Reported by DaliusLL
Photos by Helda Japanis
Sandakan: Every Catholic laity of Paitan has every reason to rejoice this Sunday 18 December 2016 as it marked the official opening of the Mission Paitan Pastoral Center. The 1200sq feet concrete single storey building, costing RM100,000 provides the mission an office, a meeting room, two guest accommodation rooms and a pantry room.
Previously ever since there was a resident priest in February 2015, the administrative and coordination of the Mission Paitan, which has 14 Chapels, is run in the little wooden cramped priest’s house. The new Parish Center is connected to the priest resident by a parking space which has also become a multi-functional compound.
The auspicious event started with Eucharistic Mass at 10.00am which was attended by more than 800 faithful with His Lordship Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom as celebrant and con-celebrated by the Mission Paitan resident Priest Fr. Thomas Makajil and assisted by Deacon Christopher Ireneus. During the mass a total of 58 boys and girls from the Mission Paitan received their sacrament of First Holy Communion. By looking at the children dressed in white walking in faith to receive this great gift from God proves that the hard work of salvation is bearing fruit.
After the mass, the prelate accompanied by the resident priest proceeds to solemnise the blessing of the mission pastoral center followed by ceremonial ribbon cutting and unveiling a plaque on the entrance door of the building.
The event continued with a luncheon reception in an open hall of St. Francis Assisi Chapel. The event organising committee Chairman, Welly Pius in welcoming remarks briefed the attendees that this joyous occasion not only meant for the opening of the center but also a celebration of Christmas season and the commemoration of the 38 sacerdotal ordination of the resident priest in this Mission. As the Chairman of KUK (Komuniti Umat Katolik) in Paitan, he hoped that the Bishop of Sandakan will grant their wishes to extend Fr. Thomas contract in the Paitan mission. He shared that now the mission has seen a tremendous increased in faith since 34 years ago. He pointed out one good example is that the St. Francis Assisi chapel has been expanded to 3 times of its size to cater the ever increasing faithful of Paitan.
In his turn, Fr. Thomas thanked His Reverent Bishop for his strong support and all the groupings from all the parishes within the Sandakan diocese and other diocese for their assistance rendered to the Paitan mission. He said, “Your attendance alone has given the Paitan mission a morale boost.” At the same note, he also acknowledges the assistance from the Member of Parliament of Beluran in contributing towards the construction of the open hall of St. Francis Assisi Chapel.
In his speech, Bishop Julius congratulated the committee for their hard work in organising the event, and extended his gratitude to all the groupings and ministries from within the diocese and other diocese for their unceasingly support to the mission. He congratulated and thanked Fr. Thomas for the dedication work of faith he had done in the mission. The development serves as an inspiration to all and shows that everything is possible with the faith in God. He thanked the assistance from the government especially in funding the infrastructure needed in the mission, and he said, this shows that the government is concerned for the needs of other religion. When touching on the request of the laity in Paitan for the extension contract of Fr. Thomas in serving the Paitan mission, he said that this will be very much depend on Fr. Thomas decision and the laity in Paitan in giving him all the support Fr. Thomas needed.
Catechist of Paitan Mission
The event concluded with the presentations from the representatives of the chapels in the mission Paitan and the highlight was giving away 400 Christmas gifts and goodies to children. The gifts were sponsored by generous parishioners who wished to remain anonymous from St. Mary Cathedral which was coordinated by Mr. Jerry Lo. This was the second year Christmas presents he has coordinated to be channelled to the Paitan Mission.
Organising Committee Chairman Welly Pius