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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Year of the Priest

Bishop Julius and all priests concelebrating the Mass
Sandakan : Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom launched the ‘Year of the Priest’ at Diocesan level on Saturday 29th August 2009 during Sunset Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral. The date of the launching, according to Bishop Julius was picked to coincide with the Diocesan BEC Seminar on 29th ~ 31st August 2009 where the lay faithful, religious and Clergy from the 4 parishes would be well represented. Also in attendance during the launching were Fr Dr Charles Chiew from the Diocese of Keningau who was a speaker of the Seminar and Fr Dr Henry Siew from the Archdiocese of Singapore who was here on a pastoral tour.

The Diocese of Sandakan has 7 priests serving close to 60,000 Catholics in a total population of a little over 1 million.

The launching of the Year of the Priest created awareness among the laity the great challenges priests have to encounter in administering to the people of God. The laity as a whole loves their priests and definitely wants to see them happy, holy and joyous in their daily apostolic undertakings.
Bishop Julius, during his homily called on the laity, not only this year but always to lift up all priests in prayer, asking God to strengthen them in their love for Christ and Church. He admitted that there are priests who are problematic but the number constitutes to a very small portion. The vast majority of them are people of integrity, dedicated to their pastoral work in their sacred ministry and they keep on striving to be priests of the masses emulating the example of St John Vianney, the patron saint of priests

Unveiling of the banner of the patron saint - Saint John Vianney

After his homily, Bishop Julius then unveiled the banner of St John Vianney marking the Year of the Priest at the diocese. He then handed banners for the 'Year of the Priest' and prayer cards to all the Parish Priests as a symbolic gesture of the launch. Prayer cards on the Year of the Priest in English, Bahasa Melayu and Chinese were distributed to all faithful.

Bishop Julius presenting the banners and prayer cards to Mgsr Nicholas Ong

Altar Servers distributing prayer cards to the parishioners

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