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Monday, May 10, 2010

Bishop Julius attends the 17th Anniversary of the Diocese of Keningau

Tenom : St Anthony's Church celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted the 17th anniversary of the erection of the Diocese of Keningau and the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong on Saturday 8th May 2010. 
A seven member team, including four seminarians, from the Diocese of Sandakan, led by Bishop Julius D Gitom attended the three in one function. Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong was on hand to welcome the group on Friday 7th May, where they put up a night at the well set up and very conducive, Tataal Retreat Centre, Keningau.
The Celebration began with the blessing of the statue of St Anthony of Padua, the patron Saint of the Church placed at the left entrance. The holy mass presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong was con celebrated by Archbishop Datuk John Lee, Bishop Julius and  Diocesan priests of Keningau and Kota Kinabalu.
The Church was packed to full capacity, with close to 2,000 faithful coming from all the eight parishes and two missionary areas of the Diocese. The Catholic population is a little more than 111,000 with 18 priests and 55 religious sisters and brothers and 255 full, part time and volunteer catechists serving the members.
Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong, the first bumiputra (Kadazan Tatana) bishop in Malaysia, in his homily, called upon the People of God to always return to the basics of the Catholic faith, to focus on the family unit as it forms the basic societal unit. The Christian family is an intimate community and through such conducive environment, faith ought to be passed down to the children through initiatory catechesis that they may have a strong foundation.

Archbishop Datuk John Lee, who once served as the assistant parish priest of St Anthony's Church from 1965 - 1967 shared that it was always his desire to carve Keningau and the interior region out of the then Diocese of Kota Kinabalu, when he was the Bishop in 1987. He was glad to see the rapid development of the Diocese and called upon the clergy and lay faithful to move along with Bishop Cornelius, especially in achieving the Diocesan Vision and Mission.

He reminded the people, 'Build community first and rest assured, physical structure will come along.'
Dr Marcus Takong, the PPC Chairman extended his appreciation to all the very much committed working committee, in ensuring the success of the 'big' event. He welcomed Archbishop Datuk John Lee, Bishop Julius, invited guests and all faithful to the occasion. It was the Mill Hill Missionary who came to sow the seeds of faith and it was their sacrifice that had made the Parish of St Anthony as what it is today. He quoted from 1 Corinthians 3:6, the apostle Paul said:"I sowed the seed, Appolos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow."
St Patrick's Church, Membakut will host the next, 18th anniversary celebration of the Diocese and the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Cornelius Piong in May 2011.
Bishop Julius, with Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong, Archbishop Datuk John Lee and priests from the Diocese of Keningau and Kota Kinabalu.
After the Eucharistic celebration, the faithful gathered at the newly completed Msgr Augustine Watcher's Hall for a lunch fellowship and some entertainment.
Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong cutting the3- in- 1 anniversary cake.
Bishop Julius receiving a memento from Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong.
A traditional dance by the local Murut community.


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