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Friday, November 9, 2012


Sandakan: Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom officially launched the Year of Faith in the Diocese of Sandakan, celebrating the 7.00 pm Holy Mass on Wednesday 7th November 2012 in St. Mary's Cathedral Sandakan con celebrated by all the seven priests in the diocese. “The Year of Faith” as announced by Pope Benedict XVI urged all Catholics throughout the world to rediscover and to share with others, the precious gift of faith entrusted to the Church. The Pope has decreed that the Catholic Church will observe the Year of Faith from 11th October 2012 to 24th November 2013.
Some 1000 parishioners attended the evening mass coming from the vicinity of the Cathedral and its sub parishes in Beluran and Paitan. In his homily, Bishop Julius called on the faithful to focus on Jesus and hoped that the year of faith will renew, rekindle and revitalize their relationship with Christ once more.He cited the opening of the Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei by the Pope which reads, 'The door of faith (Acts 14 : 27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church.'

He urged the people to deepen their faith by studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents in the Second Vatican Council attaining its 20th and 50th anniversary respectively. He went on to say, 'We have to know our faith, the contents of which will give us the confident to share with others. It is impossible to share what we don't have. It is timely that with the launching of the Year of Faith, parishioners may take the initiative to study the documents in their BECs, Spiritual Groups or Communities.'

At the end of his homily, the prelate reminded the faithful that faith must be shown in works of charity. Attending Mass and remaining holy is not sufficient  in fulfilling our duty as a Catholic. We need to respond to the needy around us, as stated in Mathew 25 : 40, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least My brethren, you did it to Me.'
After the Euchristic celebration, Bishop Julius unveiled the banner bearing the official logo of the Year of Faith hung at the side of the sanctuary. He then presented the Compendium of Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Bible in 40 and 100 Weeks and the official banner to the rectors of St. Mary's Cathedral Sandakan, Holy Trinity Church Tawau, St. Martin's Church Telupid and St. Dominic's Church Lahad Datu. 
The Bible in 40 and 100 Weeks is recommended to be used in small group  study gathering with a hope of enhancing our spiritual growth.The study guide is a journey for all those who want to deepen their faith and knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures.
After the launching, all adjourned to a fellowship dinner in the Parish Hall. Apart from the sumptuous dinner prepared by the many BECs, the parishioners also took the opportunity to celebrate Mgsr Nicholas Ong's 34th anniversary of his priestly ordination. During the course of the dinner, the Parish Soccom  Team presented an informative video clip depicting the many faith filled activities carried out in the Parish. The event ended at 9.30 pm with a concluding hymn 'Mary our Mother', followed by a Closing Prayer and final blessing by Bishop Julius.

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