Reported by Dalius LL,
Photos by Helen John,
Photos by Helen John,
Rev. Fr. Phillip with stole, leading the rite
Sandakan: About 60 parishioners witnessed the installation of the Statue of Blessed Mother Mary on 7th March 2015 at the Rosary Corridor of St Mary's Cathedral. The auspicious event began with the recitation of the Holy Rosary at the Rosary Monument led by Sr. Appollonia fsic at 8.30 am. The fine weather, cloudy with cool breeze accompanied the crowd, carrying the statue from the monument to the high ground in between the second and third mystery stations.
The life-size solid concrete statue of about half a tonne was installed on a site near a spring water source with a serene surrounding. Fr. Phillip Muji, in conducting the solemn blessing of the statue explained that the official opening of the site will be solemnized by the Bishop of Sandakan in the near future. He hoped that parishioners will dedicate this site as a place for quiet prayer and contemplation. In a lighter jest, he said if Bishop Julius can do his everyday evening prayer along this Marian Rosary Corridor, there is no reason for us not to follow suit.
Pilis Malim, the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Chairman shared that since St. Mary’s Cathedral was officially declared as the Pilgrimage Center for the Diocese some two years ago, the committee has been working tirelessly in developing the area befitting its honor. One of the on-going projects is developing the Marian Mount as the center for spiritual enhancement.
He explained, since Blessed Mother Mary is the Patron Saint of the Cathedral, local parishioners should develop the rightful bond with Mary, an expression of worthy tribute to her, acknowledging and honouring her.
Based on his wide pilgrimage experiences, he shared that the Cathedral Parish is richly blessed with a good spiritual environment with conducive physical setting. He said, the Marian image is always associated with the surrounding of the parish and he visualized that in time to come, St. Mary's Cathedral will be as attractive as any other popular pilgrimage centers in the country and even that of Europe.
Touching on the installation site, Edward Mosigi the Chairperson of the Mount Marian Development Committee shared on how they had discovered the site. He recalled, when they were doing the primary survey of the Church boundary, they accidentally came across a spring water source with galvanized iron piping fittings and concrete embankment. It is believed to be the site of water catchment for water supply by the early missionaries. The committee felt that the historical site is appropriate for the location of the statue, not only because of the presence of the water source but also the soothing calmness and serene surrounding.
The presence of the Statue of Blessed Mother Mary is a significant landmark to the Marian Rosary Corridor. May this place become a venue where one can contemplate, renew and recharge our spiritual zeal. The Marian Rosary corridor is opened to everyone to pray, meditate and reflect admist a quiet and peaceful natural setting of lush greenery.
Several projects to improve the infrastructures for the convenience of pilgrims are being planned, some in progress and others shall be implemented in stages in the near future. The Mount Marian Development Committee has limited funds to realize its dream in turning the venue into a conducive pilgrimage center. The committee appeals to all generous parishioners to contribute in terms of finance, manpower or prayer for the success of the project. Financial contributions can be channeled to St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan.