Tag Archives: sandakan

STCIJ BEC-SYCC members organise reachout to 19 poor families

The families and reach-outers pose for remembrance during the visit, 7 Apr 2018.

SANDAKAN – Members of the BEC of St Teresa of Calcutta Indah Jaya (STCIJ) and The Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC) reached out to 19 families living in the periphery to share with them the joy of Easter on 7 Apr 2018.

The mission team was led by Susanna Cordova and Phillip Mosinoh of SYCC and John Tan and Leonnie Degullacion of STCIJ BEC. Together with their members, they handed baskets to each family consisting of basic necessities, such as cooking oil, rice, salt, sugar, biscuits, noodles, etc.  The children were given Easter gifts.

Prior to the outreach mission, a discussion on preparatory work was held at the residence of Susanna Cordova on March 12. They found out this community of 19 families were evicted from their houses cum workplace because the owner had sold the land. They have moved to a further and more secluded new location.

These families rebuilt their houses, mostly a one-room space, cramped with 10-12  members per family. It was heart-breaking to learn of their miserable living conditions, thus the idea of visiting these families was mooted. In less than a month, both communities solicited enough provisions for the affected families

The outreach mission project was quite challenging, walking through difficult terrain. The project has cemented strong ties between members of the BEC of St Teresa of Calcutta Indah Jaya and The Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC).  – Romeo Barintang, Sandakan Diocesan Blog

St Mark hosts police day celebration

The men in uniform pose with the concelebrants after Mass, 14 Apr 2018, St Mark Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – Saint Mark’s Church at Mile 12 here hosted the 211th Police Day celebration on 14 Apr 2018.

Jointly organised by St Ignatius Mile 10 BEC and Badan Kebajikan Kristian BN 15 PGA, the Mass was presided by Father David Garaman and concelebrated with Father Christopher Ireneus and Father Sunny Chung.

Aside from BN 15 PGA, there were also members from IPD Sandakan, Marine Sandakan and BN 20 PGA Beluran who came with their families.

The police themselves took active part in the Mass as commentator, reader, and presenters of the gifts.

After Mass, all adjourned to the church hall for a potluck lunch fellowship.

ASP Clarence Philip of BN 15 PGA Sandakan welcomed and thanked those present for their presence while ASP Daniel Bansatan presented a souvenir to Fr Garaman. – Eddie Embau, Sandakan Diocesan Blog

Sandakan parish holds briefing for confirmands’ parents

A section of the parents of confirmation students attending a briefing by Fr David Garaman, Fr Mulders Catechetical Centre, 22 Apr 2018.

SANDAKAN – Saint Mary’s Cathedral Parish held a briefing for the parents of English confirmation class at the Fr Mulders Catechetical Centre here on 22 Apr 2018.

Nineteen students will be confirmed this year while 30 will receive the sacrament next year.

Father David Garaman facilitated the briefing.

He touched on two main clauses from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) dealing with parental responsibility in educating their children in the faith and in Christian virtues (CCC#2223, 2226).

He stressed that parents have a responsibility to give good example to their children and they are the first persons to influence the moral and faith formation of their children.  Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray as a family and to discover their vocation as children of God.   By taking the time to pray, parents show their children the importance of being a holy family which is the vision and mission that the Diocese of Sandakan is striving to realise, ‘to be a Christ centred community, serving one another with love.’

While the priest encouraged the attendees to support their children’s Sunday School activities he also invited them to be facilitators themselves.

Finally, Fr David brought home to the parents the importance of their children’s participation in the pre-Confirmation retreat as a way of helping the teenagers to focus on spiritual matters.  – Evelyn Jock-Lagan, Sandakan diocesan blog

Sandakan cathedral parish welcomes 85 new members

A section of the young neophytes with lighted candles after their baptism, St Mark’s Church Sandakan, 31 Mar 2018.

SANDAKAN – Saint Mary’s Cathedral here welcomed 85 new members into its parish family this Easter.

Sixty of them were baptised during the Easter Vigil, 31 Mar 2018,  at the cathedral while 25 were baptised at St Mark’s Church, 20 km from Sandakan.

Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom presided at the Easter Vigil, concelebrated witb Father David Garaman.  It was attended by some 1500 parishioners.

In his homily, the prelate called on those to be baptised in the resurrection of Jesus to be filled with joy in their hearts, to step out from darkness into the light of Christ with bonds of love through baptism.

The prelate also addressed the faithful on the importance of renewing their Baptismal promises. It is a reminder that Christ has risen and lived among us, to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour, who saves mankind through his unconditional love and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, in his homily at St Mark, Father Christopher Ireneus said:”In life, we have a big rock that weighs us down. What is that big rock? It’s our sins. The resurrection of Jesus has removed the rocks that weigh us down. Believe that even now, He is still able to roll away the stone that weighs us down in our lives.”

145 attend women’s Lenten recollection

SANDAKAN – Around 145 women attended the Lenten recollection for them on 16-17 Mar 2018 at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre here.

Organised by the Diocesan Women’s Apostolate, the participants including three religious sisters, represented the five parishes and one mission centre in the diocese.

Good Shepherd Sister Maria Dipal facilitated the event together with Father Christopher Ireneus, the spiritual adviser to the DWA.

Organising chairperson Cecelia D’Souza welcomed the participants and went through the programme with them.

In his speech, Fr Ireneus reminded the women of their important responsibilities as wife, mother, sister in the family because the family is the “domestic church.”

The programme is one of the initiatives of the Women’s Apostolate to empower the women of the diocese to serve with love in line with the Diocesan Vision and Mission.

The five sessions helped the participants to look into the stage of their life journey – where they are, what are they looking for, the challenges they face, the crises they encounter – in the different aspects of life – and the tools to overcome them, enabling them to live in community and holiness, and so become peacemakers to all they meet.

The programme ended with a prayer-blessing by Fr Ireneus. – Adapted from Sandakan Diocesan Blog

Mary Queen of the Rosary BEC makes two Lenten visits

The members pose with the residents of the Sabah Cheshire Home Sibuga Sandakan, 10 Mar 2018.

SANDAKAN – Some 19 members of the Mary Queen of the Rosary BEC made two Lenten visits on 10 Mar 2018.

They visited the Sri Harapan Senior Citizens Home and Sabah Cheshire Home (SCH) at Mile 5 Jalan Sibuga here.

The visits were headed by Connie Joseph with the aim of opening the hearts of the members to the elderly and the handicapped.

At the senior citizens home, Edin, one of the staff, explained to the visitors how the home is being run and the need to be sensitive to the needs of the residents.

While visiting the Sabah Cheshire Home, the BEC members took time to entertain the residents and distributed provisions to them.

Sandakan youth leaders camp draws 148 participants

TAWAU – The 6th Youth Leaders Camp (YLC 6) drew 148 participants from across the Sandakan Diocese.

Tawau hosted the 4-night-5-day event on 7-11 Feb 2018 at Holy Trinity Parish here.

The theme was taken from the 33rd World Youth Day: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30).

In his message to the participants, Bishop Julius Gitom said that the Church looks upon the youth with hope as they hold the key to the next generation. To achieve that, they have to begin now.

The prelate urged them to learn from the Blessed Mother what self-sacrificing love means and the readiness to do God’s will.

The event featured several inputs interspersed with praise and worship, testimonies, games and other activities.

The objectives of the YLC 6 were to (1) help the participants to encounter the Lord; (2) deepen the sense of belonging in their respective ministries; and (3) strengthen the bond of friendship and communication among themselves. – Sandakan diocesan newsblog

Sandakan Diocese organises two-day pastoral plan study on diocesan vision and mission

Participants attending the study day on the Diocesan Pastoral Vision and Mission Statement pose for remembrance, 11-12 Feb 2018, Sandakan.

SANDAKAN – Sandakan Diocese organised a two-day pastoral plan study on its diocesan vision and mission on 11-12 Feb 2018.

Seventy participants comprising clergy, religious sisters, seminarians and lay leaders from St Mary Cathedral Sandakan, Holy Trinity Tawau, St Dominic Lahad Datu, St Martin Telupid, Our Lady of Fatima Beluran, and Paitan Mission attended the event at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre here.

In his welcoming address, Bishop Julius Gitom remarked that the attendance showed the commitment of the participants to realise the diocesan vision and mission.  He expressed his hope that what they have learnt in the two days will be disseminated to all the group leaders in their respective parishes.

The bishop also informed the gathering that the diocesan vision and mission statement was presented to Pope Francis during the ad limina visit on Feb 8.

He said the pope was pleased with it and hoped it will be put into practice.

In fact, the pope had said, “When we pray and act upon it, we are actually revealing the face of Jesus.”

The Sandakan Diocese has adopted their vision as a “Christ-centered community, serving one another with love” to be realised through the following six mission goals:

1. to nurture active church participantion
2. to foster a spirit of unity
3. to intensify faith formation
4. to enhance living the gospel values
5. to promote vocations
6. to foster family values.

The objective of the Study Day is to understand that the Diocesan Pastoral Plan is a tool to help parishes focus on its priorities.

Five sessions were held covering the background and history of the vision/mission statement (Francis Tan), formulation process (Pilis Malim), Way Forward (Sr Maria Dipal rgs), organisational structure, roles and functions (Anna Amandus), pre-implementation and leading role matrix (Fr David Garaman), and documentation of programme implementation, stewardship role, monitoring and evaluation (Eva Siruno).

Each session was followed by parish group discussion based on the questionnaire given which was later presented to the floor.

Mass was celebrated before the final session.

In his closing remarks, the bishop said he was pleased with the active participation of the members. He exhorted them not to worry unduly over its implementation but to rely on the strength of God.

“What is important is that we must first be transformed in our mind, heart, and soul in our spiritual journey. We might not see the fruit of our vision and mission but we have at least planted the spiritual seed and prepared the foundation for others to build on,” the bishop said.

KK prelate urges participants to look at migrant ministry as vocation

The participants listen as Kletus Muyuk gives an overview of the AMOS-3 conference, Sandakan, 21 Sept 2017.

SANDAKAN – Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu said the Feast of St Matthew paved the way for the AMOS Conference to look at migrant ministry as a vocation.  He delivered this insight in his opening homily at the third AMOS Conference hosted by Sandakan Diocese on 21-23 Sept 2017 at the Sandakan Pastoral Centre here.

One hundred and fifty participants, comprising two bishops, 11 priests, six religious from the three arch/dioceses of Sabah and Miri gathered for the conference themed “The Church: Advocate for the vulnerable and voiceless.

Matthew was considered an outcast for supporting the Roman Empire in his role as a tax collector,  Abp Wong said.  But he was called by the Lord to follow Him.

“Those involved in migrant ministry might also be viewed negatively for reaching out to foreigners,” said the KK prelate.

He continued, “But when they responded to serve the vulnerable and voiceless, they are, in fact, doing the will of God, who says, “I was a stranger and you made me welcome.” (Mt 25:35b)

Both Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan and Kletus Muyuk, head of Sandakan Diocesan Human Development Commission, provided an overview of the conference.

They spelt out the two conference objectives: (a) To deepen the understanding of migration and to strengthen the spirit of service to the migrants, and (b) To increase inter-diocesan cooperation in pastoral care to migrants.

To achieve these, the organising team has incorporated a session on the legal aspect of migration and a session on collaboration.

Romo Lukas of Larantuka Diocese gave an input on “Advocating Human Dignity: Basis for Pastoral Care to Migrants.”  In his talk covering the issue of migration and its pastoral care from social, historical, biblical and ecclesial perspectives, Lukas quoted the UN Charter on Human Rights and some church documents, specifically Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi, to support his view that ministry to migrants is, in fact, advocating their dignity as “imago Dei,” persons created in the image of God.

However, the reality of pastoral care to migrants is not easy. Bishop Julius shared the complexity of the matter the next day. Many a time there is a choice to be made: which comes first – pastoral or legal? He said given the immense presence of migrants in Sandakan diocese, pastoral care to them is not an option but part and parcel of building the local Church there.

Jellferlyne Joseph, a programme officer at Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS), supported Bishop Julius in her personal testimony of working for migrants. She used to be against them. But over the years in PKGS, she realised that migrants, too, are humans who need livelihood, education and security. She learnt to see God in the faces of the migrants and saw her service as a vocation.

In spite of the complexity in migration issue, if it is done in a peaceful, legal and dignified way, there should no fear. This was assured by Bapak Konsul Krishna Djelani of Tawau and Elsie Primus who spoke as a magistrate of the Kota Kinabalu High Court.

Both highlighted the relevant Immigration Acts that determine the legality of migration in both countries. Many heard for the first time how such laws could actually facilitate a person to cross national boundaries in a dignified way if he/she abides by them closely. No doubt there are syndicates who exploit the process for economic or political gains. But that should not prevent a migrant from violating the laws.

The session was followed by Q & A from the floor. Many asked about matters related to marriage between locals and migrants, on labour law, documentation issues, statelessness and status of fourth generation migrants. However, answers to such complex matters could not be dealt with satisfactorily in a short time.

In the afternoon Romo Lukas shared from the perspective of a “Sending Church” – why people of Flores choose to migrate, how the local churches prepare and help the families who are left behind. He felt that the frequent exchange of information and collaboration between the two sides (Flores and Sabah) would further ease the burden encountered by the migrants, especially in living their faith in a foreign land.

Reports from the three arch/dioceses were then briefly tabled to provide a glimpse on what the local churches have done in ministering to the migrants. It was clear that the responses varied from diocese to diocese, from locality to locality.

Msgr Gilbert Engan who represented Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau admitted that his presence might be providential. He sensed the urgent need for the three arch/dioceses in Sabah to collaborate as migrants are mobile. Without common pastoral policies, they might look for a locality where reception of the sacrament of matrimony is lax.

The final session facilitated by Dominic Lim was aimed to get the Sabah dioceses to move together as “Receiving Church.” Participants were divided into groups to propose concrete ways based on items agreed in the Tripartite Pastoral Gatherings in 2013 and 2015. The proposals would be screened through by the Organising Team before a Final Statement could be issued from the AMOS-3 Conference for the attention of pastoral institutes and agents in Sabah.

Bishop Julius, in his farewell remarks, hoped that AMOS-3 has instilled a deeper sense of commitment among the participants. Though there might still be uncertainties among them, especially those who were there for the first time, he believed that at least the sessions have convinced them that defending the vulnerable and voiceless is very much the mission of the Church.

AMOS-1 was hosted by KK Archdiocese in February 2011 at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre while Keningau Diocese hosted AMOS-2 at the Tatal Retreat Centre Keningau in February 2013. – AHDC

Sandakan hosts third AMOS conference

SANDAKAN – The Diocese of Sandakan hosted the third AMOS conference at the Sandakan Pastoral Centre here on 21-23 Sept 2017.

A total of 162 participants registered for the conference including 12 representatives from the Papar-Limbahau Human Development Committee (Komiti Pembangunan Insan or KPI).

The conference, held every two years on rotation basis among the three arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan, included two bishops, 13 priests, seven religious sisters and one novice.

The objectives of the conference are to enhance the understanding of the issue of migration, to strengthen the migrant ministry, and to foster collaboration among the dioceses in this ministry.

In his homily at the opening Mass, Archbishop John Wong said the participants are like the apostle Matthew in answering the call of Jesus without a second thought.  He hoped that when they return to their respective parishes, they will continue to bring Christ’s mercy to those they encounter, especially the migrants, touching their hearts with kindness, love and mercy, notwithstanding the challenges and criticism they will receive from parishioners at times as well as misunderstanding from the communities.

The two-day programme saw the presentation and discussion on several topics namely:

  1. Human Rights Defence (Pembelaan Maruah Insan: Dasar Pelayanan Migran) by Romo Lukas from the Diocese of Larantuka.
  2. The Reality of Migrant Ministry in Local Church (Realiti Pelayanan Migran dalam Gereja Lokal) by Bishop Julius Gitom from the pastoral perspective and Jellferlyne Joseph from personal perspective.
  3. Migration in peace, legal and dignified (Bermigrasi secara aman, legal dan bermartabat I) by Indonesian Councillor Bapa Krishna Djelani and Malaysian Magistrate Elsie Primus.
  4. Migration in peace, legal and dignified (Bermigrasi secara aman, legal dan bermartabat II)  by Romo Lukas from the Early Church perspective.
  5. Moving Together as a Purposeful Church (Bergerak Bersama sebagai “Gereja Tujuan”), a written report on AMOS-2 and its follow through by the three dioceses and the current recommendation and resolution which will be documented and later forward to the three dioceses for their implementation and follow-up.

The conference participants had a cultural night filled with traditional dances from various ethnic communities from Indonesia, Philippines, Sabah and Sarawak as well as entertaining drama sketch from the Indonesian community.

It coincided with the World Migrant Sunday 2017 which is normally celebrated between the last week of September and the first week of October, with the theme “Minor Migrants, Vulnerable and Voiceless”.

The final day saw a consensus from the three dioceses to address and implement the suggested recommendation and resolution in stages. – William Charles Mindus (SOCCOM Papar Limbahau)

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