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Monday, June 27, 2011

FSIC celebrates its 75th Founding Anniversary - Diocese of Sandakan

Clockwise from top left - Sr Liza fsic, Sr Rusiah fsic, Fr Philip proclaiming the 1st, 2nd and Gospel reading respectively and Bishop Julius in his homily
Sandakan : The local-based congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) is committed in providing  education, homes and hostels, pastoral care and formation programs. Founded by the late Msgr Watcher in 1936, it has a very humble beginning with just four members and as of date it has close to 120 members with 34 communities established throughout Sabah and one each in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

The congregation celebrated its diocesan level 75th Founding Day Anniversary with a thanksgiving mass during the sunset Eucharistic celebration which was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Saturday, 25th June 2011, presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom and con celebrated by Fr Philip Muji, the assistant rector, at St Mary's Cathedral.
Twenty one  members of the congregation, all eleven members serving in the Diocese and the others from the arch / diocese of Kota Kinabalu and Keningau including the Mother-General of the Generalate, Sr Grace Deosing and the Council members were present at the event.
The prelate in his homily said that each and every Sunday, Catholic worldwide are obliged to attend Sunday mass at a parish near them. Catholicism is not a faith of loose individuals and being Christians is not a private matter. The fundamental nature of the Church is all about community, called to be His faithful together in the mystic body and our primary form of worship is communal. Thus community life is not an option but truly essential in our faith for 'we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.' 
Citing the example of the religious life of the FSIC as a reflection of  that community life centered in Christ, it has grown from strength to strength through the grace of God.
Welcoming Bishop Julius at the Parish Hall
After the Holy Mass, some 400 parishioners gathered at the Parish Hall to share the joy and significance of its 75 years of existence in Sabah, themed 'In gratitude we go forth.' 
The Opening song, 'Here I am to Worship'
A blessed and happy 75th Founding Anniversary to the FSIC and may God bless you
The night's gathering began with a slide presentation, giving an insight into the background of the Congregation, it's beginning, it's work and mission.

Top  - The Sisters presenting a song and below the dinner fellowship
Clockwise top left : Children of the Cathedral BEC, children of the Filipino Community and the Junior Catholic Choir presenting a Timorese traditional dance, Decodenda
Top - Teenagers' Buddy Club , Below - St Cecilia's Choir Group doing the' poco-poco' with the Sisters
Youth from the BEC of Taman Indah Jaya
A rendition by the Sisters, 'I give my hands'
All the 21 FSIC sisters were on stage rendering a  song , 'I give my hands' with a combination of wonderful voices, drawing the attention of the people to reflect on the lyrics - a call to serve, as with the opening verse;
I give my hands to do your work
And Jesus Lord I give them willingly
I give my feet to go your way
And every step I shall take carefully

Sr Grace Deosing fsic, Mother General of FSIC
Sr Grace in her speech said that she was deeply touched with the tremendous support granted them in celebrating the auspicious event.
'Our four pioneer sisters took their first profession here in St Mary's Convent, Sandakan. We have part of our roots here. Coming home to celebrate bears much meaning. It is an expression of our gratitude to God and to all Franciscan Sisters who had journeyed through the years.'
She added that in their mission journey, they are always in the midst of the people. She called on the faithful, clergy, religious and laity alike to support one another as collaborators in making known His name and love.
With much humility, she went on to say, 'In all our achievement over the years, we give thanks to God and to all of you. However, on occasions where we stumbled because of our failures, weaknesses and limitations, we are truly sorry and we seek your forgiveness.'
Bishop Julius
Bishop Julius on behalf of the faithful of the Diocese expressed his heartfelt congratulations and prayerful wishes to all members of the congregation, sharing with them blessings of the momentous occasion.
He said, 'We are truly inspired by the apostolic and missionary spirit of your congregation, reaching out to the needy and the marginalized, ensuring that the saving message of Jesus Christ reaches as many people as possible.'
'Your endeavor through your charism in spreading the Good News in Sabah for the last 75 years is to be commended. May God continue to give you strength  to face new challenges to achieve your set vision and mission.'
A blessed and Happy Birthday to you, dear Sr Appollonia fsic standing in the fore  front
The event was lined with the anniversary cake cutting ceremony, also celebrating the birthday of Sr Appollonia Gumbu fsic, rendition of songs, dances and presentation of souvenirs.
Bishop Julius presenting souvenirs to Sr Grace fsic from the Diocese and the Diocesan Catholic Women's Apostolate - Congratulations on the 75th Founding Anniversary of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
Closing Prayer by Fr Thomas
Also in attendance were Fr Thomas Makajil, rector of the Cathedral, Fr Philip Muji, the assistant rector and Sr Maria Dipal RGS.

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