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Monday, June 23, 2014

Twenty five years of religious profession – Sr Appollonia Gumpu fsic

By DS
Sandakan : St Mary’s Cathedral celebrated Sister Appollonia Gumpu fsic 25 years of Religious Profession at the Cathedral Friday, 20th June 2014. Her theme for the Jubilee is ‘My Soul Glorifies the Lord.’ Twenty-five years ago, Sr Appollonia made her first profession in 1989 at the Loreto Covent, Novitiate, Kota Kinabalu. Sharing silver jubilee honors were Sr Appollonia’s peers, Sr Cecilia Wong fsic and Sr Dorothy Aaron fsic who came all the way from Kota Kinabalu to be in the midst of the eventful celebration.
L-R : Sr Cecilia Wong fsic, Sr Appollonia fsic and Sr Dorothy Aaron fsic
With more than 600 people, relatives, friends and the local community present, the Eucharist began with the processional song ‘To God be the Glory.’ Also present to lend support were the Mother General of FSIC, Sr Grace Deosing and 13 other Franciscan Sisters, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the St Gabriel Brothers. The main celebrant was Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector of the Cathedral concelebrated by Fr Phillip Muji and Fr Sunny Chung, both assistant rectors.   It was a great day of rejoicing and giving thanks for Sr Appollonia’s faithful commitment.
In his homily, Fr Thomas expounded the theme of 'Giving thanks and praise to God.' It remains the duty and responsibility of every faithful to give thanks and praise to the Lord, for everything we have comes from Him. Today's celebration is a time for Sr Appollonia to reflect on the many blessings that God has showered upon her as she continue to journey to serve the Lord as a religious in His vineyard.

The Gospel reading of the day captures the whole journey of our life in the service of the Lord. 'Let me sing the praises of the Lord's goodness, and of his marvelous deeds, in return for all that He has done for us and for the great kindness he has shown us in his mercy and in his boundless goodness.' 

Mary's Magnificat is a hymn of grateful praise, and expresses the intimate dispositions of her heart giving broad scope to praise and thanksgiving. He quoted St Theresa Child of Jesus, 'It is because God loves us and with the realization that He loves us that urges me to give praise and thanks to Him.' Thus, it is fitting and just to continuously acknowledge the goodness, love and mercy of God through thanksgiving and praise.


Sr Appollonia fsic and her mother Cathrina Koro Linggu
Following the Eucharistic celebration, the festive atmosphere continued with the taking of photos with the different groups, family members and friends.
All were then invited to move over to the Parish Hall for a sharing of meal and a further opportunity to mingle with one another and personally meet the three joy-filled Jubilarians, Sr Appollonia fsic, Sr Cecilia Wong fsic and Sr Dorothy Aaron fsic.
In the Opening Speech, Fr Thomas said that anniversary is not merely a time of celebration but an opportune occasion to reflect on the past years. In this respect for Sr Appollonia, would be her journey as a religious.

He said, 'Your next twenty five years would still be a journey. Strive to be better. Be perfect as the Father is perfect. Tonight's occasion is a booster. The huge turn out is an affirmation of your commitment in the service of the Lord.'

On behalf of Bishop Julius, he extended his appreciation to Sr Appollonia for her active role in the many ministries; the CWA, SFO, LOM, Lady Sharing Group. He wished her, Ad Multos Annos! To the Greater Glory of God!

Sr Grace, in her speech has this to share, 'The one reason for us to gather here tonight is to celebrate, giving thanks and praise to Almighty God for his love, mercy and faithfulness for FSIC and in a special way for Sr Appollonia and her peers, Sr Cecilia Wong and Sr Dorothy Aaron.'

'Celebrating  the gift of vocation with God's people brings forth more meaning to our congregation. We appreciate your love and support granted us especially to Sr Appollonia. Without your support we can't do much but with your backing we can go far.'

She concluded by saying, 'You are a blessing to us. We hope we the FSIC Sisters are also a blessing to you. May we be the blessings to each other as we journey in the vineyard of the Lord.'
Sr Appollonia, the Jubilarian said in her thank you note, 'I want to thank Almighty God for the blessing upon me through you. This celebration is also a thanksgiving for the gift of one another and especially for the gift of my vocation.'

The past twenty five years as a religious has its ups and downs. But God is always faithful, staying beside me, watching and guiding me. He walks with me as I journey in His vineyard.

I wish to sincerely thank all of you here today for helping me to celebrate 25 years as an FSIC. You have made this day a memorable event for me I am grateful to everyone who throughout these years have encouraged and supported me in so many ways; those who have held me in prayer along the way, especially my family. I extend a special thank in particular, my mother Cathrina Koro Linggu and my late father, Gumpu James Gontoung for their support given me all the while.

The night's program was lined with some inspiring presentations by the various communities. The highlight was the presentation of 25 stalks of roses to Sr Appollonia by members of CWA to the tune of 'One Day At A time Sweet Jesus.' 


It was a blessed day, celebrated with joy and gratitude for the gift of the three Jubilarians to the Congregation and the Church.

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