Sabah celebrates World Meeting of Families

The local Festival of Families opened the 10th World Meeting of Families with a hybrid Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 22.

Jul 01, 2022

Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu celebrates the five-day local Festival of Families and opens the World Meeting of Families with Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral Jun 22, 2022.

By Agnes Chai

The local Festival of Families opened the 10th World Meeting of Families with a hybrid Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 22.

The Mass was presided over by Archbishop John Wong, the regional Family, Laity, and Life Episcopal President. Fr Michael Modoit, spiritual adviser to the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese Family Life Commission, and Fr Saimon William concelebrated.

This is the first time in 10 years that the World Meeting of Families was celebrated on such a wide scale, with dioceses and parishes around the world participating alongside the 2,000 delegates from 120 countries in Rome with Pope Francis.

It is also the first time that the Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan are jointly celebrating this five-day event (June 22-26), in two modes. Namely, the first three days through Zoom and the final two days in a hybrid format.

For invited delegates, the physical meeting was at the Catholic Archdiocese Centre, Kota Kinabalu. The event was for Catholic families to have a local experience of formation, prayer and fellowship, in the light of the chosen theme: “Family Love: A Vocation and A Path to Holiness”.

During his homily, Archbishop John asked families to reflect on the theme to see that their “family is a vocation, a calling by God to share and to live out the love and grace of God to each other in the family.”

This love, he said, which is ultimately derived from God through His Son in the Holy Spirit, is a path to holiness. The prelate added that this path to holiness is “to be sustained by our constant listening to the Word of God, receiving the Sacraments, and discerning His will in our life”.

Linking it to the Gospel reading on the birthday of St John the Baptist and God’s call for his mission, the archbishop reminded families of their call to mission as disciples of Christ.

“We are here on earth to follow the path of Jesus – the path of humble service and self-giving love. Thus, in a family, we should serve one another like Jesus who says, ‘I come to serve, and not to be served’”; and we should love like Jesus, who gave Himself and sacrificed His life for our salvation.”

The prelate called on families to look to St John the Baptist, whom St Paul described as a servant of God who prepared the people for the coming of Jesus.

“John set in motion the salvation of the world; though he never lived to see the fruit of his labour, he still laboured all the same.”

He invited families to ask themselves some pertinent questions, namely, “In your family, are you serving, preparing, leading others to God, and sanctifying them for the glory of God?” and again “Do we look upon ourselves as having been called by God into His service? And in your family – are you waiting to be served or to serve?”

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