Practise what you have learnt

The five-day domestic edition of the 10th World Meeting of Families, co-organised by the Arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau, and Sandakan, concluded with a closing Mass on Jun 26.

Jul 01, 2022

By Julita Kantod

The five-day domestic edition of the 10th World Meeting of Families, co-organised by the Arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau, and Sandakan, concluded with a closing Mass on Jun 26.

Throughout the programme, participants were led through several catechesis associated with the family. The presenters were generous in sharing and imparting their knowledge and experience.

An estimated 120 delegates representing three Dioceses and comprising parents, couples, youth, children, and aspirants from the FSIC congregation were present, inperson to celebrate the two-day hybrid Family Meeting at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre (CAC) and an undisclosed number joined via social media.

The first catechesis for the day, entitled “Marriage is a Vocation”, was presented by Ceasar and Eva Siruno. They touched on how the marriage bond developed and how the love between husband and wife enabled them to respond to family life, the presence of children, and their journey as a couple and parents. They said God’s plan to unite a couple is beyond human understanding. Everything happens in ways that are not always what we want. “It is because of God’s plan and will that something happens; therefore, we should trust Him for it is always for our good.”

Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, we are transformed when we accept and bravely face joy, difficulties, fatigue, and suffering with God’s help, said the speakers.

At times, we may feel unable to lift our burdens but when couples complement each other, all problems become lighter. This is when the beauty of the call to marriage is revealed.

Ceasar and Eva emphasised that parents are living examples of patience, love, forgiveness, and peace. In a loving atmosphere, couples are able to thrive. The call to marriage, just like the call to the banquet with God in Heaven, must therefore be respected, lived, loved, and protected. Small group sharing followed, with guided questions for the participants.

The second catechesis, entitled ‘Call to Holiness’, was delivered by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan through a pre-recorded sharing. Bishop Julius began by sharing a document issued by Pope Francis entitled ‘Call to Holiness’.

He helped participants understand “What is the real call of the family”. The Sandakan prelate said that “every family is a great gift from God, and is called to holiness”.

He explained, that the holiness of a family does not come naturally but occurs because of the presence of God in the family.

Marriage is indeed the path to holiness, stated the prelate. The experience of grief in life’s journey as husband and wife allows the couple to know Christ personally. Spouses will see Christ if they look for Him in their simple daily interactions. To be holy is a commitment born from the heart in each of us and guided by the Holy Spirit through our relationship with God, added the prelate. “We are all called to holiness, regardless of status.”

Bishop Julius summed it up by saying that simple, humble deeds carried out with sincerity, patience, and meekness indicate that we are responding to Christ’s call to love and be a sign of holiness.

Unveiling the meaning of the WMOF Icon
For the final catechesis, KK prelate Archbishop John Wong unveiled the meaning of the WMOF Icon, the official image of the 10th WMOF, by inviting all delegates to reflect on it.

God wants us to experience the beauty of married love; the sacramental oneness – the Trinitarian Oneness that keeps no secret between each other, that knows and loves each other intimately, living in communion and peace.

The image of the WMOF symbolises the mystery of the Trinitarian love and is part of our calling. The covering of the veil represents our weaknesses in carrying out our calling. If we fail to live up to our marriage vows, our covenant, or our commitment, the Trinitarian love is unable to shine through as is depicted by the blurry image of the couple.

The clear image, which is opposite the blurred image, symbolises the love of Christ towards the Church, in the husband and wife living to the fullest of their calling. Couples are called to be faithful to their vows, and to love each other as Christ loves the Church and is faithful to her.

The six jars of water at Cana are tasteless, and symbolises depleted married life that experiences cold war, lifelessness, and flavourlessness as couples forget their marriage vows. However, with God in the centre, the water can be turned into the best wine – the wine of kindness, generosity, gentleness, understanding and acceptance.

The pouring of wine in the icon symbolises the grace of God. Pouring it onto our spouse is therefore doing the will of God in marriage.

Following the explanation of the icon, participants were given some quiet time to reflect as they were invited to observe the image and relate it to their own family life or relationship with their spouse.

In concluding the session, Archbishop John Wong said, “Even though the five-day program has ended, it is the beginning of the transformation of the domestic church; therefore, practise what you have learned!”

He invited participants to pray the official prayer of the WMOF 2022.

Family Fiesta
The day ended with fellowship and dinner for all attendees. They came with the local dishes specific to their dioceses and parishes. The sharing of food was like being in communion with one another and being one big family of God.

The three dioceses presented items to entertain the crowd.

Closing Mass
Fr Michael Modoit presided over the Mass and Fr Stainley Matakim concelebrated.

In his homily, Fr Michael touched on the responsibilities of families. “Answer God’s call to build a happy and holy family, sustained by God’s grace. We are to follow Christ, so make your love well and alive, within spouses, family, community, and neighbours.

“Lift your marriage vow, your covenant, and let the Trinitarian love shine in you. Make God’s love known,” said Fr Michael.

Sr Suzana Guntabid, head of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, expressed her gratitude and thanks to all participants for their commitment to attending Group sharing session. this event. -- Catholic Sabah

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