Article by Raymond Wong
Sandakan : Alleluia! The Lord is Risen. He is truly Risen. Alleluia! On Easter Vigil, 26th March 2016, 76 new members were admitted to the Catholic Church in St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan. The Bahasa Malaysia speaking with 28 adult catechumens receiving full initiation, 6 children receiving the baptism and holy communion and 20 children receiving baptism only. The Chinese community of 12 adult catechumens acceptance into full initiation and 2 catechumens receiving the sacrament of confirmation and 2 children receiving baptism only. The English group having 5 adult catechumens receiving the full initiation with 1 girl receiving the baptism and holy communion.
All the catechumens have journeyed through the RCIA sessions from June last year until their baptism in the recent Easter Celebrations and will continue their journey of faith until the coming Pentecost celebration where they will be send out into the world to proclaim the Good News.
In the morning of Holy Saturday, all elects spend their time in prayer and reflection for their preparatory rites as an immediate preparation for the sacrament of initiation. The various rites of presentation of the Lord's Prayer, the 'return' or the recitation of the Creed and the ephphetha rite or rite of opening the ears and mouth, the need of grace in order that they may hear the Word of God and profess it for their salvation. The whole rite was conducted by Fr. Sunny Chung, the assistant rector of the Cathedral.
It was a night of joy and praise to all who have journeyed with the elects throughout their journey especially the facilitators, the godparents and sponsors and the whole community. Mere baptism is not the end of the journey of becoming a Catholic. For the next 50 days, the neophytes (the newly baptized) will undergo a post-baptismal period or mystagogy until the feast of Pentecost. The community and the neophytes will journey together in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery, making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist and doing works of charity.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Julius administered the sacraments of initiation and welcomed them into the church.