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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fr Philip Muji Celebrates Easter Vigil At St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

Article by DS and photos by 
courtesy of Edon Mujim
Sandakan : Easter Vigil celebrated on 19th April at St Mary's Cathedral began in total darkness.Lights in and around the cathedral were switched off. More than 2,000 faithful gathered at the open space in front of the cathedral, surrounding the new fire for the service of light. After the rite and with the pascal candle lit, the celebrant holding the candle, the knight of altars, choir members and the extra ordinary ministers of holy communion made their way into the cathedral in solemn procession followed by all parishioners.The Exultet or Easter Proclamation was sung by the celebrant, Fr Philip Muji. Parishioners held lighted candles, the light of which was spread out to everyone from the new fire.It set the tone for rest of the liturgy.
In the liturgy of the word, three readings from the old testament were proclaimed taken from the Book of Genesis, Book of Exodus and Prophet Isaiah.During the proclamation of the word from the old testament, the cathedral was in darkness. Then the 'Gloria' was sung with the lights on. This was then followed with a reading from Romans and the Gospel reading from Matthew.
In his homily, Fr Philip called upon the parishioners to contemplate on the violent death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday. However, tonight we are led into a glorious event of his resurrection to life. With that we will sing 'Alleluia.' with great joy,
On his death on the cross yesterday, he seemed to be totally helpless, powerless and defeated. In fact his death was the result of his freedom.He chose not to abandon the mission of his Father.so that all of us who believe in him may have life. His resurrection over powers our sin and death. It is a  manifestation of God's power and victory as can be seen how God led the Israelite out of Egypt through his miraculous act of mercy.and compassion.
To the catechumens he said, likewise God will do the same to us, God will lead us out of darkness.By our baptism we were buried with Christ and so like Jesus who raise from the dead we too should begin by living a new life in Christ's way. Just as with the  scenario of the cathedral, it was in darkness when the readings were from the OT but with the  the NT the whole cathedral was brightly lighted.Each of us will be led to the promised land,into the light.
He said, 'When faced with problems, confronted with difficulties, always remember your first encounter with Christ.'
All of us experienced God's generosity and his providence throughout our lives. Thus we need to be grateful to God for all the gifts granted us.The Lord's generosity is manifested with the gift of his only son, Jesus Christ so as to bring life to all of us, He wished everyone a truly blessed holy and glorious resurrection of the Lord and may the Easter joy brings forth a fruitful celebration.

In the liturgy of baptism Fr Philip baptized 10 catechumens and accepted one candidate into full communion with the Catholic church. Adorning in white after baptism, they processed to the altar with their godparents to the hymn of 'Walk in the Light.' All faithful renewed their baptismal promises.
This Easter, 382 catechumens from across the four parishes in the diocese would be baptized with 121 from St Mary's Cathedral Parish, Sandakan, 111 from Holy Trinity Parish Tawau, 96 from St Dominic's Parish Lahad Datu and 54 from St Martin's Parish Telupid.

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