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Monday, March 30, 2015

Bishop Julius Celebrates Chrism Mass at St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan

Article by DS / rrs and 
photos by Bell, Helen and Hilda
Sandakan :  Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan celebrated Chrism Mass at St Mary's Cathedral at 7.30 pm, Thursday 26th March 2015. Seven diocesan priests from across the diocese con celebrated the Mass, one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of the Church. Two seminarians on pastoral exposures were present to assist in the liturgy. More than a thousand parishioners attended the tri-lingual celebration.
Fr Sunny Chung, proclaiming the Gospel reading
In his introductory note, Bishop Julius spoke of the Chrism Mass as a reminder that we are all priestly people; clergy, religious and laity. By virtue of our baptism, we share in the priesthood of Christ.
The prelate in his homily shared that it is always a joy to gather as a Church, especially when faithful assembled for the Chrism Mass. However this year around, Chrism Mass was celebrated in the absence of Msgr Nicholas Ong who is currently undergoing medical treatment. He urged everyone to pray that the Good Lord will grant him speedy recovery.
On Holy Thursday before Christ died, He instituted the Eucharist and we commemorate His institution right till now, till eternity. The Eucharist is always at the centre of the churches' worship. By participating in the Eucharist, He leads us to Himself.
The prelate touched on the various oils to be blessed and explained its uses. We use the oil of cathecumens to anoint adult cathecumens and infants preparing for baptism. The oil for the sick for anointing those who are sick and the Sacred Chrism for baptism, confirmation, for ordination of priests, consecration of altars and churches. This celebration is in fact closely related to the pastoral activity of the church.
He called upon the faithful to transform the world by living a life as authentic witnesses of the Gospel. For that to happen we need to be at peace with God, peace with ourselves and peace with one another. Another important aspect of the mission of the church is to inculcate and nurture the culture of care and love in line with Pope Francis 2015 Lenten's message. The attitude of love and the culture of care promote healing  and reconciliation; the symbol of the oil of the sick.
We are demanded to live with courage as good Catholics especially in the world today. We should be true witnesses of the Gospel in the world, living to the status as believers and followers of Christ. As God stewards, we are called to look after God's creation. 
He said, 'And therefore I would like to remind everybody, that the most important thing as Christian is to ensure that those wounded in society will feel at home and find spiritual nourishment in our church, community and parish.'
In conclusion, the prelate asked parishioners to continue to support and pray for the Bishop and the clergy that they will continue faithfully to celebrate the Sacraments.
After the homily, the clergy renewed their priestly commitments before the Bishop, manifesting their unity with the Bishop. This was then followed by the blessing of the three Holy Oils.
Bishop Julius and the clergy

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