From left, Dominic Lim, Sr Anita James, Fr Ambrose Atang and Fr Gilbert Marcus

By Agnes Chai

Nov 21 2020

KOTA KINABALU – The Bishops Conference of Malaysia has made the move to revive Caritas as the key pastoral agent to oversee the social mission of the Church in Malaysia.

In the wake of launching Caritas Malaysia during its first online National Assembly Nov 6 and Nov 13, the first sign of “a new action for a new future” emerged soon after at the diocesan and parish-level in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. The KK Archdiocese has taken a similar step to set up Caritas Kota Kinabalu in line with the new move.

With this historic move, the Archdiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC) has ceased as an Archdiocesan Commission effective Nov 15 to make way for inevitable changes as a result of the inter-diocesan collaboration under the umbrella of Caritas Malaysia.

Alongside the setting up of Caritas KK will be the setting up of a new Archdiocesan Commission called the Archdiocesan Commission on Pastoral Care to Migrants and Itinerants (ACMI) to “welcome, protect, promote and integrate” the migrants into the local communities.

Following the cessation of AHDC, all Parish Human Development Committees would no longer function in parishes effective Nov 15. In a communique to the parish priests of the Archdiocese, head of KK Archdiocese Archbishop John Wong issued instructions for setting up Parish Caritas to take care of the parish social mission and Parish Migrant Committee (PMC) for pastoral care of migrants.

The office bearers of Parish Caritas and PMC can either be from the PHDC or other parishioners, and can be appointed or elected following the term of the PPC (Parish Pastoral Council).

Acknowledgement

The Archbishop acknowledged with gratitude that the Archdiocese has been enriched by the contribution of AHDC since its inception in 2010 for initiating programs and activities to help parishes to get into social ministry, and thanked all members for their individual and collective services to the Commission. They are strongly urged to consider continuing their good work in the new bodies for the building of God’s Kingdom in our society.

New appointments

In line with this new move, the Archbishop is pleased to announce the new appointments as follows:

Fr Ambrose Atang – Spiritual adviser to ACMI (effective Nov 15)

Dominic Lim – Head of ACMI (effective Nov 15)

Fr Gilbert Marcus – Spiritual adviser to Caritas KK (effective Oct 1)

Sr Anita James – Head of Caritas KK (effective Oct 1)

These new bodies are expected to be in place before the end of the year. Parishes who require assistance to set up these two bodies can contact the newly appointed.

With the initiative and endeavours of Caritas Malaysia, it is hoped that the Archdiocese would be poised to give a stronger visible presence of the Church in her mission of charity and justice in the marketplace. It also hopes to extend its social mission works beyond its Catholic circle which includes the poor who are in need regardless of faith and beliefs.

Meanwhile, the pastoral care of migrants would be further enhanced by a more focused migrant ministry by the PMCs and ACMI.