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Saturday, November 16, 2013


Article by Dallius 
Photos by George 

Sandakan: 9th November 2013, after sunset Mass, around 400 parishioners of St. Mary's Cathedral attended a modest potluck dinner at the parish hall to honour and support their rector, Fr. Thomas Makajil in commemorating his 35th year of ordination to the priesthood. In his thankful note, Fr. Tom (as he is fondly known), took the opportunity to thank all the parishioners in St. Mary's Cathedral for their support and prayers, especially to the Catholic Women's Apostolate for organising the event. 

When recalling his six years pastoring in St. Mary, his remark drawn laughter when he shared, that the priests have to travel extensively by road far and wide to cover this large and vast parish, so much so that now when travelling to KK or further up to Tenom (Keningau Diocese) is peanut to him. He added that this extensive travelling had given him more patience when normally a person in his 60s is known to have shorter patience / temper. He also hoped the gathering will serve as an avenue for all to gather as one big family and enjoy one another's fellowship.

Excerpts of interviews from parishioners about Fr. Tom: 

Myrene Gindung a secondary school Principal - “I’ve known Fr. Tom since he was the rector in St. Catherine Inanam and he is known as an approachable, humble and kind priest. He is much loved and appreciated by everyone he encounters”. 

Michael Wong a Catechist from the Catholic Chinese Community, “Even though he is busy due to the many commitments but he is very concern of the community. One thing special about him is that he can understand the language but only that he cannot communicate in Chinese”.  

Patrick Seah, whose PPC chairmanship term ends this year, said “It has been a privilege to work under Fr. Tom, a very patient, compassionate and easy forgiving person. I have worked together with him for two terms in the PPC (2009 – 2013). We managed to achieve quite significantly in pastoral matters in the Church. I wish him the very best and may God's blessings be upon him in serving the Lord for many more years to come."

Short history on Fr. Thomas Makajil's Priesthood Journey

Fr. Thomas Makajil is from Penampang, ordained priest on 11th November 1978 in St. Michael's Church, Penampang. He aspired to be a pilot but God has led him to another direction that is for him to shepherd His people. During the darkest history of the Catholic faith in Sabah when all the white missionary priests were expelled out from Sabah in the seventies, he is among the upcoming local trained Priest to fill on the vacuum. The foreign priests had a great impact on him as he revered them for their way of life and their great sacrifice in bringing God’s salvation to this part of the world. He was privileged that during those days, students' faith formation started in boarding school. At that time the students had their spiritual guidance which helped them in their vocation. 
College General, Penang
During his 5th Form he entered the Preparatory Seminary in KK and was selected to enter the Minor Seminary in Singapore and at the same time took his Senior Cambridge there. He was there for two years. He continued his studies in the Major Seminary in College General, Penang for another 5 years, then after he was sent out to look for job in order for him to contemplate whether he was really sure that priesthood is his calling. He landed a job in Pamol Estate, Beluran (1974 – middle of 1975) as an administrative officer before returning back to the seminary to affirm his commitment of God’s calling.
Our Lady of Fatima, Beluran
In his 35 years of service to the Lord, Fr. Tom's diaconate and first priestly assignment was in Holy Trinity, Tawau (1977 – 1980), St. Michael Penampang (1980 – 1982), St. Catherine's Parish Inanam (1982 – 1985), St. Peter Bundu's Parish Beaufort (1986 – 1989), St. Michael Penampang (1989 – 1992), St. Theresa's Parish Tambunan (1992 – 1994), St. Joseph's Parish Papar (1994 – 1998), Study Leave for his Master in Religious and Licentiate in Pastoral Theology from Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, Manila (1998 – 2000), St. John's Parish Tuaran (2001 – 2007) and now in St. Mary's Cathedral Parish Sandakan (since 2008).
Holy Trinity Church Tawau
St Theresa, Tambunan
Kg. Terian, Penampang
He was the associate Editor for Catholic Sabah in the 80's, and had attended courses in “Pastoral Through Media” in Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) Manila (1982), a course in “Community Pastoring” in East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI), Ateneo De Manila University (1984) and on “Organising Development”, in Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute, Graduate School of Organization Development (SAIDI), Manila (1994). During his younger time, he was a sportsman, active in football and badminton. He is now keen in fishing and hunting.
Receiving state award ASDK
St. Francis of Assisi's Chapel, Kg. Koiboton Sukang, Paitan Mission

When he was incardinated to the Diocese of Sandakan, his only wish is to help this young Diocese to grow with the active participation of the laity. He encourages the faithful to come forward to journey and to work together in building up the Church.   


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