Updated: July 27, 2021 08:36 AM GMT
Members of the Archdiocesan Youth Team of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese in the Malaysian state of Sabah are seen ahead of the first virtual Sabah Youth Day. (Photo: Catholic Sabah)
A Malaysian archbishop has called on young Catholics to maximize the use of modern technology to become “creative evangelizers” during the pandemic.
Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese in Malaysian state of Sabah urged thousands of Catholic youth who participated virtually in the week-long Sabah Youth Day (SYD) not to be discouraged as they attended the biggest celebration of Catholic faith online.
“Keep in touch via online meetings. Maybe you can also organize formation talks and help each other, especially those affected by Covid-19. Not only meetings but also gather online for fellowship to encourage one another,” Archbishop Wong said in a video message, reported Catholic Sabah, the official publication of the archdiocese.
More than 2,500 young Catholics joined SYD online from July 19-23. The program was administered virtually from the Catholic Archdiocesan Center (CAC) in Jalan Penampang of Kota Kinabalu.
Archbishop Wong urged young Catholics to “be more creative and have more initiative to reach out to one another.”
"Be convinced that the Lord is with you, He will guide you. Be convinced in your faith, be a true and active witness of Christ. Be on fire for God. Continue to be the salt and light wherever you are. Be creative evangelizers," he said.
It was the fourth time Likimin had joined SYD programs and he said the virtual program helped him to compare it with physical programs
While Covid-19 restrictions remained in place, young Catholics in rural, remote areas had to overcome challenges such as poor internet access to attend the SYD.
Eddyka Likimin, 32, a Catholic farmer from Bundu Tuhan who now lives in Kg Monggis Ranau, had to walk up a hill each day to get good internet access. He even carried a machete to protect himself from snakes.
It was the fourth time Likimin had joined SYD programs and he said the virtual program helped him to compare it with physical programs.
He said that the sessions helped him to practice “seriousness, responsibility, courage to be honest with God, diligent prayer in any situation because God is present at all times.”
Muslims make up more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s estimated 32 million citizens and Christians account for about 10 percent of the population, making them the third-largest religious group.
Two-thirds of Christians live in two of the country’s 13 states, Sabah and Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, where they make up one third of the population.
There are about 1.17 million Catholics in three archdioceses and six dioceses in Malaysia.