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Friday, November 4, 2011

Celebrating the 38th Anniversary of OLOF, Beluran

Beluran : The Church of Our Lady Of Fatima (OLOF), located some 84 km from Sandakan,  celebrated its 38th anniversary on Sunday 30th October 2011. Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom presided over the Eucharistic celebration attended by some 450 faithful from Beluran and nearby outstations.
The prelate also administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 31 confirmands and first Holy Communion to 24 communicants. The auspicious celebration also witnessed the launching of OLOF’s logo. 

The colorful event commenced with a solemn procession from the open space outside the Church into the entrance led by the communicants, confirmands followed by parishioners. Also in attendance for this special event, were some of the PPC members of St’Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan led by the Chairman, Patrick Seah. 
In his homily, the prelate reminded the faithful especially the confirmands and the communicants to be strong in their journey of faith. Since Mother Mary is the patron saint of OLOF Church, named after her apparition in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, he encouraged the faithful to pray always to our Mother Mary for her intercession.
L-R : Bishop Julius, Albert Enti and Patrick Seah
After the Eucharistic celebration, the Chairman of OLOF Pastoral Committee,  Albert Thomas Enti in his opening address touched on the history of the Church. 

It had a very humble beginning with just 5 families gathered to pray the Holy Rosary  from house to house in the early 70's. By 1972, the small Catholic community managed to set up their first committee with  OKK Anthony Nichol as its first chairman and  Stephen Ubing and Lawrence Dusalam as pioneering members to oversee to the needs of the Catholic community in Beluran. 

Their effort bore fruit with the construction of OLOF’s chapel in 1973 which was officiated by  the then Bishop Peter Chung of Sarawak, now Archbishop Emeritus. In 1989, a new Church with a seating capacity  of 400 people was built to cater to the ever increasing Catholic community. The  new  Church was solemnly blessed and officially graced by the then Msgr Cornelius Piong (now Bishop of Keningau Diocese). 

There is also a rectory adjacent to the Church, built to provide accommodation to priests  who will preside mass on a monthly basis. It also acts as an administrative centre catering not only the sub-parish of OLOF but to all nearby outstations. It is the hope of the community in Beluran that OLOF will have its own resident priest and be accorded the status as a full parish.
Receiving the certificate of recognition for her late father OKK Anthony Nicol
After the opening address, the parishioners witnessed the presentation  of certificates of recognition by Bishop  Julius to seven  founding members of OLOF of whom five had passed away. 
Getting ready to cut the 38th anniversary cake
The congregation adjourned to the Church Hall for a luncheon fellowship with a host of musical entertainment by the local community.  


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