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Thousands throng Mt Rosary to celebrate the Immaculate Conception

RANAU – Every human being is called by God to receive salvation given through the living Word of God who became man as our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The head of Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, Archbishop John Wong said that every human being should emulate the Virgin Mary conceived without blemish in responding to the call of God.

“Perhaps, at home we have many statues of Mother Mary. Sometimes we see this woman lifted so high that it’s hard to follow or emulate her, so we sometimes overlook her.”

Archbishop Wong said this in his homily when celebrating the Mass in conjunction with the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on Mount Rosary, Kg Toboh Baru Ranau Dec 8.

Concelebrating with the prelate at Mass were Ranau parish priest, Fr Nicholas Stephen, Fr Francis Tsen and Romo Augustinus from Larantuka Indonesia.

In the Mass, the Archbishop invited the people to ask whether they are constantly pondering the Word, confirming that the Word is leading their lives, as well as allowing the Word to be part of themselves.

“If we always do so, the Psalmist today says, ‘Sing a new song to the Lord because God has done great works in me’.

“I hope and pray, when you go home tonight, or to your parish or your community or family, you can sing a ‘new song’. Or would you go back to being your old self?

“Can you sing a new song like Mary after she received the message through the Angel Gabriel, and said ‘Yes‘ to the angel? She sang the Magnificat ‘My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour’”, said the archbishop.

He said there is a ‘new song’ because God had raised her (Mary), a servant, to a higher place.

According to the archbishop, God has made miracles happen and He will continue to make miracles happen in the lives of all people, especially when they come to celebrate the Holy Mass.

“Having received this most magnificent Word, let’s sing a new song to praise and glorify God because God has, and continues to make great works in the lives of each one of us.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, let us pray to God so that we are all like Mama Maria, always humble;  because when we humble ourselves, the loving and caring God will elevate us as He did the Virgin Mary,” Archbishop Wong explained.

     For the Marian celebration, some 3,000 people from all over the state came together to march as far as two kilometers from St John Tambiau to Mount Rosary in Toboh Baru, where they celebrated Mass. Clarence Dol

Mt Rosary pilgrimage site draws thousands

RANAU – Over two thousand Catholics from across Sabah as well as the neighboring state gathered for the Mt Rosary pilgrimage in Kg Toboh Baru Ranau after walking in a procession for more than two kilometers here on Friday 31 Aug 2018.

Ranau parish priest, Fr Nicholas Stephen told those who came that miracles do happen everyday, but the real miracle that happened on this Friday event was that people from all corners were able to come to Mt Rosary.

“Not all people who have money, cars and possessions could come here if it is not for God who called them. That is why today, you are the miracle, because out of everyone else, you came here today.

“We are fortunate today because we are given time to take part in this procession as we carry along with us the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which was also processed across the villages in Ranau last year.

“Through the procession last year, many prayers were answered, families that were separated by all sorts of circumstances were united together, and many people who have lost their faith were reconciled and found their way home,” he said.

During his homily at Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick spoke about how as Christian believers, we are called to embrace the cross of Jesus, which others viewed mockingly.

One of those met during the pilgrimage, Hillary Henry Ripan from St Theresa Parish, Serian Sarawak said the Mt Rosary pilgrimage is an experience that he would not forget.

Such was the experience of joy and blessedness shared by those who came, from far and near.  To top the blessings, the Lord has also blessed the pilgrims with fine weather throughout the pilgrimage journey here.

For another pilgrim, Rustina Amburus and her group from St Anthony of Padua Nunuk Ragang, Ranau Parish, their love for Jesus brought them here despite many obstacles that would have weakened the hearts of others.

“Truly our journey here was blessed because of many obstacles that came our way. Firstly, the only car we could find for the journey was a faulty car. For example, while traveling uphill, the engine stopped a few times.

“In spite of the problematic transportation, we could not contain the growing excitement within us because of our longing for Christ, and belief that He has called us to be here,” she said.

After a 2.5 kilometer procession with the statue of Our Lady from Kg Tambiau to the Mt Rosary in Kg Toboh Baru, many pilgrims admitted that they were uplifted beyond their expectation.

Pamela Esther Mosinoh from St John Tuaran said she was impressed by what the little community here has done in transforming the area within a short span of time to become a place of worship and devotion.

“I believe that this Mt Rosary will one day become an important pilgrimage site. I sense that this will be a place where the faith of many today as well as in the future, will be restored,” she said.

After Mass on Mt Rosary, Fr Nick signed a plaque symbolizing the opening of the Mt Rosary Kg Toboh Baru Ranau as a pilgrimage site for all, and those who are interested to know more could contact the SPCR office at 011-26271801. – Clarence Dol

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