Tag Archives: st mary sandakan

47 enrolled in Book of Elect at St Mary Sandakan

A section of the congregation, 25 Feb 2018

SANDAKAN – Forty-seven catechumens enrolled their names in the Book of the Elect on 25 Feb 2018 at St Mary Cathedral here.

In the BM speaking class, there were 18 candidates for full Initiation, four Confirmands, eight for Baptism and Holy Communion, and 17 for Baptism only.

Whereas in the English speaking class, there were five candidates for full Initiation, one Confirmand and two for Baptism only.

From the Chinese speaking class, there were four candidates for full Initiation and one Baptism only.

Over 500 parishioners attended the Mass presided by Father David Garaman who conducted the rite as delegated by Bishop Julius Gitom.

Fr David welcomed the candidates in his opening address to the congregation. He also said that he was grateful that the number of new candidates increases every year.

All the catechumens received their blessing from Fr David to prepare them to receive the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil. He also reminded the godparents of their duties to guide and encourage their godchildren to attend Mass regularly and to accompany them in their journey of faith. – SOCCOM Sandakan

St Mary’s Cathedral celebrates feast day with Marian procession

A section of the candlelight procession from the pastoral centre to the grotto, 15 Aug 2017, Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – St Mary’s Cathedral here celebrated the feast of the Assumption with a Marian procession on 15 Aug 2017.

It began with the tri-lingual recitation of the Holy Rosary and the blessing of the statue of Mother Mary by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom at 6:30 pm at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

Over a thousand parishioners gathered for the procession and the outdoor Mass in front of the grotto. The statue of Mother Mary was carried in procession from the Pastoral Centre to the grotto.

Bishop Gitom presided over the Mass,  concelebrated with Father David Garaman, Father Christopher Ireneus, Father Thomas Makajil and Father Stanley Matakim.

In his homily, Bishop Julius explained that God has preserved Mary from original sin and chosen her to be the Mother of the Saviour.

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”  (Luke 1:46-47) was the theme of this year’s 134th Parish Day celebration.

The prelate reminded the people that this year marks the centenary of her apparitions at Fatima. Mary appeared at Fatima to the three shepherd children to tell them to bring the message of peace to the world. And her other message in Fatima is conversion. All need to be converted to God.

Pope Francis says that “hope is the virtue of those who experience conflict, those who are struggling between life and death, struggling between good and evil and still believe in the resurrection of Christ, still believe in the redemption of Christ.  And that is the victory of love.”

Due to the poor weather condition, the Eucharistic celebration was celebrated in the cathedral.

50 attend half-day faith formation for catechists

SANDAKAN -Fifty catechists attended a half-day faith formation on 19 Aug 2017 at the St Mary’s Cathedral Parish conference room here.

The participants – Sunday School teachers and RCIA facilitators – came from St Peter Sungai Manila, St Mark and St Mary.

Franciscan Sister Martina James, Catechetical Commission chairperson, facilitated the sessions.

There were three sessions (1) General Directory of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC); (2) Methodology and Structure – catechism, structure, time frame; (3) 4 Pillars of the CCC  (a) The Profession of Faith (Creed);  (b) The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (Sacraments); (c) Life in Christ (Commandments); and (d) Christian Prayer (Our Father).

After the input on methodology and structure, the participants were divided into language groups to discuss and share on the subject.  A report was presented at the end of the session. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

Sandakan cathedral parish accepts 65 into catechumenate

Fr Matakim presents the bible to one of the catechumens, 20 Aug 2017, St Mary Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – St Mary’s Cathedral Parish here accepted 65 inquirers into the Order of Catechumens on 20 Aug 2017.

The inquirers will now be known as catechumens.  They have journeyed together for 11 weeks during the pre-catechumenate period of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme.

Out of the 65 catechumens, 52 are BM speaking, English six and Chinese six.

The Rite of Acceptance was conducted by Father Stanley Matakim in the BM Mass.

The Rite commenced after the homily.  The candidates with their respective sponsors came forward to the sanctuary.  They were asked to embrace the Gospel message more fully with the help of God, and were signed with the Cross to show that they now belong to Christ, the Shepherd of souls. The Rite of signing on the forehead, eyes, ears, lips, heart, and shoulders were repeated by their respective sponsors.

Immediately after the signing, each candidate received a copy of the Bible.

This was followed by the Prayer of the Faithful and the dismissal after which the catechumens returned to their seats.

The Rite of Acceptance is the first of all the rites the catechumens will undergo under the RCIA. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

Sandakan cathedral parish holds inaugural parish pastoral assembly

Section of the Sandakan Cathedral parish pastoral assembly, 8 July 2017, St Mary Parish Hall.

SANDAKAN – St Mary’s Cathedral parish here held its inaugural pastoral assembly at its parish centre on 8 July 2017.

The soon-to-be-launched Diocesan Vision and Mission in October prompted the steering committee – parish pastoral council, finance committee, property and development committee – to organise the event.

Around 180 leaders from the various ministries, groups and communities of the parish attended the assembly, themed ‘The Lord Calls Us to be One’ (John 17:20).  Also in attendance were the clergy, religious and observers from the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima Beluran and Paitan Mission.

The assembly began with Praise and Worship followed by Enthronement of the Bible, Proclamation of the Gospel and reflection by Father Christopher Ireneus.

In his keynote address, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom touched on the purpose of the half-day assembly aimed at giving updated information on matters related to pastoral, finance and property of the parish.

The bishop pointed out that lack of information and communication will result in misunderstanding and unnecessary speculations among members in the parish.

He said the session was important and timely as a way forward towards a better, united and strong community of faith.

The bishop highlighted the fact that the assembly would be a starting point to inculcate the spirit of the soon-to-be launched Diocesan Vision: ‘Christ-centred community serving one another with love’ that can build a strong communion of communities of faith in the parish through;

  1. The spirit of service, that all the different communities collaborate in bringing the Gospel values to all.
  2. Having a missionary spirit whereby the different communities would actively cooperate in carrying out the mission of the church within the parish by promoting ongoing faith formation in every community and pastoral group in the parish.
  3. Effective collaboration and cooperation among the communities, to remain in constant communication and openness within the parish community.

Father Thomas Makajil facilitated the session on being church and shared responsibility.  Citing Christifideles Laici, he said the lay faithful are made sharers in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ through Baptism, and have their own mission to carry out in the world.

The participants were divided into nine groups for discussion on the realities that hinder them from being church and what they can contribute to making being church a reality.  Three groups presented their findings and proposals.

In the second part, the assembly was briefed on the development and status of the pastoral, property and finance committees by their respective representatives.

John Liaw, diocesan finance adviser, presented the importance of internal control and good governance within the church.  He urged the people to be wise and prudent in spending and be ready to face the tax law ruling by the government should it be imposed.

The assembly concluded with an open forum.  Thirty-four questions were fielded but 70 percent of the questions touched on pastoral issues reflecting faith development in the parish.  Participants were given the opportunity to propose suggestions and recommendations for further discernment and reconsideration.

In his closing remarks, the bishop thanked the participants, organisers, and speakers for their participation.  He asked them to share the outcome of the assembly with members of their communities.

The assembly ended with a closing prayer by Father Stanley Matakim and lunch at the parish canteen. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my






Catechetical Sunday in January eases problems for SS teachers in Sandakan

Father Ireneus blesses the catechists after the renewal of their commitment, 21 Jan 2017, Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – The Catechetical Sunday for 2017, being brought forward from September to January by the Catechetical Commission of Malaysia, has eased problems for Sunday School teachers in the parish.

Sunday School usually begins classes in January each year.

The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, “Christ our Joy,” was the topic chosen for a session with the parents on 14 Jan 2017. The session provided an opportunity for teachers, parents, and children to understand each other’s role.

In the first session, Franciscan Sister Martina gave a catechesis on the role and responsibility of parents as the first catechist in passing on the faith to their children. On the other hand, the teachers are to assist them on Sundays when the children attend Sunday School classes.

Parents were encouraged to ask questions.

The questions asked focused on age, Confirmation attire, syllabus of the Malaysian Catechetical series, and others.

The age recommended for Sunday School is from 7-16, that is, until they receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The second session, for catechists, dealt with “The Catechist’s vocation, role, mission, spirituality and competence.”  Its objective was to develop the confidence and commitment of catechists from the three language groups.

Concluding activities such as colouring competition for children for kindergarten to level 3, bible reading presentation for levels 4-6, and biblical drama for teenage students were held on Jan 21, with prizes for winners.

That evening, the catechists from all language groups received a special blessing after Communion from Father Christopher Ireneus at the Sunset Mass. – Raymond Wong

Sandakan parish leaders organise planning workshop on pastoral road map

One of the groups in session during the planning workshop, 23-24 Jan 2017, St Mary Sandakan.

SANDAKAN -The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) of St Mary Cathedral here organised a two-day planning workshop to identify key pastoral areas and to prioritise pastoral activities towards achieving vision and mission’ on 23-24 Jan  2017 at the parish hall.

One hundred and fifty lay leaders, priests and religious representing the various parish ministries, communities and groups attended the workshop.

Pilis Malim, organising cum PPC Chairman, explained that the objective of the workshop was to assist the PPC in formulating the pastoral plan for the parish.

For comprehensiveness, the PPC proposed the participation of all ministries, communities and groups in order that their ideas, feedbacks and opinions could help to shape a workable framework for the pastoral plan. One such effective approach is an interactive workshop where lay leaders, priests and religious are fully involved.

In his keynote address, Bishop Julius Gitom said, “Without a vision, the people perished” (Proverbs 29:18). He said that the parishioners’ attendance in the workshop reflected their love for the church, and their longing for a vibrant parish,  He saw their presence as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

He shared that the recent Sandakan Diocesan Delegate Assembly on  Jan 4-5 has unveiled the Diocesan Vision and Mission Statement (V & M) after a long and tedious process undertaken by the then four parishes in the diocese.

However, the V & M statement would only be launched officially during the Diocesan 10th anniversary in October this year in Tawau.

The prelate was pleased to note that St Mary’s Parish, being the mother Church of the diocese, took the initiative to hold a workshop to explore and understand the V & M and to align its pastoral planning to that of the diocese.

The session on “Understanding and Ownership of the Vision and Mission Statement” was facilitated by Francis Tan, former executive secretary of the Diocese of Sandakan. He briefed those present on the chronology of the process of V & M which took seven years to be formulated based on ideas and experiences at the grassroots.

Working on the V & M statement, the participants were divided into six groups and presented their views and ideas to the assembly.  The participants’ views and concerns would be documented and become the basis of the parish PPC pastoral planning. – DOSPO

Exorcism seminar draws crowd of over 300

exorcism-seminarSANDAKAN – An exorcism seminar at St Mary’s Cathedral here drew about 350 participants recently.

The 350  participants came from the four parishes in  Sandakan Diocese: Telupid, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan.  The seminar on exorcism, organised by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service Team (CCRST), took place on 9-10 Sept 2016.

Organising chairperson, Adaris Sintan, said the decision to organise such seminar was because so many Catholics treat too lightly the existence and the interference of the power of darkness in their lives, especially in trying to break up the institution of Christian marriage and family.

Bishop Julius Gitom presided at the opening Mass Sept 9, concelebrated with Father Charles Chiew.  In his homily, the bishop underscored the need to organise such seminar in order to correct the misconception of what exorcism is.

He added that Fr Chiew was qualified to speak on the subject since he had taken courses on it in Rome.  The seminar was meant to help the participants to grow closer to Jesus, the source of strength for them in all situations.

Fr Chiew, a clinical psychologist, emphasised that not all cases are cases of exorcism.  Before a case can be referred for exorcism, the person must undergo a medical and psychological diagnosis in order to establish whether it is a paranormal case (diabolical possession).  He said many cases are psychological in nature because of depression, which does not require exorcism.

The speaker also presented a talk on the powers of darkness.  The seminar ended with a special session for CCR leaders or elders.  These leaders and committee members were given a special blessing and sent forth to serve the people during the Mass Sept 11.

In one of  his Masses at St Martha’s House in Rome, Pope Francis affirmed the existence of the devil: “The devil does not want people to follow Christ so he tempts them.  This is not an old-fashioned rhetoric because the devil is here even in the 21st century.  We must learn how to fight against Satan.”

Currently, there are 250 priest-exorcists worldwide. – DOSPO

Sandakan cathedral parish celebrates feast day with missionary fervour

skan-parish-daySANDAKAN – Sandakan cathedral parish celebrated its feast day with missionary fervour.

The weekend of 13-14 Aug 2016 saw the entire parish of St Mary’s Cathedral here coming together as one to celebrate its 133rd anniversary on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with much fervour.

This year, in addition to the traditional celebration, the cathedral parish embarked on a ‘holy ambition’ to move the parish to rally to a common cause.

In response to a pastoral letter issued to all parishes in the diocese by Bishop Julius Gitom sometime in November last year to support the Paitan Mission financially, the cathedral parish, under the leadership of Bishop Julius himself, decided to hold a fundraising  bazaar in conjunction with the parish’s 133rd anniversary.

The task fell on John Pang, who took his team through a painstaking six-month long planning and laying of groundwork to realise the event as part of the celebration on the parish feast day.

The event was preceded by a nine-day novena which saw an encouraging turnout of parishioners.

The celebration began with an opening Mass on Saturday Aug 13 at the Chapel of St Mary’s Convent, which also marked the beginning of the Rosary Rally, a spiritual preparation for the event.

The Rosary Rally, a 12-hour recitation of the Holy Rosary by the various groups, communities and ministries in the parish, has been organised for four consecutive years. For this year, the non-stop recitation was conducted outdoors at the Rosary Corridor on the Marian Mount. Those who could not make it for the outdoors recited the rosary at the rosary tower or at the chapel of St Mary’s Convent.

The rally concluded with a recital of the Rosary at the compound of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, with the blessing of the statue of Mother Mary by the bishop. After the blessing, the Solemnity of the Assumption commenced with the crowning of Mother Mary,  followed by a procession to the cathedral. The Mass was celebrated outdoors at 6:00 pm.

In his homily, the bishop expressed his delight at the presence of the faithful.  He remarked that their faithful participation of the nine-day novena  has brought unity, solidarity and communion in the parish community. He encouraged them to continue to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parish’s Patroness, for the spiritual and physical development of the entire parish.

The bazaar was held on Sunday Aug 14.   Seventy stalls ranging from games to food were put up by the various church groups, communities and ministries. The bishop was seen mingling with the faithful and visiting the stalls, accompanied by PPC Chairman Pilis Malim, John Pang and other members of the organising team.

The bazaar was an opportunity for the entire parish to work closely together.  The event provided a favourable platform to strengthen the bond among the faithful.

The organising team was pleased to report that the bazaar was able to nett RM242,094, above its  target of RM200,000. – Adapted from DOSPO

Third deacon ordained in Sandakan Diocese

diaconal ordination 2016, christopher ireneus

SANDAKAN – A third deacon was ordained for Sandakan Diocese recently.

Seminarian Christopher Ireneus of Kg Kiabau Telupid, 35, was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom on 18 July 2016 at St Mary’s Cathedral here.  Among the 11 concelebrants were Fr Terry Burke mhm of St Peter’s College Kuching, Fr Charles Chiew of Keningau (the candidate’s retreat master), and Fr David Garaman (semestral break).  Over a thousand faithful across the diocese turned up to witness the event.

The first to be ordained deacon (March 2010) and priest ( December 2010) was David A Garaman; followed by Stanley W Matakim (deacon 2015, priest 2016).  Both are from Lahad Datu.

The Rite of Ordination began after the Gospel proclamation.  Fr Thomas Makajil called the candidate by name and presented him to the bishop.  After the election by the bishop with the consent of the people, the bishop preached the homily.  The homily touched mainly on the deacon’s duties and responsibilities: proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the sacrifice, distributing the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.  He will also exhort believers and unbelievers alike and to instruct them in the faith.  Moreover, he will preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and conduct funeral rites.

After the homily, responding to the bishop’s queries, the elect resolved to do what is required of him and promised obedience to the bishop and his successors.  Then all knelt for the Litany of the Saints.

The high point of the rite was the laying on of hands by the bishop on the head of the elect in silence.  With hands outstretched, the bishop prayed the Prayer of Ordination.  After the prayer, Fr Jasery Gabuk, pastor of St Martin Telupid, put on the neo-ordained the deacon’s stole and dalmatic.  The new deacon then went and knelt before the bishop who placed the Book of Gospels in his hands, signifying his preaching ministry.  The rite ended with a fraternal embrace from the bishop.  The new deacon then took his place beside the bishop in the sanctuary.  The Eucharist went on as usual with the deacon assisting at the altar at the proper time.

In his speech after Communion, Deacon Christopher thanked all those who have journeyed with him in his formative years.  He added, “We often hear that the Church is the mystical body of Christ. In this body, we tend to think of the priest as the head, the leader, and the shepherd. However, it is possible that sometimes we may be so eager to lead that we forget that there are always those who follow. In the Gospel of Luke 22:14-20, 24-30 we heard just now, Jesus reminds us, “the greatest among you must behave, as if he were the youngest, the leader, as if he were the one who serves.”

He continued, “I say these things to remind myself and all of us, that ordination to the diaconate is not an honour that I deserve to earn, or bestowed as a reward upon those who responded to the call, nor on those who live a just moral life. If that were the case, I would not be standing here. Like the Holy Eucharist, it is a gift which you and I are called to participate in. It is a call of grave commitment despite my mountains of imperfections. As far as I can remember, I have heard this call within my heart.  In spite of  my many sins and shortcomings, the call remains. Today I pledge to continue answering this call to the best of my ability, knowing that nothing is possible without God.”

In his turn,  the bishop also thanked all those who have helped the neo-ordained in his journey to the priesthood.  He encouraged the faithful to continue journeying with the young deacon but warned them not to spoil him.

The reception was held at the parish hall with the usual cake-cutting ceremony and entertainment programme by the various groups/ministries.

The new deacon holds the distinction of being the first from Telupid to be ordained to the diaconate.  He will continue to serve at the cathedral where he was assigned before his diaconal ordination.  Two days earlier, on July 16, his fellow townmate, Novice Maria Natalia (Decvianney Julius), 24, took her first vows as a Putri Karmel Sister in Kaingaran Tambunan.

Telupid is a small landlocked town located in the district of Beluran in the centre of Sabah.  By road, it takes two and a half hours to reach there from Sandakan and about four to five hours from Kota Kinabalu.  It is a peaceful area surrounded by forested mountains.

The Christian community first started in Labuk with the help of catechist Linus Gumak of Kg Gambaron in 1961.  The first priest to evangelise the area was Fr Oestdyke mhm (1966-1967), who built a school and boarding house.  He was followed by Fr Jan van Velzen (1968-1969), who built the first church.  It was completed and blessed in early 1971.  The community was placed under the pastoral administration of St Peter Claver Ranau.  The hall was built in 1985.  In September 1994 the church was demolished and a new church was built under Fr Bruno Yasun’s supervision.  It was opened and blessed by Bishop John Lee on 12 Nov 1995.



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