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Monsoon rains can be very destructive here in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Following last week’s incessant rain, Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Serok in Pahang (150kms from Kuantan city) was badly affected by floods. Residents living in the area have been moved to temporary relief centres as floods reached their rooftops. Our Parish PIHDM made a visit to the kampung on Tuesday, 7 March 2023, and we identified approximately 30 families - including 17 Catholic families from our Parish - who have been badly affected by this catastrophe.

We will be supplying them with mattresses, pillows, towels, blankets, stoves, rice cookers, kettles, kitchen utensils and other household items within the next few days, as we are still in the midst of purchasing and collating them. We will respond to their needs and give our assistance to these Orang Asli as soon as we can. Volunteer Parishioners have been sorting the necessary items and packing them at our Church breakfast corner. A big thank you to the Archdiocese Office for Human Development as well as the Parishioners of St Thomas, Kuantan for all their generous support, tireless assistance and continuous service.

We hosted a Lenten Spiritual Retreat last weekend! It was a successful and enjoyable programme for all the attendees. It was a remarkable spirit-filled event, with terrific participation and excellent organisation. The graces were abundant, and everyone had their own unique experiences. We thank and give praise to God for enriching us, and making a difference in our lives. Certainly, we have gained more insight into our faith and received healing from within. From now on, He will use us as His instruments to be more committed disciples - so let’s share His light with the world!

With our spiritual experiences and rekindled spiritual fire, let us step out in faith and focus more on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Perhaps it is good for us to continue the habit of praying regularly at home and in Church, asking for forgiveness and personal conversion as we share His mercy with others. Lent is the time of grace, and we must tune ourselves into listening to God’s voice and to the Word of God, in preparation for Easter.

During the next three weeks - a period of scrutiny - 14 RCIA Elect will be prepared for their Sacraments. The purpose of the Rites of Scrutiny is “to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective or sinful, in the hearts of the Elect and then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good.” Let’s keep them in our prayers so that they may open their hearts for conversion and examine themselves carefully as they make the choice to turn away from a sinful life and move towards the light of Christ.

Together with them, we too should strive to experience the best Lenten season ever this year as we bring our spiritual life to a height. We should refocus our efforts on renewing our commitments - even if we fail to keep the Lenten observances - to grow in a more integrated and holistic life.

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