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Saturday, June 11, 2016

DIOCESE SANDAKAN WELCOMES SABAH YOUTH CONTINGENTS FOR THE 4TH SABAH YOUTH DAY CELEBRATION

Article by Julita Kantod
Photos by SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : SYD or Sabah Youth Day is a church event in collaboration with the youth, for the youth and of the youth. Upon the beautiful fruit during the Youth Jubilee Celebration in 2000, the need for it has led to an agreement between the Youth Commissions of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu and the Youth Apostolate of the Keningau diocese to continue this program once in four years.
This time the Diocese of Sandakan is playing host to the 4th Sabah Youth Day 2016 at Holy Trinity Church Tawau from 6th  to 10th June themed “Blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown mercy.”
Today, 6th June 2016, the Holy Trinity Church of Tawau was filled to the brim with more than 2,000 participants from across the three arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Keningau and Sandakan. The event has provided the platform for the youth to experience yet another opportunity to grow in faith as  a community of God.

PART 1  : The Youth Cross Procession
The program of the day began with the procession of the Youth Cross and the Icon of Mother Mary at 4.00 pm from the open space of St. Ursula Convent Secondary School to the  Church, approximately 1 km,  accompanied by traditional dances from the 4 main communities; TUKAD, Indonesian, Filipino and the Chinese community. Each group consisted of 500 or more participants led by the dancers from each community, marching along Jalan Melati to the main entrance of the Church.
At the end of the procession were the Youth Cross bearers and the Icon of Mother Mary, followed by the altar servers, religious sisters, priests and the arch/bishops.

PART 2  :  Eucharistic Celebration

The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia,  Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino  and con–celebrated by Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau of Kota kinabalu, Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong  of Keningau and Bishop  Datuk Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan .
Some 26 priests and 40 religious from across Sabah participated in the event. Apart from Sabah, representatives from Brunei Darussalam and Sibu also participated in the event.
Some 1000 parishioners of Holy Trinity participated in the Opening Mass to lend support to the young people from across Sabah, Sibu and Brunei. The big number of participants coupled with the local community had made the spiritual event a memorable occasion.
Archbishop Joseph Marino touched on the SYD theme taken from the Gospel of Mathew 5 : 7, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” The Beatitude indeed represents the Law of Christ and we are expected, as Christ's faithful, to abide by it. Christ is telling us what we should do as a Christian in order to obtain happiness and joy.  
The prelate continued that Jesus Christ gave us the law that we may remain happy. The reflection of the Beatitude can be summed up of what Christ wants us to do, which is love all, give all, forgive all and not to judge others but serve. The Beatitude leads us to the important word of Mercy .
In conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, participants are invited to imitate the life of Christ, to live up to their faith through action – being humble, forgiving, merciful and reaching out to others, looking at them in the person of Christ for Christ is the face of the Merciful God.
In conclusion, the prelate urged all participants to do something good for someone in a small gesture, one at a time. We have been touched by God’s mercy. Never be afraid to show mercy and love for they will know you as a disciple of Christ from the love that you give to others.


 
PART 3  :  Opening Speech by Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino
After the Eucharistic celebration, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph addressed the congregation and the participants of SYD4. It was an encouraging address by His Excellency. Among which, the prelate said, "Faith cannot be locked up in the building. It needs to be shown to others. With that, go and be witnesses of Christ, live up to your faith, mercy and love, bring others to Christ, open your heart  and listen to God’s call especially in the priesthood or as religious sister. You will only know  and understand your vocation by coming to church and ask God of what He wants you to be. Continue to serve Him in many particular ways for we are the sons and daughters of the merciful God."

PART  4  :  WELCOMING NIGHT
After the Eucharistic celebration, all SYD participants and guests proceeded to the open space of the Parish Hall for a fellowship dinner. The night's program commenced with welcoming speeches by Msgr Nicholas Ong and Bishop Julius followed by presentations from the various contingents. 
Msgr. Nicholas Ong, the rector of Holy Trinity Parish, praised the youth for their zeal in attending SYD4. Youths are not only young but are at all time new and the same goes to all people of all ages. They may not be young but they can be new people, renewed spiritually.  

He continued to say, "Dear young people, beside all the talents and expertise that you have, I  would like to draw your attention on matters that are important at your personal level which is deepening, nourishing and be grounded on the teachings of the Catholic church. Learn to share and to pray. Indeed it is no good just to listen to the Word of God but to act on it."

He urged the young people to be concerned and take care of the environment. He called on them to participate in the protection of the universe for the good of the generations to come.


Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan in his speech, bade everyone a warm welcome to SYD4. 

He said that youths are the agent of change and urged them to allow the love of Christ to radiate from them through words and actions. In that way they will win souls through their good deeds. He challenged the youths, 'This is our mission. Are you ready for that mission? Are you made for that mission?'  
The Youth Cross has been moving from parish to parish. The arrival of the cross at parishes accompanied by spiritual activities has brought along the wave of grace, moving and touching the hearts of the people. Indeed, this is a process of preparing oneself ready for the big day, SYD-4.
The prelate urged the participants to be “Merciful like the Father,” the theme of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He quoted from Pope Francis that to be merciful means to grow in love to be courageous, generous and real, building daily, even through little things, a world of peace.
He called upon the young people to learn to love those in the peripheries by sharing their love in reaching out to them. He also urged them to learn to love the environment, mother earth our common home. He hoped that the event will stir their conscience to reach out to the least, the lost and the lonely in society. 

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