Posted 19th July, 2010. by admin.
Category: Archdiocesan News and Events
KUCHING — More than 400 Catholics in the Archdiocese attended the two full day annual family life conference at the Ecumenical Worship Centre over the weekend of 12-13 June. The conference was conducted in three languages: English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia.
Msgr William Sabang, the Vicar General of Kuching, while celebrating the opening Mass with Fr Henry Siew from Singapore and Fr Patrick Heng, reminded the faithful of “an abiding and guiding spirit sent to the human family”. He quoted Archbishop’s Pastoral letter, “This Christian unity modelled on the Trinity and desired by Christ is realised in the family…”
In accordance with the theme for the year “Family modelled on the Trinity” on ‘Focus on the Family’, His Grace Archbishop John Ha appropriately talked on “Holy Family of Nazareth”. He highlighted the earthly life of Lord Jesus with his mother Mary and foster father Joseph which was also full of struggles and troubles. He encouraged all present to contemplate on the faith of Mary and Joseph on her virginal conception of Jesus. The Holy Family had complete faith in God which gave rise to obedience and hope. The scripture revealed the great love Joseph, Mary and Jesus had for each other. The family was a family of prayers graced by God. Then he talked on “Family, God’s First and Immediate Expression”. His Grace said, “God is love and love is a two dimensional relationship requiring two or more persons.” From the creation story, he pointed out the human dignity and privilege. Individuality, fidelity, unity and permanency of unity, being present, good communication, respect and trust build up a family.
Dr Jeffrey God and his wife Angie added that “Family life modelled after the life of the Holy Trinity” included two aspects: spiritual communion, identity, circle of love, sacrifice and support. The talk with many life examples was convincingly given.
Dr Bernard Thio and his lawyer wife, Ying Ying, touched on resolving conflicts in the family. Drawing examples of conflicts from the Bible and their own life experience of living together in the same house with two parents, two parents-in-law and six children of their own, they taught the congregation the know-hows in handling conflicts. “A marriage will succeed if one is able to build a relationship in a safe environment,” they stressed.
Fr Terry Burke relied heavily on the Holy Spirit when he lectured on “Respect in the Family”. He asked everyone to let forgiveness of Christ and the Holy Spirit flow through them. “Whenever there is courtesy and respect, Holy Spirit is there,” he said. “Respect and courtesy are the foundation stones for all friendship and love. Without this, true love cannot grow”. He added, “Love is a process and it begins with respect”. He also gave examples of loving respect among the spouses, between parents and children and elderly.
When Fr Richard Ng, the Rector of St Peter’s seminary spoke on “Building Faith in the Family”, he invited parents to sow the seeds of faith in their children and nurture it. “Faith, a gift from God, must be built up at home and in the church,” he said. “It takes time, commitment, sacrifice and responsibility and the most important place to nurture it is the family”. Parents were also urged to be involved in and send their children to the programmes prepared by the church to help nurture faith, in addition to praying together at home.
A Mass with an inspiring sermon celebrated by His Grace concluded the conference with Many participants went away enriched and requested for another conference of the same. The Pastoral Council would organise a seminar to be conducted by Dr Bernard Thio and Ying Ying on 22-23 October especially for the benefit of recently married couples, who have been married for less than five years married.