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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

All Soul's Day 2017

By Raymond Wong

Sandakan: All Soul’s Day is a day where the church offers prayers to the faithful departed. Some do the cleaning at the cemetery and some having prayers at home.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish has three locations where members of the Catholic faith are buried. The century-old cemetery at Kam Jai Yen with burials dated back to pre-war where no more burials are allowed to be carried out at this particular cemetery. The present Sibuga Cemetery is located along the Sibuga Road and planned in various phases for burials. The cemetery at Mile 12 off Labuk Road is the inter-church combined cemetery where all Christian brothers and sisters from all denominations are buried. It is managed by the Sandakan Christian Burial Ground Committee a registered entity where all Christian Churches based in Sandakan are members.
A large gathering attended the service held on the morning of 2nd Nov. 2017 at Sibuga, led by Sister Appolonia with the assistance of some Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion and a small choir group led the singing of hymns. The service began at 9 am. Sister welcomed all those present followed by the opening prayer. Readings from the scripture were then read with the Responsorial Psalm followed by the proclamation of the Gospel. Sister then gave a reflection on the gospel reading.
Sister reminded all those present to offer our prayers to the departed loved ones as prayers will not wither, but the flowers and candles we offer will wither and dies off in due time. She also touched on the three states of life: firstly, the Saints in heaven, which was celebrated a day earlier and the second, the souls in purgatory, being purified before entering into heaven and lastly, on our lives on earth, where these three states of life united with the cross of Jesus and His resurrection by praying for one another. She also emphasized on the readiness on ourselves being ready to meet our Savior. After the final blessing and with the concluding hymn, the parishioners then proceeded to the various tombs of their loved ones where the blessing and sprinkling of holy water were conducted.
The service at Kam Jai Yen was also conducted by Sister Lillian, with the assistance of EM’s, held also at the same time. This is an old cemetery where no more burials are to be carried out but with many of the parishioners loved ones laid permanently in this cemetery.
The same service was also held in the Sandakan Christian Burial Ground situated at Mile 12 off Labuk Road. It was conducted by Father Sunny Chung with some EM’s from St. Mark Church assisting him.

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