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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life in St Mary's Cathedral Parish

By Sr. M. Appollonia Gumpu, fsic

“CONSECRATED LIFE....

........IS AN ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST” (Pope Francis)

Sandakan: The celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life, is intended to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and, at the same time, is intended to be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervour which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord. (Pope John II)
World Day for Consecrated Life (WDCL) was celebrated in St. Mary's Cathedral Parish Sandakan on 10th February 2014 at St. Joseph's Church. The Eucharist was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Philip Muji and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Simon Kontou. Around 100 parishioners attended the celebration. 
Fr. Philip in his homily explained that all of us are called to holiness and are consecrated by virtue of our baptism. The Sacrament of Baptism is the door to enter into the other Sacraments. He also quoted from the words of Pope Francis, saying that we should treasure our own baptism by celebrating it in equal importance just like our birthday.
Prior to this, there was a 3-day prayer (Triduum) in preparation of the occasion led  by the three different congregations serving in the Parish with the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel leading the first day of the Triduum at St Mary's Hostel on 4th February. The Good Shepherd Sisters led the second day of the Triduum at St Joseph's Church on 5th February while the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception led the 3rd day of the Triduum at St Mary's Chapel on 6th February. 
 Sr. Lillian FSIC proclaiming the 1st reading 
Those in consecrated life are called to spread the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.(Pope John Paul II) 
The Choir comprises the 18 boarders of St Mary's Hostel
Prayers of the Faithful by Brother Stephen Tee SG

 
On behalf of all the Religious Communities serving in the Cathedral Parish of Sandakan, Sr. Maria Dipal RGS took the opportunity to thank Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan and all the clergy for their continuous support. She also thanked the celebrants and all the parishioners who came to celebrate with them.
SOME GENERAL KNOWLEDGE ON RELIGIOUS LIFE
Religious Orders
Each religious community is a special blessing in our church, with its particular mission, spirituality, and flavor. Religious communities share much in common with each other, and yet, each one has its own unique spirit or ‘charism.’
What is Religious Life?
Religious life is first and foremost a call to give one’s self as an unreserved gift to God in Jesus Christ. This complete giving of one’s self is symbolized in the living out of the evangelical vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, to the exclusion of all other primary life commitments. It is also a life that is usually lived out in communion (community) with others who have made the same life commitment. 
While all religious communities share these same characteristics, each one is unique in terms of its charism or spirit, and the ways in which they are called to live out that spirit. Some examples include Monastic communities whose primary call is to minister through continual prayer for the people of God. Members of Apostolic communities, while certainly called to a life of prayer, are also called to minister to the needs of the people of God in more direct ways.
Who Can Be a Religious?
Requirements vary according to specific orders or congregations; however, in general, adult, Catholic women and men who are not married. Other requirements, such as being debt free and being in generally good physical and mental health as well as having some working experience. 
How Do I Know If I’m being called?
Most Religious women and men as well as Priests will tell you that the decision to enter Religious Life or Priesthood was made in response to a call from God heard deep within their hearts. Discerning whether or not God is calling you takes a commitment to spending time in prayer. Having a Spiritual Director or a Spiritual Friend to talk these thoughts and feeling over with, can be helpful as well. 
For further information please contact the following:

Pope Francis designates 2015 as the 'Year for Consecrated Life.' The year will begin on November 21, 2014, which is a special day of prayer dedicated for those living the religious life. The special year, which was announced by Pope Francis in December 2013 at a meeting with superior generals of male religious orders, was an answer to suggestions made by many religious superiors, said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious. The year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Vatican II decree on religious life, Perfectae Caritatis.

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