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Thursday, March 1, 2012



Sandakan : In conjunction with the Lenten season, a series of recollections, seminars and talks are being planned by St Mary's Cathedral of Sandakan. St. Mark's Church, a sub parish, situated some 32 km from the cathedral hosted the first Lenten recollection with a talk on “Faith and Belief” on 25th February 2012 from 08.30am – 3.00pm. The talk was organized by the OFS (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, formerly known as the Secular Franciscan Order).

The OFS is an order of the Roman Catholic Church, a community of laity men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.  Secular Franciscan makes a public profession, living their secular lives with their jobs and families and dedicates their lives to the teachings and ideals of that order. As for this parish, the order was canonically established on 26th  September 2010 and currently there are 26 professed members headed by Helda Laurencius (local minister).
The recollection was conducted in Bahasa Malaysia, with Sr. Appollonia Gumpu fsic as the facilitator and speaker. 51 participants attended the recollection day and some came from as far as Ulu Dusun and Bukit Garam. The morning session was divided into 2 parts, the first one was on the rosary prayer of the seven sorrowful of Mary and the second part was the talk on Fasting and Abstinence. The main objective of the recollection  was to help the participants to grow closer to our Lord and prepare ourselves to celebrate the paschal mystery with minds and hearts renewed. In the afternoon session, the participants were divided into several groups  of 2 – 3 members to reflect on what fasting and abstinence meant to them.  A few selected groups were called to share their reflections with the others participants.
The ending of the day's recollection was quite a challenge to all the participants to imitate Christ's passion through prayer outside the church compound. The participants , in a highly meditative state of prayer were able to endure the hot and blazing afternoon sun.  Stanley William, a second year theology seminarian who is on pastoral exposure led the prayers of the station of the cross. 

The recollection ended with a group photo taken at the grotto, followed by light refreshment.

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