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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Sandakan : The drastic changes of the world has made the most fragile unit in society, the 'Family' to encounter unpredictable and unending mysterious journey in the world. This basic unit of the society has to undergo so many difficulties and confront innumerable challenges and suffering.
The Sandakan Diocesan Family Life Commission for the new term of 2015 - 2017 held its first meeting cum Study Session on the Relatio Synodi document at the Diocesan Retreat Center, Ulu Dusun on the 6th and 7th February 2015.
13 members coming from across the diocese attended the meeting. Also present in the meeting were  Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, the Spiritual Director of the Family Life Commission, Sr. Liza fsic and Sr. Evelin fsic from the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and Francis Tan, the executive secretary of the Diocese. Bishop Julius presided over the meeting in the evening of 6th February. 
In his introductory note, the prelate touched on the importance of the family, an essential cell of the society and the church. The family is one of the basic tenets of our faith from which everything flows out of. As a privileged place where faith is nurtured and transmitted, he called on members to show the way, leading them to put Christ in the center of their lives. 
The following were appointed to the Commission for a two-year term, 2015 - 2017

Julita Kantod
Holy Trinity, Tawau
Vice Chairperson
Cesar Siruno
St Mary, Sandakan
Lorna Lasay
St Dominic, Lahad Datu
Asst Secretary
Helena Salati
St Martin, Telupid
Richard Atilano
St Mary, Sandakan

Catherine John
St Mary, Sandakan

Mario Domingo
Holy Trinity, Tawau

Melvin Lajanti
Holy Trinity, Tawau

Rayner Guntingan
St Dominic, Lahad Datu

Bernardita Roble
St Dominic, Lahad Datu

Victoria Salati
St Martin, Telupid

Angeline Maikol
St Martin, Telupid
Francis Tan
Diocesan Pastoral Office
The following day, 7th February 2015, Bishop Julius celebrated the morning mass. In his homily, his Lordship reiterated on the realities faced by the families, the negative effect of diminishing the presence of God leading to social fragmentation. The Relatio Synodi of the recent III Extraordinary General Assembly on Family  had opened the eyes of many, the need to bring awareness of God’s presence in the family.
The prelate said, 'The Relatio Synodi, a document to be widely discussed by faithful of the Universal Church will be used for the XIV Ordinary General Assembly on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World scheduled on 4th - 25th October 2015. Today's session will provide us the opportunity to focus on the family in the spirit of working together, sharing experiences and knowledge. By way of this, we are indeed participating in and be part of the forthcoming assembly.'
The prelate concluded his homily, calling members to fully participate as a domestic church in order to sustain the important role of family in facing external challenges that may weaken their faith. As a commission, we need to walk with people, accompany and encourage them to find ways in which families are able to find a home within the church.
Seated  L-R : Helena, Cesar, Bishop Julius, Julita and Lorna
2nd row L-R : Eva, Sr Evelin fsic, Jovinah, Sr Liza fsic, Bernardita and Linda
3rd row L-R : Richard, Francis, Mario, Melvin and Rayner

The 4-hour study session began at 8.00 am to 12.00 noon. The Family Life Commission members were indeed blessed to have Bishop Julius participating throughout the session. His presence was a great support and provided the necessary guide in respond to the questionnaire of the document.

At the end of the III Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis said as per quote, 'The duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek and find them – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep.'

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