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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Holy Trinity Church Celebrates Diocesan Day

The Diocese of Sandakan celebrated her Diocesan Day and also the 2nd Episcopal Ordination of her bishop with a 2 day celebration on 16th and 17th October 2009 at Holy Trinity Church Tawau.

The fellowship dinner

The celebration started with a fellowship dinner at the parish hall the evening of the 16th October 2009 during which each of the 4 parishes of the diocese gave a sharing of its pastoral experience since the erection of the diocese.

While St Dominic Church Lahad Datu gave a power point presentation of its pastoral life along Basic Ecclesial Community principles, the other parishes shared how their parishes had started building their own basic ecclesial communities.

The Eucharistic Celebration

The Eucharistic celebration at the main church the following day was led by Bishop Julius Gitom concelebrated by Archbishop John Lee, Bishop Cornelius Piong and priests from all the 3 dioceses of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.

In his welcoming speech at the lunch fellowship after the mass, the rector Msgr. Nicholas Ong remarked that the presence of bishops and priests from all 3 dioceses of Sabah clearly showed that we are indeed all united as an ecclesial love community within one universal church. He wishes to see more young people participating in the BEC meetings of the parish in the hope that some may respond to the call for vocation.

In his address, Bishop Julius Gitom said that the diocese had established the basic physical diocesan structure during our first year of erection, and all the parishes had elected their parish pastoral councils by the second year. In addition, the various main diocesan apostolates had been set up during the second year.

Cake cutting and presentations

Noting from the sharing that the parishes of the diocese were not homogeneous, each in its different stages of maturity and pastoral development, he called on all the faithful to work closely together with the priests and religious to start the work of building up a vibrant diocese in which the diocesan vision of servitude prevails.

Archbishop John Lee who flew in the morning for the Eucharistic celebration, expressed his happiness of being able to share the joy of the young diocese’s celebration at a parish he once pastured in the 1970s.

Keningau Diocese’s Bishop Cornelius Piong was equally happy with the event. He went on to advise us to be focused and go through the proper procedure in working with our bishop toward the diocesan vision.

St Dominic's Church the next host

Fr. Simon Kontou, Rector of St Dominic Church Lahad Datu, whose parish will be the host of next year’s Diocesan Day celebration, believes that Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) are essential for the diocese to grow but cautioned that proper modules should be formulated for each parish. He was impressed by the work done here but hopes to do it differently next year at St Dominic.

Fr. John Wong of the KK Diocesan Centre came with his troupe of 9 aspirants to get some pastoral exposure.

For Fr Jalius Sading, Sr Florence and Sr. Anita who had previously served at Holy Trinity, it was down sweet memory lane.

For the parishioners at Holy Trinity, we were proud to have hosted this diocesan event. We were able to know our other parishes better through our sharing. This should help us to feel that we are indeed members of one big family of love, faith and unity.

Marcus chin

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