OCTOBER 19, 2014, Vol 64, No 21
It was a letter from a Changi prison inmate that made her change her mind about not producing another collection of daily reflections for the next liturgical year.
Verbum Dei Sr Sandra Seow told CatholicNews that in March this year, she received a letter from a Changi prison inmate who had read her book of Gospel reflections for the current Liturgical Year A. He said the book helped him to deepen his love for God.
“The letter moved me deeply,” Sr Sandra told CatholicNews.
The nun said she had originally planned not to write reflections for Year B as she thought of “having a longer time to pray and reflect on the Gospel passages of Year C”.
However, positive feedback from readers, including a retired bishop from a neighbouring country, parents, students, and especially the prison inmate, made her change her mind.
“I started writing the reflections in March and finished in July,” she said. “In four amazing months, I finished writing a year worth of reflection with the grace of God!”
In his message for World Mission Sunday 2014, Pope Francis reiterates the close connection between evangelisation and joy. In his short message, he mentions the word, “joy” (or rejoice) at least 33 times. He wants Mission Sunday to be a celebration of grace and joy.
Evangelisation is a celebration of grace because it is the work of the Holy Spirit and he alone gives wisdom and strength to those who are open to his promptings. It is a celebration of joy because Jesus in whom Christians proclaim to the world, is the “manifestation of joy”. Jesus not only brings Good News, He is Good News to everyone who encounters him.
Therefore, on this year’s Mission Sunday, the Pope asks us to reflect on the close connection between grace and joy in the work of evangelisation.
During Easter Vigil 2014, I had the joy of baptising six adults in our parish of Holy Rosary.
All of a sudden – out of the blue – one of the newly-baptised voiced out, “Father, are not all people in the world the children of God?”
I replied, “Yes, you are right, but many, many people do not really know it and do not live accordingly.”
This is a very basic question that should make us think. Being baptised is not in the first place becoming Christian or Catholic. It is in the first place discovering and living out that we are the children of God!
Churches (Catholic and/or Protestant of different denominations alike) are there to help people to discover and enjoy living as children of God. Being a child of God is an ongoing process.
KAJANG, MALAYSIA – Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, the new Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, aims to reach out to Catholics who have strayed from the Church and enhance the catechesis of the young, among other priorities.
“I want to bring back the lost, those who have strayed away from Mother Church for whatever reason,” he said. “I urge you to come back home. The Church needs you and you are restless until you rest in the bosom of our Mother.”
He also stressed that young people need a solid understanding of the faith to face the challenges they will encounter.
These two groups of people are part of his four key pastoral priorities which he characterised as the “4Ls” – “the lost, the little, the last and the least” during his episcopal ordination and installation ceremony on Oct 6.
Over the Hari Raya Haji weekend from Oct 3-6, 58 participants attended the second run of Treasure Young Adults’ Encounter Retreat organised by the Office for Young People (OYP). It was three days of Spirit-filled sessions, which saw the participants surrendering to God’s love.
On Friday night, Fr Jude David, a chaplain of OYP, set the tone by inviting participants to widen their hearts for God. He also challenged them to to let God surprise them during the retreat.
He hoped that the participants would receive “GIFT”, which stands for Grace, Intimacy, Faith and Transformation.
Topics covered on the first day addressed the Father Heart of God, and Sin and Salvation. The day ended with the participants receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and recommitting their lives to Jesus.