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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FEAST OF THE INFANT JESUS STO. NINO DE CEBU

Article by Julita and photos by
Jerome, John Wong and Julita
Tawau : More than a thousand Filipino parishioners together with other communities gathered to celebrate this yearly event of the Feast of Infant Jesus, Feast of Sto. Nino De Cebu in Holy Trinity Church, Tawau  on 18th January 2015. It marked the 17th year of celebration, themed, 'Faith, Hope and Love.' The image of the infant Jesus is the symbol of hope and protector.
The bi-lingual Thanksgiving Mass in Bisaya and English was presided over by Rev. Fr. Johnny Raju, the assistant rector, at 11.00 am.
With the blessing from the presider, Elmer Kaili, an elder of the community proclaimed the Gospel and delivered the homily in Bisaya, translated from the homily of Fr Johnny for the Sunset Mass.
The homily, themed 'God's Call' reminded the congregation on the call of each one as God’s servant similar to the call of Samuel. God calls us through others. Samuel never knew that it was God calling him. But he listened to what Eli said. He listened to the elder and eventually responded to the call.  As servant of God we must stay alert and discern on God’s plan for us. 
It is the same for all of us. We are called in many different ways in serving the church. Let us learn and listen to what the church is telling us through the elders in our community. We are called to be united and in union with all other members of the church.
The Gospel teaches  us about how God extends his invitation to us to be in his company. He calls us to stay close to him and to know him personally. God wants us to know and experience his love and forgiveness. By answering him we are serving him.
Members of the Filipino community from St. Mary's Cathedral Sandakan, St. Dominic's Church, Lahad Datu, St. Peter Kunak and St. Jude Semporna as well as from Keningau were present in the event. Their presence made the occasion more meaningful.
After the Holy Mass, parishioners participated in the procession of the Infant Jesus, from the church entrance to the Parish Hall. A luncheon fellowship was held with several presentations in between.
Rufino Pontilas (4th right), Fr Johnny (5th right) and John Francis Herera (6th right)
The fellowship commenced with the cutting of the anniversary cake followed by blessing of the food by Fr. Johnny Raju.
Mr. John Francis Herrera, the invited guest from the Philippines Embassy in his speech, expressed his appreciation to the Filipino community for their commitment to journey as one family. The presence of others from the various parishes within the Diocese of Sandakan as well as those from the Diocese of Keningau is a clear sign of solidarity and unity. He reminded the community to continue to work hand in hand with other communities to build up the local parish. 
Left to right : Andrew Kiat and Rufino Pontilas
Rufino Pontilas, the Filipino Pastoral Committee Chairperson expressed his gratitude to all his organizing committee for their effort and commitment. He said, 'Your continuous support and commitment in this yearly event proved that we are all granted the blessings and grace from the Almighty. He continues to lead, strengthen and care for us.' 

Andrew Kiat the PPC Chairman congratulated everyone for making an effort to join and be present as a member of the one big family of Holy Trinity Parish.
The event was made lively with colourful presentations from the various groups of the Filipino community of the parish. Apart from presentations, there was a singing competition. The highlight of the event was the  Sinalug dance.

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