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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pastoral Visit to Paitan Missionary Area

by: DS and photos by Bell/Shirley/Peter C
Sandakan : Fr Thomas Makajil rector of St Mary's Cathedral led a 12 member team including three pastoral personnel from the Diocese to the Paitan Missionary area on 15th - 17th December 2009.

1st Day - Tuesday, 15th December 2009
St Simon's Chapel, Kg Timpus
Arrived at Kg Timpus which is about three and a half hour drive from Sandakan at 1.00 pm and Fr Thomas celebrated Holy Mass at St Simon's Chapel, an old weathered wooden structure measuring 15 feet by 20 feet. After the Eucharistic celebration, about 80 local parishioners including community leaders gathered at the community hall for a fellowship lunch.
They performed traditional local dances and 'silat' as a gesture to welcome the priest and his team members. The pastoral team then distributed Christmas gifts to all the children present.

Left for Paitan bridge, a half hour drive from Kg Timpus and from there took a boat ride upriver to St Clare's Mission House, Kampung Dalamas. The boat ride was about 45 minutes and we arrived at our destination at 6.30 pm.

After dinner, Fr Thomas had a meeting with the local catechists.

2nd Day - Wednesday, 16th December 2009
The packed chapel at Kg Dalamas
Fr Thomas celebrated mass at St Clare's chapel, a wooden structure that also serves as a community hall, at 10.00 am. The chapel was packed with more than 100 parishioners attending the Eucharistic celebration. 

Shirley interviewing a fellow catechist at Kg Dalamas

After the celebration, the pastoral team assisted Fr Thomas to distribute Christmas gifts to all the children.

Shirley interviewing the local catechists at Kg Lubang Buaya
At 3.00 pm, the Diocesan pastoral personnel headed upriver which is about an hour boat ride from the mission house to Kg Lubang Buaya and visited St Francis Chapel. Met the catechist and the local youth and discussed about the development of the local community.
Fr Thomas leading a team to Kg Sulit
At the same time, Fr Thomas and his team members headed down river to Kampung Sulit which is also about an hour boat ride. Both teams arrived safely back at the mission house at about 6.30 pm.

3rd Day - Thursday, 17th December 2009

Baptism at Kg Sukang, Paitan
Headed to the Paitan bridge at 8.00 am. Drove to Kampung Sukang situated between the boundary of Sugut and Paitan. Met up with Sr Lilianna fsic and team members from Sandakan. Fr Thomas celebrated holy mass in the house of a parishioner which is used as a base station for the local parishioners. Close to 100 parishioners attended the celebration with 50 others being baptized on that day. There is no chapel as yet in the said Kampung.

The propoesd site for the new chapel at Kg Sukang

After the rite of baptism, each newly baptized was presented with a rosary followed by a fellowship lunch and distribution of Christmas gifts to the children.

The team left for Sandakan at 4.00 pm and eventually arrived at the Cathedral close to 8.00 pm.

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