unity Government Convention just ended, with a call for “the rakyat and the economy to be put first” and to end all old animosities. Is it a unity founded on justice and reconciliation? The DPAs, the parish and vicariate level preparations are underway. Listening, discerning and walking together builds communities.

Listening Times: Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, the Book of Revelation reminded the seven Churches. The same reminder is sweeping through the world today. The early Church listened. Many churches today have failed to listen to the Holy Spirit in the baptised, the sensus fidei — the spirit that moves in the faith community, and the cries of the poor and the earth. As observed by Msgr James Shea, we are preserving monuments, institutions and centres but forgetting to be the Body of Christ and build the Kingdom of God.

In From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age, Msgr Shea writes: “In a Christendom culture the Church as a whole is tempted to lose its spiritual and otherworldly character and to become merely a this-worldly body, a department of state or a promising career path, a centre of civilised activities rather than the mystical body of Christ…Attending to the moral and ritual life of the Church can become perfunctory, valued only for immediately tangible effects.”

As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, let us listen, learn (in docility) and be led by the Spirit. Change or be changed.


How Fortunate! Have you ever felt dejected and discouraged about life and the things that are going on in the world around us? Then, please read the following words slowly, ponder on them, and consider how fortunate your life really is!

If you have FOOD in your fridge, CLOTHES on your back, a ROOF over your head, a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 per cent of the ENTIRE WORLD. If you have MONEY in your wallet, and can go ANYWHERE you want, you are among the 18 per cent WEALTHIEST people in the ENTIRE WORLD.

If you are ALIVE today and HEALTHY, you are more blessed than the MILLIONS of people who will not survive this week and DIE.

If you can actually READ and UNDERSTAND this message, you are more fortunate than the 3 BILLION people in the world who are blind, deaf, or illiterate.

LIFE is not about complaining. LIFE is about thousands of other reasons to be happy and grateful!

Today’s post is a great reminder of how truly blessed you might be.

Announcements for this week

1. Talks on Deliverance (E) on May 27, 28 at Church of St Andrew, Muar from 10.00am-4.15pm, with Fr Benedict Yee and the DEO Team.

2. The Memorial Mass for the late Bishop James Chan is planned for Monday, July 31 at 6.00pm in Majodi, with dinner and exhibition to journey down memory lane. Please register for both Mass and dinner using the Google Form

This Week’s Question and Query.

The Q asks: Why is it that church attendance has not spiked?
Yes, church attendance is down. The good many ask: Do we even need to go to church?

63 per cent of respondents to the most recent American Beliefs Study say no; astonishingly 69 per cent of Catholics say believing in Jesus does not require participating in a church!

1. Reasons they are not attending church
Despite agreement with beliefs and having faith, many have left the Church.

Among the many reasons:

# The Church is not inspiring them or helping them in their belief.
# Religious people are too judgmental.
# They don’t trust organised religion.
# Religion is too focused on money
# The churches and parish communities have become a programme of programmes, losing the messiness of caring for people as individuals who are all in different states of belief and participation.
# The young feel left out, completely alone, with no one to talk to, with no sense of belonging.

2. Things Catholics want in a church.

The top four responses were:
# Warm and friendly encounters: a welcoming parish
# Celebration of the sacraments: a beautiful, awe-inspiring, reverential liturgy and music.
# Quality sermons: compelling ones that teach, guide, challenge, inspire and sustain belief, participation and experience of community.
#Activities outside Mass: Opportunities to connect, interact and build trust.

As Fr Mallon says in “Divine Renovation: Beyond the Parish” “… in the twenty-first century, it is difficult for people to come to belief in Jesus without first experiencing the sense of acceptance and love that comes with belonging to a community rooted in Jesus.”

God bless you all. Have a great weekend. Be safe. Keep well! Bishop Bernard Paul

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