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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Diocese of Sandakan Hosted 19th Episcopal Regional Liturgy Commission Meeting

by DaliusLL

Sandakan: The Diocese of Sandakan hosted the 19th Episcopal Regional Liturgical Commission (ERLC) meeting on May 8-12, which was held at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.  25 delegates from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei headed by his Rev. Bishop Sebastian Francis from the Diocese of Penang converged in this eastern port town of Sabah.
The Commission members, include both the laity and priests, are tasked to look into the aspect of liturgical practices in the region. The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God."  Through the liturgy, Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church. (CCC 1069).
Neil Mah, from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, reported during the meeting that the New English Hymnal will be out this Advent 2017 consisting of 500 hymns which are liturgically appropriate. The Commission also confirmed assignments to translate Liturgical texts to specific dioceses namely: Keningau on Bahasa Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu on Kadazan vernacular, Penang on Tamil language and Melaka-Johor-KL on Mandarin language. Issues on Marriage, Confirmation and Sunday Celebration in the absence of the Priest were also highlighted.
On the Liturgical Calendar 2017 and 2018, dates and fixtures were deliberated and streamlined to provide a common liturgical guideline.
Delegates dancing Sumazau, a traditional dance
An invitation was then  extended to the members on the forthcoming Asian Liturgy Forum, on 2nd -6th October 2017, with the theme “Liturgy and Mary” hosted by Penang, Malaysia.
In the evening of Tuesday, 9th May, the delegates were warmly welcomed by the various community leaders of St. Mary Cathedral parish. His Rev. Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, flanked by the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman Pilis Malim, ushered the delegates to the Parish hall accompanied by the beating of traditional gongs. In his welcoming remark, the prelate thanked the organising committee for the kind reception rendered towards the distinguished guests. He said that since the month of May is the season of Kaamatan festival celebration in Sabah, he encouraged the delegates to take the opportunity to try all the local sumptuous dishes prepared by the different communities in this parish.
Apart from the sumptuous foods, the evening was filled with a range of entertainments from the various communities of the parish. One of the performances is the popular dance of Sumazau, whereby the delegates were invited to participate with them on the floor to have a feel of the traditional dancing. The fellowship concluded at 9.00pm with Bishop Julius saying the Closing Prayer.  
Since St. Mary’s Cathedral is the site for pilgrimage center of the diocese of Sandakan, some delegates were keen to reach the place together with the Social and Pilgrimage members. Others were not able to make it due to tedious walk in Sepilok and the War Memorial Park.
The next ERLC meeting will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur sometime in April or May 2018.
In his final word, Rt Rev. Sebastian Francis thanked Bishop Julius Gitom, Fr Philip Muji and the entire Diocesan team for their kindness and hospitality after the morning mass.

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