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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chrism Mass at St Mary's Cathedral


Sandakan: The Chrism Mass which traditionally is celebrated earlier in the day of Holy Thursday was celebrated on Friday 27th March 2009 at St Mary’s Cathedral for pastoral reasons and taking into consideration the presence of all the diocesan priests who gathered at Sandakan for the bi-monthly priest meeting and the Lenten Confession. In any case Chrism Mass is the day when the Bishop comes together with his priests as a united presbyterate, to celebrate the Eucharist. It is also an opportunity for all laity to gather to offer prayers and show their undivided support for the priests. At the same time, he also blesses the oils that benefit all the faithful used in administering four of the sacraments of the Church; Baptism, Confirmation, the Anointing of the sick and Holy Orders. The celebration, which is one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of our Church was concelebrated by Bishop Julius and all his fellow priests in the three main languages of Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and English.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, the Bishop in his homily spoke to the faithful about the priestly anointing, urging the priests to be faithful in fulfilling their priestly office which is also a day for all priests to re-live the joy of their ordination. He reminded the priests that the people of God count on their love and support, their pastoral service and their fidelity to the end. He shared that the ministry of priesthood is facing critical challenges. The Church needs the priesthood and without them there would be no Eucharist and therefore no mission. It is through the priesthood that every other vocation is sustained in the Church. In God’s plan the priesthood exists to support all God’s people. He urged the young people who may experience a vocation to the priesthood to open their hearts to the call of our Lord and not to be afraid to say yes. He also asked all parents not only pray for the increase of the vocation to the priesthood but more importantly promote it by encouraging their sons to become priests.

He reflected on the challenging journey of the Diocese which will celebrate its 2nd year anniversary come October. The pastoral realities ahead will continue to be challenging. At the moment all parishes within the Diocese are in the process of electing their Parish Pastoral Council. He invited all parishioners to pray for those selected for the service in the new PPC will be ready to face the challenges in collaboration with the priests.

After the homily, all the seven diocesan priests from the four parishes led by Msgr Nicholas Ong, Fr Thomas Makajil, Fr Marcellinus Pongking , Fr Simon Kontou, Fr Paul Lo, Fr Jasery and Fr Phillip Muji renewed their commitment to holiness of life, to sacred celibacy and to faithful service in front of the Bishop. The Bishop was grateful to the People of God who were present and those in other parishes unable to attend for their trust, love and continued support. They renewed their commitment to the people of God as they renewed their commitment to Jesus Christ and to the mission of the Church.

After the renewal of commitment, Fr Phillip Muji, Fr Jasery Gabuk and Fr Marcellinus Pongking brought in the three vessels of oil in a procession to be blessed by the Bishop.

By DS

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