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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ST MARY PARISH WELCOMES NEOPHYTES YEAR 2017

Reported by DaliusLL
Photos by Helda and Leonard

Sandakan: The Parish of St. Mary Cathedral welcomed 51 newly baptised members (neophytes) into their fold with a dinner reception at the parish hall on the Feast of Pentecost 4th June 2017. This year, the Catholic Church of St. Mary’s Parish received 23 adults and 7 children from the Bahasa-speaking community, 14 from the Chinese and 5 adults and 2 children from the English speaking community. Before they are ready to become a Catholic, they will undergo the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) for nearly a year.
The welcoming event started with the neophytes’ entrance to the hall, with the lighted candle on their hands, accompanied with the hymn ‘Walk in the Light’ sang by the parishioners who came to support them.
Head of Parish Catechetical Committee, Lionel Randasan, in his remark, expressed his thanks and gratitude to the Priests, Religious, the Parish Pastoral Committees and all the parishioners for coming together in this function, in welcoming the Neophytes into the Catholic family. His gratitude also goes to the organising committee who have worked tirelessly in making the welcoming event a success. As for the Neophytes, he advised them to practise what they believe and journey together in faith with the brothers and sisters in the church.
In his welcoming address, the Rector of St Mary’s Parish, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, expressed his gratitude to the Catechetical Committees, the RCIA facilitators and Sunday school Teachers for their dedicated service in this ministry. He affirmed that the Holy Spirit is at work in touching the hearts of the Neophytes to commit themselves to the Lord. His Lordship quoted St. Paul’s passage in today’s second reading of Pentecost Sunday, “Nobody can say Lord-Lord….unless the Lord touches his heart”, nothing we can do unless the Lord touches their heart. “I thank the Neophytes for responding to the Lord’s invitation”. He reminded that their baptism does not end here; rather their commissioning is the beginning of their journey of faith together as a community to bring the good news of peace and love to others. He concluded by encouraging the neophytes to join the many ministries and communities in the church and welcome them in channelling their God-given talents in serving the church.
During the dinner, the neophytes’ gave their sharing and personal testimonials. Here are some of the excerpts sharing;

Chinese Speaking Neophytes
1. Titus Chung – “In 2016 Chinese New Year, my mother passed away. With the help of the Church members and Fr. Sunny Chung, her funeral was well taken care of. I was so pleased and now I understand that the Lord is always with me and He never abandons me- the reason why I decided to join the RCIA. I am happy now and not feeling lost and I believe God has a plan for me. I knew my (Late) Father will be happy to see me converted into a Catholic as himself.  (Translated into English by the Emcee)
 
2. Mary Chong – “I suddenly realised all my husband's ancestors are Catholic, so I must become a Catholic too. After this decision was made, I called my Godmother to seek for her assistance. In His big family, the Church, I can feel His love. There are many groups in the Church for me to join and I can continue to learn more about the Catholic faith. At last, I find a goal in my life. I am very happy about this. (Translated by the husband)



English Speaking Neophytes

1. Euthalia Jihan – “I have learnt to pray. I am able to handle stress better. At times when I am in doubt, and when I am in need, I know to whom I can turn to. I believe that God answers my prayers. I was surprised when my mother asked me to never stop praying. My friend told me that I have changed. I used to lose my patience easily but now I learn to control my anger; I will not get angry easily. I learn to be humble, to be patient, to love and to forgive.”
2. Vera Chang – “Thanks to RCIA. I met my wonderful friends over here, my life has more colours. I have more activities rather than just stay at home….. I am a happier person. Where ever I am, I will pray to Him to all the issues that I have in my mind. He doesn’t really show the solution but yet it takes time, I know He is here.”



Bahasa Speaking Neophytes
1. Jack Jaikol Limin – “Betul-betul yang menarik saya untuk mengenali Tuhan Yesus bila kedua-dua adik kembar mengikuti IKD di Inanam, Kota Kinabalu. Saya bertanya kepada mereka apakah perasaan mereka setelah dibaptiskan sebagai seorang Katolik? Mereka menjawab kami bangga, bersyukur, rasa aman dan tenang. Ini membuatkan saya teringin untuk merasa sama dengan mereka dan saya membuat keputusan untuk mengikuti IKD di sini (tempat ditugaskan sebagai Pembantu Perubatan). Harapan saya masa hadapan adalah untuk terus melayani Tuhan, tidak kira kepada siapa, bila dan di mana sahaja.”


2. Irene Yaui – “Saya menyertai RC kerana ajakan kawan. Ada orang mengatakan kita menyembah patung tetapi setelah saya menyertai IKD selama setahun, saya telah mengenali Yesus dengan baik dan kenyataan (negatif) tentang RC adalah palsu. Firman Tuhan dan hidup kekeluargaan bersama-sama sahabat seiman adalah sumber kekuatan saya didalam menghadapi godaan-godaan hidup.”



The reception concluded with the organising Chairman, Raymond Wong , who expressed his gratitude to all present to give their support and also  in welcoming the newly members to the church family. In the spirit of Kaamatan festivity, all present were invited to the floor for a Sumazau dance with the Neophytes. The welcoming reception ended at 09.30pm with a closing prayer from Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom. 

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