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Monday, January 3, 2011

The First Priestly Ordination For the Diocese of Sandakan

Front Row L-R : Fr Clement, Fr David, Bishop Julius, Coadjutor A/bishop John Wong, Msgr Ong, Fr Marcellinus 

Lahad Datu : There was much celebration in the Diocese of Sandakan for the first priestly ordination since its erection some three years ago. The Rev Deacon David Aloysius Garaman who hails from Kampong Tampenau of Lahad Datu was ordained priest Friday December 31, 2010 at St Dominic's Church Lahad Datu.

Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan presided over the Solemn Mass, concelebrated by Most Rev John Wong, Coadjutor Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, Fr Richard Ng, the rector of St Peter's College Kuching (SPC), Major Seminary of East Malaysia and 18 other priests from the three arch / dioceses of Sabah. Close to 900 people from across the diocese including religious sisters of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate  Conception, Good Shepherd Sisters, Daughters of St Paul and seminarians  from SPC attended the celebration.

The celebration began at 10.00 am  with a procession of the clergy and the bishops from  the outside of the Church, led by the mass servers to the beat of gongs. The entrance hymn, 'Come, let us sing' set the tone of much rejoice among the faithful in the great moment of grace.

Seminarian Stanley William, a second year philosophy student and Seminarian Martin Steven, a first year  theology student of SPC proclaimed the first and second reading respectively. Both seminarians are from Lahad Datu. Rev Deacon Florian Marcus from the archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu proclaimed the  good news taken from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 5 : 1-11.

In the rite of the ordination to the priesthood, Fr Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan presented and attested that Rev Deacon David who has had his pastoral immersion in the Cathedral since his diaconate ordination on March 19 2010 as worthy and well prepared for the priestly ordination.
Bishop Julius relying on the help of the Lord, accepted the priestly candidate, Rev Deacon David to the presbyteral order and asked of his willingness to serve the Church as a faithful priest. He pledged full obedience to the authority of the Church.

The singing of the Litany of the Saints was a very moving and touching part of the ordination rite where the candidate lay prostrate before the altar. Bishop Julius then ordained Rev Deacon David by laying his hands on his head and praying silently as he invoked the Holy Spirit upon the new priest. The rite of laying of hands was followed by all priests present signifying that they belong and participate in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The newly ordained priest, Fr David was presented the paten and chalice by Bishop Julius, immediately after the gifts are brought to the altar.The paten and chalice are the vessels used at each Mass to hold the sacred Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

At the end of Mass, the newly ordained priest blessed the bishop, priests, his families and the congregation in unison. This is truly a time to celebrate since ordination to the priesthood is the focal point for many years of studies and preparation and is the beginning of a new phase of the person's ministry.
After the celebration, Willie Binati the Organizing Chairman of the Priestly Ordination, Fr Simon Kontou, the rector of St Dominic's Church, Fr David and Bishop Julius were invited to address the people.
Bishop Julius extended his appreciation to Fr Simon Kontou and his assistant Fr Jasery and his organizing team for a well planned and well arranged celebration. He thanked and congratulated Fr David's parents, siblings, extended family and friends for journeying with him during his formation years as a seminarian. He also thanked Fr Richard Ng and all the formators of SPC Kuching for nurturing and preparing him to affirm his commitment to the Lord.

To the newly ordained priest, the prelate said, 'Your ordination today is a gift from God. It is a moment of joy and hope for the Church. I congratulate you for your ordination and thank you for your generosity to commit fully to serve in the priestly service. Today, is the beginning of your priestly ministry.'

The prelate also announced that Fr David will serve as assistant parish priest of Holy Trinity Church Tawau effective February 2011.
Fr. David's Family with Bishop Julius 
One for the album : Top left Fr David with the Choir, top right with the Sandakan group. Bottom left with the Seminarians,  and bottom right with former classmates
After the celebration, all parishioners adjourned to the open space behind the Church for a luncheon fellowship with presentations from the various BECs and representatives from the other parishes followed by the cake cutting ceremony marking the joyous occasion.
Aloysius Garaman
Later in the evening, more than 100 people, mostly family members and friends from Kampong Tampenau  attended a 'thanksgiving feast' at the residence of Fr David.

When interviewed, Aloysius Garaman, the father of Fr David in a joyous mood has this to share, 'I am thankful and grateful that the Lord has chosen my son to serve in His vineyard. I pray that the Lord will guide and lead him as he set forth in his priestly ministry.'


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