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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bishop Julius Graces the Solemn Blessing and Official Opening of St Paul's Multi-Purpose Hall

Article by Dalius L L and photos by 
courtesy of Bell, Rogena and Sunday
Sandakan : On 20th April, about 1,200 Catholic lay faithful residing within the vicinity of St. Paul's Church Ulu Dusun have every reason to celebrate Easter with joy and happiness. For, on that day they also witnessed the solemn blessing and official opening of St Paul's Multi-Purpose Hall. The newly constructed hall is another land mark for St. Paul's Church which is a sub-parish of St. Mary's Cathedral, located some 50km away from town. It is situated beside the Church itself, up on a hill with magnificent view of the surrounding palm oil plantations.
The hall, measuring some 30 ft by 80 ft with two badminton courts, and another extension of 10 ft by 30 ft for an elevated stage and a basement room for meeting cum changing. The hall has a seating capacity of some 500 people.

The event commenced with the rite of blessing at 6.00 pm at the porch measuring some 20 ft by 30 ft, solemnized by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan, assisted by Fr. Thomas Makajil, the Parish Priest of St. Mary's Cathedral Sandakan. The official opening ceremony was graced by Bishop Julius with ribbon cutting followed by three beatings of the gong.

Bishop Julius accompanied by Fr. Thomas released the hot-air tanglungs to mark the occasion. The guests of honour, invited guests and parishioners then adjourned to the hall for a 50-table subscribed dinner. Among the guests of honour were the two assistant Parish Priest of St. Mary's Cathedral; Fr Phillip Muji and Fr Sunny Chung, religious sisters from the FSIC and RGS, Chairmen of Parish Pastoral Council / Committee of the Cathedral, St. Paul of Ulu Dusun and Our Lady of Fatima, Beluran and the Chairman of the Cathedral Parish Finance and Property Committee.
In the opening remark, the Chairman of the Building Committee, Michael Ibau extended his sincere appreciation to the guests of honour, invited guests, parishioners and well wishers from Ulu Dusun, Sandakan and Beluran for their support and prayers. He shared that the local Catholic community had waited some 14 years for their very own Church’s hall which could only be realized this year. He acknowledged Fr. Thomas for his fervent support, guidance and persistency that had made their dream possible.
The cost of the building alone amounted to some RM350,000 of which RM250,000 was allocated by St. Mary's Cathedral Parish and the balance of RM100,000 was funded by John Tan, the contractor. According to him, there is a need of some more fund to complete phase 2 which shall include a by-pass road to the hall, the attached toilets, concrete parking space at the back portion of the hall and a proper drainage system. Michael Ibau shared that for a start the proceed from the subscribed dinner will go towards the 2nd phase fund. He was grateful that some parishioners have pledged to chip in towards the cause.
In his thank you speech, Fr. Thomas conveyed his appreciation to the two chairmen of the Parish Finance Committee, David Chung and the Parish Property and Maintenance Committee, Peter Thien for their support and commitment in realizing the aspiration of the local community. He also thanked William Gabriel, the Chairman of the Pastoral Committee for his continous involvement in building the local community. In a lighter remark, he said that the hall is not only beautiful but also the biggest in the Cathedral Parish. He hoped that the Multi-Purpose hall is not only seen as a centre for physical activities but also serve as a centre for spiritual and community development.
In between courses of the dinner, guests and attendees were entertained to a host of activities. The local youth performed two community dances; 'Igal-Igal', a traditional dance of the Bajau community and 'Sayau Labuk', another traditional dance of the Labuk-Sugut Dusun community. 
The priests and the religious sisters took to the stage to serenade some favourites to the delight of the audience. John Tan, the contractor also presented an oldie. All songs were sponsored and the proceed went to the coffer of the 2nd phase fund.  
The event wrapped off with presentation of prizes to lucky draw winners followed by Fr Sunny Chung leading the Closing Prayer. The event came to a close at exactly 10.00 pm.

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