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Friday, April 4, 2014

Celebrating Chrism Mass At St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

Front row (L-R) : Fr Marcellinus, Msgr Nicholas Ong, Bishop Julius, Fr David, Fr Thomas Makajil
Back row (L- R) : Fr Sunny Chung, Fr Simon Kontou, Fr Philip, Fr Jasery Gabuk, Fr Johnny Raju
Sandakan : The Right Reverend Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan and all the nine priests in the diocese, gathered for the annual blessing of the oils at the tri-lingual Chrism Mass in St Mary's Cathedral, yesterday 3rd April 2014. These oils will be distributed among the parishes and institutions of the Diocese of Sandakan for use throughout the year. At this special Mass, all priests renewed their priestly promises during the Eucharistic celebration.
Priestly people, Kingly people, Holy people.
God's chosen people, sing praise to the Lord.
The entrance procession was accompanied by the hymn on 'Priestly People.' Bishop Julius in his opening note said that we gathered because we are specially chosen by God. Priestly people are not merely confined to the clergy. All baptized faithful are in fact priestly people, called to live a life of holiness. For that, we are grateful to God.
In his homily the prelate touched on the institution of the Eucharist where Jesus commanded His disciples, 'To do this in memory of me.' Throughout the ages we, the church gather to commemorate that institution. Today at Chrism Mass, we commemorate that institution in a special way. Missing Chrism Mass is missing one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of the Catholic church.
Due to geographical and pastoral factors, Chrism Mass is celebrated today instead of the traditional morning of Holy Thursday, where all priests, Bishop and the lay faithful could attend. Their presence, priests and Bishop is testimony of their sharing in the consecration of the one priesthood of Christ. They share in the sacred office of teaching in building up and sanctifying the people of God. Their coming together is testimony of unity.

The Eucharist, the prelate continued is celebrated not just on Sunday but daily. It is a special sacrament, a gift to the church meant to sustain the life of the faithful so that they can strive to live a holy life. In this respect, the Eucharist and the blessed oils are closely related to the life of the ministerial priesthood. He reminded his brother priests to recall their priestly pledge taken during their ordination; strive to live a life of holiness, discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching and to remain faithful steward of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and all other liturgical rites.
To the faithful, he urged them not just to pray for their priests but to stay close to them, using their charism to serve the church. Their support will make priests better shepherds, striving to be Christ-like. He continued to say, 'We are very grateful to all of you for your trust, love and support. Please come forward to offer your service. Together we will build up the church.'
It is during this Chrism Mass that the Bishop will bless the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, the Oil of the Sick used for those seeking the anointing and the Sacred Chrism for baptism, confirmation, ordination, and consecration of altars and church buildings. The oils will be used throughout the year signifying the vibrancy of pastoral activities of the church. All the nine priests con celebrating the Eucharistic celebration, extended their hands toward the vessels containing the oils as Bishop Julius did the rite of blessing and consecration.

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