Sacred Heart Cathedral held a hybrid Mass on June 22 to kick off the five-day local Festival of Families at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Archbishop John Wong John Wong Soo Kau of Kota Kinabalu, who is also the Family, Laity and Life Episcopal President for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, presided over the Mass.
Bishop Saimon William and Father Michael Modoit, spiritual adviser to the Archdiocese Family Life Commission, were present for the Mass.
Over 2000 delegates from 120 countries are attending the 10th edition of the World Meeting of Families in Rome, which is being held simultaneously in local dioceses and parishes around the world while celebrating with Pope Francis.
Having a joint five-day event from June 22-26, which was held through Zoom and hybrid, for the first time, will be a first for the Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan.
Invited delegates were present at the Catholic Archdiocese Centre, Jalan Sang Kancil, Kota Kinabalu.
Considering the chosen theme: "Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness", Catholic families are invited to a local experience of formation, prayer, and fellowship.
During his homily, Archbishop Wong encouraged families to reflect on the theme to help them realize that the family is a vocation that God has called them to share and live out.
In his view, love is the path to holiness, since it is ultimately derived from the heart of God when expressed in the Holy Spirit through Jesus.
According to him, “We should always listen to the Word of God, receive the Sacraments, and discern God's will for our lives so that we can walk this path to holiness.”
The Archbishop reminded everyone, especially those who belong to the same family as Jesus as Disciples of Christ, of their mission in their families as they read the Gospel reading for St John the Baptist's birthday.
The aim of the Christian journey here on earth is to follow Jesus' example - the path of humble service and self-giving love. "If we want to be saved, we must love like Jesus, who laid down his life for us," he said.
The prelate urged families to look to St John the Baptist, who St Paul described as a servant of God who prepared the people to meet Jesus.
Despite his mortality, John still worked to bring salvation to the world; he may have never seen the fruit of his labour, but he still committed himself to it."
As he concluded, he asked, “In your family, are you leading, preparing, and bringing others to God to bring Him glory? Do we believe that we are called to serve Him? Do you wait for service or do you serve in your family?" - Anbu Selvam
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