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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Welcoming the Heilbron (Germany) Guests

Sandakan : SHEP - the acronym definition for Sabah Heilbron (Germany) Ecumenical Partnership, officially sealed in 1990, aims at promoting awareness and better understanding of ecumenism, ecumenical sharing of resources as well as enhancing mission and theological education for both parties. One main activity of the partnership is the exchange of cordial and mutual ecumenical visits organized once in two years between the churches of both countries.

The participating churches in Sabah include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Roman Catholic Diocese of Keningau and Sandakan, Basel Christian Church of Malaysia and the Protestant Churches of Sabah.

A delegation of 13 participants arrived Sabah on  12th August 2010 and on the following day, paid a courtesy call to the City Mayor of Kota Kinabalu. 





On the 14th August 2010, six participants of the Heilbron ecumenical team arrived Sandakan and the remaining members left for Kudat. They had the opportunity to join some 1500 local parishioners in the open air outdoor mass of the Feast of Assumption held in the evening, right in front of the grotto. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, concelebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil and assisted by Deacon David Garaman.






After the mass, all six German guests and representatives from BCCM were hosted to a welcoming dinner at the Catechetical Room. They were given an insight to the Diocese of Sandakan and the Paitan Missionary Area through a power point presentation by Francis Tan, the Diocesan Executive Secretary. The German delegates sang a beautiful song to the delight of all those present. Eva Anding, the representative of the delegation, presented a souvenir to Bishop Julius.


The following day, 15th August 2010, they attended the bi-lingual BM and Chinese Sunday Mass and thereafter joined the crowd in the Parish Bazaar. It was a grand activity, jointly graced by  Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, Fr Thomas Makajil, YB Datuk VK Liew, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department cum Member of Parliament P186 Sandakan, his wife YBhg Datin Dr Linda Lee and  Anthony Wong, Chairman of the Diocesan Property Commission. 
In the evening, they attended the Parish Choral Festival, an activity incorporated in the Parish Day event.There were eight choir groups taking part in the festival and the lead team will represent the Parish to the 3rd Diocesan Anniversary Celebration scheduled on 15th October 2010 in Lahad Datu.

The guests had a good exposure and an enriching firsthand contact with the people in the community life of the local parish - a journey towards becoming a 'participatory co-responsible Church' that is a communion of communities.


May they bring home with them sweet memorable moments of their stay in Sandakan.


ds 

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