Thursday, May 28, 2009

Starting Them Young

video

Nak meluntur aur biar dari rebungnya...(if you want to shape a bamboo tree, it must be done when it is still a shoot - or something like that).

Bottomline of this malay proverb is, if we want our kids to learn the faith, please teach them when they are young - when learning is quick and easy.... before the karat (rust or bad habits and baggages) sets in.

Or as this proverb is taught, if you want to shape or bend it when it had become an adult bamboo plant, it can break... meaning it is harder for our children to change or learn when they have grown up (at least not so easy la hor). I'm still praying for a miracle in this area...

Which explains why Patrick (my husband) has memorized the Rosary prayers including the mega-lengthy Litany of the Blessed Virgin, the Angelus, Morning Offering, Divine Mercy chaplet, etc, etc, etc....

This is all thanks to the good ole Bukit Nanas Convent training of my dear mother-in-law Clara Archibald. She made sure the whole family had their family prayers every day no matter what - meaning sibling war or otherwise - family prayers continues.

Anyway, this little clip above was captured during BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities) Rosary prayers which was held almost every other night in the homes Catholic families residing in our residential estate in Putra Heights.

God has really used the little ones and the younger ones to speak to me this May.

I'm so glad that my BEC decided to include the children during the Rosary prayers. A smile just forms on my face everytime they recite the Hail Marys... Starting them young is a very good strategy. It will surely increase their chances of memorising the Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray and Memorare and of course the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. But more than just parroting the prayers, at least I know they will know who to turn to and what to say in times of trouble and panic.

I'm grateful that I'm surrounded by good Catholic parents who will support Pat and I in raising more strong Catholic children in Putra Heights when our time comes.

Btw, I just found a teenager who also memorised the Litany. Anne Marie Tan (from SS19A+SS17 BEC) and my husband were trying to challenge each other to see who could say it faster. Me, I was just lost and all I could remember was - Ark of the Covenant somewhere in the list...phew!

Then there were the teenagers from Lifeline, a youth ministry for college and single working adults who inspired me so much.


Since falling in love with making Knotted Cord Rosaries, I had offered classes to groups for a fee to help my parish St Thomas More raise RM9.5mil for our new home (meaning church building. Now we worship every week in a badminton hall) which we pray will be ready by Easter 2010.

The Lifeliners from Sunway college invited me to share this craft with them, but in the process they truly touched me. These young students mainly from Indonesia and East Malaysian would meet almost every day in May to share the Gospel Reading of the day and pray the Rosary.

It put me to shame, but in a good way, cos' it has challenged me to raise my standards in my faith journey.

A big thank you all the children in my BEC and also to the Lifeliners of Sunway and also a few from the Angels of Yahweh, for enriching my Rosary experience. Amen!





Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catholic Communication in a hi-tech world

Last Sunday, we celebrated World Communications Day and our Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam launched the HERALD's new website at the Church of the Divine Mercy, Shah Alam.
HERALD is a Malaysian Catholic weekly, which recently got controversial when it challenged the Federal Government's ban on its usage of the word Allah.

As a parishioner of St Thomas More which had been under the care of the Jesuits until very recently, we were used to Fr OC Lim's (a former lawyer) fiery sermons that we should fight against any form of subtle religious persecution which one of it is the stop on our usage of the word Allah in our publications and Bibles.
Fr OC Lim was recently interviewed by BBC (I wanted to link you to that video clip, which seems to be replaced by an advertisement now. Pat my husband managed to watch the clip on the BBC website yesterday) on the issue.

Since I started blogging, I've discovered so much creativity that Catholics have employed to evangelise our own and others. Below is such a funny one on the promotion of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, just before Easter.






In fact, Patrick Madrid is the one who taught us to reach out to ex-Catholics or soon to be Catholics through technology. He walks his talk. Visit his blog and website and you'll see how he maximises new media to reach out to a modern world.

You can download his podcast, mp3s and what nots. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, Pat Archibald (my husband) taught me how to download the daily and Sunday missal through Avantgo (universalis.com). Hmmm... don't seem to be working now? Anyone has any idea why?

Last year, I really benefitted a lot from EWTN personalities like Fr Benedict Groeschel. There's also a famous Sister Angelica but somehow I've not downloaded her mp3s before.

We also have a pocket PC version of the Bible in our ipaqs, so that the Word of God is always with us. It's especially helpful now, that I'm in my thirsting for knowledge phase.

Recently through the blogs, I've found so many inspiring conversion stories of people from anti-Catholic families. They just blew me away. I really see how the Holy Spirit moves in amazing ways.

If you've read my first posting you'd know what a katak di bawah tempurung (a sheltered ignorant fool) I have been, to think it's mainly a one-way traffic of Catholics leaving the Church. Praise God, Hallelujah!

Anyway back to communication using technology, I'm so proud of my parish St Thomas More (STM), we are the first I think (pardon me if we are not) in Malaysia to raise funds through sms (text messages via handphones/mobile devices).

If you are currently reading this (in Malaysia) and feel a sudden burst of generosity, pls type STM (donates RM10) or STM5 (donates RM5) and send it to 36655, to help us build our new church brick by brick.

Maybe STM should put those PLEASE DONATE sign like these on its website quickly so that Catholics around the world (especially those Malaysian ones who are working or are now living abroad) can help us build our new home - a permanent and visible place of worship:
















May Your Will Be Done (or in Latin Fiat Voluntas Tua) in our cyberworld...







It's Cool 2B Catholic, isn't it ?
God bless all those who visits this blog!!!!

LIFE = Living Is For Everyone

Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments Expanded & Updated
I've been a fan of Obama before he was elected President of USA. However, his stand on planned parenthood or pro-CHOICE has changed my mind. For many of you my fellow Catholics who were not aware of it, I hope this clip below helps.



Let's pray that if people prefer the term pro-CHOICE because it gives them a feeling of control over their "own" bodies, (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit and actually God's domain), that they will truly exercise the gift of free will (again a gift from God to them), with extreme wisdom and love.

If you have to choose, choose LIFE because Living Is For Everyone.

Over and out...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Defenders of the Universal Church



VOLTRON, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE! Hoped you liked the video... It's a trip down memory lane for me - back in the days of my childhood to teenage years. Well, the reason I put it here is not to promote Voltron (hey, btw what happened to the movie?) but my mind seem to connect it to this bunch of great guys in our midst.

I'm talking about the defenders of our faith. To be exact, the defenders of our beloved Universal Church - the Catholic Church or as some prefer to call us The Roman Catholic Church.

If you have read my very first post, you would know that this blog was inspired by one such gentlemen. Yes! Patrick Madrid who is a world renowned Catholic apologist really made me remember how blessed I am to be Catholic.

A typical Cradle Catholic... I grew up taking a lot of things of my faith for granted. Being Malaysian and growing up in an in between period whereby children were just to follow what their elders did without much question, I just did what other senior Catholics did when I went for mass.

When they dip Holy Water and made the sign of the Cross at the entrance of the Church, I did the same. When they genuflect, before sitting down at the pews, so did I (another little Confession - didn't even know that the one knee bend action was called a genuflect until a few years ago - embarrasing, right? And if some of you reading now just found out... welcome to the club).

Most of my life I didn't even notice the beautiful Liturgical sequence of the mass. Although, I definitely paid attention about 60% of the time to the homily, the rest of the mass was just a blur. When the congretion stood up, sat down, knelt, I just followed blindly. My conviction to remain firm as a Catholic despite the many Protestants friends I have, who had invited me to their respective churches for numerous services and rallies - must definitely be the Holy Spirit at work.

As exciting as the services would be due to their music or dynamic preaching, I didn't feel at home and something was still missing.

I thank God every day that the Holy Spirit has never given up hope on me and in fact ka yau (Cantonese for accelerating His Work on me)the last 12 years since I moved from Ipoh my hometown, to the big city lights of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

From attending the Life In The Spirit Seminar (LSS), to CHOICE, to Servants of Yahweh, a Catholic Covenant community, and now actively serving in my parish choir of St Thomas More, I am now starting to relearn and rediscover the many intricate and beautiful facets of my Faith.

God led me step by step through the process above and finally He is using the great apologists of my time such as Scott and Kimberly Hahn and Patrick Madrid to help me finally understand the many reasons why we do what we do as Catholics and why we are the true Church founded by our beloved brother and Saviour Jesus Christ.

During Pat Madrid's recent seminar at the Men's Conference in Miri early this year, he shared several reasons he chose to be Catholic when he can be anything else. Here are just a few of them which I still remember...

1. One True Church Established By Jesus Christ

Quoting Matt 16:15-19, the conversation that Jesus had with Peter in which Peter recognised Jesus as the Son of the Living God and that Jesus told Peter (the rock), that He will build His Church on this Rock (Peter) and that even Hell cannot touch it. Jesus also gave Peter the keys to Heaven, and that whatever Peter binds on earth the same will be done in heaven... you have definitely heard this I know.
This shows us that Jesus started our Church and chose Peter to lead, while other churches were started by men.

2. Communion of Saints

In short, there's only one Body of Christ. Some of us are still on earth, while some have gone to heaven, but we are still one Body. So we who are on earth are asking our brothers and sisters who are now closer to God to pray for us. It's the same as asking our friend who is still alive on earth to pray for us, only now our friend in heaven has everlasting life and bigger cables to God (hehehe).
And yes, we also pray for them who are in heaven with God, just like how we pray for other friends who are still in our midst.

3. Firm Moral Teachings

Prior to 1930s, all denominations believed that contraception was a grave sin. Today only the Catholic Church still dare to hold on to life - God's gift to us and not being popular and current. Respect!!!

4. Holy Eucharist

John 6:51 sees Jesus saying I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
However, like the many Jews in the room who heard this proclaimed by our Lord, our separated brothers and sisters have also chosen to leave the room so to speak. As Catholics, just like the 12 apostles, we believe in our Lord that He is with us every day if we choose to or every Sunday in the flesh.
I wonder, how people who claim they believe everything written in the Bible, chose not to believe John 6:51, which is written so clearly in whatever Bible version. Hmmm, what happened to sola scriptura or do I detect plain Protestant tradition of I follow my pastor's interpretation.

Btw, I discovered that you can't find anywhere in the Bible that our faith is based solely on the Bible (sola scriptura), but you can definitely find in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 - so then brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us whether by word or by letter.. That's what our Popes have been doing for us.
Now how do you explain 2 Thess 3:6 - Now we command you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion and not after the tradition which they received from us.
As for private interpretation by so many different churches and pastors, the bible says: 2 Peter 1:20-21 - knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
Enough said for this point...

5. Satanist couldn't care about Protestants
They know that Jesus is really in the Catholic Church and they send their kuncu-kuncu (members) to steal the Holy Eucharist so that they can perform black masses.
I've also noticed that fictional stories that attack our faith also target the Catholic Church. People attack when they are threatened.

Of course, Pat Madrid spoke in length while quoting the bible to strengthen his case, something which I pray all of us Catholics will be able to do as a second nature, at least by the next generation.

Thanks to Pat, Scott, Kimberly and a hosts of other apologists, I'm falling in love with my faith again. Seeing and experiencing it through the eyes of a child once more - in awe and wonder.

So thank you once more, all ye defenders of our great big Universal Church ... and bringing so many of our separated brethen home in the process...

Holy Spirit, as we will soon celebrate and remember the first Pentecost, may you once again open the eyes and heart of us all to the love and life of the Holy Trinity. Amen!

P.S. I can't believe the 50-day Easter season is coming to a close so soon. Time flies when you are having fun.

(Some of my favourite Apologetic works . As you can see I'm a big fan of Pat Madrid and Scott Hahn. Click on the books below and find out more...)

Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming CatholicSurprised By Truth 2: 15 Men and Women Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons For Becoming Catholic. (v. 2)Surprised by Truth 3: 10 More Converts Explain the Biblical and Historical Reason for Becoming Catholic (v. 3)Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism

Monday, May 11, 2009

Once an R.C, always an R.C.

St Peter's Basilica, RC hq

Are you an RC? Was a question I was regularly asked when I stayed in East Malaysia for about three months sometime last year. It was peculiar to my ears. Growing up in Ipoh for the first 24 years of my life, I've hardly, if ever, been asked such a question. Even after staying in the Klang Valley for the next 12 years didn't prepare me for it.

Well, I started getting used to it. East Malaysians, as I discovered, used the term RC to mean Roman Catholic. To me, I'm just plain Malaysian cradle Catholic.

Anyway, sometime early this year, we visited a friend who recently shifted into a neighbouring residential estate.

That visit although was initially a business meeting, turned out to be a gift from God. Bernard, who is also from Ipoh (wisdom must come from the Ipoh water too - did I say I was from Ipoh earlier...hehehe), shared with Pat and I something really good which I in turn would love to share with all of you.

You see, he is now teaching Sunday School in Assumption Church, PJ. This was what he shared with a Form 3 class last year. I think he started teaching Standard 5 this year.

Bernard told his class - once you are an RC, you will always be an RC.... (see how God used the East Malaysians to drum this RC thing into my head).

I then expected him to quote some theology to support this fact... but instead he cleverly used a play of words which proved much more interesting, easier to understand and brought home a point.

He said although people have left the church they will always be RC because they are just Retired Catholics.... this definitely piqued my attention.

He went on saying that at one point of his life he was away from the Church, but God had some tricks up his sleeves to pull him home, one of which was his cousin Anne. On his way home, he was a Returning Catholic.

Of course, today he is a self-confessed Romantic Catholic, choosing to practise the spirit of the Law and not focus too much on the letter.

Love, he said, is the most important part of the faith which he is doing his best to share with the young ones. He also chooses to be a Relevant Catholic - to teach the youth in ways they can relate to, which also involves sharing of ideas from them, instead of the old school way of I talk you listen and learn.

I really can't wait for Bernard and his wife Mae to come serve in St Thomas More (STM) next year.

Recently, we met up again, and he said we can add to the list of RC. And so Pat and I started to come up with some. So here goes:

RICH Catholics - three main categories

1) Rejoicing In Christ Hallelujah Catholics - The types that can never be beaten down too hard in life cos' they know Christ is their Saviour. Even when they are materially poor, they feel rich because Christ is the centre of their lives. No show, no act - the real McCoy. Sometimes, you can't stand them, cos' they make you feel like a prune in comparison. I think I need them to strengthen my faith.

2) Materially rich Catholics. Boy, do we in STM need them so much now. We need another RM9.5 million. If you fall under this category or have connections that can help us achieve this goal, please email me.

3) Rich both ways - Spiritually and materially they belong to Christ. They tithe, donate generously when needed and is always a cheerful giver. My goal is one day to be in this category. Unfortunately, currently I'm somewhere at (-1).

Rosary Catholics - two main categories

1) They know how to recite the Rosary by-heart and I mean all the prayers from the Apostles' Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, the Fatima Prayer, Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray, Memorare and even the Litany that follows. They also know which day is for what Mysteries and the respective Mysteries from decade 1 to 5. Gosh! My husband is one of those. They inspire me. Only thing is sometimes, the older generation who fall under this category tend to rattle the prayers in supersonic speed leaving the rest of us lost and distracted.

2) The type who meditates on each Mystery with reverence. Knows how biblical the Rosary is. Defends it properly when countered that we are praying to Mary. The late Great Pope John Paul II is such a person. Others that come to mine are Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn and Fr Benefict J. Groeshel (He is another EWTN personality I like to listen to. I'm just beginning to read his book entitled The Rosary - Chain of Hope. Thanks Terence for loaning me the book). They have made the Rosary relevant to me.

On the side, I just needed to share this with you since this is the month of May. Many Catholics, even those who love the Lord very much, are quite lost with praying the Rosary... for example:

Another Assumption Church Sunday School teacher said she can never recite the - poor banish children of Eve prayer (Hail Holy Queen). She also shared that during a recent funeral wake (7-day prayer) in her BEC, one of the family members of the deceased kept starting with Our Father, instead of Hail Mary... and everyone was trying to say it louder than that person in order to get the prayer back on track.

During our good friend the late Ralph Curzon's 7th day prayers, his daughter very honestly shared that she really doesn't know what that perpetual, perpetual part is all about. (Leader:Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord, R: And let the Perpetual Light Shine upon him...)

Also one of her relatives, who was converted a few years ago said she quickly ran to the kitchen when she saw that it would soon be her turn to lead a decade of the Rosary.

How close to home all these sharings are to me, cos' just like them, I too, am lost if I don't have those prayers in front of my eyes. Sometimes Pat will just try to quiz me and I'll panic even more and what I know of the Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray and Memorare will just vanish from my memory.

Dearest Mother, help us poor banished children of Eve to be proud of the Rosary and soon learn to love praying it too.

Okay back to the RC story.... Pat added that we could become Recalcitrant (biadap) Catholics or Runaway Catholics, bottomline is we will always be RC and God will still find a way to lead us home - like Bernard, to become a Returning Catholic turned Romantic Catholic.... Ah....

P.S. I thought these Catholic advertisements were superb....check them out at: http://www.catholicscomehome.org/ look for Epic, Movie and Testimonials. Made me proud to be 100% RC.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birth Of The Cradle Creations Knotted Rosary Workshop

























































Anne Marie and Juliet, our first two clients who signed up to learn how to make the rosaries (first two pix).

Kerry-Ann crafting a custom-made order for a sweet boy who bought a beaded cross for someone special, wonder whether it's for his mom or gf??? *wink wink*

Kerry-Ann and I posing before we tutup kedai (close shop around 1pm).

The close-up shot of the stock that was left when we ended.

Two satisfied clients, Mei (left, wearing the purple beaded cross made by Kerry-Ann) and Maria putting on her Olive wood cross Rosary (cross was bought and blessed in Jerusalem) - other parts of the Rosary was knotted by yours truly.

Last week was indeed a hectic week. In between work, a really good friend Ralph Curzon passed away, and then there was the St Thomas More parish Family Day in which our 100% effort was required to raise funds for our new home.

The great news is I heard all the RM50,000 worth of coupons were sold out. This meant we raised almost that amount - minus some cost here and there. Of course, the battle is not yet won. We are still very much in need of about or over RM9.5mil, with inflation always rearing its ugly head.

Good news is this 17 May, we shall have a forum to further discuss and brainstorm ideas to generate more funds (speedily, we hope) in order to make our new home a reality next Easter.

If you are a non-parishioner - we need all your prayers and most importantly your money (full story on my posting dated 25 April 2009).

Anyway, a personal note of thanks to the many people who came by my knotted Rosary stall - to either sign up and learn to make them or just to buy one. We raised about RM218. Not too bad la hor.

Anne Marie Tan from SS17 was my first client, while Angelina Bong, originally from Kuching, spent the most in our stall buying my Jerusalem olive wood cross rosary and a few beautifully beaded crosses made by my cousin and Godsister Kerry-Ann (sorry forgot to take your pix).

We realised that most people preferred to just buy the Rosaries instead of learning how to make them. In the end, what counts is STM gets the funding, right? Which is why I've decided to recruit Rosary makers after my class and then we can make more for sale.

Ready made designs should range from RM10-RM20 per rosary. If custom-made, then it could be about RM50 and above. For now, to order - please email me at hazelong888@gmail.com

All proceeds (minus the cost) will help build our permanent and visible place of worship brick by brick.

I was also very happy to have made friends with Juliet Lee, Marie Meity from Sumatra, Indonesia and Lifeliner, Alexis Ryan and Jacqueline, whom I discovered is also from Putra Heights. Ee Lynn, thanks for supporting the stall.

That's all for now... got to get ready for BEC Rosary tonight...which Rosary shall I bring tonight? Hmmm ... too many choices now.