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Friday, October 16, 2015

Solemn Blessing and Official Opening of St Martin's Pastoral Centre, Telupid.

Article by Rogena R Sining
and photos by George Bell
Telupid : On the evening 13th October, about 800 faithful from all parishes across the Diocese of Sandakan converged at St Martin's Church to witness the solemn blessing and official opening of St Martin's Pastoral Centre, part of the 8th anniversary celebration of the Diocese and the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom. 

Present at the occasion was the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino (Vatican ambassador) to Malaysia, the representative of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. This is his first visit to the Diocese of Sandakan since assuming duty as the nuncio in 2013.  
The newly constructed Pastoral Centre is another land mark of St. Martin’s Parish. The hall, measuring some 70 ft by 100 ft with a seating capacity of some 800 people was constructed at a cost of RM800,000. Construction work began in July last year.
The event commenced with the rite of blessing at 6.45 pm at the porch, solemnized by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan witnessed by the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino. 
The official opening ceremony was jointly graced by Bishop Julius and Archbishop Joseph with ribbon cutting and the unveiling of the plaque.
Also in attendance were Rt Rev Datuk Cornelius Piong, the Bishop of Keningau, clergy from the arch / diocese of Kota Kinabalu and Keningau, Sr Grace Deosing, the Mother General of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sister of the Immaculate Conception, sisters of FSIC and RGS.

The 70-table anniversary dinner banquet was held at the new hall. Roger Sebastian Enty, the Vice Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, bid a warm welcome to all who came from far and near especially the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Marino, Rt Rev Cornelius Piong of Keningau, Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan, clergy and religious.
He said that, “The presence of the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino is a meaningful and historic event for the people in Telupid.  This is the first time that the Apostolic Nuncio has set foot in the diocese of Sandakan. We are honored and privileged to have Your Grace in our midst. On behalf of the Organizing Team, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone involved directly and indirectly in making this function a reality.”
Archbishop Joseph Marino graced the event in the hall by beating three times the large traditional gong, an instrument significant to the indigenous people of Sabah.
Archbishop Joseph Marino and Bishop Julius cutting the 8th Diocesan Anniversary and the 8th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary cakes respectively, witnessed by Fr Jasery, Bishop Cornelius Piong and Roger Enty.
The event was filled with lively and colourful presentations from the various communities of the parish and other parishes as well.

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