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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bishop Julius Presides Over the Thanksgiving Mass for the 8th Diocesan Anniversary Celebration

Article by Rogena R Sining
and photos by George Bell

Telupid : St Martin’s Parish, Telupid hosted the 8th Anniversary of the Diocese of Sandakan and the 8th Episcopal ordination of Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan. The 2-day celebration commenced with a formation session facilitated by the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Marino, followed by the Blessing and Opening of the newly constructed Pastoral Centre and a thanksgiving dinner reception on 13th October.
The Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass, 14th October was held at St Martin's Church. The Holy Mass was presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, con celebrated by Archbishop Joseph Marino, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau and 20 clergy from the arch/diocese of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan. Some one thousand five hundred faithful from across the Diocese attended the thanksgiving mass, including the religious sisters of FSIC and RGS.
The Holy Mass started with a procession of the clergy and arch/bishops from the rectory to the church accompanied by the beats of gongs.
In his introductory note, Bishop Julius extended his warm welcome to Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio and Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau for their attendance in support of the diocese.
In his homily, the prelate gave thanks and praise to God Almighty for the opportunity granted to the faithful to celebrate the 8th Diocesan anniversary, a time to rejoice and be grateful.
He called on the faithful to look forward with confidence, united in faith, move forth and grow according to His will. It is certainly an occasion of grace, as the two-day celebration kicked off with a formation session facilitated by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino, the representative of Pope Francis.

He said that the participants from across the four parishes were well represented and were exposed to the type of church so required by Christ himself. It needs to be a community of families filled with joy in its mission to share the joy of the Gospel with others.
The prelate said, 'In this joyful anniversary celebration, let us be reminded that we are not merely to be concerned with structures and procedures but to move out to reach the peripheries. Otherwise we may end up like the hypocrites, looking great from the outside but empty within.' 

Our church must be a place of mercy, where everyone may feel welcomed, loved and forgiven. It must be a place of beauty, beauty in the Good News. If these characteristics are absent, people will not be attracted to our church.
He shared that currently, Bishops representing the Bishops' Conferences are in Rome together with the Holy Father discussing and finding ways to help the Christian families. He called on the people to pray that the synod will come out with authentic teachings on families so that families could be built on solid foundation centred in Christ.

In the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Bishop Julius announced that the clergy has at its last meeting discussed and planned for activities to commemorate the special year, 8th December 2015 - 20th November 2016.

He emphasized on community building through BECs, the pastoral thrust of the diocese and called on everyone to be bearer of JOY, MERCY and Beauty so that people may be attracted to our faith.  

Bishop Julius in his concluding words, said, 'In this period of joy, let us not forget those who are less fortunate. Do extend a hand to those in need.'
After the Eucharistic celebration, the people adjourned to the Pastoral Centre for a luncheon fellowship where dishes of traditional food were prepared by the various BECs.

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