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Friday, June 6, 2014


Article by Siony Fiel and photos 
by Virginia Olarte and Siony Fiel
Sandakan : The Filipino Pastoral Community (FPC) of St Mary's Cathedral Parish celebrated its Silver Jubilee Celebration, themed 'Jesus Christ Risen Saviour' on Saturday 31st May 2014 at St Joseph's Church.

The anniversary celebration commenced with the 'Flores De Mayo' (Procession and Crowning of Mother Mary) at St Joseph's Church, a mere five kilometers from town. Filipino parishioners gathered at the church at 4.30 pm to pray the Holy Rosary and thereafter proceeded into the Church in a colourful procession led by children. Parishioners brought along flowers as offerings. The event, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, marked the close of the Holy Rosary month.
The Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration, also the Feast of Ascension in Tagalog was celebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector of St Mary's Cathedral Parish. More than 300 Filipino parishioners participated in the celebration including some 30 FPC members from Tawau.

In his homily, Fr Thomas said that the celebration was not just the Silver Jubilee of the Filipino Pastoral Community but the Feast of Ascension, the Close of the Rosary Month and Pesta Kaamatan. He invited the Filipino community to continue to journey in faith with joy and to step forth to participate in the life of the church, remaining always as authentic witnesses. We are to remain united with Christ through the Eucharist, a memorial instituted and given us by Him. Staying close and experiencing Him will give us eternal life. 
By praying the rosary, we are uniting ourselves with Mother Mary. We draw closer to Christ through her intercession. He commended the community for the role in uniting the people, a testimony of church / community life.
The dinner reception was held at the Parish Hall right after mass at around 7.30 pm. In his message to the community, he said, 'By your active collaboration you have given the parish a 'Catholic' global identity. Your active participation have become the catalyst of renewal and transformation in the parish especially in the early days of the missionary era of the Catholic church in Sandakan.'
Siony Fiel, the Chairperson of FPC, shared that, '25 years is really a long, rough and winding journey. God has been good and has been showering His blessings upon the community. Our FPC has moved forward, taking each step at a time in dedicating our commitment in the many church ministries and activities, be it spiritual, social or material.' 
She hoped that the spiritual values strongly grounded in the community will pave the way for the next generation to respond in serving the church. As of date, there are some 500 families registered with FPC.
Cake cutting ceremony ~ From L-R : Caroline, Fr Philip, Fr Thomas, Siony, Josephine, Abraham and Patrick
An 'acapela' by members of FPC, Tawau
In the course of the dinner, members of the community presented some interesting performances to the delight of the audience; folk dances, contemporary dances, sketch, live rendition of songs, slide presentation on the history of the past 25 years of FPC, and an acapela by the FPC of Tawau. There was a presentation of 'recognition and appreciation' awards to senior citizens and members who have contributed to FPC. The highlight of the night's event was the catwalk by the 7 muse participants and the crowning of 'FPC Muse' of the year.

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