KUCHING — On 20th May 2019, about 20 members from the Blessed Sacrament Church’s Chinese Choir Ministry, together with their families, made their way to St. Jude’s Church, Bunan Gega for a day’s retreat accompanied by Fr. Nicholas Ng.
In response to the call of the Extraordinary Year for Mission as promulgated by the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, the theme for the retreat was “The Church’s Evangelical Mission through Sacred Music.”
Prior to their departure from BSC, Fr. Felix Au gave his blessings to the Choir for a safe and fruitful journey.
Upon arrival at St. Jude’s Church and having greeted the genial Fr. Berkmans, the Choir immediately launched into their agenda for the day. The first part of the retreat included two talks. In the first talk, Fr. Nicholas pointed out that it was imperative for the members to be committed to their service in the Liturgy as it helps to lift the spirit and the attention of the faithful to God Himself.
He encouraged the Choir to remain committed to their vocation in singing through regular practice so that the Choir may do well in their music and singing; so that God may use the Choir in their singing of sacred music to touch many hearts and draw more people to Himself. Fr. Nicholas also took the opportunity to invite the Choir to form even closer relationship with the Lord so as to not only sing well, but by knowing the Lord, be able to sing the hymns from the heart.
In the second talk, it was shared with the Choir that in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the ‘mission’ of the Choir should be promoting the active participation of the faithful in the Liturgy. By understanding the different roles of the music ministry which encompasses the choir, the psalmist, the musicians, the cantor and the conductor, the Choir would be better equipped in fulfilling their mission or their roles in the Liturgy.
The Choir was also urged to first and foremost, actively live out the Catholic faith as a member of the Church; to study the Word of God and to unceasingly learn to be better musicians and singers in order to have continuous growth in spirit and in music.
Having concluded the talks, the Choir savoured a hearty lunch prepared by the locals. Lunch was followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then Mass, presided by Fr. Nicholas. Collections for the day was presented to Fr. Berkmans for the building and maintenance funds of St. Jude’s Church.
The Choir left Bunan Gega bountiful, having also the chance to stop by the newly officiated Gethsemane Garden near St. Jude’s Church.