The laity and religious make their voices heard

“To be called by name, with renewed vigour in our commitment, to serve and to be active subjects in bridge building in Malaysia through our faithfulness in prayer

Oct 21, 2016

“To be called by name, with renewed vigour in our commitment, to serve and to be active subjects in bridge building in Malaysia through our faithfulness in prayer and actions so that, at the end of the day, God’s love is spread to all people, irrespective of religion, culture or race in Malaysia.” -- James Edward Angus, Malacca-Johore Diocese

“I speak for two sectors that are voiceless — the poor in the world and the rest of creation ie, the plants and animals that are suffering.

We cannot say we are an inclusive Church if we are not connected to the rest of the world and all of creation.

“We are one Church and we live in one world and this world is in crisis. Climate change is impacting the whole world and making life even harder for the poor.

“Laudato Si is not optional; it is imperative! Saving the people and the planet for future generations is imperative! In Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds the Church of its mandate to protect humankind from self-destruction and to lead all cration back to God.

“Let us be mindful of this in all our plans and action.” -- GC Westwood, Penang Diocese

“The youth nowadays are not very aware nor care for social injustices, and even if they know it they do not have any idea about what they can do. In my own campus, the students in general, do not have the passion to involve themselves in the movement. Some might be too scared of the consequences of getting involved, for example, by being “marked” by the authorities and being unable to continue their studies. It is this sort of challenges that has become the stumbling block these days.” -- Alvin Goh Pheng Yuen, Diocese of Penang

Journeying towards creating a more inclusive and bridge-building Church, youth are often nudged towards being the ambassadors connecting with people of different faiths.

As a former President of a Catholic Students’ Society, I speak from what I have seen from among the university youth. I feel that youth may find it difficult to be witnesses of the faith in their universities and colleges, fearing to go out there and engage in interreligious dialogue… because they have not been sufficiently equipped with knowledge about our Catholic faith.

They need to be firmly rooted in our own Catholic faith before we send them out into the world to be witnesses of Christ.

I understand that there are ongoing formations organised at the parish level and even within universities and colleges… but if the hunger for God is not planted in them from a younger age, it may be difficult for them to begin seeking the Lord now when there are distractions and they are caught up in the race for worldly goods. Even at Catholic Students’ Society meetings, only the same few members are present. There are also those who would skip the weekend Masses to complete assignments or catch up on sleep.

To faithfully hear God’s voice through the haze of worldly distractions, the desire to know Him and His Church should come from deep within… I personally feel that it is a little late to entice and engage the youth at the university level, if their foundations of the faith at an early age have not been properly established. Therefore, I believe that the seed of faith should be sown and consistently nurtured from a young age.

As parents who received the child into this world with joyous excitement and have affectionately cared for, protected and provided for the needs of the child, how has it come to the point where the child’s spiritual needs have been neglected? It has become increasingly difficult to stop teenagers from being engrossed with their phones at Mass? As the family is the basic unit of the Church — being the first school, parents as the first teachers — shouldn’t parents be steadfast in caring for the spiritual needs of their children, providing them with the Catholic faith, and protecting them from being led astray?

Though the Catholic Marriage Preparation Course does coax some reflection on parenting, there is no specific course or training on how to be good Catholic parents. When embracing the sacramental vocation of married life, a couple is called to be exemplary role models of the faith to the children they are blessed with, fulfilling the vows to raise children who are rooted in faith, resilient against the temptations of this world and beacons of light to the world.

As a community, all of us are called to collectively care for the faith education of the young in our parish, and, perhaps, reviews can be made to see how the Catechism classes taught weekly at parishes can be more comprehensive, structured and creative… but ultimately, parents need to assume the central responsibility in modelling their family after the Holy Family of Nazareth and being the primary role models in gifting their children with the legacy of our Catholic faith.

“Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once, but because the soil was not deep, when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” - Matthew 13:5-8 -- Genevieve Wong Tze-Lynn, Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese

“First of all, I would like to thank Archbishop Julian Leow for inviting the differently- abled to participate in this important convention. It is very clear that we are recognised and accepted in the Church.

Deafness is an invisible disability. Deaf people are silent and present in the Church. This has caused Deaf persons to be the ‘forgotten’ ones, the ignored ones.

At this PMPC 4, we talk about moving forward, to be creative, inclusive and bridge building.

I personally feel that a lot more needs to be done to move forward, especially for the Deaf Catholics in general. I feel that there is a need to receive support from the Church, to open doors to welcome the Deaf into their communities.There should be programmes in place that are accessible to the Deaf, in the medium that we can understand, that is the Sign Language.

Sign Language Interpreters are important for Deaf people. They are our bridge to communication. This vocation needs to be promoted. It takes much sacrifice, patience and perseverance, over many years, to be a good Sign Language Interpreter. This is a vocation that many are not willing to undertake, but is very much in need to enable the accessibility of Catholic teachings and values to the Deaf.

This vocation need not only be targeted at lay people. I would like to encourage the seminarians, the clergy to learn this language too. Currently, we have Fr Lionel Thomas, Fr Michael Chua and Fr Michael Raymond, OFM, cap. It would be ideal for the Deaf to be able to communicate freely and directly with a priest who can sign, rather than through an interpreter. This promotes a sense of spiritual assurance to the Deaf person. We certainly need more priests who can communicate in sign language.

With the advancement of technology and everyone being ‘connected’, this should be taken advantage of to reach out to the Deaf. I think this would bring about empowerment to Deaf Catholics in many ways such as, inspiring many more Deaf to want to be part of outreach to other Deaf and, at the same time, forming ourselves to be better Catholics. Perhaps it is apt to say, teach us to fish, do not just give us the fish; so that we can also be fishers of men, which to me, sums up this vision of moving forward and outward. Of course this is something we cannot do on our own. We definitely need much support in terms of expertise and, more importantly, spiritual guidance. -- Jennifer Ng, REACH Ministry for the Deaf, Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese

“As one of berbangsa Malaysia from Sarawak, I wholly support the idea of having Holy Mass in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia, at least once a month for parishes throughout Peninsular Malaysia. However, let me put forth a gentle reminder to all of us that, it would be desirable and practical that our Malaysian parishioners, not just ‘exclusively’ the East Malaysians, participate in assisting the priests in the liturgical preparations. All of us are Malaysians, we own the national language.

“I am heartened by the attention given to the East Malaysians. Time and again, we hear the words “poor” and “marginalised” being associated with the Sarawakians and Sabahans. Allow me to correct that. They are not all that. The East Malaysians are hardworking, communal and fiercely loyal. The only way forward is to empower them.

“Again, let us be very careful with our understanding of the word “empowerment”. It means consulting the people and delegating the power to them to decide and execute mutually beneficial programmes or plans. The way forward is to switch on the empowering mode, not the topdown commanding or dictating mode.” -- Dr Helen Tan, Melaka-Johor Diocese

“I hope there will be better working relationship among priests, religious and laity in building God’s kingdom.” -- Sr Angeline Lau, a Good Shepherd sister. Head of Diocesan Migrant and Itinerant Ministry.

“The sending off or commissioning gave me sense of responsibility to carry out, to the best of my ability, the aspirations of PMPC IV. My thoughts were how do I become more creative in catechesis/BEC and to be inclusive with all whom I encounter and to build bridges with BEC dropouts and clergy.” -- Philomena Beh, Melaka-Johor Diocese

“Praise the Lord for guiding His Church throughout the entire PMPC IV process. It’s time for us Catholics to be committed missionary disciples and become light of the world; urgently extending to the social, political and economic space of our beloved country.” -- Bernard Yeap Kok Peng, Melaka-Johor Diocese

“Be s i d e s Islamisation, another issue that has become more alarming is the LGBTQ. Many of us are not comfortable discussing this as we feel ill-equipped. There is a need for more formation and awareness to help us understand this phenomenon and how to deal with it.” -- Mercy Rita Antonysamy, Penang Diocese

“Fr Clarence did a very fantastic job. He put everything in perspective from the keynote address to be Church, to be one in heart and mind, to the awareness of the current situation in our country that diversity is our strength, and to the call to be missionary disciples inside and outside.

“I was touched by the three Bishops who spoke with one voice in sending us off to commit, to connect, to be bold to witness life — for Hands have been laid on everyone to be sent!” -- Susan Tay, Melaka-Johor Diocese

“Attending the recent PMPC IV 2016 was a very inspiring experience for me.

In Archbishop Julian Leow’s keynote address, he mentioned that the Church has a social responsibility to speak up for the voiceless in society. The Church must not only speak for Catholics or Christians, but for all people of goodwill, in matters relating to humanity. We don’t react, we respond, as Church.

As leaders in a rapidly changing time, we are called to practise adaptive leadership and for us to develop emerging missionary initiatives, we must, more than ever, be grounded in what God is doing and going where God is leading. I was empowered by Fr James Kroeger’s presentation on Becoming Missionary Disciples in Asia. He captured my thoughts on what mission means. Mision is the local Church living and acting in communion with the Universal Church. This calls us to focus on deepening our relationship with God and to become Spirit-filled, praying communities inserted into local life and culture, and giving witness of love and service. It’s about being transformed by the Spirit and making it possible by a quality of openness that enables God to bring about a change of heart in us to become new creations as we live the great commandment of loving God and neighbour. The Church, a field Hospital working through mercy, we need to save the lost and restore them to community. The Church becomes the beacon of hope breaking barriers to build bridges. This calls us to explore Pope Francis’ challenge to become “missionary disciples” -- Patricia Yesudian, Kuala Lumpur Archdicoese

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