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Friday, August 22, 2014

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and 131st Anniversary of St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

Sandakan: The Parish of St. Mary’s Cathedral celebrated its 131st anniversary on 17th August 2014 with a 5-day program leading to the commemoration of the founding day.  
The first 2 days, 12th and 13th August were set for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Taize prayers headed by the Franciscan Sisters. The third day, 14th August was catechesis sessions on Mother Mary in 3 languages; English by Fr. Thomal Makajil, Bahasa by Fr. Philip Muji and Chinese by Fr. Sunny Chung.
The fourth day, 15th August, parishioners witnessed the Blessing and Launching of the Rosary Monument and the Marian Rosary Corridor by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary along the newly opened corridor. On the fifth day, 16th August was a 12-hour non-stop Rosary Rally at the Cathedral, followed by the Assumption Mass.

The Mass was presided over by Bishop Julius, con celebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector, Fr Philip Muji and Fr Sunnny Chung, the assistant rectors and Fr Antony Savarimuthu of Heilbronn, Germany.
During the Mass, 12 new Parish Pastoral Council members for a two-year term, 2014 - 2016 were commissioned by the presider.
Fr Antony, the Spiritual Director of the 12-member delegation from Heilbronn was on a 3-week biennial Sabah Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership (SHEP) exchange visit to Sabah. 
The following day, 17th August was the 131st Parish Day celebration. It began with a fun-filled telematch, soon after the BM Mass between the various BECs which lasted till late afternoon. After the English Evening Mass everyone adjourned to the Parish Hall for a pot-luck dinner fellowship.
Beside Bishop Julius as the guest of honour, this year celebration was more meaningful with the presence of 12 Germans guests (6 Catholics and 6 Lutherans) who were here coincidentally for their biennial Sabah Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership exchange program.
In his welcoming address, the Rector Fr. Thomas Makajil pointed out that for the past few days all activities were meant to bind family ties and to unite all the parishioners under the parish. He added that the program was not merely on social but more towards spiritual development.   
Fr. Thomas also took the opportunity to thank Bishop Julius who mooted the idea of the Marian Rosary Corridor and the blessing of the Rosary monument two days ago. These features have indeed added another milestone to the identity of the Marian Pilgrimage Center for the Parish and for the Diocese of Sandakan.
To date, the Parish has built the Marian Book Center, the Home Stay Center and Garage Shop which is near completion.  He also acknowledged those people who worked diligently behind the scene towards realizing the dream. He hoped and called upon everyone to take the challenge to promote the identity of Mother Mary as the Patron Saint of the Cathedral Parish.
Apart from the sumptuous foods, the evening was filled with a range of entertainments from the various communities of the parish. The celebration concluded at 9.30pm with Fr. Sunny saying the Closing Prayer.

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