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Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Article by Dalius LL
Photos by Leonard

Sandakan: Some 1500 faithful of St. Mary's Cathedral celebrated Palm Sunday during Sunset English Mass 19th March 2016 as a remembrance of Jesus Christ’s victorious entry into the city of Jerusalem. The faithful assembled in front of the Parish Hall at 5.45pm with palm fronds in their hands followed by a procession from the Parish Hall to the Cathedral with everyone proclaiming “Hosanna….Hosanna….in the highest.”
The Palm Sunday Holy Mass was celebrated by Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan. In his homily, he reminded the laity, that the celebration marks the beginning of Jesus passion, whereby the Universal church enters into the Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday. 
The prelate shared that the event of Jesus' passion affects him personally, because of the circumstances of Jesus' death. He explained that we tend to point fingers (blame) at those responsible of Jesus' death; the chief priest Caiaphas, the scribes, Pharisees, Herod and Pilate. He posed a question, if  we ever gave a thought to the friends of Jesus.
What was their reaction when Jesus was captured and interrogated? Are we like Judas or are we like Peter, the rock who has witnessed all the miracles Jesus performed and boasted that he would die with Jesus. Are we like the rest of Jesus' disciples whom He trusted as friends but have forsaken Him and ran away at the sign of danger and standing away in a safe distance, leaving Jesus alone to endure his persecution?

The prelate called upon all to reflect on this. He posed another question to all, 'what has the Passion of Christ has to do with us?' Perhaps it is a story of my life, your life as well, that all the characters mentioned in the Gospel in one way or another resembles all of us. We have sinned in allowing the Lord  to endure all the persecutions and died for us to redeem us and grant us the generous gift of salvation. 

Bishop Julius concluded his homily by asking all to pray to the Lord our Father that He may grant his blessings to all and that the Son's suffering is not in vain but a source of our healing, hope and provision.

Palm Sunday Mass also commemorates the World Youth Day (WYD), an event for young people organized by the Roman Catholic Church. WYD was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985 with the first celebration of WYD in 1986, bishops all over the world were invited to schedule an annual youth event to be held every Palm Sunday in their dioceses. It is celebrated at the diocesan level annually, and at the international level every two to three years at different locations. 
Before the final blessing, the prelate also ministered the commissioning of the new line-up for the Diocesan Human Development Commission for the diocese of Sandakan for a three year term 2016 - 2019.

Palm Sunday at St Mark's Church, celebrated by Bishop Julius on Sunday, 20th March 2016  

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