Last Saturday, 7 September 2019, we had two spiritual formations simultaneously in our Parish – the ALPHA Training Program and the Lectors & Commentators Session.
The ALPHA Training Program for Catholics was conducted by Corrine, Christine and Caroline Soon from the ALPHA Team under the spiritual director, Rev. Fr. John Gnanapiragasam. Currently our Parish ALPHA team, which falls under our Parish New Evangelisation Team, consists of 10 members, and we are looking forward to adding on 10 more members by the end of the year, so that they too will be equipped with knowledge to be facilitators.
Initially, we wanted to start the ALPHA program in October/November this year, however due to time constraints and a shortage of members, the parish ALPHA Team has decided to only start the program in February 2020, as preparation for Lent and Easter. The ALPHA Program will be held one day a week, over nine weeks, with each session lasting approximately 2-3 hours. There will be one extraordinary topic, coordinated and planned as a weekend-away session. The main objective of this ALPHA program is to discover and rediscover Jesus, who is Love – believing in Him and responding to His love, as we undertake the greatest adventure in our journey of faith as a Church. Our parish ALPHA Team will be reaching out to you soon!
Around 55 parishioners involved in the Lectors & Commentators Ministry, attended a spiritual formation presented by Rev. Fr. Patrick Masang CSsR. The main purpose of this Formation was to bring about an awareness on the roles and responsibilities of lectors and commentators during the Mass. It was very inspiring and informative for all those who attended it. The last formation for this group was held in July 2016 with only 30 participants.
I would like to highlight that lectors and commentators, as well as psalmists/cantors, should be inside the church at least ten minutes before Mass begins. For those who are unable to make it on an assigned date, please make necessary arrangements for a substitute, and kindly inform the respective person in a timely manner. For all those who did not attend the formation session with Rev. Fr. Patrick Masang, I would suggest that you meet up with your coordinating team or friends who attended, to get an update.
Thank you to both groups for making the effort in attending the above mentioned formations and most of all, for your sincere dedication to be in the ministries. We shall work collaboratively within the ministry and engage in parish activities, to make our parish alive!
Msgr. James Gnanapiragasam and I have recently attended our annual spiritual retreat under Retreat Master, Most Rev. Gerrardo A. Alminazza, D.D. He is a Bishop of the Diocese of San Carlos, Negros Island, in the Philippines. Msgr. James attended the first retreat (1-6 September 2019) in Cameron Highlands while I attended the second retreat (8-13 September 2019) in Penang Island. Our retreats were based on the theme Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019: Baptised, Ordained and Sent.
It was a simple retreat with much relaxation and quiet time. I was really fascinated with what we were told of the Diocese of San Carlos under the shepherdship of Bishop Gerrardo. The Diocese has 850,000 Catholics, with over 80 priests working enthusiastically and collaboratively towards equality, justice and human rights, more especially to overcome poverty and drug trafficking.
Bishop Gerrardo shepherds with zeal, and his Diocese of San Carlos moves with the spirit of “UBUNTU“, an African term in the Philippines which means, ‘interconnectedness, togetherness and working together’.
As parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church, let the spirit of “UBUNTU” work among us in order to lift up our Parish to greater heights by using all the varied graces that we have received from God and put them into the service of others (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Rev. Fr. George P.