By Dalius LL, SOCCOM Sandakan
Photo: Tmj Jack, GBell, Helda Japanis, Helen John
Photo: Tmj Jack, GBell, Helda Japanis, Helen John
Sandakan : More than 700 parishioners from across the Diocese of Sandakan convened at St Mary's Cathedral to witness the diaconate ordination of Seminarian Stanley William Matakim on 24th June 2015 at 5.00pm. The auspicious and joyous occasion coincided with the Solemnity of The Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
This is the second diaconate ordination since the inception of the Diocese some eight years ago. The first ordination was celebrated four years ago in 2011. The rare occasion was definitely warmly welcomed by the faithful of Sandakan.
The diaconate ordination of Stanley William Matakim was solemnized by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan after he was recommended by Fr. Thomas Makajil, Rector of St. Mary's Cathedral. Con celebrating the Ordination Mass were Fr Thomas Makajil, Fr Phillip Muji and Fr Sunny Chung of St. Mary's Cathedral, Fr. Simon Kontou and Fr Marcellinus Pongking of St. Dominic's Church, Lahad Datu, Fr. Johnny Raju of Holy Trinity Tawau, Fr. Jassery Gabuk of St. Martin's Church, Telupid and Fr. Nicholas Stephen of St. Peter Claver Ranau, accompanied by two deacons from the Diocese of Keningau.
The prelate in the rite of acceptance addressed the candidate, 'as deacon you are to help the priests and the bishop in the ministry of the word, of the altar and charity showing yourself to be servant of all. With the help of God, you are to go about all these duties in such a way that you will be recognized as a disciple of Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve. You are a minister of Jesus Christ and you are to serve like the disciples and to do the will of God. Serve the people with love and joy.'
The theme of 'Here am I Lord, Send me' (Isaiah 6:8), was befitting of such a special yet rare occasion. This rare gift is a cause of great rejoicing for the people of God. God calls the few for the salvation of many.
The Choir was in full voice and the congregation joined in whole-heartedly thanking and praising God. Everyone present felt a sense of awe as Seminarian Stanley courageously answered “I AM” to every question that the prelate asked him. The mass ended at 6.30pm and everyone adjourned to the Parish Hall for the thanksgiving dinner fellowship.
In conjunction with the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, may he be our inspiration and guide especially to Deacon Stanley always leading others to Jesus Christ as His forerunner in sacred service to ‘make ready the way of the Lord and to make straight all his paths.’
Fr Thomas Makajil
'This is the second diaconate ordination for the Diocese as well as the Cathedral. Let us give thanks and praise to God Almighty for granting us our fervent prayer for vocations. Continue to pray and if God willing we will witness another ordination next year and many more in the years to come.'
Dear Deacon Stanley, admission and acceptance to the diaconate calls for dedication, faithfulness in discharging your responsibility. As member of the Holy Order, we are to dedicate ourselves to the serve the people of God in the sacred ministry.
He congratulated Deacon Stanley on the occasion of his ordination. He thanked his family members for their support. He called on the people to continue to pray and journey with him in his new journey.
Deacon Stanley William Matakim
He took the opportunity to thank Bishop Julius for accepting and ordaining him. He expressed his appreciation to the Bishop and clergy for their invaluable advice, guidance and support. He thanked Fr Nicholas Stephen, his retreat master for the reflections and accompaniment.
'I am glad that so many of you are here to attend my ordination. Your presence has indeed spur me to be closer to God and to you. I pledge to do my utmost in discharging my duty as a deacon.'
To the young people, he said, 'please do not shy away from me merely because I am a deacon. Continue to be my friends. Journey with me.'
Turning to his mother, Pheliscita Francis Alasa, he has this to say. 'Mummy, when I broke the news to you that I wanted to be a priest, you never stop me. In fact you encouraged me. I may not have a 'family' of my own but look mummy, I have a big family here surrounding me. Thank you mummy for supporting me.'
'I am glad that you are here to witness this rare occasion, a cause of great rejoicing. We thank the Lord for his blessings for the gift of Deacon Stanley to help ensure that the saving work of his son Jesus Christ will continue in his Church.'
Thank you Deacon Stanley for responding to God's call. Thank you for your generosity. May God accompany our new deacon as he begins his diaconate service with the Diocese of Sandakan.
Let us continue to pray for him and support him generously throughout his diaconate service not merely materially but spiritually as well. There are many more seminarians in various stages of formation. God willing we will witness more of such ordination in the years to come.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to the parents and family members of Deacon Stanley for their support, the formators of St. Peter’s College (Major Seminary) Kuching for their guidance, Fr Thomas Makajil, Fr Phillip, Fr Sunny Chung and the Organizing Committee of this event and all those involved in one way or the other in making this day a momentous occasion.
Pilis Malim, PPC Chairman in his welcoming speech during the dinner reception
Welcoming all faithful from across the Diocese and especially the family members of Deacon Stanley, this is what was said. 'Today is a special day in many ways. We have just witnessed the ordination of Deacon Stanley. It is indeed a blessed and joyous occasion for the faithful of Sandakan. This occasion has brought us together as one in Christ.
God has granted us our prayer for more vocations. Continue to pray; ask, seek and knock as in Matthew 21 : 22, ‘And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.’
Our newly-ordained Deacon Stanley William Matakim
Bro. Stanley as he is fondly known, a 29-year old Kadazan, hails from Lahad Datu. His family was originally from Penampang but when his late father was transferred to Lahad Datu, the whole family followed and eventually settled down in the district.
He was born to William Matakim and Pheliscita Francis Alasa. He attended primary school at SRK Kennedy Bay, secondary school at SMK Sepagaya and SM St. Dominic Lahad Datu. He continued his study in PTPL College Kota Kinabalu and in 2006 he worked briefly as a general clerk in Kwantas Oil Lahad Datu.
He started his seminary life in February 2007, at the Catholic Diocesan Center Kota Kinabalu, and thereafter to St. Peter's College, Major Seminary, Kuching. He was appointed Lector in November 2011, Acolyte in November 2012 and completed his pastoral study as a seminarian in December 2014. He started his pastoral exposure in St. Mary's Cathedral Sandakan in 2012, St. Martin's Church, Telupid in 2013, Holy Trinity, Tawau 2014. After having completed his faith formation, he was assigned to St. Mary's Cathedral.
When interviewed by Soccom of his experience during his pastoral exposures, he shared that the best part was working with the congregation with diverse backgrounds, races, languages and cultures. He has to adapt to each situation according to the community in order to be accepted and to be able to serve effectively.
A particular challenging service was when he underwent a three-month Clinical Pastoral Education in Assunta Hospital Kuala lumpur whereby he experienced serving in the ministry of attending to patients in the critical and terminal stages. The experience has indeed greatly enriched Deacon Stanley towards his priestly ordination in the near future.
His advise to those who felt the calling to religious or priesthood, not to be afraid or hesitant but keep praying. Let God guides you towards that direction. If you are called, God will surely shows the way.
One for the album
Deacon Stanley with Bishop Julius, Clergy and deacons
With family members,standing on the left of Deacon Stanley is his mother Pheliscita Francis Alasa
With the FSIC sisters serving in the Diocese
With brother seminarians and Fr Sunny standing on his right
With the altar servers
With the choir members
With the Organizing Committee
With parishioners from his home parish, St Dominic, Lahad Datu