Tawau : On the evening of 23 April 2011, parishioners started gathering at Holy Trinity Church Tawau as early as 6.30 pm for the start of the Easter Vigil mass. All seats were taken by 7 pm including those of the upstair gallery and the additional chairs at both sides of the Church.
At 8 pm, the fire set up at the front of the Church was blessed by the celebrant, Msgr. Nicholas Ong, from which the Easter candle was lighted. The Easter proclamation, the Exsultet, was sung by a member of the choir after the procession into the church.
The liturgy of the word followed, comprising of three Old Testament readings, the New Testament reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans and the Gospel according to Matthew.
In his homily, the rector Msgr. Ong reminded the faithful that the night's event was the most important celebration of the church's liturgical year." The night of all nights!" he said.
"In the service of the light, we are reminded that light in the New testament symbolizes faith, life and goodness" he continued.
"Thus faith in God will confer unto us a new life that is full of goodness."
"Tonight, the newly baptised together with all of us here who renew our baptismal vows will die and rise with Jesus Christ to a new life, as we have heard from St Paul to the Romans."
"In the Easter proclamation, we hear 'O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer'. St Paul tells us that the grace of Christ Jesus more than compensates for the sin of Adam."
"The Old Testament readings tell us what God has done for the Isrealites in the past, God will continue to do for us in the present and in the future for our salvation."
"The Gospel reading reaffirms that Christ is truly risen as mentioned for a fact that the tomb is empty. It also tells us that Jesus told the two Marys to tell the disciples to go to Galilee, and it was from Galilee that the Lord commissioned them to baptise all the nations in the name of the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
The liturgy of baptism that followed saw 84 candidates receiving their sacrament of baptism, with the adult neophytes receiving their confirmation as well.
After the final blessing, the celebrant blessed the Easter eggs prepared by the Catholic Women Apostolate. The eggs would also be given to the outstation churches.
Fr. David Garaman, the assistant rector celebrated the Vigil mass at St. Thomas Church Bombalai.