Sandakan : The Eucharistic celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on 1st January 2013 at St Mary's Cathedral presided over by Bishop Julius and con celebrated by Fr Anthony Mikat is also a celebration of the New Year and the World Day of Peace. Despite of the heavy downpour, it did not dampen the spirits of some 800 parishioners who attended the celebration at 8.00 am.
The first paragraph from the message of the Holy Father 2013 reads, 'Each new year brings the expectation of a better world. In light of this, I ask God, the Father of humanity , to grant us concord and peace, so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.' It encourages everyone to take responsibility with regard to peace building for each of us has a role to play.
Bishop Julius said in his homily that the eagerness to approach and the enthusiasm to start the New Year by participating in the Eucharistic celebration signaled a good beginning. New Year is something we look forward with much hope for something better. The prelate called upon everyone to seek a better resolution to bring about peace and for that to happen we must first of all be people of peace within oneself. He further said, 'Seek to emulate Mary, the Mother of God who is a perfect example of a person of peace.'
If we are to be peacemakers in the real sense, the core criteria would be to establish intimate relationship with God. Mary has perfect faith, hope and confidence in the Lord. It should bring about our own transformation so that we may begin the new year with hope and optimism. Our God is compassionate, for in our shortcomings, mistakes and failures He always provide us with a new beginning; this after all is the message of Christmas. God does not lose hope on us. He wants us to start anew.
The theme for World Day of Peace is 'Blessed are the Peacemakers'. Thus we are not to harden our hearts but to pray for peace within self, family and the community.