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WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 21

Sunday October 21, 2012 „ CatholicNews

Canossian Sisters lead Myanmar Mission

Lay missionaries give to villagers

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In early December 2011, a group that completed a two-year Lay Missionary Formation (LMF) Programme with Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity (ACMA) de    

  trip to Kampong Bahagia, Sabah under the group name, Lay Missionary Community (LMC), to put their learning into practice. “We faced many challenges in organising this mission trip; one of which was poor communication    &       standing their real needs,� said Ms Monica Goh, one of the key organisers in the group. “It was not the usual humanitarian type mission trip but one which involved evangelisation among our Catholic brothers and sisters. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to be of assistance but somehow I felt compelled to serve despite my reservations.� The group landed in Kota Kinabalu on Aug 16, 2012. Early next morning, they headed to 9  [ "  %U 

drive from Kota Kinabalu. On arrival, they handed over 150 books they brought to set up the library for the village. When the villagers realised the books were a gift, they were overwhelmed with joy. “I thought you are only lending us the books. We have never seen so many books before, and I        `  all the books] in your short stay. I really cannot express our gratitude,� said spokesperson Nora. Their weekend programme was packed with activities. The LMC members shared their Catholic knowledge by organising an exhibition. It was held in a new chapel which Singaporeans helped to build through ACMA and Clare’s Missionary. At the end of the visit Ms Beatrix Tanet, an LMC member, asked the village chief his opinion about their presence there. “Yes indeed your visit was most meaningful. Your group are    

         needs,� he said. „

New Indonesian church lights the way to Christ Singapore missionaries have helped to spread the faith by contributing to the construction of a new church for the Catholic community living on Pulau Cempa, a small island in Indonesia’s Lingga Archipelago south of Singapore. Catholics are thinly spread through the Lingga islands. But the Epiphany Group of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish are no strangers to the communities of the Riau and Lingga Archipelagos, having worked with them since 2007 on several projects. The involvement with Pulau Cempa started with donation of funds from 2010, to enable this particular church to be built. This funding included two substantial contributions from the Singapore’s Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity (ACMA). In May 2010, a small team spearheaded by Mr TC Tan, a lay mission worker from Singapore and Mr John Sorongan, an Indonesian architect from Pulau Bintan, paid a short visit there to check the



     nalise plans to install a solar energy project for the church. Also in the visiting team were the parish priest of St Carolus parish, Fr Romo Agustinus Tupen Belo and members of Epiphany Group. The church building sits on a hill and thus can be seen from far out at sea. “ On reaching the top of the hill I was bowled over by the panoramic view of hundreds of islands dotting the sea,� commented Mr Randel, a member or Epiphany. “With a lighted cross on the top of its steeple, the church will stand as a beacon for Christ, beckoning to all who approach this island,� he said. The small Catholic community on the island has just 30 families and totals 120 people. Most of the Catholics are people who went there originally from other parts of Indonesia, notably Flores and other islands of Nusa Tenggara. There are also Muslims on the island and a handful of the islanders are ethnic Chinese. „

Some of the mission team with the parish priest, Fr Romo Agus (third from  7   #   / ^  _   4%    7

The Canossian Sisters’ presence in Myanmar goes back to 1996, starting with an outreach mission in Taunggyi by the Singapore Sisters. In January 2008, this presence became more permanent when they rented a house in Yangon and started teaching English to the neighbourhood children and the students in a Jesuit Institute. In May 2008, the nuns piloted a programme to train educators for the boarding houses in Myanmar. There are over 500 boarding houses in Myanmar run by the Church. Many young girls, who are unable to clear their 10th standard, often land themselves in boarding houses as caregivers and cooks. The Formation of Educators’ Course, a 10-month course with a one-and-and-a-half months of practicum in a boarding house, was designed to empower these girls to manage the boarding houses. Besides the course, the nuns also facilitate Bible sharing groups for youth and adults, conduct children, youth camps, and vocation promotion camps. Teaching catechism is another key area of the mission. In May 2010, the Canossians launched a Lay Canossians Week and three of the young women who have been journeying with them when they were in Taunggyi responded to &  ? 

   Myanmar. One of them, Ms Antonia, was chosen to represent Myanmar at the last Lay Canossians Convention in Rome in 2011. To date, there are a total of eight Lay Canossians in Myanmar and they come from Taunggyi, Phekhon, Loikaw amd Myitkyina. In 2011, the Canossian Sisters embarked on the building of a formation centre for educators at the boarding houses. Built and furnished with the help of a grant from Caritas Humanitarian Aid and Relief Initiatives Singapore (CHARIS) and also friends and well wishers of the Sisters, the centre now offers a 10-month residential programme for young women who have the passion to work with poor children in remote villages. The training is free and graduates of the programme will receive a small monthly allowance when they start working in the boarding houses. „

OCTOBER 21, 2012, Vol 62, No 21  

ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE FOR WORLD MISSION SUNDAY (OCT 21): 'World is still in need of Missionaries'

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