Julita SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : Holy Trinity Parish Tawau organized a two-in-one celebration on Sunday 6th October 2013 on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary Priestly Ordination of Msgr. Nicholas Ong and welcoming Fr. Johnny Raju, recently transferred from the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu. After the Sunday Mass, some 400 parishioners adjourned to the Parish Hall for a luncheon fellowship and entertainment.
The PPC Chairman Bro.Mario Domingo congratulated Msgr. Nicholas Ong on the occasion of his anniversary. He said, 'Before I end my term next month I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Msgr Nicholas. His perseverance in pastoral care, especially in promoting BECs, in celebrating masses with down to earth homilies has inspired many of us. He is a role model in taking care of good health". He wished that the good Lord may continue to grant Msgr. good health and that he serve with patience and joy.
He also welcomed Fr. Johnny Raju to Tawau. He gave his assurance that the parishioners of Holy Trinity are humble and obedient to their priest. He said, "Though we may be of different races with different backgrounds and cultures we take pride living as one community. We are simple people, we live as one big family. There may be problems at times but we handle them as one community and as a team. We welcome you and let us journey together."
Msgr. Nicholas Ong's 35th anniversary of Sacerdotal Ordination falls on 3rd October. In his speech he said, "Serving the Lord is never an ending service for me. I love to serve the people of God, journeying together in building the Kingdom of God here on earth. When God called me to serve Him, he knows that I can do His will for He will bless me with the spirit of perseverance and strength, patience and joy in sharing the Good News of His love to others." He continued by saying that “ I do believe that God wants me to share with you His words and put it into action and that's what we do in BECs, sharing and spreading the fragrance of the Words”.
5 years and 6 months in Holy Trinity Parish, Msgr. Nicholas has made 196 BEC's visits. It remains his dream to see more families joining the BECs. He concluded his speech by expressing his gratitude for having another priest, Fr Johnny Raju to assist him apart from Fr. David. He is very happy that there are now three priests in Tawau to accommodate the need of parishioners especially those at the outstation chapels.
WE WELCOME YOU FR. JOHNNY RAJU
Fr. Johnny Raju arrived on 1st October and his first assignment was to preside over the 27th Sunday in ordinary time Bahasa Mass on 6th October, con celebrated by Msgr. Nicholas Ong and Fr. David A. Garaman.
Fr. Johnny Raju is an Indian-Kadazan, born in Noosob, Penampang and grew up in Keningau. He speaks fluent Kadazan . He is a Neo-Catechumenate ordained priest having studied in Rome for 9 years.
In the past 11 years in priesthood ( 20.7.2002 ) he had served in various places; St. Edmund Kota Belud, St John Tuaran and Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu before moving to Holy Trinity Parish Tawau under the Diocese of Sandakan.
In his speech during the welcoming fellowship, he said "It never crossed my mind that I would be transferred out of KK Archdiocese. I believe serving the people of God is my first call. It doesn't really matter where I am assigned to as long as I could reach out to the people of God as a shepherd and help build up the community, the church. I remain obedient to the Bishop and my superior. I like spending time with devotional activity and I look forward to be with you all here."
The luncheon fellowship adjourned at 1.00 in the afternoon with a Closing Prayer led by Fr. David.