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Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Compiled by SOCCOM, St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan
During the just concluded Diocesan level World Day of Migrants 2015, themed 'World without frontiers, mother to all' on 27th September 2015 at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, a few stepped forth to share their life journey as a migrant. They shared on their grief and anguish, the joy and hope. Among them, Roferda, popularly known as Ferdee has this to share, cherishing the gift of joy which is always the gift of hope.
Roferda Coloma Mariano @ Ferdee was born on 6th November, 1942 in Nueva Vizcaya Philippines. She migrated in 1964, to Sabah, popularly known as North Borneo then. The nation of Malaysia was just formed a year ago when she arrived at Kota Kinabalu, known then as Jesselton at that time, from Manila with a 3 months social visit visa. She came to Sandakan on October that year, aged 21 and freshly graduated from the University in Manila with Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. 
Her main purpose to Sandakan was to visit her uncle then, and at the same time looking for a temporary job to earn enough money to go to Yokohama to visit her grandfather in Japan. Her planning was, from Japan, she will proceed to further her studies in the USA. Little did she know that this small transit town of Sandakan will become her hometown for the next 51 years. She is married to Joe Mariano, a local gentleman of Sandakan and has 3 children.

She shared, “At first I felt strange in Sandakan, because I grew up in the city of Manila. I was so used to the busy and fast moving life. However as days went by, I felt at home as it suit me the quiet and slow moving life back then. Slowly I made many friends, mostly Filipinos, and then eventually I befriended other races, Chinese, Kadazan, Malay and some Indians. I said to myself, wow…what a diverse races of Sabah and very interesting to know their background and culture. I mastered the Bahasa Melayu fast because the language has a lot of similarities with my mother tongue.”
Her interest was to become a social worker with the welfare department but God saw her better off with the teaching profession in an established school in Sandakan and retired as a teacher here in 1997. Her involvement in Girl Guides Movements for more than two decades and in the Lions Club has earned her a Special Award Winner in the State-Level Women’s Day Celebration in 2003. Not only had she excelled in the secular life but also in the spiritual life, through an active involvement in the Church.
Her hobby
Her involvement started with her association with fellow Filipinos in the church and it had strengthened through the setting up of the Filipino Pastoral Community in the church. Somehow the involvement became intense by her joining in other ministries such as the Catholic Women's League (CWL). Her scope of involvement not only in prayers and church activities but her involvement expanded to assisting in socio-economic aspect. When asked if she had any unforgettable encountered of migrants, she shared the most memorable experience was when thousands of Filipinos were forced to leave Sabah in 2007, it was so disheartening to see them leaving in a pathetic condition. With the help of, Rev. Fr. Francis Tsen, the rector of St. Mary Church then, Mama Anne of an NGO, social workers and some volunteers organised a concerted effort to supply them the basic necessities such as baby milks, pampers towels, sanitary napkins for their journey back to the Philippines.
Another unforgettable experience in 2008 was with human trafficking, a tragedy involving 5 young lady migrants where she helped and temporarily housed them.  They managed to escape from the clutch of illegal recruiters which conned them of lucrative job in Sabah but ended up in the red street work. She managed to get help from a Good Samaritan who assisted her to secure air passages and proper documentations for them to return  to the Philippines
She said “being a migrant myself, and a lucky one to make it as a citizen in this country, would like to encourage you to reach out and help the migrants in whatever way you can for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. My involvement in church with all these wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ has helped me to encounter Jesus in my heart. I became a reborn Christian, and with the Holy Spirit guiding me and giving me energy, I will continue to serve as long as the Lord allows. ”.
Celebrating her 50th marriage anniversary
Ferdee is an active member of the Church. She is never tired of serving, giving to her friends and community and reaching out to those in need. She joined the Catholic Women's League way back in 1978 and served as president / chairlady for several terms. She held the post as the East Coast 1 CWL Coordinator for a 2-year term (1987-1989).  She is currently the chairlady of the Catholic Women's Apostolate of St Mary's Cathedral.
In 1980, she volunteered as a RCIA animator and served till today. The following year, 1981, she enlisted in the Word Ministry, serving as commentator and reader. Together with her husband, the couple were appointed as marriage counselor in 1990. She has served as a volunteer catechist, teaching the preschool children in the Sunday School in the mid 90s.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


By Sr Liza fsic
Tawau : The line-up of the Catholic Women's Apostolate of Holy Trinity Church for 2013-2015 was dissolved on 13th September 2015 after having served the full two-year term. 
An ad-hoc selection team comprising Sr Liza fsic, Naomi Francis, Edward Nuing and Mary Bernitez conducted the selection process. As part of the process, a catechesis session was carried out at the Church Basement Hall which among others included the following;
  • The challenges and barriers in serving by Edward Nuing (Chairman of the Ad Hoc Selection Committe )
  • Functions and Role of CWA at Parish and Diocesan Level by Andrew Kiat (PPC Chairman)
  • Vocation and discipleship of Jesus by Fr. Johnny Raju
Seated from L-R : Alesa Bontilao, Ernie Stephanie Edward, Msgr. Nicholas Ong, Sr. Martha JonikRosalia Rozie Alfred and Rani Angela Gustin
Standing L-R : Julie Kho. Ma Belen NokiahMarysia JohnnyYuliana UbaSabinah Masitol, Lily Chin, Emily Mantais, Juliana Emin, Clara Alberto and Regina Shim.
Not in photo : Lilybeth Calimpong, Margaret Kewa and Maria Missa
The new line-up for the Catholic Women's Apostolate of Holy Trinity Parish Tawau for the two-year term of 2015-2017 is as below :
Sr Martha Jonik fsic
Julie Kho (FPC)
Ernie Stephanie Edward
Ma Belen Nokiah (FPC)
Vice Chairlady
Alesa Bontilau
Yuliana Uba (IPC)
Rosalia Rozie Alfred
Maria Missa (IPC)
Asst Secretary
Marysia Johnny
Emily Mantias (TUKAD)
Rani Angela Gustin
Juliana Emin (TUKAD)
Asst Treasurer
Clara Alberto
Sabinah Masitol (TUKAD)
Lily Chin (CPC)
Lilibeth Calimpong (FPC)
Regina Shim (CPC)
Margreta Kewa (IPC)
Following that, the inaugural meeting was held on 16th September to map out the annual activity and to appoint members to be in charge of each activity. The meeting was also attended by Evelyn Watson, the vice-coordinator of the Sandakan Diocesan Catholic Women's Apostolate.
Ernie Stephanie Edward, the newly elected chairlady called upon all members to develop good cooperation and team work, giving full support to one another. She also hoped that members would pray for each other. The meeting adjourned at 8.00 pm with a Closing Prayer led by Fr. Johnny Raju.
The new line-up of the Catholic Women's Apostolate ( CWA ) of  Holy Trinity Church Tawau was commissioned by Msgr. Nicholas Ong during the Sunset Mass on Saturday, 3rd October 2015.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Understanding of Humanae Vitae and Nuptial Mystery by Fr Dr Charles Chew

By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : The Parish Family Life Ministry of Holy Trinity Parish Tawau conducted two series of talk on family, facilitated by Rev. Fr. Dr. Charles Chew of the Keningau Diocese, one each on 6th and 27th September respectively.
Fr Dr Charles responded to the invitation, extended to him by the Parish Priest, Msgr Nicholas Ong. Both talks were attended by some 60 parishioners at the Upper Room of the Parish Hall from 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm. 
The talks focused on the encyclical letter of 'Humanae Vitae' and 'Christ's Teaching on Marriage'  followed by the 'Nuptial Mystery.' Both topics are informative and it enhanced the knowledge and understanding on the church document, teaching and mission to the family.
The prophecies on human life by Pope Paul VI on his 'Humanae Vitae' document  foresee the future culture of man on the transmission of life. Unity and pro-creation issues which has been debated by most people in the early 1960s, has revealed its truth in this century especially in the regulation of birth, social or public relationship, sexualism and many more that conquer the purpose and value of sacred union between man and woman.
The other topic on the 'Nuptial Mystery' touched on the original plan of God in creating man and woman. The journey continues when both united under the sacrament of marriage, the sign of God’s love and salvation to the couple as parents and setting out to form the family, the basic cell in society.
This topic indeed had helped the participants to understand the causes to various challenges and trials encountered by family today. 'God has given us freedom to choose between bad and evil and at the same time we are also given the inner conscious or conscience for us to discern God’s demand. All the trials in our journey of life are indeed transpired from the desire of our heart and through our conscience we are free to choose.'
A session was set aside to reflect on  1 John 2:15-17, 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Both topics presented are indeed an eye opener to all. In order to sustain human value and to protect the future generation, everyone is obliged to pray for one other, for the family, society and generally for everybody in the present and future. It is pertinent to understand the teaching of the church as it is essential to be the instrument of 're-evangelization' on the value of human life through the family. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


 By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : The Chinese Community of Holy Trinity Parish Tawau celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival moderately but with much joy and harmony on 23rd September 2015 at 7.00 pm at the Parish Hall.
Some 200 Chinese parishioners attended the event. Msgr Nicholas Ong, the rector, Fr Johnny the assistant rector, religious sisters, members of the Parish Pastoral Council and lay leaders were also present in support of the occasion. 
Msgr. Nicholas Ong expressed his gratitude to the organizing committee for the initiative taken  to maintain and continue with the ancient Chinese tradition of celebrating the Moon Cake festival. The festive occasion celebrated together among the various communities inculcates respect for one another's culture.
Msgr Ong went on to say, “As one part of the church, we must sustain our relationship with other people by organizing and inviting others to such a wonderful event, the Moon Cake Festival. We cannot live by our own just within the community but in communion with others. Through this activity we can be united and build friendship bond within our own community and others, more of an  extended  family.  The presence of other communities shows that it is a sign of unity as one parish.” 
The program was filled with a special 'harmonica' musical presentation by David Wong and a few other presentations. There were also competitions on peeling the pomaloes, the best designed lanterns and solving riddles. 
The event ended at 9.30 pm with a Closing Prayer led by Fr. Johnny Raju.


By Edward Koh, SOCCOM Tawau



Artikel oleh Dalius LL dan
gambar oleh George Bell 
Sandakan: Tahun ini, Katedral St. Mary menganjurkan sambutan Hari Migran dan Perantau Sedunia Ke-101 peringkat Keuskupan Sandakan bertemakan, 'Gereja tanpa sempadan, Ibu kepada semua' pada Ahad, 27hb September 2015. Misa Kudus diselebrankan oleh Bapa Uskup Julius Dusin Gitom, dibantu oleh Fr. Sunny Chung dan Deacon Stanley William Matakim. 
Perayaan Hari Migran Sedunia ini dikendalikan oleh Komiti Pembangunan Insan Paroki (KPIP) Sandakan diketuai oleh Sdra Hildi Poili dengan tujuan untuk menghargai sumbangan positif para migran dan kehadiran mereka di dalam komuniti kita. Dengan merayakan Hari Minggu Migran Sedunia, gereja juga menyatakan sokongan bagi membanteras penindasan dan perdagangan manusia.

Hampir 2,000 umat hadir dalam Perayaan Misa Kudus sempena Hari Migran Sedunia ini. Turut hadir ialah para migran dari Komuniti Filipina dan Indonesia, umat dari stasiluar, sub-paroki dan perwakilan KPIP dari Lahad Datu, Tawau, Telupid dan Sandakan. Suasana perayaan Misa juga menarik dengan umat mengenakan pakaian tradisi masing-masing mengikut suku kaum mereka, samada penduduk tempatan mahu pun migran. 
Dalam masa yang sama kehadiran belia yang mengikuti seminar 'Unite Camp' untuk persediaan ke Sabah Youth Day-4 di Tawau juga turut memeriahkan sambutan Misa Hari Minggu Migran ini.
Di antara pesan Bapa Uskup sempena sambutan Hari Migran dan Perantau Sedunia 2015 menyatakan hari ini merupakan satu peringatan kepada setiap kita untuk menumpukan perhatian yang lebih kepada golongan miskin dan terpinggir, terutamanya migran dan perantau di seluruh keuskupan kita. Ia adalah satu kesempatan untuk memupuk budaya penerimaan dan perpaduan. Ia adalah juga peluang untuk mengukuhkan lagi ikatan perhubungan yang menyatukan kita semua. Bapa uskup menyatakan pintu gereja adalah sentiasa terbuka untuk semua migran dan perantau yang mencari rumah ibadah di keuskupan ini.

Doa umat disampaikan dalam pelbagai bahasa

Doa umat telah dibaca dalam pelbagai bahasa; Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Tagalog, Bahasa Cina, Bahasa Kadazan Dusun, Bahasa Malaysia dan Bahasa Inggeris. Pembawa persembahan terdiri dari pelbagai suku kaum dalam pakaian tradisi masing-masing yang juga melibatkan perwakilan-perwakilan KPIP setiap paroki. 
Selesai Misa Kudus, lebih kurang 350 umat menyambung perayaan sambutan di Dewan Konferens Pusat Pastoral Keuskupan Sandakan. 
Pengerusi KPIP yang juga mewakili jawatankuasa penganjur, Hildi Poili mengalu-alukan kehadiran semua yang datang untuk memberi sokongan dalam meraikan Hari Migran ini. Beliau menjelaskan istilah migran ini bukan sahaja terhad kepada mereka yang datang dari luar Negara tetapi juga mereka yang berhijrah dari daerah lain ke Sandakan kerana mencari nafkah hidup. Beliau menyeru agar semua hadirin mengambil peluang untuk lebih mengenali sesama dan mengunjungi pameran-pameran yang disediakan oleh suku-kaum migran di lobi dewan. 
Bapa Uskup Julius mengucapkan syabas kepada AJK Komiti Pembangunan Insan Paroki Katedral St Mary atas ushasama dalam melaksanakan perayaan Hari Migran Sedunia Ke-101 dengan penuh komitmen. Prelatus berkenaan memetik ucapan dari Bapa Suci tentang migran ketika lawatannya ke Philadelphia, Amerika Syarikat yang mengatakan orang berhijrah untuk tujuan memperbaiki kehidupan mereka. Maka Bapa Suci telah menyeru kita agar memberi peluang membantu para migran di mana sekali pun mereka berada, begitu juga di tempat kita khususnya migran dari Indonesia dan Filipina kerana ini juga menunjukkan kita adalah pengikut Kristus sejati.

Yunita Clemens Kewuren dengan sajaknya 'Gembala Kecil Menanti Fajar'

Sdra Kletus, Pengerusi KPIP St Dominic, Lahad Datu

Sdra Leonie, Juruacara Hari Migran Sedunia Peringkat Keuskupan Sandakan

Ferdee Mariano dari Filipina dengan perkongsiannya, 'Perjalanan hidup saya sebagai seorang migran.'

Ibu Juliana Ritan dari Flores Indonesia, 'Suka dan duka sebagai seorang migran.'

Sdra Nicholas, Pengerusi KPIP St Martin, Telupid

Selesai sahaja ucapan Bapa Uskup, acara diteruskan dengan mendengar dan menonton klip video aktiviti KPIP dari setiap paroki, persembahan-persembahan dari perwakilan umat migran dan tempatan serta perkongsian suka dan duka dari beberapa orang migran. Sebaik program dalam dewan selesai, para hadirin berpeluang melihat pameran serta merasai makanan tradisional dari komuniti-komuniti Indonesia, Filipina, Cina dan KadazanDusun di foyer Dewan. Acara sedemikian merupakan satu landasan untuk mengeratkan lagi perhubungan di antara para migran dan umat setempat.

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