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Saturday, November 21, 2015

With Gratitude to Our Priests And Religious Sister

Article by Dalius L.L. and
photos by Bell and Helda

Sandakan: Around 600 parishioners of St. Mary's Cathedral witnessed a joyful celebration of priesthood and religious life anniversary; the 26th Sacerdotal anniversary of  Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom (19th November), the 37th Sacerdotal anniversary of Msgr. Nicholas Ong (3rd October) and Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil (11th November) and the 40th anniversary of religious life of Sr. Veronica Kandaung fsic (2nd December).

On 9th November 2015, the celebration started with a Thanksgiving Mass at 6.30 pm, on which the Church also celebrated the Solemnity of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica of Rome. The mass was presided over by Bishop Julius and con-celebrated by seven diocesan priests.  
In his homily, the prelate relayed his gratitude to God for the gift of these long dedicated serving priests and a religious sister in the diocese. He thanked all the parishioners who have journeyed together with them in faith and their support and encouragement rendered to them. He asked the parishioners to continuously pray for all of them. 
After mass, parishioners adjourned to the Parish Hall for a dinner fellowship. Michael Lai the Vice Chairman of the PPC delivered the welcoming address on behalf of Pilis Malim, the Chairman. In deep appreciation of the role of the priests and the religious sister, he said, “Your priesthood anniversary and religious life is a manifestation of your steadfast perseverance and dedication. You have endured life in humility proclaiming God's Word fearlessly and unconditionally for such long years, is already a living proof that the Spirit of Christ is living within you and in our midst.” He summed up his congratulatory remark with a poem entitled “Always for others.”
Sr. Veronica Kandaung fsic shared that if someone were to ask her how she managed to sustain for 40 years as a religious, she would answer, 'it is the love of God that drives me to continue to serve tirelessly.' She said, 'there are ups and downs in serving the Lord but that does not matter. One will overcome everything by living a prayerful life.'
In his turn, Fr. Thomas extended his appreciation to all who have taken the trouble to organize the evening's function and even joining the priests in thanking the Lord for the gift of priesthood and religious in prayers. The parishioners of St Mary have been supportive to their priests and religious all the way even to the point of making this parish a pilgrimage center for the diocese. In appreciation of their cooperation given to the priests and religious, he quoted the statement of the Chairman of the Marian Corridor Development Committee by saying, “It would be impossible to make changes if I were to dream alone but if we were to dream of the same thing together, everything will be possible.”
Msgr Nicholas Ong's speech had the crowd in stitches. His absence for nearly a year due to medical treatment and is still recovering from his illness did not change him from his old jovial self. He shared that the doctor kept pestering him to gain weight and that now he has to eat to live. He attributes his recovery to the constant prayers of the faithful that he is now on the road to recovery. He said, 'I am very enthusiastic to say mass every Sunday and as such my assistant is out of job,' which drew laughter from all.
Edward Masigi, Chairman of the Marian Mount Project
John Tan, Chairman of the Marian Mount Fund Raising Project 
Bishop Julius launching the Raffle Tickets for 
the Marian Mount Project
The 1st Prize of the Raffle, a Perodua Axia
During the thanksgiving event, the Marian development committee took the opportunity to launch the raffle ticket of which the proceed will go to the funding of a Chapel on the Marian Mount and the construction of the 14 stations of the cross, expected to complete by August next year. 
A wide range of entertainment was also performed and the event concluded with a Closing Prayer led by Bishop Julius at 10.30 pm.

Front row (L-R) : Deacon Stanley, Fr Thomas, Bishop Julius, Msgr Nicholas, Fr Simon
Back row (L-R) : Fr Johnny Raju, Fr Sunny Chung, Fr Jasery and Fr Marcellinus 
“The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – St. John Marie Vianney.

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