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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recycled Cooking Oil: Latest Hazard in China?


China has repeatedly been hit by food safety scandals over the past few years, including contaminated milk, eggs and animal feed and the selling of diseased pigs. In 2007, the head of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for failing to properly police the country’s food and drug industry, and China announced a major food safety crackdown.

Recycled Cooking Oil?

The latest scandal is “Recycled Cooking Oil”.

Regulators are investigating whether restaurants throughout China are creating food hazards by cooking with recycled oil, some tainted with food waste, and prominence given to the issue in the state-controlled media suggests that the problem could be widespread.

Last November, regulators in southern China raided several workshops for turning discarded waste — possibly even sewage — into cooking oil.

Fake green peas: Latest food scandal.

But this week alone, state newspapers have reported that regulators foundunsafe artificial green peasin Hunan Province and some 20,000 pounds of “toxic vegetables” in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Those vegetables had excessive pesticide residues, according to a government Web site.

"The peas were an unnatural color and had a penetrating odor. After 20 minutes of cooking, the peas did not turn soft but the water turned green," the report said.

Source: The New York Times Asia Pacific

LINUNDUS says ...

Keep your eyes peeled when buying foodstuffs in your next shopping.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Divine Mercy Devotion and Divine Mercy Mass at Stella Maris Church, Tg. Aru.

Stella Maris Parish Church at Tg. Aru started its weekly Divine Mercy Devotion on 11th February, 2009 and the number of devotees are ever increasing. The Devotion precedes the usual evening daily mass, starting at 5.30pm every Wednesdays.

The Devotion was initiated by the Resident Parish Priest, Rector Rev. Fr. Fundes Motiung, following after St. Michael’s Penampang and Sacred Heart Cathedral which started theirs very much earlier.

Pix show Rev. Fr. Fundes Motiung, Rector Of Stella Maris Church, Tg. Aru, Kota Kinabalu during the consecration of the wine.

The formation of the “Servants of Divine Mercy Stella Maris”, was initiated by Rev. Fr. Fundes (who is also its spiritual leader) and was ably assisted by Mother Cecilia and Datin Theresa William.

This is the second year that the “Servants of Divine Mercy Stella Maris” is praying the 9-day Divine Mercy Novena in preparation for the Divine Sunday Mass (also known as the Feast of Mercy or 2nd Sunday of Easter) at Stella Maris Church, Tg. Aru this Sunday, April 11 commencing at 7.30am.

The liturgical texts of that day concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000.

The Divine Mercy Sunday Indulgence

On 29 June 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See promulgated a decree creating new indulgences that may be gained by the faithful in connection with the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday. This decree grants a plenary indulgence to those who comply with all the conditions established, and a partial indulgence to those who incompletely fulfil the conditions.

What is an Indulgence?

In his homily last year, Rev. Fr. Fundes told his congregation to check the meaning of Plenary Indulgence in the internet as it was difficult for him to explain its significance due to time constraint.

However, to help my readers, they may read the Plenary Indulgence and its General Conditions HERE.

Briefly, the summaries (truncated) of the Decree of Indulgence are as follows:

Plenary indulgence

I. The usual conditions for every plenary indulgence:

· sacramental confession [according to previously issued norms, within about 20 days before or after];

· Eucharistic communion [according to previously issued norms, preferably on the day, or the days before or after];

· prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff [certain prayers are not specified].

II. The specific conditions for this Indulgence

On Divine Mercy Sunday

· in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy

· or, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!")

Partial Indulgence

A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation. [e.g. “Jesus I Trust in You”; “My Jesus mercy”; or any other approved invocation]

Other related links are as follows:

What is an Indulgence?

The Indulgence versus The Promise

Decree of Indulgence

Summary of the Decree of Indulgence


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday: Not just another day (Pt.5)

‘Today, Easter Sunday, is not just another Sunday,’ said Rev. Father Tony Majiwat in his homily this morning at Stella Maris Church, Tg. Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. He said, ‘today is the most significant day in the Christian calendar in that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He is alive and all Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

‘Today is more important feast day than Christmas because it is celebrated on Jesus' resurrection,’ he added in his homily this morning.

Christians around the country celebrated Easter Sunday by attending church services held to mark the solemn occasion.

In Sabah and Sarawak, where both Good Friday and Easter Sunday are celebrated on a large scale, thousands of Christians thronged the churches in these two states.

In some churches, worshippers came as early as 5am in the morning for their services.

Churches (throughout Malaysia) were also filled to the brim.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday.

For the Catholics, Easter also marks the end of Lent (and the beginning of Easter Season for the next 50 days until Pentecost Sunday day).

In Vatican City, the Pope is expected to conduct the traditional mass for Easter and address the crowds gathered at the St Peter's Square. (As I am writing, I am watching a direct telecast of our our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, celebrating the Easter Sunday Solemn Mass at the Vatican Square under heavy rain).

"The greatest sign of Jesus being the Son of God is that He rose from the dead," Father Nigli of St. Patrick Church in O'Neill, Nebraska said. "Everybody's born, but rising from the dead - that's the part where we are certain that Jesus Christ has power over life and death."

"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied" (1 Cor 15:14,17, 19).


And because of its importance, Easter is more than just a day. It's a seven-week season of the church year. The 50 days begin at sundown the evening before Easter Sunday and last until Pentecost Sunday, which is considered the birthday of the church.

Father Nigli said the Easter season is the time for new Catholics - those who came into the church at the Easter Vigil - to experience mystagogia, which is "the unraveling or unpacking of the church's mysteries and sacraments."

All other Catholics, Father Nigli said, are called to celebrate at the same time a renewal of their own faith.

"That is why we have the baptismal water sprinkling rite ... that we are renewed in our own baptismal promises and take a new vigor in our faith," he said.

The colours used during the Easter season are white or gold, which are symbolic of Jesus' transfigured body when he showed his glory, Father Nigli said.

"We also understand that at the time of the resurrection, He had a glorified body that came through and so symbolic of that, we use white or gold to reflect the glory that God attached to the human body," he said.

Jesus, the Risen Lord, gives us hope!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Holy Week: Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) (Pt.4)

Celebrating the Easter Vigil last year at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the difficulties in understanding Jesus’ resurrection. He explained that the Church assists the faithful in understanding this mysterious event through three symbols in the Easter Vigil: Light, Water and the “Alleluia.”

The Easter Vigil is celebrated on Saturday evening with the lighting of the Easter Candle in the Church. This is followed by a procession, as do the Liturgy of the Word and the baptism of catechumens.

First of all, there is light. God’s creation – which has just been proclaimed to us in the Biblical narrative – begins with the command: "Let there be light!" (Gen 1:3). Where there is light, life is born, chaos can be transformed into cosmos. In the Biblical message, light is the most immediate image of God: He is total Radiance, Life, Truth, Light.

At the Easter Vigil, the Church represents the mystery of the light of Christ in the sign of the Paschal candle, whose flame is both light and heat. The symbolism of light is connected with that of fire: radiance and heat, radiance and the transforming energy contained in the fire – truth and love go together. The Paschal candle burns, and is thereby consumed: Cross and resurrection are inseparable. From the Cross, from the Son’s self-giving, light is born, true radiance comes into the world. From the Paschal candle we all light our own candles, especially the newly baptized, for whom the light of Christ enters deeply into their hearts in this Sacrament.

The second symbol of the Easter Vigil – the night of Baptism – is water. It appears in Sacred Scripture, and hence also in the inner structure of the Sacrament of Baptism, with two opposed meanings. On the one hand there is the sea, which appears as a force antagonistic to life on earth, continually threatening it; yet God has placed a limit upon it. Hence the book of Revelation says that in God’s new world, the sea will be no more (cf. 21:1). It is the element of death. And so it becomes the symbolic representation of Jesus’ death on the Cross: Christ descended into the sea, into the waters of death, as Israel did into the Red Sea. Having risen from death, he gives us life. This means that Baptism is not only a cleansing, but a new birth: with Christ we, as it were, descend into the sea of death, so as to rise up again as new creatures.

The third great symbol of the Easter Vigil is something rather different; it has to do with man himself. It is the singing of the new song – the alleluia. When a person experiences great joy, he cannot keep it to himself. He has to express it, to pass it on. But what happens when a person is touched by the light of the resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing.

This year, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI reminded that Christians, like Christ, do not “conquer” through the sword, but through the Cross.

It is at this Mass that the church welcomes new Catholics.

For those of us who have been baptized, let us remember St. Paul’s words in the second reading for this Sunday:

"If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Col 3:1-4).

Update: In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that, “Families are encouraged to attend all three liturgies to experience the whole thing like a three-part movie.”

‘The third-part movie’ consists of two sub-parts, i.e., Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday) and Easter Sunday liturgies.

Contrary to the belief of some Christians that, if one has already attended the Easter Vigil on Saturday, there is no longer need to attend the following Easter Sunday Mass, or vice versa. Easter Vigil is NOT considered as the usual sunset mass. It is therefore equally important to attend both Saturday (Easter Vigil) and Easter Sunday Mass, otherwise The Sacred Easter Triduum is rendered incomplete. Source: Stella Maris Church announcement during last Holy Thursday Mass.

“The Lord is Risen, Alleluia”. Happy Easter to all my readers.

Tomorrow’s Posting: Easter Sunday: Not just another day (Pt. 5)


Friday, April 2, 2010

The Holy Week: The significance of Good Friday (Pt.3)

Good Friday

“When Jesus took the wine, He said, ‘Now, it is finished.’ Then He bowed His head, and delivered over his spirit.” (John 19:30)

On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the 'Reproaches', in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated* Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.

* On Good Friday, there is no Mass anywhere in the world. All churches are made bare the previous night at the conclusion of the Holy Thursday Church service whence the Holy Eucharist and consecrated Hosts are transferred to the Chapel.

The Veneration of the Cross

In Christianity, the "Veneration of the Cross" is a ceremony during which a person pays respect to the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Normally this is done during Good Friday services; either everyone performs the veneration in unison by kneeling in place when the cross is brought into the church or some people perform the veneration of the cross individually by coming forward and, while kneeling, kiss the foot of the cross.

In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord's cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century. According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): 'Behold, the Wood of the Cross.'

Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ's cross does not mean that we actually adore the material image, of course, but rather what it represents. In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to our Lord's cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we, in effect, adore Christ. Thus we affirm: 'We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.'

Stations of the Cross.

In some Churches, the Stations of the Cross is celebrated on Good Friday morning. It is a Catholic custom of Lent that commemorates the passion of Jesus on Good Friday.

The Stations of the Cross, also called The Way of the Cross, is a devotion to the Passion of Christ consisting of prayers and meditations on fourteen occurrences that were experienced by Christ on His way to Mt. Calvary where He was was crucified, and culminating on the fifteenth Station to meditate His glorious resurrection on the third day (Easter Sunday).

It is a popular devotion used by individuals or groups who wish through prayer and reflection to follow Jesus Christ on His way to Calvary. Many Christians practice the devotion, but the Stations hold a special significance among Roman Catholics. It is one of the most important devotions honoring the passion of Jesus.

What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus Christ in His passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him. To face life's dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope, and Jesus offers images of hope in His passion. By accompanying Him on the Way of the Cross, we gain His courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil.

The devotion originated in the late 4th century when pilgrims flocked to the Holy Land from all parts of the world to visit the land of Jesus. Heading the list of places they visited was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which had been built by the Emperor Constantine in 335 AD atop Calvary and the tomb of Jesus

There following are 15 Stations of the Cross

The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Die

The Second Station: Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross

The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother

The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face

The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time

The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His garment

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

The Fifteenth Station: Jesus is Risen from the dead


Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Holy Week: The significance of Holy Thursday (Pt.2)

Holy Week: Holy Thursday

Except for the resurrection on Easter, Holy Thursday is possibly one of the most important, complex, and profound days of celebration in the Catholic Church. Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood.

During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way. Christ also bids farewell to his followers and prophesizes that one of them will betray him and hand him over to the Roman soldiers.

Later that night, after sundown – because Passover began at sundown- the Holy Thursday Liturgy takes place, marking the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred "Triduum,” or three, of Holy Week. These days are the three holiest days in the Catholic Church.

Washing of the feet.

I am privileged this year to have been selected as one of the 12 disciples for the washing of the feet ceremony during this Holy Thursday (tonight) in my Parish Church, Stella Maris, Tg. Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The washing of the feet done by a priest who humbled himself, is the amazing act we share in continuity with the wonderful, sacred scene we find in John 13.

I reckon that from the priest’s point of view, it is a humble gesture to wash feet, but hardly so in the highly stylized setting of Holy Thursday where, after all, the priest – or bishop or cardinal or pope – stands in for Jesus and thus ironically still secures for himself the place of honor, as if the servant of the servants was really better than the servants themselves. (And I will make sure that I will have me feet scrubbed properly in advance, lest any dirt might fall into the bowl in Father’s presence.)

The washing of the feet ceremony is not to be confused with the sinful and repentant woman in the other Gospels, Mary washes the feet of Jesus, and lavishes costly perfume on them. Jesus accepts this ministry, and only Judas condemns it as overdramatic and wasteful. One can only imagine that when the Last Supper came, Jesus was still been reflecting on the tender intimacy and care of that scene, and realized that even on this most solemn night He might share the experience with his friends at table: as my feet have been washed, I wash yours; and you too, care for one another in this way.

On Holy Thursday 2010, we need to take all this to heart. The Church is still a place of holiness, love, and service, yet it is also a Church that is partly dirty, partly in need of cleansing. There is no longer a Church in which anyone can imagine himself only the washer of feet, and not one in need of washing as well. It is no longer a Church in which cleansing comes only from above. Perhaps the priests — and bishops and cardinals and the pope — can rethink how they commemorate Jesus’ humble, cleaning, tender action this Holy Thursday?

Even today, the priests may indeed be a lot like Peter the first Pope — who did not want his feet to be washed — but like that same Peter, even today they (the priests) might learn to be like Jesus, who let His feet be washed by a woman who was His friend, and then shared the experience with His other friends by doing the same for them.

Source: Abridged from the National Catholic Weekly by Francis X. Clooney, S.J.