Contributed by Vera Chin and Joan Pang
KOTA MARUDU: The St Simon Catholic Church Likas Pastoral Ministry outreach team was here, on Aug 20, for the second phase of the Jubilee Year of Mercy “Love-in-a-Shoebox” project.
The project, where gifts had been lovingly prepared in decorated shoe boxes by the parish’s Sunday School children in the previous months, was designed to encourage them to reach out to other children in the rural community.
“Before leaving, the members were reminded in our prayer to ‘be merciful like Jesus, to acknowledge that all good comes from You, that we may be motivated by pure love and our merciful love of our brothers and sisters in need’,” the Ministry head Vera Chin said.
“Upon arrival at Kota Marudu, we were greeted at St Theresa’s Church hall by sister-in-charge Sr Rose and the 88 children of St Theresa and De La Salle hostels. The children performed welcome songs and dances for the St Simon Church team.
“The programme began with the praying of the Divine Mercy after which the younger and older children were divided into two groups for talks on ‘Living Our Faith’ by two members of our team, MaryAnn Chew and Winnie Voo-Kual.”
During the distribution of the shoeboxes, they were told that the Sunday School children had prepared the gifts for them.
“A banner showed the excited faces of the Sunday School children preparing their boxes,” Vera said.
“Each recipient was encouraged to open the gift boxes after which they wrote a simple ‘thank you’ note for the person they had received it from.
“It was so touching to witness their joy of opening the individual boxes and to know another child had given it to them!”
The outreach team also brought with them rice, dried and canned food, essential items and used clothing donated by the St Simon Church parishioners, besides cakes and biscuits for refreshment.
At the end of the visit, the children performed a touching “thank you” song followed by hugs for the team.
“It was a blessing and privilege for us to experience this beautiful moment and God’s grace for all, including the community from St Simon Church Likas who were involved in this corporal work of mercy,” she said.
Meanwhile, Joan Pang, also a St Simon Church parishioner said she was impressed by a little boy during a performance by the children from the hostels.
“He caught my attention when he was performing on stage with the older children,” Joan said of their dance piece.
According to Joan, the hostels’ residents ranged between five and 22 years old. “St Theresa Hostel was the brainchild of Fr Felix Chung,” she said, citing Sr Rose.
The next outreach will be to three hostels in Kiulu, home for about 130 children, on Sept 24.