dialogue of salvation - Mandarin
Our in-house speaker, Matthew Lo or better known among the Mandarin-speaking community as 罗楠毅 has been travelling around Southwest of Peninsula Malaysia to give the Mandarin version of our focal seminar of the year – Dialogue of Salvation (救世的交谈). He has been to Church of Christ the King, Kulai, Church of St. Louis, Kluang and is currently giving formation at Church of St. Henry, Batu Pahat as we speak! This is a great opportunity for the Mandarin-speaking community around the area to learn about the Catholic faith. Do come and visit! Entrance is free :)
Matthew will head north to Melaka for his final formation of the topic on 4 June 2017.
For more on the content of the formation seminar, please refer to the main article.
Catch the sneak peek here!
Dialogue of salvation
History tells us that the world is ever-changing in its way of living, its culture, and its beliefs. Yet, the Catholic truth has stood steadfast in its teachings. Although the Christian message tackles the most foundational problems in every generation, new ardour and methods are needed to bring this important truth forward to the people. It is no wonder Pope Paul VI read the signs of the times and emphasised a “New Evangelisation” in his encyclical, Evangelisation in the Modern World. Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have also made evangelisation a focus during their respective pontificates.
The Dialogue of Salvation seminar by Deacon Dr Sherman Kuek approaches the essential aspects of evangelisation and seeks to help the lay faithful to understand their roles in evangelising through dialogue and in the way we live our lives. The seminars were held at Holy Family Church (Kajang) and Jesus Caritas Church (Kepong) during 13th to 14th May and 20th to 21st May respectively. One of Deacon Sherman’s emphasis in all his formation events is that we need to share the Good News in its entirety and in all clarity.
It is our Christian obligation to share our faith with the rest of the world by virtue of our baptismal promise. St John Paul II says it clearly in his encyclical, Redemptoris Missio, that “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples”. Some of the key ways highlighted by the Church in evangelising through dialogue include first understanding the people and their struggles. Evangelisation occurs most effectively when the Church engages the culture of those she evangelises. But first and foremost, all evangelisation must always be centred on Christ and His Gospel.
It is also important to understand that the sharing of the Gospel is not a task assigned to just the religious. The lay faithful are equally important in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who else can meet the people in your workplace? To share our faith with the people in a personal way, we need to be genuine. Authenticity in the way we live our Catholic life is absolutely important, which becomes the most powerful way of proposing our way of life to others.
The Splendour Project sees secularism in the modern world as an urgent issue to discuss and have planned this series of talks (including in Mandarin) throughout the year around the region. The next ones in English will be held in Brunei from 4th to 11th June 2017. Click here for more information!
Pilgrimage to south korea
South Korea – the land of rich traditional culture, refreshing Kimchi, addictive seaweed, and home to one of my favourite shows, Running Man. I was first exposed to anything Korean back in Winter Sonata days where its sentimental piano music drifts you away into melancholy. So when I found out about the pilgrimage to South Korea, it was an easy yes and I was all in. To immerse myself in Korean culture and go on a faith-learning experience? What have I got to lose? But I had not the faintest idea why South Korea could be a place for pilgrimage. I have often heard of Holy Land and Rome being places for pilgrimages. But South Korea? I had no clue. Yet it was one of the most life-changing moments for me.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, these words from Tertullian reflect the growth of the Church thanks to the beauty of martyrdom. In God’s mysterious providence, the unique history of Catholicism in Korea began with the local lay faithful rather than with foreign cleric or religious missionaries. Many of these lay faithful were martyred for their faith during the 100-year persecution in the 18th and 19th centuries. These martyrs, by being witnesses to the power of God’s love, bore a victory that continues to bear fruit today in Korea, to which the Church received growth from their sacrifice. This was highlighted by Pope Francis in his homily during the 6th Asian Youth Day and was also the very intention of starting the Asian Church Series organised by the Splendour Team.
What made Catholicism thrive even under grave persecution for a prolonged period? What inspired these people to so willingly embrace the Faith especially at the face of torture and death?
One such story that struck me was when we were at Chon Jin Am, the birthplace of Catholicism in Korea. The priest who hosted us, related a story of one of the martyrs, Jeong Yak Jong (Augustinus) while we were before the tombs of a few martyrs. When Augustinus/Jeong was about to be beheaded, he said “I’d rather die looking up at the sky than to die looking down at the ground.” He had a peaceful face waiting for the execution. Out of guilt, the executer closed his eyes and swung his sword. It lacked precision and left Jeong’s head decapitated halfway. Jeong assured the executer that it was better to kill him swiftly and that action pursued.
This was the nature of the Catholics in Korea. Their fervour in the Christian faith is as such that they would not renounce their Faith even at times of great oppression. More so, they would die for the Faith looking forward to the kingdom of heaven. Saint Kim Tae-gon Andrew made a farewell sermon before his beheading saying “My eternal life is beginning now,” and he calmly and courageously received from God the glorious crown of martyrdom.
The persecutions in 1801, 1839, 1846 and 1866 led to the death of about 10,000 martyrs. Among those who died martyrs were a considerable number of outstanding lay leaders. Pope Francis, in his homily during the 6th Asian Youth Day says it beautifully: “This history tells us much about the importance, the dignity and the beauty of the vocation of the laity.” Korea now boasts the 4th largest number of saints in the Catholic Church and currently 10% of the country’s population are Catholics (about 5.1 million recorded in 2010!).
To say that this pilgrimage is impactful is an understatement. It was life-changing. Often, we may think that the religious have more effect and influence in transmitting our Faith. But the history of Catholicism in Korea proves otherwise. The Laity are equally important in shaping the life of the Church. Who else could go to your own workplace to be a witness of God’s love? Our priests surely cannot do that. We as the Laity need to begin by discovering what the Gospel demands of us by virtue of our baptism and confirmation. The life of martyrdom by death may not be for everyone, but discipleship comes at a cost that requires martyrdom by life. To be a martyr, in a more general sense, simply means being a witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe I speak on behalf of the pilgrims to say that we are inspired to live our lives intentionally as effective and sacrificial witnesses of the Christian faith.
There will be a pilgrimage to Korea from 7 -14 March 2018. Find out more here!
THE CHRISTIAN TRUTH
KOTA KINABALU – “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth.” This excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter, Fides Et Ratio, says it well. Often when faced with questions challenging what we believe in, many of us turn to the popular answer: “We just need to have faith” or “It is a mystery”.
The Christian Truth seminar which was recently held at Sacred Heart Cathedral seeks to provide logical and evidential explanations to the most fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. Rev. Deacon Dr Sherman Kuek approached some of these questions including “Has the Christian Bible been corrupted?”, “Is Jesus really divine?” and “Do Christians worship three gods?”. It is not surprising that many Catholics, even the most devout ones, struggle to give substantial reasoning to these questions. And yet, apologetics is most important in our demanding times of literacy and intellect. There is a misconception that apologetics is about engaging in arguments with people of different opinion. Apologetics is primarily about clarifying false perception about our faith using reason, logic and relating stories of faith encounter.
There is never a more crucial time than now to be clear on why we believe in the Son of God and to be able to dialogue with people about it. Apathy towards this matter will only see our future generation dissolve into secularism. The feedbacks from the seminar affirm the important role of formation in helping us to be confident in the Catholic Faith.
This seminar will be held again on 29-30 July in Bahasa Malaysia. Please contact any of the following for more information: Matthew (0195805126), Denis (0168435133), Joanna (0165095583)
This seminar was co-organised by the KK Lifeline Community, the KK Archdiocesan Pastoral Resource Team and the Splendour Project.
This article was also published on Catholic Sabah (7th May 2017). Read the full feedback from some of the participants after the picture!
We were also featured on Catholic Sabah's online site here.
It was an excellent seminar, one that not only gives you the facts and truth about our faith but also encourages you to respect and understand the perceptions of non-Catholics of the Catholic Church. While we may not agree with views from friends of other religions about our faith we can try to understand where the misconceptions come from and thus, identify how and where to defend our faith. And by that, doing so in a non-confrontational and respectful manner. Praise God!
This talk is very informative and educational in which, I, as a Christian Catholic who although am faithful to God know very little about Christianity.
The talk was very interactive and easy to understand. I find this talk to be very important for all Christians so that they know the importance of having knowledge of their belief, so that others may not easily influence them and become demotivated of their own faith.
Personally, should there be any talks like this in the future, I would highly recommend my Christian friends to attend, especially the new believers. God Bless.
The talk by Deacon Sherman was very concise, light, easily digestible and simple to follow. It has strengthened my Catholic foundation and reaffirmed my belief and faith in Christ and his Church. It has provided insight into current issues regarding our faith. It also has nudged me to continue in the direction of Christ. It has allowed me a more deeper reflection of my faith.
I really do hope Deacon Sherman will prepare a talk about secularism and a more aggressive atheism.
It’s always an eye-opening and mind-boggling experience after joining Deacon Sherman’s seminars. The Christian Truth was another paradigm shift seminar. Truly my understanding of the Catholic Church’s teachings and faith has widened and deepened to another level.
At times, we may know something about our faith, but do we know it thoroughly? The speaker, Rev. Deacon Dr Sherman Kuek, has effectively connected the dots between the biblical knowledge and the aspects of life in a dynamic and witty way.
The word “eye-opening” would not be able to fully describe the talk by Rev. Deacon Dr Sherman Kuek. This talk made me realise that each and every one of us plays a big role in the building of God’s kingdom on Earth. It also made me understand a little more about the mysteries of the Catholic faith. This talk was very different from the previous talks that I have attended because instead of using personal experiences and sharing, the points were presented with a lot of factual evidence to prove its accuracy. The points were also related with our day to day lives so that we can put into practice what we have learnt. Besides all that, the organising crew of this talk was also amazing. They were very helpful and effective. A large variety of reliable resources were also on sale. I would recommend this talk to my friends and families in the near future.
Deacon Sherman's presentation of the topic is amusing, focused and not straying from the topic at hand. His explanation comes together with the use of typical Malaysian jargon, making it relatable and understandable to everyone compared to the use of sophisticated English vocabulary. Explaining the truth of our faith has never been so lively and enjoyable.
His selection of the topic of discussion is customised to the current affairs of our times, especially in Malaysia which is relatable. His talk covers the many questions raised by our non-Christian friends. These questions are central to our Christian faith, yet most of us who call ourselves devout Christians are oblivious to the reasons and answers to these questions. Such are the very questions that some use to shake our faith.
Deacon Sherman was a very understanding person, especially when it comes to inter-faith dialogue because apart from answering these questions, he has also helped us to understand how their belief leads to the reason behind why they ask such questions in the first place. This in turn helps us to explain our faith with compassion and charity, instead of anger and annoyance.
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Jennifer is an engineer by day, daydreamer by night. Fatally attracted to bunnies, orange and nuggets (especially the chicken type). And occasionally chocolates. Everyday is an occasion.