Malacca Johore Diocese News Update #146

September remembers Malaysia Day, the feast of St Mother Teresa, Season of Creation, the World Day for the Poor and the Launching of Protec Year 4: Reduce Fuel Consumption.

Sep 22, 2023

Greetings, dear friends and fellow Catholics:
I just ended with the annual conference and study on the local migrant and refugee phenomenon. Following that, there was an annual clergy retreat. The August 31 celebration was welcomed with a deeper sense of Malaysian- ness. The results of the Johor by-elections were viewed as a vote for the unity government, others said the green waves gained grounds. September remembers Malaysia Day, the feast of St Mother Teresa, Season of Creation, the World Day for the Poor and the Launching of Protec Year 4: Reduce Fuel Consumption.

Reconciling Times: Taking one another to court for libel and ‘fitnah’ are on rise among Malaysian politicians. Million Ringgit suits are being filed. Irresponsible statements! Lies, half-truths and 3Rs are uttered insensitively. Forgetting that words can kill or heal. It is said: a tongue six inches long can kill a man six feet tall. Political, community and religious leaders should be statesmen — bridge builders. Words are for teaching truth, encouraging excellence and affirming all that is good, true and beautiful. This country needs reconciling leadership. Reconciling leaders are men and women of their word. They reflect character not mere competence, faith that rejects violence, integrity that is not self serving, and listening deeply to the rakyat. Malaysia needs reconcilers.

Thought for the Week: The Suicide A woman was getting ready to jump off a 44-storey building in New York City. She was very distinguished and well dressed. The police tried to get the woman off the ledge but failed. A pastor was called to assist. When the pastor neared the edge the woman screamed, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!”

The pastor stepped back and said, “I am sorry that you believe no one loves you.” It caught the attention of the woman and the police. Now the woman took a step towards the pastor and said, “My grandchildren love me. My children too. My whole family loves me! I have eight wonderful grandchildren and they love me.”

The pastor took a step towards the woman and said, “Well then, you must be very poor, maybe that is why you want to take your own life.” The woman who was a little overweight said, “Do I look like I go without any meals? We live in a very nice apartment. I’m not poor.”

The pastor took another step towards her and asked, “Then why do you want to kill yourself? I don’t understand.” The woman thought for a moment and then said, “You know, I don’t really remember.”The story ends with the pastor and the woman walking towards the elevator as she shows him pictures of her grandchildren. Lesson from the ledge: The pastor helped her get her eyes off herself and see the many ways that God had blessed her with. She learned that thankful people are happy people.

Announcements for this Week

1. Malaysia celebrates her 58th Anniversary, keeping the theme Determination of Unity Fulfils Hope.

2. At the last Episcopal Conference of Migrants and Itinerants’ Conference, a reminder was given to all dioceses and parishes to set up Parish Migrant Ministries, with interested volunteers.

3. The Diocese is preparing for the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly, a follow up of the Parish Pastoral Assemblies, Language Pastoral Assemblies, and Vicariate Pastoral Assemblies, and the first step to ready ourselves for the Malaysian Pastoral Convention 2026.

4. Deacon Aaron Alammalay, now serving at St Andrew Muar, will be ordained priest on November 20, 2023 at the Church of St Andrew, Muar at 8.00pm.

This Week’s Question and Query. The Q asks: What happens when we contemplate?

1. And this is why you cultivate contemplative practice. The more you intentionally turn inward, the more available the sacred becomes. When you sit in silence and turn your gaze toward the Holy Mystery you once called God, the Mystery follows you back out into the world. When you walk with a purposeful focus on breath and birdsong, your breathing and the twitter of the chickadee reveal themselves as a miracle.

2. So you sit down to meditate, not only because it helps you to find rest in the arms of the formless Beloved, but also because it increases your chances of being stunned by beauty when you get back up. Encounters with the sacred that radiate from the core of the ordinary embolden you to cultivate stillness and simple awareness. In the midst of a world that is begging you to distract yourself, this is no easy practice. Keep showing up. Thirst for wonder. — Mirabai Starr/ Richard Rohr

A blessed Malaysia Day to all of you. May the Lord raise up leaders who serve without fear or favour, and hear the cry of the poor and the earth. Pray for the nation, that she will be truly Malaysian. Be safe.

Bishop Bernard Paul

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