Tawau : Holy Trinity Parish Tawau hosted the 6th Sandakan Diocesan Anniversary and Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom DD. The two-day event was held on 14th and 15th October 2013. Four years ago, in 2009, HTC hosted the 2nd anniversary.
The event began with the first 'Diocesan Family Day' on 14th October from 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm at the basement of the Parish Hall. Though it was a working day, some 300 parishioners coming from the four parishes; St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan, St. Martin Telupid, St. Dominic Lahad Datu and Holy Trinity Tawau participated in the event.
The fun-filled event was aimed to build a stronger relationship bond among parishioners and to create a deep sense of belonging as a family from across the four parishes in the Diocese of Sandakan.
A variety of games was held; tug-of-war, snake race, coconut bowling and street soccer. All games were well represented. There was much cheering from supporters from each parish. St Martin's Church Telupid emerged as the overall winner.
Later in the evening, a subscribed dinner in commemoration of the event was held at a prominent hotel in town. A total of 650 people attended the dinner. The attendance of Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau, both Vicar-Generals, Msgr. Primus Jouil of Sacred Heart of Kota Kinabalu and Msgr. Gilbert Engan of the Diocese of Keningau as special guests was a indeed a great gesture of support.
Among other guests present were 22 priests, 2 deacons, 20 religious sisters and brothers from the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception led by Sr Grace Deosing, the Superior General of the Congregation, Good Shepherd Sisters, Brothers of St Gabriel. Also present was Bro. Kipoy, the Superior General of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Jesuit of Congo and a former Director of Catechetical Learning Center in Rome who happened to be in Sabah, facilitating a seminar for the Franciscan Sisters in Kota Kinabalu.
The banquet started with a welcoming speech by Mario Domingo, the Event Organizing Chairman who is also the Chairman of Holy Trinity Parish Pastoral Council. He shared on the parable of building bridges instead of walls. After having journeyed as a Diocese for six years, it shall be the responsibility of each parish to continue to build bridges to connect to one another. He said, "tolerance, teamwork and forgiving remain the keys to sustaining the survival of any organization living in peace and harmony, so too with us as a Diocese." He went on to say, "What we had experienced together this afternoon during the tally match, is an indicator of our unity. We hope that we will journey together as brothers and sisters, caring for another to build up His Kingdom."
Msgr. Nicholas Ong, the Rector of Holy Trinity Parish Tawau expressed his gratitude to all those who had contributed in one way or the other towards the success of the event. He commended the committee to help realized the Diocesan Family Day activity which is pertinent in building a sense of belonging in the Diocese. He said, "Through such activity, parishioners from other parishes will get to know one other better. We are to live as one big family to carry forth His mission, each responsible to the task entrusted in building His Kingdom. The family is the basic cell, built on strong foundation which is responsible in producing other cells to form the community. As such, BECs shall remain the pillar of evangelization for the Diocese of Sandakan."
Dinner was served after the anniversary cake cutting ceremony - the 6th Sandakan Diocesan Anniversary and Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Julius as well as his birthday. Msgr Nicholas Ong said grace before meal.
During the course of the banquet each parish came on stage to present their presentations. The occasion also saw clergy, religious and laity serenading a few songs to the audience. Prizes were also presented to winners of the tally match held earlier in the afternoon during the Diocesan Family Day event.