Article by Raymond Wong
Photos by Cesar Siruno and family life members
Sandakan – The World Day of the Sick was celebrated on 11th February 2017 from 9.00am to 1.00pm in the afternoon at St Joseph Church in commemoration of the 159th year of our Lady of Lourdes apparition in France. The world day of the sick is actually celebrated around the world as a special time of prayer and of offering one’s suffering beginning on 11th February 1993 by Pope John Paul II.
Inspired by the theme of the day, Sister Appollonia, Sister Lillian together with Eva Siruno and the members of the Family Life Ministry organised this first ever Mass and anointing of the sick. On the medical aspect, the Catholic nurses and doctor joyfully came to assist in case of emergency.
More than 300 parishioners attended the event where some parishioners on wheelchairs and with walking aids were present. Parents also brought special children and those of the elderly.
With such a large number of faithful going for confession before the mass, at 9 in the morning, the Eucharistic celebration was delayed. Thanks to the help of Fr Stanley Matakim, the Mass presided by Fr Christopher Ireneus went on well.
In Fr Christopher’s homily, he said “Offer yourselves, your pain and sickness to God so that you may find joy in your hearts. Thank God for it.” He then quoted the psalmist words “Heal not only my body Lord, but most importantly my heart. As Pope Francis urged to those who are sick, turn to Mother Mary that through her intercession you may obtain sustenance and strength from her Son Jesus. And always be grateful.
Immediately after the mass a fellowship among those present was held outside the church building. The BEC members helped prepare and distribute food for everyone.