Malaysian Catholics urged to read the Bible

The Vatican nuncio to Malaysia urged Catholics in Sabah to read the Bible for greater understanding of their faith.

May 03, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The Vatican nuncio to Malaysia urged Catholics in Sabah to read the Bible for greater understanding of their faith.

Speaking at the launch of an audio version of the Bible for the Kadazan-Dusun indigenous group after Mass during a visit to the east Malaysian state of Sabah on May 2, Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino told the congregation at Holy Family Church in Telipok that the launch was a significant event in the life of the church here.

"Through this channel more and more people will be able to hear and thus touch the joy of the Gospel," he told the congregation.

He said Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Guadium highlights the "saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead."

"Concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand and most appealing and at the same time most necessary and consequently it becomes all the more forceful and convincing.

"What is the most essential? … the beauty of the saving love of God," he said quoting Pope Francis.

"It is the message of mercy and that is precisely what we are celebrating during this extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy," he said.

"Yes, the mercy of God is the very heartbeat of the Gospel and the Christian message," he told the gathering of some 2,000 mostly Kadazan-Dusun Catholic families who had gathered for Mass to mark the start of Kaamatan, or the harvest festival.

Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu was the main celebrant at Mass.

Many in the congregation, both young and old, were in their native finery usually brought out for special occasions.

Native Christian communities in Sabah are celebrating the monthlong harvest festival in May.

Parishioner and church warden Anthony Tai said he was surprised by the huge turnout, which he said was the biggest he had ever seen at the church.

Large tents were erected around the church grounds to accommodate the crowd.

"Our community is not so large … maybe it's so packed because people have come from other parishes to hear Archbishop Marino," he said.

Telipok, located about 15 kilometers north of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, has a large native Christian population.

Rapid Islamization of the state through government-sponsored conversions is gradually marginalizing the Christian community, once the dominant community in the

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