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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ON MARIAN MOUNT

Report by DaliusLL
Photo by Helda Jipanis and G Bell
Sandakan: Around 120 parishioners including Bishop Julius, Fr Phillip Muji, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Franciscan Sisters commemorated the Feast of Immaculate Conception beginning with the recitation of the Holy Rosary along the Rosary Corridor at Marian mount. It is one of the most important Marian feasts celebrated in the Liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church every 8th of December. The Immaculate Conception refers to the condition that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from Original Sin from the very moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race (Catholic encyclopaedia - In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pope Pius IX). 
Prayer Walking
The rosary began at 9.00am and concluded one hour later followed by the Eucharistic Mass on top of Marian Mount. The event also marked a new chapter of the Marian Feast celebration in St. Mary's Cathedral, whereby the feast was celebrated for the first time outside the church, presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom concelebrated by Fr. Phillip Muji. 
The mass was celebrated amidst the natural environment with the lush greenery, surrounded with the rhythmic sound of nature. It was peaceful and tranquil overlooking the bluish sky and sea at its background. In his homily, Bishop Julius shared that mass said on top of the hill is symbolic as not only it reminded everyone of the beauty of God’s creation but also reminded us of God and human encountered on the top of a hill as related during Moses' time and the transfiguration of Jesus .
During this Advent, the prelate reminded everyone not to be distracted by the many voices of commercials and businesses drawing everyone into instant Christmas mood. The many advertisements have diverted the attention of the real meaning of Advent. He explained that normally during Advent, the many voices have choked the voice of St. John the Baptist, calling everyone to “Prepare the way for the Lord”. The one person who really prepared the way for the Lord is Mary. When the angel Gabriel approaches her, though fearful at first but at the end she professed “Yes” to the Lord. She made way for the the salvation of mankind. 
The prelate encouraged all to emulate Mary to say “Yes” to the Lord and not be drowned by the disruptive voices we hear around us which may divert our attention. In concluding his bi-lingual homily, Bishop Julius reiterated, “Advent is a call to be aware of God’s presence in every moment of our life. In fact we encountered him (during this season) and therefore we ought to put into practice what is expected of us”.
After the Eucharistic celebration, everyone adjourned to the parish canteen for fellowship and light refreshment. Since the launching of the Marian corridor about three months ago, the parish SOCCOM took the opportunity to interview the coordinator, Edward Mosigi on the development of Marian Mount. 
He briefed SOCCOM that at the moment they have constructed the Rosary Tower on time for the launching of the Rosary Corridor. At present under the short term plan, the committee is widening the path and beautifying the five stations along the corridor. At the same time the members are installing safety railings along its one km path. 
The long term plan will be to build an open chapel by next year known as the Mini Marian Crown Chapel. After the declaration of St. Mary's Cathedral as a pilgrimage center for Sandakan Diocese, the parish is gearing up its infrastructure in fulfilling its pilgrimage’s status. The progress of the Marian Mount will very much depend on the availability of funds. The Parish Pastoral Council would very much welcome any donation or sponsorship from generous and kind parishioners in realising the plan for Marian Mount. 
Some sharings 

Elizabeth Fung

Today we have celebrated an adventurous outdoor mass at the top of  Marian Mount for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a very good experience and meaningful for all of us.

Reciting the mysteries of the rosary from station to station along the steep slopes was tiring and challenging likened to that of Jesus' carrying the cross up Mount Calvary. However, the experience is nothing  compared to Jesus as we are assisted by railings along the pathway. 'Forgive us our sins, Lord, as we know You have indeed suffered a lot for us.'
The celebration of the mass in the wilderness made us feel like we were among the crowd of the five thousands. We listened to God’s word sitting on the ground covered with dried leaves and insects crawling around. We truly felt the presence of Jesus talking to us as related in the Scripture.
Likewise, we thank the Lord for giving us such an experience of getting closer to God through the event. We pray to Mother Mary to intercede for us in our daily life. May God bless and protect us always. Thank you. 

Joseph Maradan

I walk up the Rosary Corridor almost every week. I experienced inner peace each time I walked  along the almost 1 km corridor.  The lush greenery and the harmonious sounds of the insects and birds bring much joy to me. I helped to pick up rubbish, if any, along the corridor to ensure that the ground is kept neat and tidy befitting a sacred ground. 
I thank and praise God for the gift of this day to be able to celebrate Holy Mass in commemoration of the Feast of the  Immaculate Conception on Marian Mount. Celebrating mass in the open on top of Marian Mount made me feel like I am one of the disciples, sitting close to Jesus. 
I pray that someday, the Rosary Corridor on Marian Mount will  will be a popular destination for local and foreign pilgrims.
 Eva Francis of Kota Kinabalu
Initially, I was undecided to attend the outdoor mass in commemoration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on Marian Mount. I was reluctant as I needed to board the plane early noon for Kota Kinabalu. 
However, the inner voice urged me to be among the crowd. After climbing up Marian Mount, I was not concerned at all about the flight back to Kota Kinabalu.  I focused on the Lord and  totally submitted myself to Him.
It was a unique experience; my first time walking prayerfully, reciting the mysteries of the Holy Rosary along the Rosary Corridor and celebrating mass on top of the mountain. The atmosphere and surrounding was peaceful. The cool air was refreshing. I was touched to see the many elderly parishioners who were involved in the celebration. I was moved by their strong faith.   
In the quiet atmosphere on Marian Mount, I prayed for my children and my family. In deep prayer, I felt the presence of Mother Mary, whispering to me to remain calm in facing the many problems of life. Tears rolled down my cheeks, tears of great relief. Faith in me is born anew.
The little challenge I encountered, going up Marian Mount has strengthened me both physically and spiritually.

1 comment:

  1. It is awesome for me to be just reading the blog. What more for those who were fortunate to have made the pilgrimage of celebrating Holy Eucharist on Marian Mount!

    ReplyDelete

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