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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coadjutor Archbishop John Wong's Home Coming Visit

Welcoming the Coadjutor Archbishop of KK, Most Rev John Wong

Sandakan : Most Rev John Wong, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu ordained on 1st October 2010 made a 'home coming visit' to St Mary's Cathedral Parish on Saturday 27th November 2010. Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, accompanied by members of the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Councilors and more than 80 parishioners from the four parishes who were coincidentally in Sandakan, attending the 'Facilitators' Training Program' were at the airport to welcome Most Rev John Wong.
Bishop Julius lighting the 1st candle of the Advent wreath
Most Rev John Wong presided the Sunset Mass, the 1st Sunday of Advent at the Cathedral con celebrated by Rt Rev Julius. In his homily to a packed Cathedral he explained about the season of advent, the wreath and the four candles. The candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three of the candles are purple, reminding us of the penitential nature of the season. A rose or pink candle is lit for the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete (rejoice) Sunday.The wreath should be in a circle, a symbol of eternity, and a reminder that God has no beginning nor end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He called on the people to stay awake, be vigilant and pray always.
After the celebration he took the opportunity to address the congregation. He said that he is a man of few words and would just like to mention three things.

'First, I want to thank Bishop Julius for granting me this privilege to preside the Eucharistic celebration at the Cathedral. Second, I am really honored to be accorded a warm welcome by so many parishioners at the airport. I am simply overwhelmed. Third, I thank God that the people of my home parish had grown much in faith'.

Right after mass, Bishop Julius, Fr Thomas Makajil, Deacon David and the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Councilors led the Coadjutor Archbishop to the Parish Hall for a subscribed dinner, attended by some 400 parishioners. Also present at the event were Bro John D Cruz, who was facilitating the 'Facilitators' Training Program', the Franciscan and the Good Shepherd Sisters and representatives from Tawau, Lahad Datu and Telupid.

The setting of the reception in the Parish Hall

The eleven aspirants from the Catholic Diocesan Centre (CDC) were at the event

Fr Thomas saying Grace before meal

Most Rev John Wong, is a man of few words, preferring and believing to show his service and love through action and not words. He shared four points when called upon to address the people.

He said, 'Firstly, I was shocked to learn of my appointment as there are more senior and capable priests. Why me? Secondly, I fear because of the challenges ahead and the heavy responsibility awaiting me. Thirdly, I feel sad because I am suppose to come home to serve my own parish. Now, it seems that's not possible. Finally, I am excited in a way as I prepare to shoulder the thrust bestowed upon me. God has chosen me and I am confident He will lead and show me the way'.

Bishop Julius in his address acknowledged that Most Rev John Wong as he had known him, has all the making as a Bishop for he is a very humble, gentle, loving and a caring priest.

He went on to say, 'We are very proud that Most Rev John Wong who hails from the Cathedral Parish is now the Coadjutor Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu. Should you take a break from your heavy schedule, please come home. We welcome you'.

'I hope the Coadjutor Archbishop will help us by sending us a mandarin speaking priest or if that's not possible any other priest would be most appreciated, as that would mean a great relief to our priests'.

He said, 'As we thank God for His blessings, I call on the people of God to respond to the call to work in His vineyard'.
Bro John D Cruz and the religious sisters.

Most Rev John Wong greeting the people

Presentations by the youth, BEC members, prayer group and the Chinese community

In the course of the dinner, there were performances presented by members of the various BECs, the Chinese community, the prayer group and the youth apostolate.


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