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Saturday, October 31, 2009

CWA of St Mary's Cathedral Celebrates its 39th Anniversary

Reciting the Holy Rosary in front of the grotto

Members getting ready for the commissioning

Sandakan : The CWA of St Mary's Cathedral celebrated its 39th anniversary today, Saturday 31st October 2009. The auspicious event began with the recitation of the Holy Rosary by members in front of the Grotto at 5.00 pm. marking the close of the October block rosary month.

Presenting the gift by members of CWA

Ferdee M. the chairperson of the new Committee

The members taking their pledge of commitment

The new line up with the religious and Fr Thomas

The new line up of the CWA headed by Ferdee Mariano took their pledge of commitment in front of the altar witnessed by the presiding priest Fr Thomas Makajil and the congregation in conjunction with All Saints Day Eucharistic celebration. The new office bearers will serve a term of 2 years from 2009 - 2011.

The CWA formerly known as CWL (Catholic Women's League) was formed in the early seventies under the supervision and spiritual guidance of Fr Thomas Sham and seven committed ladies under the leadership of the then Puan Sri Emily Stephens. Their primary aim was to clean and decorate the Church every Sunday and at all festive seasons. Later they were very much involved in pastoral care work which includes hospital visits and also to homes of the needy and the aged.

Romona Pontilas a pioneer of the CWA when interviewed has this to say, "Remain faithful in the Women's Apostolate in all circumstances. My greatest hope is that the new members will continue the mission of the ministry".

Another veteran member, Patricia Pascua when asked why she remained in the ministry for the last 30 over years has this to share. " Through CWA, I have ample opportunity to interact with fellow sisters, building up harmonious relationship. We listen to one another. We render assistance to members who are in need. I feel happy and am satisfied as long as I can help others in need".

Happy 31st Anniversary Sacerdotal Ordination!!

After the commissioning of the new office bearers, they adjourned to Kenalanmu Seafood restaurant for a dinner reception. They also took the opportunity to celebrate the 31st Anniversary Sacerdotal Ordination of Fr Thomas Makajil, their rector.

The Parish CWA new line up will be commissioned on 14th November 2009. The Diocesan CWA will hold its annual retreat and assembly on 19th November 2009 at Holy Trinity Church, Tawau.

by DS

Friday, October 30, 2009

8th and Final Day of AsIPA 5th General Assembly

Fr Simon Kontou and other fellow Asian priests

The Indian, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan delegates

The Filipino delegates during the Mass

Davao City : Day 8, Tuesday 27th October 2009, the final day of the AsIPA 5th General Assembly started with another experience of Gospel sharing and evaluation of the methodologies practiced.

Country/Region groupings sat together to plan on how to promote and strengthen SCCs/BECs in building the faith community. They also discussed on related issues concerning their SCCs/BECs. They mapped out the course of action, drawing inspiration from the assembly.

The afternoon session was reserved to table the final assembly statement prepared by the drafting committee. The first draft was very much deliberated by participants the day before.

Participants of the Assembly expressed much appreciation to the AsIPA resource team and the host country, the Philippines. The local organizing team had excelled in the organization of the assembly.

Magarina of Tawau bidding farewell to a Thai religious

Malaysian and Thai delegates

Most Rev Fernando Capalla bade farewell to delegates

The Korean delegates in their national costumes

Fr Simon Kontou dancing with a Thai religious

Participants were hosted to a cultural night and dinner reception with presentations from all participating countries. The function created a venue of much interaction from among people of different nations. It is also a meeting point of beautiful blending and bonding of the people of God.

Malaysian and Myanmar delegates

Malaysian and the Korean delegates

A visit to the Pauline Media Center in Manila

Till we meet again in the AsIPA 6th General Assembly in Sri Lanka in 2012.




Thursday, October 29, 2009








Tuesday, October 27, 2009




These are some of the few motivating verses that empowered the 500 youths who attended the youth rally organized by the Youth Ministry of Sacred Heart's Cathedral’s on the 26th and 27th of September 2009.

The Youth Music Ministry of St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan send 8 youth to participate in the said event.

Sandakan's youths

Fr Stan Fortuna CFR is a Roman Catholic Priest and a founding member of the Community of Franciscan Friar of The Renewal, established in the Archdiocese of New York in 1987. Fr Stan is currently promoting his music widely in proclaiming the Gospel at events all over the world. Creatively using his songs, rapping & sharing his personal testimony, Fr Stan connected the youth and brought home the message of freedom found in Jesus.

Fr Stan
signing autograph

The 1st and 2nd sessions,” The Foundation of Our Faith and Living out Our Faith in the Word of God” as preached by Fr Stan projected clearly that The Word of God is the supreme way to pass on the faith.

We were also briefed during The Eucharistic Celebration on the flow of the mass given by Fr Stan letting us understand clearer the meaning of each part of the Mass.

The 2nd day, Fr Stan motivated us even greater by giving talks on “Faith That Moves Mountain”, telling us that all things are possible as long as we have strong faith in the Lord.

During the last session, “Passing On The Faith To Others”, Fr Stan urged all youth present in the rally to be fully committed in their roles in their respective parishes. Faith is meant to be shared and not to be owned. The rally ended with a Eucharistic Celebration con celebrated by Archbishop Datuk John Lee and Fr Stan.

Fr Stan also conducted an open and free session for everyone at SHC Hall which attracted more than 500 enthusiastic youth to the event. The hall was packed and they really enjoyed Fr Stan's inspirational performance and preaching.

Fr Stan with YMM, St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

By Christopher Aban

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 7 : AsIPA 5th General Assembly Davao Philippines

Malaysian delegates from the Diocese of Sandakan, Sabah

Davao City : The AsIPA 5th General Assembly, an event of the Universal Church with about 300 participants from 17 nations enters its 7th day today, Monday 26th October 2009. The session today is so designed to allow the participants ample opportunity to practise the 7 step bible sharing methodology.

Teodulfo from SDC Lahad Datu with delegates from Korea
Fr Simon Kontou surrounded by the host parishioners

Teodulfo Rosalia Junior with members of the host family

The whole afternoon was spend on discussing in mixed, country/regional groupings the experiences and outcomes of the exposure program held yesterday and the day before (24th & 25th October 2009). The following were the focus of the discussion:
  • Leadership style in BECs/SCCs
  • Involvement of PPC

  • Gospel sharing methodologies

  • Community bonding through BECs/SCCs

  • Strength and weaknesses of the local BECs/SCCs

Two plenary sessions were held to hear reports from country/regional groupings about BECs/SCCs in the local and their own country context. Reports gathered shall be the basis for the organizing team to formulate the assembly statement of commitment.

Priests from around Asia in the Eucharistic Celebration

Tomorrow, Tuesday 27th October 2009 will be the final day of the event.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

5th & 6th Day - AsIPA 5th General Assembly

Delegates representing Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

Davao City : The 5th and 6th days of the assembly provided an opening for delegates to go through the immersion program. On Saturday, 24th Oct. 2009, all participants were send forth to foster homes at the suburd of Davao City and also Tagum City about 50 km from Davao.

Delegates with local parishioners of St Joseph Parish Sasa

Participants were received into the homes of host families who had taken great effort to be hospitable and accommodating.

Welcome into the home of the host family at San Rogue

Participants, during their stay with the foster families had the opportunity to see how the local people live their Christian faith and give Christian responses to the challenges of life, as BECs/SCCs. Their experiences shared through interactions are a rich source of learning for the participants. Participants returned to REMASE (Regional Major Seminary) today, 25th October 2009 around noon time.

Members of the San Roque BEC sharing the Word of God

Though the exposure stint was short, it provided the participants a brief insight into the Christian life of the local people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

4th Day AsIPA 5th General Assembly

Bishop Julius together with other Asian Bishops after celebrating mass

Davao City : Friday, 23rd October 2009 is the 4th day of the AsIPA 5th General Assembly. Participants of different nationalities, languages and cultures coming from all over Asia and Europe are beginning to feel the closeness through the spirit of community building in the context of the Eucharist and the Word of God.

The assembly is an excellent platform for the participants to realize the Eucharistic Community which is the focus of the event.

One of the sharing sessions

The day began with a talk on 'Breaking the Word in SCCs/BECs' by Bishop Fritz of Africa, retired but very much involved in promoting SCCs in the Universal Church. He is the master and founder of SCCs and had given much time to develop methodologies in bible sharing, sustaining and enhancing SCCs.

On day 5 and 6, participants will have the opportunity to visit the local basic communities or 'Gagyma'ng Kristohanong Katilingban' (GKK) here in Davao and also in Tagum City, about 50 km from Davao. Participants will stay overnight with members of the local SCCs. The exposure program will give participants an insight in to the Eucharistic communal life of the SCC members.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 3 : AsIPA 5th General Assembly Davao Philippines

The AsIPA Logo

Group photo of delegates

Davao City : The AsIPA 5th General Assembly at Remase, Davao City, Philippines entered its third day today, Thursday 22nd October 2009.

Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus in Cavite, Philippines presented an inspiring and captivating talk on the understanding of a Eucharistic community based on faith, celebration and life. It was an eye opener for the many participants from the 17 countries of Asia and Europe.

The participants had ample opportunity to share on community building projects and experiences in the context of the Eucharist and the Word of God.

Bishop Julius and Archbishop Nicholas Chia

Malaysian delegates led by Bishop Julius and the Singaporean delegates led by Archbishop Nicholas Chia had an enriching exchange of ideas regarding Small Christian Communities/Basic Ecclesial Communities of their respective countries.

Francis Tan and other Asian delegates

The session of the day also allowed the participants the opportunity to journey and experience the Bible Mirror Method (BMM) which helps groups to look beyond their immediate personal needs and interests. They focus on common search for God's will in the face of a difficult public situation in the diocese, parish, village, towns and society at large.

Day 2 - AsIPA 5th General Assembly Davao, Philippines

Bishop Julius sharing his thought with the Singaporean delegates

Davao City: Day 2 of the AsIPA 5th Assembly. Wednesday, 21st October 2009 started off with the Bible Enthronement followed by Gospel sharing in small mixed groups comprising members from different countries. Here, members had the opportunity to experience building relationship within small Christian communities of international representation. They also experienced the seven steps sharing of the Word which is an approach in bible sharing in SCC/BEC gatherings. It is important that we listen and share collectively the Word of God and be shaped by it as a community.

Bishop Julius with delegates from Malaysia and Singapore

The afternoon session was another sharing session of delegates in regional/country groupings. Malaysia, represented by delegates from the Diocese of Sandakan and the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur together with delegates from the Archdiocese of Singapore shared on two issues;

  • How far has the Eucharistic Celebrations as breaking of bread and Word has been realized in the life of SCCs/BECs?
  • What perceptible characteristics of change do you find as a result of years of work done in your SCCs/BECs in the field of political participation, social transformation, facing fundamental difficulties, environmental issues, leadership style and etc.
The gist of the sharing is about building up people and as such harmonious relationship ought to be established at all levels more so with the clergy and laity.

Ulangtahun ke-2 Keuskupan Sandakan - Pandangan Umat

1. Apakah makna bagi diri anda sebagai seorang umat untuk Sambutan Ulangtahun kedua Keuskupan Sandakan?

2. Apakah harapan anda pada Keuskupan Sandakan untuk tahun-tahun akan datang?

Arturo Teneros Jr. @ Rikkie

34, M, Filipino

Lahad Datu, Sabah

“Sambutan ini amat bermakna pada saya kerana ia hanya diadakan sekali setahun. Ini satu peristiwa istimewa yang memberi kita peluang untuk bertemu dengan umat-umat dari 4 paroki Keuskupan Sandakan. Untuk Ulangtahun yang kedua ini, secara peribadi sebagai salah seorang belia, saya dapat merasakan Roh Kudus bekerja dan menyentuh jiwa bagi orang-orang muda termasuklah saya untuk menjadi bakal pemimpin yang melayani dalam Kerajaan Tuhan. Ia mulai jelas sejak pembentukan KKD dalam Paroki St Dominic, Lahad Datu. Kami telah berjaya menarik lebih ramai orang muda untuk menyertai mana-mana tim pelayanan dan dari situ kami dapat menemui para calon pemimpin masa hadapan bagi Gereja kami.”

“Saya berharap bahawa pada masa akan datang kita bukan sahaja melayan dalam masyarakat sendiri tetapi kita juga perlu keluar untuk melayani dan bersatu dengan umat dari komuniti-komuniti lain berlainan bangsa. Saya juga berharap bahawa akan lahir lebih paderi dan religius tempatan untuk melayan dalam Keuskupan kita. Saya berdoa agar para belia akan menyahut panggilan Tuhan untuk melayan dalam KerajaanNya.”

Warren Pierre

20, M, (Aspirant)

Telupid, Sabah

“Perayaan Ulangtahun yang ke-2 ini bererti bagi saya bahawa Keuskupan Sandakan memiliki asas yang kuat. Ada banyak perubahan baik yang berlaku di keuskupan kita misalnya lebih banyak umat awam memberikan sokongan rohani mereka, material dan tenaga manusia untuk membantu membangunkan Gereja. Hubungan antara umat lebih kuat dan lebih mesra. Bilangan pemuda-pemudi yang menyertai KKD juga semakin bertambah.”

“Saya berharap agar Keuskupan kita akan mempunyai pemimpin-pemimpin yang berwibawa bagi masyarakat kita, kerasulan dan apapun komuniti di Paroki-paroki dalam Keuskupan Sandakan di masa hadapan. Selain dari Yang Mulia, Bapa Uskup Julius Dusin Gitom, para Paderi dan Religius, para kakitangan Keuskupan dan kakitangan Paroki, Keuskupan Sandakan juga memerlukan bantuan dan sokongan daripada umat awam untuk bekerjasama sebagai satu pasukan untuk menjadikan Misi dan Visi Gereja satu kenyataan.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bishop Julius leads a 5 member delegation to Davao

Arriving at Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Clark

Meeting with Sr Sylvia George fsp, Sr Shirley Chong fsp (both of Sabah) & Sr Teresita fsp at Manila

At Davao International Airport

Manila : Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia led a five member delegation to the AsIPA (Asian Integral Pastoral Approach) 5th General Assembly to be held at the Regional Major Seminary (Remase), Catalunan Grande, Davao City, Philippines from 20th – 28th October 2009. The assembly is organized by the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference – Office of Laity and Family (AsIPA desk).

The delegates are Bishop Julius himself, Fr Simon Kontou, rector of St Dominic’s Church Lahad Datu and three other lay faithful in the person of Teodulfo Jr, Mangarina and Francis Tan.

The theme of the said assembly is ‘Do this in memory of me’ (Luke 22:19). Bread broken and Word shared in SCCs/BECs. The objectives of the event are:

  • To review and reflect theologically on the experience of the different methods of Gospel sharing as a way of breaking the Word in SCCs/BECs.
  • To reflect theologically on how SCCs/BECs break the bread, living the Eucharist in daily life.
  • To facilitate the sharing of experiences and resources among the participants towards the “new way of being Church”.

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Edward J Adams, Archbishops, Bishops and Priests

Bishop Julius with other Bishops

About 300 delegates of whom more than half are clergy and religious from 17 countries from Asia and Europe as well as 30 Archbishops and Bishops attended the assembly. The assembly began with the Eucharistic Celebration, presided by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward J Adams at San Pedro Cathedral, Davao City yesterday 20th October 2009.

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