IFFA Graduates gather for recollection

18 11 2014

Kuching- This year, the recollection for Malaysian graduates from the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFA) was held at Rainforest Permai Resort, from 22-26 October 2014. Eleven Malaysian Graduates including formators attended the annual recollection.

The theme for the recollection was “Blessed be the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt 5:8). There were three parts to the reflection, each focusing on the keywords ‘blessed’,’pure in heart’ and ‘see God’ respectively. Everyone was given time to reflect in the nature and share on their mission.

It was meaningful and inspiring time spent with each other, to listen and to share from the hearts.

IFFA graduates

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TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH: Catholic Missionaries Martyred in 2009

2 01 2010

December 31, 2009. The Vatican has published the names of all the missionaries who died violently in 2009. In all 37 people were killed on active duty, the highest number in the past decade. Among them, is a lay person, 2 seminarians, 2 nuns and 30 priests.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.” In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.”

2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:
Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs…. You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.

Posted by Fr Felix Au





Mother chooses life of child over cancer treatment

7 08 2009

Ricardo and Mayra receive Holy Communion at their wedding in hospitalDenver, Colo., Jul 24, 2009 / 03:19 pm (CNA).- Though Mayra Sandoval died of cancer on July 8, her son Samuel is alive and healthy thanks to her insistence on choosing life, against the advice of doctors who urged her to abort. Now, Mayra’s husband and friends remember her as a powerful witness to the immeasurable value of life.

In an interview with “El Pueblo Catolico,” the Spanish newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver, Mayra’s husband, Ricardo Flores, recalled the battle of faith and trust that the couple underwent in the months leading up to her death.

Both Ricardo and Mayra were born in Mexico. They moved to U.S., where they met three years ago, began to date, and eventually moved in together. At the time, neither had a strong faith, but they were nevertheless overjoyed when, in October 2008, Mayra became pregnant.

lung tumorMonths later, doctors detected a cancerous tumor in Mayra’s lungs that was already in an advanced stage and was still continuing to grow. Mayra was advised to abort the baby on the spot, so that she could start a treatment to halt the cancer growth.

But Ricardo and Mayra chose life. Although it was difficult, Ricardo said he never had any second thoughts in the decision to choose life. When the option of abortion was presented, “We always said ‘no.’ We couldn’t do that,” he explained. “God gave life and God takes it away.”

“And we can trust in God and let His will be done,” he continued, explaining the peace that the couple found in abandoning themselves to the Lord’s will. “We can accept whatever God sends us, good or bad.”

While Mayra’s cancer continued to take its toll, the couple was beginning to learn more about their faith. Mayra’s sister, Aida, recalled the couple’s spiritual journey. She described how God had not always played a prominent role in her sister’s life. “She believed, but like many Catholics, did not know her faith,” she said.

The road was difficult, but Ricardo and Mayra were not alone. They received prayerful support and solidarity from the Catholic community, including prayer groups from St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph’s parish.

Divine MercyParticularly memorable for Ricardo was the loving presence of Fr. John Gregory, who helped the couple through their struggle. “He was always close to us,” he said, “teaching us, helping us, supporting us, strengthening us, speaking to us about God, of all that God had done for us.”

The sickness brought many trials, but also moments of light and hope. One time, the couple passed by St. Joseph’s Church as they were on their way to the hospital. Mayra was experiencing sharp pains and having difficulty breathing, but she asked to stop at the Church.

“Without thinking about it, we got out and as we entered we saw the image of the Divine Mercy and she started to cry right there,” Ricardo said, noting Mayra’s devotion to the image of Divine Mercy.

They stayed at the Church praying for about two hours, first alone and then with members of a prayer group who arrived and offered to pray with them. Mayra’s pain soon disappeared.

“As we went home, we were reflecting on all that had happened: we were going to the hospital but ended up in the Church,” Ricardo said. “That was another incredible thing that consoled us and brought us peace. Again we realized that we weren’t alone.”

Six and a half months into the pregnancy, Mayra began chemotherapy. About six weeks later, however, doctors determined that the treatments were not working, and they had to perform an immediate caesarean section.

The operation involved a high risk of death for both Mayra and her son. It was an intense day of prayers and trust, Father John Gregory explained, and it affected even the hospital workers. “The nurses said, ‘This the first time we have seen something so strong, the blending of life and death.’”

Mayra survived the C-section, and Samuel was born, healthy for a premature baby. After a few weeks, the family was able to go home, but Mayra’s condition continued to decline, until she had to return to the hospital, where the pain could be controlled.

Despite radiation therapy, the cancer overtook Mayra’s body and eventually, she was unable to eat or even breathe on her own.

On June 21, while she was in the hospital, Mayra and Ricardo were married. As they had grown in their faith and received guidance from Fr. John Gregory, they had come to see the meaning of marriage.

“We got married in a room in the hospital. It was beautiful,” Ricardo said. “Afterwards, we felt peaceful, in God’s grace. We also did it for Samuel, so that he could also receive God’s blessing of having his parents married.”

As her condition grew worse, Mayra’s family prepared for the end of her earthly life. Aida described the beauty that shone through the pain of her sister’s last days on earth. “At the end, I saw her like Christ, with so many wounds and bruises on her arms and her side,” she said.

Those who knew Mayra will remember her beautiful witness to life. Fr. John Gregory described the opportunity to accompany Mayra along this difficult journey as “an incredible path of faith” for his own life.

“[T]his experience has given me more strength to preach what death really is, because she gave me a witness of a new birth,” he said. “It has given me more enthusiasm and helped me to understand that I have to explain that the true death is sin, not physical death.”

I am worthy of God's love

Ricardo said that Mayra’s sickness and death taught him about the existence and love of God. “Through all this, God made me know that He exists, that He is with us,” he said.

Ricardo wants to give back to the Catholic community that has and continues to support him. But for now, his primary focus is his new son, whom he wants to raise and educate in God’s love. “Now I have to look after Samuel, and tell him that his mommy gave her life for him,” he said.

Although coping with Mayra’s death is still difficult, Ricardo finds strength in the Lord as he moves forward. “Now I’m at peace,” he said. “I have hope and continue trusting in God. It has changed my life.”





16th Human Life International Asia Pacific Congress on Faith, Life & Family

1 08 2009

This Asia Pacific Congress, organised by Human Life International and Human Life Service Miri, carries the them – Walk in the Light: Bringing about a Transformation of Culture. Its aims are to promote and defend the dignity of life and the sanctity and nobility of the family.

Father and baby's hands

At the congress, experts in the field of Demography, Bioethics, Moral Theology and Pro-life activists working in pro-life and pro-family movements share their rich experiences and the delegates get a first hand idea of what others are doing to defend families and specially the unborn throughout the world. Audio-video sessions keep the delegates glued to their seats. And people wait to seek answers to their questions at the end of each presentation. Usually the work of delegates bear fruit by way of new initiatives.

Pertinent details are as follow:

  • 19-21st Nov 09 – Grand Ballroom, Imperial Hotel, Miri
  • 22 Nov 09 – Closing Mass at Miri Indoor Stadium

Sessions in the Congress:

  1. The Silent Holocaust by Dr Brian Clowes
  2. Hidden Agenda: Sterilising Women by Dr Brian Clowes
  3. Is Humanae Vitae Still Relevant Today? by Fr Thomas J Euteneuer
  4. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body by Fr Thomas J Euteneuer
  5. The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: What Parents Need to Know by Dr Ligaya Acosta
  6. Frozen Embryos: Where are We Heading as a Church? by Dr Brian Scarnecchia
  7. The Intricate Design of God by Kerry Bourke
  8. The Human Father After the Father Heart of God

The celebrants at the Masses during the conference include:

  • His Grace Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia
  • Rt Rev Bishop Anthony Lee, Bishop of Miri
  • His Eminence Cardinal Vidal of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines (at the Closing Mass on 22 Nov)

Registeration fee:

  • RM100 on or before 15 Sept 09
  • RM120 after 15 Sept 09
  • RM35 for dinner ticket (optional)

Registration fee does not include meals and accommodation.

Registration forms are obtainable from your parish offices or from the Kuching Archdiocesan Youth Office(082-237237) or can be downloaded by clicking here. For more information contact Human Life Services Miri (085-426729, hlsmiri2000@yahoo.co.uk).

Walk in the light

Experts in the field of Demography, Bioethics, Moral Theology and Pro-life activists working in pro-life and pro-family movements share their rich experiences and the delegates get a first hand idea of what others are doing to defend families and specially the unborn throughout the world. Audio-video sessions keep the delegates glued to their seats. And people wait to seek answers to their questions at the end of each presentation. They leave to their respective countries with strong resolution to put in their might in their particular regions. And usually the work of these delegates bear fruit by way on new initiatives.