By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : It is indeed another blessing for Holy Trinity Parish, Tawau with the Solemn Blessing and Official Opening of St. Francis De Assisi's Chapel at Mile 8, Jalan Apas on Saturday, 24th October 2015. The new concrete structure replaces the old wooden structure built in 1997 on government reserve land. It can accommodate some 300 people at any one time.
More than 500 parishioners, from the main church and surrounding chapels attended the occasion, graced by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan.
The rite of blessing by Bishop Julius began at 10.00 am with parishioners assembled at the front of the chapel. It was then followed with the official opening ceremony; the unveiling and signing of the plaque.
The Eucharistic celebration presided over by Bishop Julius was con celebrated by Fr Johnny Raju, the assistant rector of Holy Trinity Parish.
In his homily, based on the Gospel reading from Luke 19 :1 – 10, the prelate touched on the inner desire of Zacchaeus, the tax-collector who wanted to know and to meet Christ. The prelate urged the parishioners, saying, 'you must have the same desire as Zacchaeus. God has provided you a better and conducive house of prayer. Make this Chapel, a place to seek and to know God. Build up a relationship with God and journey together to be matured believers.'
The prelate hoped that the Chapel shall become a place where parishioners will be united, moving forth as a community of God.
After the homily, parishioners witnessed the Blessing of the Altar followed with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
After the Eucharistic celebration, Andrew Kiat, the PPC Chairman extended his appreciation to all parishioners who came in support of the local community. Addressing the people of St Francis De' Assisi's Chapel, he said, 'It must be a joyous moment for all of you after many years in looking forward to have a better place. Every opportunity granted by our Lord has its purpose and I believe that with this facility in place you will be more comfortable in celebrating and conducting spiritual formation. Be in union with others by journeying together in God’s love.'
Bishop Julius in his address to the congregation expressed his deep gratitude to the late Mr Francis Chia Su Len, the donor of the 0.6 acre parcel of land way back in 2004.
The prelate said, 'God’s grace is abundantly poured upon the people who seek Him as their Saviour. I want to thank you for your unceasing hope of having this place of worship, glorifying the Lord. You have patiently waited such a long time and today it has materialized. My gratitude and thank you to the main organizing committee for your commitment and teamwork, without which this chapel will not be as what it is now.'
He then concluded his speech by urging everyone to develop and live the will of God by sharing in His Word and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ to nourish one's spiritual need.
In appreciation to the donor of the parcel of land, the late Francis Chia, a souvenir was presented to Mr. David and Charlie Chia, the sons of the donor.
After the Mass, a luncheon fellowship was held with presentations from the local youth as well as the the youth from St. Stephen Tass. The event ended at 2.00 pm with a Closing Prayer led by Bishop Julius.