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Friday, August 28, 2015

St Mary's Cathedral Parish Celebrates 132nd Anniversary and the 5th Sacerdotal Anniversary of Fr. Sunny Chung

Article by Dallius LL 
and photos by GBell

Sandakan: St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish celebrated its 132nd anniversary on 16th August 2015 with a 3-day program leading to the commemoration of the founding day. Spiritual preparation began on the eve of 13th August with a Taize prayer session led by the Franciscan Sisters, attended by more than 200 parishioners.

The first day, 14th August was a series of blessing rites and ground-breaking ceremonies of several religious structures at the Marian Rosary Corridor (the water feature at the Rosary Monument site, the Marian Spring garden, the Mill Hill dam, the site for the proposed Chapel, the site of the first station of the cross and the opening of St. Mary's Feast day exhibition). 

The second day, 15th August was a 12-hour non-stop Rosary Rally at the Cathedral, followed by the open-air Assumption Mass. The Mass was presided over by Bishop Julius, con celebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector, Fr. Philip Muji and Fr. Sunny Chung, the assistant rectors and assisted by Deacon Stanley William Matakim.

The highlight of the 3-day Parish Feast Day was on Sunday, 16th August. It began with a tri-lingual Eucharistic celebration, presided over by the rector Fr. Thomas Makajil, concelebrated by Fr Sunny Chung and assisted by Deacon Stanley William Matakim.
Pilgrimage Center
Soon after mass at 10.00 am, the morning festivities continued with a fun-filled programs starting with the Marian Climbathon of which 10 teams competed in the challenging event. Each team consisted of 6 runners (3 female and 3 male) from 15 years to 40 years. The team that finished the race in the shortest time would be the winner. The team from the Paitan Mission emerged as the overall champion.
The 7-11 years children participated in the Marian colouring contest while those 12 years and above took part in the drawing contest.  There was also a corner set up for the adults to display their drawing skill. 
In the afternoon, girls aged 10-12, took part in a fashion show themed, 'Mary, Mother of Jesus.' 

Parishioners had a wonderful time visiting the exhibition booths set up at the car park, others were viewing the bible panorama documentary displayed by the Parish SOCCOM Team. Many took the opportunity to have their morning coffee and breakfast at the Food Bazaar in the Parish Canteen.
In the evening,  more than 700 parishioners came in solidarity for the Parish Feast Day pot-luck dinner fellowship and at the same time to celebrate the 5th sacerdotal anniversary of Fr. Sunny Chung. The guests of honours were the Bishop of Sandakan Diocese, Rt. Rev. Datuk Julius Dusin Gitom and all the past PPC Chairmen of St. Mary's Parish.
In his welcoming address, Pilis Malim the PPC chairman reminded everyone that today, we give thanks to God and commemorate this important day when 132 years ago Vatican decided to commission the Mill Hill congregation to set up their mission in this part of the world, hence the establishment of the St. Mary's Mission in Sandakan. He hoped that the missionary spirit of the founding missionaries will encourage others especially the parishioners of St. Mary in following their steps in the missionary work by bringing the Good News to others. He shared that it is timely for the parish to extend their mission to reach out, and one such practice of missionary work is through the Paitan mission. He called upon the parishioners to come forward to take up the challenge as missionaries in Paitan.
In his address, the Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector shared, “I can only re-echo the word of Mary's “Magnificat,” that is glory to God for the abundant blessing to this parish. I am delighted to see the attendance all of you for the 3-day event, and it is indeed rewarding to see the show of unity in making this feast day a success. Your cooperation and collaboration has made this celebration meaningful.” In the same note, Fr. Thomas congratulated Fr. Sunny for his 5th sacerdotal anniversary and acknowledged his contribution in this parish especially in working and uniting the many youth groupings in St. Mary. He hoped that Fr. Sunny will willingly extend his priestly service in this parish.
Fr Sunny Chung has this to share, “I thank God for the gift of calling. It has been 2 years now that I have served in this parish and the feeling was just like it was yesterday that I’ve come here. Similarly that 5th year in the vineyard of the lord seems that it was just like I am just newly ordained yesterday. As a priest, I do feel lonely sometime but with your encouragement and friendship, it has moved me and with God’s grace I am able to serve you better. In serving you, especially to the youth, perhaps I have disappointed you, I may have hurt you with my words and actions, I seek your forgiveness as my intention is for your own good and because I love you all. I seek your prayers to continue to pray for me and journey with me and to help me to serve you better.”
Apart from the sumptuous foods, the evening was filled with a range of entertainments and performances from the various communities of the parish. Prizes for the winners of the climbathon, fashion show, colouring and drawing contests as well as lucky draw were given out.

The final event of the celebration was the presentation of awards to four dedicated and committed individuals for their contribution to the Church. It is an acknowledgement of the value and importance of the role of the laity. It is also to express gratitude and appreciation to those who unselfishly give of themselves for the building of God's Kingdom. 
The four recipients were Jerome Chen for his role in the Chinese Pastoral Community, Matius Sodomon, the Bahasa Malaysia Pastoral Community, Monica Loh, her contribution to the Youth Ministry and Datuk Alex Khoo for his fervent and continuous support to the Church.

Datuk Alex Khoo addressed the attendees, 'Each and everyone who preceded us held a baton, a baton of faith and they passed it on from generation to generation. The batons are now in our hands. Do not drop any of the baton because we have to pass on to those who come after us.'
He expressed his appreciation to Fr Thomas and his team for their untiring effort to reach out to the people in the Paitan missionary area. He called on the people to remember their toils, sweat and blood and for that he urged everyone to continue to support the mission.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Katedral St Mary Sandakan Merayakan Rali Rosario dan Pesta Hari Raya Santa Perawan Maria Diangkat Ke Syurga

Artikel oleh Airene dan
foto oleh George Bell
Sandakan – Katedral St. Mary sekali lagi mengadakan Rali Rosario untuk kali ke-3 pada 15 Ogos 2015. Program ini merupakan salah satu acara Pesta Hari Paroki yang ke-132, penaungnya ialah Bonda Maria, ibu kepada Yesus, Juruselamat kita.
Misa pembukaan Rali Rosario ke-3 telah dirayakan oleh Fr. Thomas Makajil dan dibantu oleh Fr. Sunny Chung dan Diakon Stanley William Matakim. Selesai Misa Kudus, perkumpulan yang sudah dibahagi-bahagikan mengikut masa, meneruskan acara berdoa rosario selama 12 jam tanpa henti.
Selain berdoa Rosario di Katedral, aktiviti sama turut diadakan di Koridor Rosario, Bukit Maria di mana perkumpulan di paroki mendoakan doa Rosario mengikut giliran masing-masing.
Selesai berdoa rosari, semua umat berkumpul di Dewan SMPC bagi upacara pemahkotaan Bonda Maria sempena Hari Kenaikan Bonda Maria ke Syurga. Selesai upacara peringatan ini, perarakan dijalankan mengikut susun atur yang telah disediakan.
Hampir 2,000 umat telah hadir ke perayaan tersebut. Pada tahun ini, sedikit kelainan kerana setiap kumpulan pelayanan di Paroki membawa ‘streamer’ masing-masing, termasuklah KKD-KKD di Paroki.


Misa Hari Bonda Maria diangkat ke syurga telah diupacarakan oleh Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Uskup Keuskupan Sandakan dibantu oleh Fr Thomas Makajil, rektor Katedral St Mary, Fr Philip Muji dan Fr Sunny Chung, pembantu rektor serta Diakon Stanley Matakim.
Dalam homili, Uskup Julius mengajak umat merenung akan pengertian masing-masing tentang Tuhan. Kita harus mencontohi Bonda Maria yang sentiasa berfokus kepada Tuhan dan bukan kepada dirinya sendiri. seperti dikatakan Maria, 'Jiwaku memuliakan Tuhan dan hatiku bergembira kerana Dia, Juruselamatku.'
Beliau memperingatkan semua umat untuk selalu menjaga hubungan antara sesama terutamanya dalam hidup berkomuniti, berhati-hati dalam bertutur dengan tidak mengata akan orang lain serta bergosip kerana perbuatan ini boleh menjatuhkan sesebuah komuniti bahkan gereja.
Peringatan penting ini adalah bersesuaian dengan perayaan yang dirayakan iaitu memperingati Kenaikan Bonda Maria Ke Syurga. Dalam kehidupan Santo Yosef, dia juga menghadapi delima sama ada ingin mengambil Maria sebagai isterinya kerana ramai orang telah memperkatakan Maria yang telah mengandung sebelum berkahwin.
Kesemua ini berlaku kerana segelintir manusia yang melemparkan tuduhan terhadap Maria tanpa usul periksa. Maria adalah mangsa fitnah, mangsa gosip. Namun dengan berkat dan rahmat Tuhan, Santo Yosef menerima Maria dan mengambil dia sebagai isteri. Maria adalah model bagi Gereja dan teladan bagi kita masing-masing dalam hal kekudusan dan iman.

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