MJD News Update #57

God humbles Himself to become like us. He jumped into our grave to raise us up. Humility denies itself so that others may benefit. All it takes is for us to renounce, take up the Cross, and follow Him.

Sep 18, 2021

Greetings and Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, dear People of God. Remembering The Feast of the Holy Cross last Tuesday. Remembering the Malay peribahasa: ikut resmi padi, semakin berisi semakin bertunduk. God humbles Himself to become like us. He jumped into our grave to raise us up. Humility denies itself so that others may benefit. All it takes is for us to renounce, take up the Cross, and follow Him.

Time of the other. Wish Lists! What do you wish for? We have no Aladdin’s magic lamp or genie in a bottle. We may want the pandemic to be over; no more restrictions; no more SOPs; back to normal; to be like the birds in the air? Leaving aside our wishes, can we wish that others be well, can live, have a livelihood and have a life? The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled other pandemics: suicides, profiteering, fake news, social media abuses and joblessness. Can our wish list shift from ‘what do I want?’ to ‘what I can do’? Let our wish be to make a little difference to the brother or sister around us. The weekend movements and the crowded picnic spots reflect recklessness. Being safe, keeping safe that others may be safe, is not over. Charity thinks of the other.

A Thought for the Week: Thankful All The Time
A man goes to see his rabbi. “Rabbi”, he asks, “You once told us a story – something to do with praise?” The rabbi responds, “Yes, it is thus: when you get some good news, thank the Lord, and when you get some bad news, praise the Lord.” “Of course,” replies the man. “I should have remembered. But Rabbi, how do you actually know which is the good news and which is the bad news?” The rabbi smiles. “You are wise, my son. So just to be on the safe side, always thank the Lord.” Just a thought:

Khalil Gibran: “Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”

Thomas Merton: “My task is simply the breathing of this gratitude from day to day, in simplicity, and for the rest turning my hand to whatever comes, work being part of praise.”

Announcements for this week:

1. The annual Clergy Retreat for the second batch is from Sept 20-24. Please pray for your clergy.

2. The plan to re-open churches for worship is on the drawing board.
a. The parishes, the parish health teams and the congregation must cooperate for it to take-off.

Phase 1: The Monitoring, the Mobilising to prepare the facilities, the personnel, the protocols, the SOPs and test runs have to be carried out from now till September 30.

Phase 2: Masses Begin: Church opening for worship with controlled gatherings, strict SOPs and protocols can begin with one Mass to test the system. The unvaccinated, those waiting for the full dose, those with health issues, the aged and children are not permitted for now. Alternatives such as online Masses, drivethru communion and creating ‘safe bubbles’ for ministering in small groups, are encouraged.

b. Parishes are responsible for their protocols, SOPs and policies. The local situation determines decisions. Be in contact with the JPN and JKN. The Diocese reserves the right to revoke the above initiative if the situation worsens.

3. The English catechetical ministry of St Joseph’s Church, Plentong is organising their first Children’s Online Mass with The Cornerstone Youths. Join in at 8.00pm live on YouTube tonight. Link: https://youtu.be/ LEwcHK0Dco0

4. The diocese prepares for the “SYNOD OF BISHOPS” called for by Pope Francis. The purpose is not to produce documents, but to “plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands”.

The First Phase begins from Oct 2021- Apr 2022, with the worldwide inaugural Mass on Oct 17 in all dioceses.

5. Caritas in Action - St Andrew’s Church (SAC) Muar and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) have responded to Hospital Pakar Sultanah Fatimah (HPSF) with urgently needed PPE supply. SSVP Church of the Immaculate Conception initiated a donation drive and received overwhelming community support. Fr Paul Wong, on behalf of SAC, SSVP and the Catholic Community, presented RM5,250 worth of PPE as per the hospital's requirements, on Sept 7, 2021.

This week’s Question and Query:
The Pope and the Church have been accused of being Marxists or communists. Is it true?

Just a story: The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, was in El Salvador in 1989, before the assassination of six Jesuits and two female workers, when he remarked with a touch of irony “apparently you are all Marxists and communists”. But Ignacio Ellacuria, a Jesuit theologian, said with a smile: “Do you think we would lay down our lives for Marx and his theories? We are companions of Jesus and HE is the mystery of our lives.”

Thank you for reading. Never forget these words from an old calendar: “I eat less. You eat less. They eat more.” Let us continue to build God’s Kingdom together. Bishop Bernard Paul September 17, 2021

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