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Monday, January 31, 2011

The aftermath of the continuous torrential rain in Sandakan

The fallen banyan tree that hit the Chapel
The land slip at the hill top next to the Cathedral
The damaged outer part of the Chapel
The banyan tree hitting direct to the roof of the Chapel
Sandakan : The heavy downpour that hit Sandakan for the last few days had left behind a huge task for the Sandakan Municipal Council to follow up, initially to conduct immediate monitoring and evaluation on the damage suffered by the people and to extend to them the necessary assistance for relief.
The fallen tree that missed the Diocesan Car park by inches
The fallen electrical post behind the Parish Hall
The snapped dangling electric wire next to the covered walkway
The non-stop torrential rain, since Friday 28th January which claimed the lives of two victims had brought much damage to the town and its vicinity with mudslides, land slips, flash floods, fallen trees, disruption to power and water supply. Many parts of the roads were covered with thick layer of mud making some stretches impassable to vehicles.

Land slides at the rectory to the mission house
St Mary's Cathedral and its surrounding area along Jalan Puncak is not spared either. The staircase connecting the mission house to the rectory was damaged due to land slides, the outer part of the Chapel was also damaged by a fallen banyan tree that hit its roof. The Diocesan car part was nearly hit by another fallen tree missing it by just a few inches. The electric wires that supply electricity to the Parish Hall, the Catechetical Centre and the convent, snapped and pulled down the electric post. Power supply to the said premises. was disrupted and as of date has yet to be restored. The Fr Mulders' Catechetical Centre was flooded and the back portion of the building was covered with mud.
The back portion of Fr Mulders'  Center  covered with mud
The Parish Property Management and Maintenance Committee (PPMMC) headed by Peter Thien had taken all necessary steps to prevent the situation from worsening. They had laid plastic sheets to cover the land slip and mud slide areas. They had arranged with the local authorities to clear the fallen trees, the clogged drains and to have electricity supply restored.
The flash flood that hit Fr Mulders'  Center


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fr David celebrates mass at St Mary's Hostel

Sandakan : St Mary's Hostel, sited within the Catholic Education Complex of two secondary schools and 3 primary schools some 4 kilometers from the town center had begun its first term for the academic year 2011. Established and became operational in 2006 with just 10 boarders, it has now 17 registered boarders studying at the St Mary's Secondary School.

Over a period of 5 years in operation, some 20 boys, having benefited from staying in the hostel had left either after completing Form 5 or Upper Six. This year around three new boarders from  Kg. Lubang Buaya of the Paitan Missionary Area and one from Pamol had joined the hostel. Most of the boarders are from the rural areas within the St Mary's Cathedral Parish.
On Friday 21st January 2011, The feast of St Agnes,  the newly ordained diocesan priest, Rev. David Aloysius Garaman presided the Eucharistic celebration at the hostel. Rev David will be transferred to Holy Trinity Parish, Tawau as the assistant parish priest effective February 2011. Sr. Lillian and other members of the Hostel Management Committee were also present at the celebration.  

Apart from the monthly Eucharistic celebration, formation talks are also conducted from time to time to enable the boys to be properly grounded in their faith.

raymond wong

Monday, January 24, 2011

National Minister SFO for Oceania makes a courtesy call on Bishop Julius

Sandakan : Sandra Tilley sfo, the newly elected National Minister of the Secular Franciscan Order National Fraternity of Oceania  paid a courtesy call on Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom this afternoon 24th January 2011at the latter's office.

The Secular Franciscan Order National Fraternity of Oceania includes six Regional Fraternities in Australia, one emerging fraternity in Papua New Guinea and one Regional Fraternity of Singapore/Sabah.

Currently there are six canonically established local fraternities in Sabah. They are
  • Fraternity of Sacred Heart, Kota Kinabalu
  • Fraternity of St Joseph, Papar
  • Fraternity of the Holy Rosary, Limbahau
  • Fraternity of St Francis Xavier, Keningau
  • Fraternity of St Mary, Sandakan
  • Fraternity of Our Lady of Fatima, Beluran
These six fraternities are sufficient to constitute a Regional Fraternity of Sabah in the future, separate from the Regional Fraternity of Singapore, which is also ready to be constituted separately.

Sandra, from Victoria, Australia arrived Kota Kinabalu Friday 21st January 2011 and had met up with the the Fraternities of St Joseph Papar and Holy Rosary Limbahau. She will be meeting the Fraternities of St Mary Sandakan and Our Lady of Fatima Beluran this evening. She leaves Sandakan tomorrow morning to Keningau to meet the Fraternity of St Francis Xavier Keningau.

The purpose of the meetings with all the local fraternities of the 3 arch/dioceses would be to discuss the election of a new Steering Committee who would have the responsibility of directing Sabah towards becoming a Regional Fraternity.


Friday, January 21, 2011


SANDAKAN-  ‘’1 KKD, MASA KRISMAS SALING MENGENALI’’ merupakan tema semasa mengadakan fellowship sempena menyambut Hari Natal 2010 dan Tahun Baru 2011. Perayaan ini diadakan pada 08 Januari 2011, bertempat di Good News Centre dan pertemuan ini  menggabungkan dua kumpulan KKD iaitu, KKD FAJAR dan KKD CHI WAH. Suasana parti pada malam itu sangat meriah dan melibatkan 15 buah keluarga KKD.
Acara malam dimulakan dengan doa pembukaan oleh Saudara Pius Gorohom. Pelbagai aktiviti kanak-kanak dan dewasa telah dijalankan untuk menghangatkan perayaan krismas. Aktiviti kanak-kanak diadakan seperti  nyanyian karoling, meniup belon, Stop dance, makan tembikai dan kuiz alkitab. Tidak ketinggalan juga  aktiviti belia dan dewasa dirancakkan seperti  makan epal, moginum, ampitan pingpong, dan menari. Secara keseluruhannya, acara mesra seperti ini dirancang untuk mengeratkan hubungan kekeluargaan antara ahli KKD Fajar dan KKD Chi Wah.
Seterusnya, Sr. Liliana dan Sr.Veronica (FSIC) turut hadir pertemuan tersebut lalu mengucapkan doa makan. BBQ dan Stimbot diadakan secara potluck. Selepas itu, acara pertukaran hadiah Krismas antara ahli KKD dan cabutan tiket bertuah juga diadakan.
Tambahan pula, kehadiran Rektor, Fr Thomas Makajil memeriahkan lagi sambutan pada malam tersebut. Beliau mengatakan bahawa beliau bersyukur dan gembira kerana melihat KKD telah berkembang sebagai komuniti katolik berjiran apabila merayakan sambutan seperti ini. Malah, beliau berharap KKD dapat meneruskan perjalanan perkumpulan dari segi pembentukan rohani dan pendalaman iman.

Akhir sekali, penutupan acara diakhiri dengan doa penutup oleh Fr. Thomas Makajil. Kedua-dua KKD tersebut bergotong-royong membersihkan kawasan acara dan bersurai pada 11 malam. Dengan itu, Pengerusi KKD Fajar dan Chi Wah, Richard Atilano dan Hildi Poili berharap pertemuan seperti ini dapat dilangsungkan dengan semua kawasan KKD apabila mempunyai perayaan lain.

Dilaporkan oleh,
Miriam Lee Su Sian 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Foster Family for students, interns and staff of IFFAsia

IFFAsia Mission Project, 2011
- Keningau and Sandakan Diocese

IFFAsia based in Quezon City, Philippines offers a ten-month intensive formation for young adults from Asian countries with its purpose to form young leaders for a renewed Asian Church and Society. The first semester focuses on the human and spiritual development while the second semester builds on this and develops social pastoral knowledge and skills. The month long exposure in Sabah is part of the social pastoral studies.

25 participants - 13 students, 4 interns and 8 staff and volunteers of IFFAsia will be involved in the mission project. The participants are from the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, China, Loas and Zambia. The students’ age varies from 22 to 29 years. Most of them are young profession graduates while others have had working experience and some involvement in church groups.

The general objectives of this program are to: -

·         Introduce the students and staff to the wider context and understanding of mission in Asia, within the socio-economic-political and multi-cultural-religious dimension.

·         Through the various encounters and dialogue to reflect on their faith and how they wish to live as disciples and agents of change in church and civil society.

·         Help them widen their perspectives and develop skills to respond appropriately to the signs of the time and context of their communities.

St Mary’s Cathedral Parish, as co-partner of the IFFAsia will host the participants and to assist in facilitating the program from 1st-12th February 2011.

A few foster families have already been identified for the students due to the generosity of many of our parishioners. The organizers are seeking more foster families to split up the fostering period to 6 days instead of the 12 days to allow as many people as possible to gain an experience in this program.

Most of the activities will be at the Diocesan Conference Room and for that the organizer will take care of morning and afternoon tea and lunch as well. Basically the foster families are responsible for the breakfast and dinner and depending on circumstances, to send and pick them up from the venues of activities. Most important of all, we provide the venue and opportunity for both parties to experience the journeying process as Christ’s faithful. The participants are expected to be quite independent and quite capable of sampling the local way of life.

We earnestly appeal to kind parishioners to generously respond to the call to act as foster family in welcoming the young people from across Asia. May these young people from Asia experience the love of Christ through our Christian hospitality and may their stay in Sandakan be a memorable one.

If you have that inner urge to respond, please contact the Diocese Office attn: Shirley Joseph Tel : 217071 / 224623 for any inquiries or details of the program.

Soccom Diocese of Sandakan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Carrying the statue of Sto Nino during the entrance procession 
Mgr Nicholas Ong presiding the Eucharistic celebration
Members of the Filipino Community from across Sabah attending the Mass
The offertory

Tawau : The Filipino Community of Holy Trinity Church celebrated the Feast of Santo Nino de Cebu on  Sunday January 16, 2011 with a thanksgiving mass presided by Msgr Nicholas Ong attended by some 500 parishioners. The Filipino community acknowledges Santo Nino as the foundation of their faith

In his homily the rector told the community that Santo Nino symbolized the baby Jesus (Holy infant of Jesus)  an example of our full dependence of God the Father.

“A child is innocent, fully dependent on the father, and it pleases God when we show our full dependence on Him.” he said.

“Unless we behave like children we will never enter the kingdom of God.”

After the mass everyone proceeded to the Parish Hall for a luncheon fellowship and some presentations.

Referring to the theme for this celebration “ONE COMMUNITY IN CHRIST”, Msgr Ong addressed the parishioners, that the 
one community means we are in communion with one another as a Church. Sharing meals is in itself a sign of a community.” 

According to Rufino Pontillas, the Filipino Pastoral Community Chairman, the attendance this year was unexpectedly high with other Filipino communities from Keningau, Stella Maris KK, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Sandakan participating in the feast. 

The celebration ended at 2 pm with a closing prayer led by Sr. Tauria.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BEC Taman Indah celebrates Christmas and New Year

The youth in jovial mood getting ready to welcome Fr Thomas
Sandakan : The BEC of Taman Indah started journeying as a community April 2010, officially launched on November 17, 2010 held a Christmas and New Year gathering Sunday January 8, 2011. Close to 100 members attended the occasion with Rev Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral as the guest of honor.

Apart from the BEC of Taman Indah Jaya, there are ten other BECs in the Parish, namely Taman Merpati, Taman Rajawali, Taman Kenari, Cathedral Area, Taman Mawar, Taman Fajar, Taman Sunny Estate, Mile 1 North Road, St Mark's Area and GOF Complex.

Jacius Kunching, the Organizing Chairman of the event, in his welcoming speech thanked all members for their support in making the occasion a reality. It is in such celebration that the people in the community come together in unity expressing a true sense of communion, spirit of solidarity and cooperation. He commended the BEC members for journeying together, aligning always with the Church through active participation in all Church activities.
Fr Thomas guessing the number of chocolates
Fr Thomas in his address to the people expressed his sincere appreciation to members of BEC Taman Indah for their continuous support in almost all Church activities. It is through BECs that talents could be scouted among the members each contributing their gifts towards the advancement of the Church. He praised the  Committee led by Leonnie Degullacion for putting much effort to ensure that members stay together as a community. 
The youth with their acoustic guitars
Apart from the dinner fellowship, the youth put up a few presentations and members enjoyed themselves in games. There was also the 'guess the number of chocolates in the container.'
Musical Chair for adults
Announcing the number of chocolates
Exchange of gifts

Current and Upcoming Events


7.30 pm
Conference Room
PPC Meeting
3.30 pm
Conference Room
Chinese RCIA Meet
7.30 pm
Church Basement Hall
Bible Sharing
7.30 pm
Conference Room
CPC Meeting
7.30 pm
Church Basement Hall
Bible Sharing
Salva S. Romacho

Monday, January 17, 2011

Official Opening and Solemn Blessing of St Francis of Assisi's Chapel, Sukang, Paitan

Sandakan : Paitan, some 230 kilometers from Sandakan, under the jurisdiction of St Mary's Cathedral Parish is the only mission area of the Diocese of Sandakan. Established some 25 years ago, it now has more than 1,000 baptised Catholics scattered around 12 kampongs.

Yesterday, Sunday January 16 2011 was a milestone in the history of the mission.  More than 250 people from across the Paitan missionary area covering a land size of some 2,499 square kilometers gathered at Kg Sukang to witness the offical opening and solemn blessing of the newly constructed pre-fabricated Chapel of St Francis of Assisi.
The Chapel, sponsored by Datuk and Datin Victor S Paul and family, measures some 20' by 30' has a concrete floor complete with lightings and fans powered by a new generator set contributed by an anonymous parishioner from the Cathedral. It has a sitting capacity of some 90 people. and ample parking space. Adjacent to the Chapel and sited on a little hill is the rectory and the catechist's house.
The Opening Ceremony


Mr Nicu unveiling the plaque
Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom DD, the Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan, together with Rev Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral, Mr Nicu, the representative of Datuk Victor Paul and Henry Wong, Chairman of the Paitan Mission Committee graced the official opening of the chapel. It was then solemnly blessed by  Bishop Julius.
Fr Thomas proclaiming the Good News

The Eucharistic celebration, the 2nd Sunday in ordinary time was presided over by Bishop Julius, con celebrated by Rev Thomas Makajil. The prelate in his homily likened the growth of faith to that of the process of good agricultural practice. Yielding good crop, one needs to have quality seedlings, availability of land, fine preparation of the ground, right planting techniques and  consistent nurturing. Likewise, for faith to grow, we need to sow the seeds of faith. We need a house of worship and we need to be well formed through formation program. We need to nurture our faith that it may be enhanced and shared with others.
Bishop Julius
He said, 'This beautiful chapel will remain a structure, if the faith passed on to you remains as it is. It will be a sign of strong unity and a symbol of oneness only if there is growth in your faith.'
After the prayer of intercessions, the prelate solemnly blessed the newly installed altar.
Peter Saimin
Peter Saimin, the catechist for Sukang and the Organizing Chairman for the event extended his appreciation to all who had made the effort to be present. He gave a brief account of the challenges of the mission in the early years. He cited a painful experience of the local faithful where in 2005, the Catholic's chapel across the road was taken down for other purposes.

He said, 'I saw opportunities in the setback faced by the people and true enough today, united and remaining steadfast in faith, we have a bigger and better chapel. That bitter incident made us more united. Thank and praise God.'
John Baptist
John Baptis, the Chairman of the Cathedral's PPC who led a delegation of ten PPC members  in his address  said that the people of St Mary's Cathedral truly shared the joy of the people of Paitan on the historic day. He assured the people that the Cathedral's PPC will endeavor to assist in pastoral related matters in the said mission.
Rev Thomas in his speech extended his heartfelt thanks to the people of Paitan and the parishioners from the Cathderal who had come to give support to the event. He thanked the family members of the late Joseph Nadu who had contributed the land for the construction of the chapel and Datuk Victor Paul for his generosity in building the chapel.

He said, 'It is my hope that the local parishioners will gather every Sunday for worship and gathering in this nice chapel. Maximize the use of this place to build up your faith.'

Bishop Julius presenting a memento to Mr Nicu
Henry Wong presenting a memento to Bishop Julius
The prelate in his closing address personally thanked Mr Nicu for his kind attendance on behalf of Datuk Victor Paul, the kind donor and all other individuals who had contributed generously towards the  occasion .He advised the people to look after the chapel as they would to their faith.

After the ceremony, the people adjourned to the adjacent rectory for a luncheon fellowship prepared by members of the Parish Catholic Women's Apostolate. Members of the BEC of Taman Indah Jaya arranged some community games for the children, the teenagers and adults followed by lucky draws.
Alpheus Loisang
Alpheus Loinsang, currently with the Rungus community in Kota Murudu, had journeyed with the people of Paitan in 1987 for many years, was also present at the event. 

When interviewed, he said, 'I am really happy to see the change. So many had embraced the faith. So many had been baptized. I hope the Good News will be made known to all people of all nations as commissioned by Christ.'



New Advent