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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SIMPLE AND ORDINARY YET EXTRAORDINARY MEANINGFUL TO THE NEOPHYTES BECAUSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

By DS
Sandakan : Sunday, 15th June 2014, a week after Pentecost, St Mary’s Cathedral Parish Catechetical Ministry organized the Neophyte’s Night with a thanksgiving pot luck dinner reception at the Parish Hall. It was a joyful moment for all neophytes who had gone through the one-year RCIA process and to continue their journey and participate as full members of the Catholic church. 
Last Easter, 382 new members were added to the church in the Diocese with 121 coming from the Cathedral Parish.
The neophytes proceeded into the hall with lighted candles to the hymn of ‘Walk in the light.’ It is a manifestation of our being willing instrument of light for others. The little procession signaled a joyful welcome into the community.
In his welcoming speech, Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector of the Cathedral extended his appreciation to all RCIA animators and sponsors for imparting the knowledge of faith and accompanying the neophytes throughout the various phases of faith formation.
To the new members of the church, he urged them to be true witnesses to others by being living example and sharing one’s faith in Jesus. He said, ‘God’s gifts are to be shared. Discern and familiarize yourself with the many ministries. Get involve and participate in the life of the Parish. Contribute to the growth of the Body of Christ.’
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." [Mt. 28:19-20] He directed this to all members of the church to continue with the mission and ministry of proclaiming and sharing the Good News of God in Christ.

During the course of the dinner reception, a few neophytes stepped forth to share their faith experiences. Among them were;
Junior Gorbex Singh born to a mixed parentage of protestant denomination, who hails from Tuaran has this to share. 'I was educated in a Catholic school. Most of my friends are Catholics. Contracted some of the Catholic spores yet no urge to be one of them. While working, there was this little calling but due to time and work constraints, the idea of becoming a follower of Christ was put on hold.'
Just like Jonah, no matter how you try to avoid Him, He will find you. 'He send forth my wife, a Catholic. That little calling has amplified. It's clear and loud. Thank you to all animators and my sponsor for journeying with me. I hope to find my way into one of the ministries, helping out to build the church.'
Brayon Kurapot shared on his early teen years where he used to follow his peers to the Catholic church, not so much on faith but more on social outings. Nothing caught his attention. 
Last year he experienced great challenges in life. His parents went on separate ways. He encountered pressure in his work. He was trapped in his own personal problems. He has no venue to share his miseries. He was caught in a tunnel of darkness. There was no way out.
'God has a heart for me. He sent a messenger. A close friend introduced me to the RCIA process. I was reluctant but eventually relented. During the early part of the process, I occupied the back seat because I was nervous. Later on, I moved forward, always occupying the seat in the front row. I asked and I shared. I felt uneasy if I missed a session. I thank the facilitators for building in me the confidence. 
The process has made me a new person. I learnt to be more humble, more compassionate and more forgiving. The confession I went through has taken off a great load from me.'
Robert Chan learnt much about Jesus Christ through the Scripture lessons while in his upper secondary school days in the late 60's. He didn't attend church as the foreign priests then were too English speaking.

The seed has been sown. However, it took him more than 40 odd years to nurture the tiny seed lodged in his heart. It only began to show sign of germination mid last year. He gathered his courage and enrolled in the RCIA process. The faith took root and began to sprout. It's never too late to respond.

He said, 'Life is never a bed of roses. There are trials and temptations, joys and sorrows, the ups and the downs. As long as we are strongly grounded in faith we can overcome obstacles confronting us. Bring it to the Lord in prayer. You may not get instant answer but rest assured nothing is impossible with God.

I pray that God will grant me the strength, wisdom and above all good health that I may pass on the faith to the next generation. May the Lord shower His love and blessing upon all people and lead us out of darkness into light.'
Lucas Chin commended all facilitators and sponsor for their patience and love in guiding him throughout the RCIA process. He said, 'I have found and now belonged to a community. Life has changed for the better compared to the days before I encountered Jesus. I hope to continue my faith journey faithfully, walking alongside with members of the community.'
Raymond Wong, the chairman of the Parish Catechetical Ministry, announced that the next enrollment for inquirers will be on Saturday 28th June for the English and Chinese section whereas for the Bahasa Malaysia section, the process begins on Sunday 29th June.

Before the final blessing, Fr Thomas took the opportunity to wish all fathers a 'Happy and Blessed Father's Day.'
Also present at the event were Sr Veronica Kandaung fsic, the Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Office and Sr Appollonia Gumpu fsic of St Mary's Convent.

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