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FOCUS ON PRAYERS AND GRATITUDE TO GOD



The Christmas season and New Year celebrations have ended swiftly, leaving us with mixed emotions. Some may feel joyful and happy, while others may experience a sense of sadness. However, all our celebrations, parties and gatherings have left wonderful memories that hold a special place in our hearts even after weeks have passed - and for this, we should give thanks and praise to God.

 

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which we celebrated on Monday, 8 January 2024, marked the end of the liturgical season of Christmastide. We began the first of the two periods of Ordinary Time the following day. This first period will continue until the season of Lent begins, on Wednesday, 14 February 2024.

 

During the Christmas Eve and Day Masses, almost 50% of our congregation were visitors from outstation, just as some of our parishioners were out of town for the festivities and holidays too. Last weekend, however, I noticed that many have resumed their regular routine and are back home in Kuantan in preparation to return to work and school.

 


We began our Church activities and formations last weekend. First, with a briefing on our Lenten Campaign 2024 at the Pahang / Terengganu District Level. The briefing was held on Saturday, 6 January 2024, and about 40 parishioners from Bentong, Kemaman and Kuantan churches attended the 2-hour session. The Archdiocesan Office of Human Development (AOHD) conducted the briefing in four different languages.

 

Many parents of our catechism students have already registered their children for the upcoming catechism classes. Lessons will begin this Sunday and will include a spiritual orientation and introductory session. We have an enthusiastic team of catechists who are well-versed in three languages: English, Mandarin, and Bahasa Malaysia. This year, we have a total of 35 catechists - 20 catechists for English sessions, 6 for Bahasa-speaking students, and 9 for Mandarin-speaking students. We have assigned two catechists for each of the English classes to ensure a more manageable teacher-student ratio. The 6 Bahasa Malaysia-speaking catechists will assist classes with more students from East Malaysia, who may find it difficult to understand the lessons in English.



We will not be using the Regent International School (RIS) classrooms this year, and have instead made arrangements to accommodate all our catechism students within our building. We have installed a TV screen and internet facilities for each class to benefit both catechists and students during lessons. Teachers can more effectively engage students in learning by using the TV, laptop and internet facilities. Teachers can prepare slides and video presentations instead of writing and erasing lessons on the whiteboard. Having the right equipment means our children will have a better learning experience during catechism classes.

 

As we fully immerse ourselves in the Year of Prayer 2024, we should focus on gratitude to God, self-care, self-awareness, determination and the true spirit of calmness. We are also called to pray for the Holy Father’s intention for the gift of unity and diversity in the Church. May the Holy Spirit help us to recognise the gift of different charisms within the Christian communities and discover the richness of different traditions and rituals in the Catholic Church.




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