Sandakan : Last night, 23rd April 2011, the Easter vigil, the third and final day of the Paschal triduum held at St Mary's Cathedral and presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom began at 7.00 pm. The event that celebrate the resurrection of the Lord , Jesus Christ was well attended with more than 1,500 faithful joining in the celebration.
The celebration began with a solemn beginning of the Vigil ~the Service of Light at the parking space in front of the Cathedral. The Cathedral was in complete darkness with the switching off of all lights. Parishioners gathered around a large fire and the Easter candle was then lighted from the new fire and then blessed by the prelate. They then proceeded to the Cathedral in an orderly procession led by Martin Steven, a seminarian, with the Easter candle.
Martin Steven sang the Easter proclamation at the pulpit with the parishioners holding lighted candles in the darkened Cathedral.
Three readings taken from the Old Testament were proclaimed after which the lights were switched on brightening up the whole Cathedral. The Gloria was sung and the Church bell rung. This was followed by the proclamation of the word taken from the New Testament.
In his homily, Bishop Julius shared that the reading from the Gospel according to St Matthew today focussed solely on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, simply of the fact that He has risen from the dead and is alive among us. His resurrection fills our hearts with joy and gives us confidence for we have hope for everlasting life.
Death is merely an experience we must pass through as we make our way to our heavenly Father. We realize that God is love. He loves us all the same without taking into account of our past.
He called on the people to emulate Jesus to be life givers. We must rise in the newness of life so that we may overcome our sinful way of life.
He said, 'As followers of the risen Lord we must rise to new life and help each other to rise and therefore all of us must be life givers just as the Lord has come to bring life and life to the full. This is the mission for each believer while we are still on pilgrim towards heaven.'
He concluded by saying, 'May this very night and full of grace with the power of the resurrected Christ fill our hearts with peace and joy and may we help each other to rise because this is the way of His love.'
After the homily, the prelate proceeded to the baptismal font where he baptized four catechumens called forward and presented by their godparents. Two others were administered the sacrament of confirmation.
|The newly baptized|
|Sacrament of Confirmation|
|Receiving Holy Communion|
This Easter some 398 catechumens from across the four parishes of the Diocese were baptized with the following breakdown;
- Holy Trinity Church Tawau ~ 116
- St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan ~ 95
- St Dominic's Church Lahad Datu ~ 94
- St Martin's Church Telupid ~ 93