Sandakan : Sunday, 14th August 2011 – Reaching out to the migrants offers us the opportunity to reflect on Christian welcome and hospitality as stated in Matthew 25 : 35, 'I was a stranger and you welcome me'. We are often asked to be caring communities ready to welcome 'neighbors' into our homes, providing care, guidance and friendship in order to share their joys and expectations, their pain and suffering.
|Margaretta Bulu and Lucia, the MCs of the day|
The staff and volunteers of the Good Shepherd Children Learning Program in collaboration with Keluarga Besar Katolik Indonesia (KBKI) jointly organized the Indonesian 66th Independence Day (17th August 1945) at St. Mark’s Church, some 20 km from the town centre on Sunday 14th August 2011.
More than 300 people from 40 Indonesian families from the KBKI community and Basel Church and supporters participated in the celebration . The presence of Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral, Sr Maria Dipal RGS, Sr Alice RGS and staff from the Diocesan Office boosted their morale, uplifted their hope, gave them support and encouragement.
The celebration started with an Opening Prayer led by Fr. Thomas Makajil and followed by a luncheon fellowship served with various Timorese traditional dishes prepared by the community. After lunch the event started with the singing of the Malaysian national anthem 'Negaraku' as a sign of respect, honor and appreciation towards Malaysia as the receiving country. After that, all the 60 children from the Good Shepherd Children Learning Program, together with all members of the KBKI community sang the Indonesian national anthem; 'Indonesia Raya' and two other patriotic songs; Gugur Bunga di Medan Perang and 17 Agustus 1945.
|Presentations by the Children and adults|
The main objective of this celebration is to develop the community spirit and a deeper understanding of independence day among the children, youth and parents of KBKI. The Chairman, Petrus Beam said that it is pertinent for all Indonesian citizens no matter where they may be to remember and to be proud of the historical event.
|Fr Thomas addressing the audience|
Fr. Thomas Makajil, in his speech said that even though we come from two different countries of various cultures and backgrounds are united in Jesus as one family. The coming together as one on this special event for all Indonesians and local parishioners show our oneness in the Body of Christ.
The three hour celebration was lined with interesting performances from the children and volunteers of the Good Shepherd Children Learning Program and from each of the BEC groups presenting their well prepared traditional dances and songs.
Before the close of the event, Sr. Maria Dipal, RGS. led a special prayer of intentions for world peace and unity of all nations and people.
Their facial expressions reflected their joy and happiness in celebrating their country's independence day. They were in high spirit celebrating the said event. All members, children and adults took to the floor doing their traditional community dance call ‘Dolo-dolo’.
Some parents expressed deep gratitude and were very touched as it was their first time, coming together as a community to celebrate their independence day after having stayed in Sandakan for many, many years.
Jellferlyne, the PKGS Program Coordinator
The organizing team sincerely expressed their appreciation to the KBKI communities and the Church for supporting and working together in making the event a successful and memorable occasion.
The Good Shepherd Children Learning Program aims not only to give opportunity for the children to learn basic reading, writing and arithmetic but also to empower communities / families and each person to wholeness and full potential.
|Doing the 'Dolo-Dolo'|
Jellferlyne, Stephanie, Alice
Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd