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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bishop Julius Celebrates Holy Thursday At St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

Article by Dallius LL, photos
by courtesy of Edon Mujim
Sandakan: The faithful of St. Mary's Cathedral entered into their holiest season in the Catholic calendar, the Sacred Easter Triduum Liturgies, the three great days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It marks the end of forty days of Lent and the beginning of a three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Vigil of Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) which was celebrated on 17th April at 7.30 pm with an attendance of close to 2000 parishioners.
Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan presided over the mass and during his bi-lingual English and Bahasa Malaysia homily called upon the parishioners to reflect on why we gathered this evening to observe this Mass.  The prelate explained that the coming of us on Holy Thursday is to celebrate, to commemorate and to remember the institution of the Eucharist. God has established a covenant with us because of His love for us and has taken in human appearance through Jesus Christ himself. Jesus has set an example for us and he was slained in order to give life and continues to communicate his love to us through the Eucharist, the center and heart of the Catholic faith. We believe with conviction that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, giving us life and empowering us.
He also brought to the attention of parishioners the incident where Jesus was washing his disciple’s feet. Bishop Julius said, “He wandered, what was the feeling of Jesus when it was Judas turn for the feet washing, knowing well this is the very person who is going to betray him, and yet Jesus still washes his feet. And what was the feeling of Judas when Jesus was washing his feet, knowing well too that he is about to turn his friend and his teacher to the authorities”. 
The prelate related how difficult it is for us to give even the sign of peace to the other person who hurts us even though sitting on the same pew.  In spite of this difficulty, Jesus reminds us in his last instruction to the disciples to love and to serve one another. And to be Jesus disciples we must keep this instruction and become brothers and sisters to one another in this Church.
He then invited  the parishioners to reflect on Judas and posed a question as who are the Judases in our lives. In one time or another, the prelate said, “We are Judas ourselves, we have also turned away from God. We must have the courage to come back to the Lord and asked Him to wash our feet as well as washing others feet”. He concluded, “Let us not decline the Lord's invitation and follow Him in His humble service”.
Following the homily, Bishop Julius washed the feet of 12 parishioners as a symbolic gesture of love, service and humility imitating Jesus' washing the feet of his disciples. 

After Holy Communion, the Altar was stripped, and the Blessed Sacrament transferred to the Altar of Repose in a solemn procession. Thereafter the faithful spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacramentf until midnight.

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