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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Diocese of Sandakan welcomes 534 new members

article by ds and
photos by bell

Sandakan :  The Easter Vigil liturgy marks the beginning of Easter. We are awaiting our master’s return with our lamps full and burning, so that He will find us awake and seat us at His table (Luke 12 : 35). The 7.30 pm Vigil of four parts : service of light, liturgy of the Word, liturgy of Baptism and the liturgy of the Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom at St Mary’s Cathedral yesterday 7th April 2012, attended by some 1,500 parishioners.
Bishop Julius, 'Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega........'
Bishop Julius lighting the Paschal candle, symbol of  Christ, light of the world
Terrence, the commentator
Bishop Julius inviting the congregation to listen and meditate on God's word
The service of light began outside the Cathedral with all lights dimmed. Bishop Julius blessed the new fire. The lit Paschal candle was then carried and processed into the Cathedral with parishioners lighting their candles from the Easter candle and continued in procession until the whole Cathedral was alight. It was then followed by the Paschal Proclamation, the Exultet.
Winnie Khoo proclaiming the 1st reading, Genesis 1 : 1 - 2 : 2
Cecilia with the 2nd reading, Exodus 14 : 15 - 15 : 1

Sharon proclaiming the 3rd reading, Exekiel 36 : 16 - 28

Stella with the 4th reading, Romans 6 : 3 -11

In the liturgy of the word, three readings from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament were proclaimed. The Gospel was taken from Mark 16 : 1 - 7 and in his homily, Bishop Julius said that we rejoice as we sing ‘The Lord is risen, Alleluia!’ The resurrection of Jesus fills our hearts with joy. Death is a temporary phenomenon, for Jesus has defeated death. For all faithful, our final destination is God himself. We are going to meet our Father, the source of love. It is because of his love that he raised his son, Jesus from death.
The prelate talked of the holy week, itelling us how Jesus brings love to us, love from God. In Palm Sunday he wanted to communicate the love of God to us. He rode on a donkey to bring unto the people peace not war. He wants to bring that peace to all mankind, each and everyone of us.
Bishop Julius in his homily
On holy Thursday, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, an act of humble service for us to follow in our daily life. He also instituted the Eucharist and the order of priesthood. It is a sign of Jesus self-giving to all mankind, giving his body as our spiritual food so that we can sustain on our journey to heaven. Whenever we receive the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion, we are uniting ourselves to the Lord.

On Good Friday he endured the Cross, an indication of His love. Nothing can hinder Him from bringing that love to us, not even the cross nor death. He knew God has given him the mission to give life to all. It is an example of commitment that we have to follow.
He said, 'Today we come together to remember and to celebrate the culmination of his love, Christ is risen and that is the message repeated over and over in the Gospel, repeated throughout the century. He is truly risen and live among us. Let the Paschal candle, the symbol of his risen life and our smaller candle a sign that we want to participate in his way of life.'
In the liturgy of Baptism, 54 catechumens were baptized, united with Jesus. They are deeply bonded with Jesus and are entitled to eternal glory. Parishioners renewed their baptismal promise, the promise made when they were baptized.  We are called to to be in Christ's light,  bearers of his love and truth to others. We should not remain in our old selves again but to be a new creation as in 2 Cor 5 : 17, 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.'
The newly baptized with Bishop Julius
The Knights of the Altar with Bishop Julius
This Easter, 534 people in the Diocese were baptized; 127 from Sandakan, 210 from Lahad Datu, 124 from Telupid and 73 from Tawau. 

He extended his sincere appreciation to all animators of RCIA and RCIC for the dedication and commitment in guiding the catechumens until they are fully initiated into the Catholic Church. He also thanked all those involved in the preparation of the celebration and all parishioners for their support.

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