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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Welcome to the faith community

The faithful of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sandakan bid all newly baptized into the faith community. A total of 114 adults of the three language groups of the Cathedral Parish journeyed through the RCIA program and had undergone a process of conversion as they studied the Gospel, professed the faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church and received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist. The candle, lit from the Paschal candle during Easter Vigil that they carried is a reminder to them to always walk as children of light. The Sacred Chrism or oil anointed on their foreheads is a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the newly baptized. The rite highlights the fact that they are received into the Catholic community which is challenged to realize that they too have become different of this new life in the community.

Adeline Chin, a former officer of an insurance company now a full time housewife has this to say “Walking through these ten months of the Catholic faith journey, I gradually unfold myself to the Words of God. As time goes by, I begin to believe that God is with me at all time and in all circumstances. I develop a strong desire to seek God for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Simon Sim runs his own business and enquired about RCIA through his aunt. He encountered health problem from a young age. Last year, his kidney ailment became serious and was not responding to medication. He was worried and yet didn’t know whom to turn to in such difficult moments. Recalling the times when he followed his aunt to Church, he acknowledged that there is a God but didn’t really knew HIM well. Through RCIA he began to learn to trust the Lord, Jesus Christ the Savior and is now experiencing peace in his life. He concluded, “Now I know where and who to turn to whenever I am depressed or lost. I give thanks, praise and glory to God for his bountiful blessing.” He was blessed with another son, though born prematurely but healthy.

Joanne Lee is the wife of Simon Sim working in a private company. All through the RCIA journey, she was still doubtful whether God really exists not until such time when she encountered pregnancy complications. While confined in the hospital, she prayed fervently to God and it appeared that God answered her prayers. She was discharged with her complications gone. Her baby was born premature and with God’s grace he is a healthy baby boy. She said God has a plan for everything. “God wants my baby to be born early for a very good reason because I could be baptized with my husband.”

Stanley Sim is the younger brother to Simon Sim. “The turning point of my life happened to me last year when I encountered some unhappy events. During the darkest and most depressed moment of my life, God worked through my aunt, a devout Catholic herself, brought me into the RCIA. I learnt much about our compassionate, forgiving and merciful God. May my life be Christ-like.”

Faustina Sim is the younger sister to Simon and Stanley Sim. Her mum, a new convert herself encouraged her to join the RCIA. She was amazed how her mum turned to Jesus as her Savior after years of devotion to another god. She hoped that through baptism she will change for the better and be always pleasing to God Almighty. "I know I still have a lot to learn to become a good Catholic. I hope all of you will pray for me as I journey on.”

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