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Monday, April 30, 2018

Testimonial from St. Mary's Cathedral Neophytes

Emily Yong Wan Kiun
I am Emily Yong Wan Kiun, born in a Buddhist family and my mother is a Catholic.
I do have bad and scary experiences in my life since 8 years back. One day, eight years ago in February, I fell down from a mountain during my school camp in Kota Belud. I managed to grab hold of the trunk of a tree that prevented me from falling into the river. I was so scared and in pain, thinking I will die there. Luckily my friends and some good people pulled me up safely but I had some injuries and trauma at that moment.
As if not enough of pain, fear and sufferings, two months later, I was hit by a car in the evening after school. How I wish my life would end there due to all the pain and sufferings caused by the accident.
During that most painful and suffering time, my mother brought Jesus Christ into my life. My mom prayed for me days and night, especially when I felt so sick. She taught me how to pray and gave me a Cross. Not knowing anything, I felt protected and relieved with all those prayers and I managed to stay alive and positive. That incident had left a scar on my physical body as well as on my memory. 
Years later, both of my sisters have decided to follow the Catholic faith like mum but I am not ready yet. Somehow, I do not want to be the odd one out there, so I just followed them to attend the RCIA.
I asked myself, 'why and do I want to become a Christian?' No, I am not ready yet but never mind, I just want to follow my sisters.
Today, after going through the RCIA sessions, I totally changed my mind! I want to be a Christian not because I want to follow my sisters but I want to follow Jesus Christ because HE saved my life and HE love me first. I began to realize that HE was with me during all the happenings in my past incidents so that I stay safe and protected. Following my sisters were mere instrument used for me to get to know God. I'm indeed thankful for this. 
There are ups and downs during my journey in the RCIA. There are times when I would like to give up because of the hectic working commitment I’m facing as I’m working on Saturday which is the busiest day. My sisters and I used to yell at each other when we were late because of my work. I felt our Almighty God never give up on me instead HE gave me faith, patience, understanding and courage to be perseverance in this journey in the RCIA process. Time flies and I felt that RCIA is one of my weekly routine where I need to nourish myself in order to build up my faith toward God. 
All the animators are so great which I not able to describe in words but my sincere gratitude for their sacrifices and understanding all these while. They are the one that hold us tight and journeying with us through our baptism on Easter Virgil. That day on my baptism, I died and reborn into a new person after the immersion into the holy water. It was the most precious moment I experienced in my life. The baptism of my sisters and I had brought tears of joy to our mum and it really touched my heart.
I’m so thankful and feel blessed that I'm baptized into this big Catholic family. Today I pray to be a better person. This is just the beginning of my new life and I will keep building up my faith every day in my life and be thankful toward our God. 
I would like to thank all the animators, bishop, the priests and all the church members for helping us, guiding us in this journey. This is the most blessed journey in my life together with my two sisters and three of my new sisters in Christ in the RCIA. I love you all much! Peace be with all of you and God bless, Alleluia!!

Wendy Yong
Shalom, I am Wendy Yong. I was born in a Buddhist-Christian family where my mom is a Catholic and my dad is a Buddhist. My dad is still a Buddhist today in spite of our conversion to join mum in the Catholic faith.
I heard about Jesus Christ when I was 14 years old from my mum. She always talk about Jesus and taught me to pray and make Sign of The Cross. Every morning I will recite “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Hail Mary”, “Glory Be To The Father”, “Angel of God” and “Apostle’s Creed” before I go to school.
When I was 17 years old, my mom gave me a small booklet known as “Lord of Pardon”. I was told to bring it along with me wherever I go and if whenever I encountered any problems, I will need to pray for pardon. 
As the years passed by, I had a strong feeling and wanted to know more about God so I told my mom I wanted to be a Catholic, like her. She was so happy and quickly enquired from her friends how to be baptized in the catholic faith. A lady friend, who is now my God mother told my mom that I need to enroll and attend RCIA before I can be baptized. 
Together with my two sisters, we enrolled and started our Rcia in June 2017 at St Jerome room. Mum accompanied us on the first day. I was so nervous and excited at the same time and do not know what to expect. Thanks God, we fit in and adapted very well in the RCIA sessions as all the facilitators were very friendly, kind and helpful. They shared the experiences and God’s faith with us, guiding us all the way.
I was baptized on 31st March 2018 and officially become a new creation in Christ, joined in the big catholic family. I feel good, happy and great that I am the new light of Christ. I am looking forward to be a good Christian and be able to bring the Good News of God to share with others. I thank God for having chosen me. Alleluia alleluia..

Hi, my name is Sheila and I'm 20 this year. I was baptized on 31st of March 2018 and it was one of the most important and memorable days in my life. Being baptised on this great day really means a lot to me. I am now the new member in Christ Catholic family. This was the best decision I made throughout my life and I want to thank God, bishop, the priests, all the facilitators, my lovely family and all the church members for making my dream came true.
In June, I joined the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults which is also known as RCIA, where a sharing session was held every Saturday between facilitators and those of us who are interested to becoming Christians together with my two sisters.
Before joining the RCIA, I was an impatience person and easily get annoyed or angry by very small issues. It was hard for me to forgive any one who hurts me and I hold grudges. I guessed that was normally what we human beings are.
In the RCIA, we were taught to be patience, to help, to love and forgive one another and that anger and pride are among the 7 biggest sins as a Christian. Gradually, I began to realize my own sins and mistakes committed all these years. I became conscious of my behavior and actions. My biggest transformation was during this later half year where I've learned to be allowed to be challenged in my faith and obedience through the temptations and trials that I have had no control over, knowing God is beside me, allowing the suffering & challenges to bring me closer to HIM, nurturing me to be a more mature Christian.
I hold close to John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that all who believe in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. 
I reflected on; God gave his one and only son and it is through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross that my sins are forgiven. Indeed, this phase has given me much strength and courage in my spiritual life in following God's way . 
I will continue to be a good Christian. I will try my best to reach out to those in need. I will try to do God's will as it says; FOR HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO OBEY THE LORD, WHO LIVE BY HIS COMMANDS
God's blessing be upon all of us. Alleluia Alleluia!!!

Ulang Tahun Gereja St. Mark ke-26 dan KBKI ke-9

oleh Rogena R. Sining

Sandakan: Bersempena dengan Perayaan St. Mark, 25 April 2018, Gereja St. Mark, sub-paroki Katedral St. Mary telah merayakan ulang tahun ke-26. Selain itu, ia juga merupakan ulang tahun ke-9 penubuhan Keluarga Besar Katolik Indonesia (KBKI).
Perayaan bermula dengan misa kudus kesyukuran pada jam 7.30 malam yang diselebrankan oleh Fr. David A. Garaman, Paderi Paroki Katedral St. Mary. Kira-kira seramai 600 umat telah memenuhi ruang dalam gereja. Fr. David dalam homilinya mengatakan Santo Markus dikenali kerana penulisannya. "Tanpa Santo Markus sebagai pengarang injil, mungkin kita tidak akan mengenali siapakah Yesus? Kita sebagai umat Tuhan dipilih menjadi alat dimana orang lain boleh mendengar pesanan misteri penyelamatan Yesus”.
Beliau turut menegaskan kepada umat yang terlibat dalam pelayanan gereja, "ini merupakan panggilan kamu dan lakukanlah dengan baik, penuh dedikasi dan jujur dalam pelayanan gereja. Kewujudan pelbagai komuniti di gereja ini bertujuan mewartakan kabar gembira kewujudan Kristus. Marilah kita mengambil iktibar agar kita sentiasa sedar bahawa Yesus harus didahulukan dalam hidup kita. Tanpa Yesus dalam diri kita, kita tidak mempunyai apa-apa. Namun, jika kita tidak mempunyai apa-apa tetapi ada Yesus dalam diri kita maka kita ada semua".
Sejurus selepas misa, semua umat dijemput ke Dewan Serbaguna Gereja untuk acara makan malam secara ‘pot luck’, diikuti dengan persembahan dari kumpulan KBKI, dan Belia.
Dimeh Koyopo selaku Pengerusi, Komiti Pastoral St. Mark, dalam ucapannya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada semua yang terlibat dalam menjayakan perayaan hari ulang tahun. Beliau berharap agar para belia dapat meneruskan kesatuan komuniti-komuniti yang terdapat di Gereja St. Mark. Beliau turut menambah "kita sebagai satu komuniti yang berpusatkan kepada Yesus untuk melayani dan mengasihi sesama kita. Tanpa kasih, kesatuan tidak akan wujud dalam diri kita".
Fr. David yang menghadiri perayaan tersebut mengucapkan tahniah kepada komiti penganjur kerana telah berjaya menganjurkan perayaan tersebut. Beliau juga berharap agar perayaan seperti itu dapat diteruskan untuk generasi akan datang terutama sekali para belia. Fr. David juga menegaskan kepada kaum ibu bapa agar dapat memberi sokongan dan dorongan kepada para belia yang merupakan pelapis pemimpin gereja untuk terus melibatkan diri secara aktif dalam pelayanan di gereja.
Persembahan belia "The Sin Chair"
Persembahan KBKI~ Tarian Jahe

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sharing The Gift Of Easter With love

By Romeo Barintang

Sandakan: Members of the BEC of St Teresa of Calcutta Indah Jaya and The Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC) reached out to 19 families living in the periphery to share with them the joy of Easter on 7th April 2018.
This mission team was led by Susanna Cordova and Phillip Mosinoh from SYCC while John Tan and Leonnie Degullacion from the BEC. Together with their members, they handed baskets of love to each family consisting of daily necessity, such as cooking oil, rice, salt, sugar, biscuits, noodles and etc.  The children were given each a gift as an Easter present.
Prior to the outreach mission, a discussion on preparatory work was held at the residence of Susanna Cordova on 12th March 2018. Accordingly, this community consists of 19 families who were evicted from their houses cum workplace because the owner had sold the land. They have moved to a new location, a little further and more secluded.
These families rebuild their houses, mostly of a one-room space, cramped with ten or twelve members per family. It’s heart-breaking to learn of their miserable living condition, thus the idea of visiting these families was mooted. In less than a month, both communities solicited enough provisions for the affected families
The outreach mission project was quite challenging and to reach the community you need to walk through difficult terrain. The project has cemented strong relationship bond among members from the BEC of St Teresa of Calcutta Indah Jaya and The Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC). Such cooperation is also a way forward in realizing our vision as a “Christ-centred community, serving one another with love”.
The Easter season is a call for charity that the poor shall always be in our hearts and there is no service to God without service to humanity. Psalm 9:18 “For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.”

Friday, April 27, 2018

Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation - Parents play a vital role in the faith formation of their children

Reported by Evelyn Jock-Lagan
Catechist, Sunday School (English)

Recognising the role and influence of the parents in their children’s spiritual upbringing and to ensure that adequate preparation is done for the Sacrament of Confirmation, a briefing was held on 22 April 2018 by the Parish Priest of St Mary’s Cathedral, Fr. David Garaman, at the Fr. Mulders Catechetical Centre, for parents of students from the Sunday School (English) who will be undertaking their Sacrament of Confirmation. 19 students from the English language group will be confirmed in 2018 and 30 more, now in the Pre-Confirmation class, will be confirmed in 2019.
Fr David A. Garaman, Parish Priest for St Mary’s Cathedral, Sandakan, briefing parents of student for Confirmation and Pre-Confirmation class from the Sunday School (English) at Fr. Mulders Centre on 22 April 2018.
Fr David touched on 2 main clauses from the Catechism of the Catholic Church with regards to the family:- (i) Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues (CCC 2223); and (ii) Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith (CCC 2226).
In today’s society, a parent has to deal with many challenges such as: work, school, rising cost of living, the media and many other issues. Fr David explained that parents have a responsibility to give good example to their children and they are the first person to influence the moral and faith formation of their children. Parents may feel that they are inadequate in catechizing their children of the faith, and therefore relinquish their responsibility to the catechists who instruct their children on basic doctrine, however, he expressed that the formation of children in their faith, begins at home. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray as a family and to discover their vocation as children of God. It is a way of living. By taking the time to pray, parents show their children the importance of being a holy family which is the vision and mission that the Diocese of Sandakan is striving to portray, ‘to be a Christ centred community, serving one another with love’.
Parents of Confirmand and Pre-Confirmand who have availed themselves to attend the briefing by Fr David, on a Sunday morning at the Catechetical Centre.
He encouraged parents to be a role model for their children by attending Holy Mass with their children and to frequent the Sacrament of Confession as well as the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. He also stressed that by showing good examples from the beginning, aids and encourages the formation of their children’s spiritual growth from an early age. Nothing and no one can replace the influence of a parent and the impact on the spiritual life of a child.
Fr. David encouraged the parents to render their support to the church and the Sunday School activities which is facilitated by lay persons who have availed themselves in the transfer of faith to the children. At the same time, he also invited more parents to assist in the Sunday School as facilitators themselves.
He also explained to parents, the importance of attending retreats prior to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. A religious youth retreat provides an opportunity for teens to get away from the day-to-day distractions and focus on spiritual matters. The teenage years are the most spiritually active period in a young person’s life and helping Catholic teenagers connect to God at a retreat might help them remain in the Church throughout their adult life.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Misa Kudus Khas Hari Polis ke-211

oleh Eddie Embau

Misa Kudus Khas Hari Polis ke 211 bagi anggota polis yang beragama Kristian telah diadakan di Gereja St Mark, Batu 12, Sandakan pada 14.04.2018 jam 10.00 pagi. Misa yang dikendalikan oleh Badan Kebajikan Kristian BN 15 PGA Sandakan dan juga KKD St. Ignasius Batu 10, Sandakan telah diselebrankan oleh Fr. David A. Garaman dan dibantu oleh Fr. Christopher Ireneus dan Fr. Sunny Chung.
Misa kudus ini melibatkan pegawai / anggota BN 15 PGA Sandakan dan turut serta daripada pegawai / anggota daripada IPD Sandakan / Marin Sandakan / BN 20 PGA Beluran bersama ahli keluarga untuk menjayakan aktiviti Misa Kudus khas kepada semua warga anggota polis yang beragama Kristian tidak kira denominasi. 
Para petugas Liturgi dalam Misa Kudus dibarisi oleh Komentator, Kpl Narius Onong, Koir daripada KKD St Ignasius Batu 10, Sandakan, Lektor 1 oleh ASP Daniel Bansatan, Pemazmur oleh Cik Cherry Henry, persembahan terdiri seperti berikut: ASP Clarence Philip , ASP Kevin ak Nayau, Insp Cladius Justinus Madius, Sm George, Kpl Henry, Kpl Rayner dan L/Kpl Nicklas. Ketua warden oleh Sjn Aloysius Silang dan Kpl Hilary Henry Ugis dengan dibantu oleh 10 anggota yang melibatkan anggota Marin, Balai Polis Sandakan dan PGA. 
Selepas misa, semua umat dan anggota polis bersama para paderi mengambil gambar kenangan di hadapan Gereja St. Mark. Seterusnya jamuan makan tengahari secara “potluck” diadakan di dewan St Mark pada jam 12.00 tengahari. Hidangan secara “Pansu” juga turut disediakan. Fr. Christopher Ireneus telah dijemput untuk memimpin doa pembukaan seterusnya doa makan. 
ASP Clarence Philip selaku Pengerusi Badan Kebajikan Kristian, BN 15 PGA Sandakan memberi ucapan selamat datang dan terima kasih kepada semua yang hadir bagi menjayakan aktiviti ini. 
Fr. David A. Garaman telah menyampaikan ucapan kepada semua umat yang telah menjayakan acara ini serta beliau amat gembira kerana sambutan daripada pegawai dan anggota polis beserta keluarga mereka amat memberansangkan dan terdapat di kalangan mereka aktif melayani di gereja. 
ASP Daniel Bansatan menyampaikan cenderahati penghargaan kepada Rev. Fr. David A. Garaman
Upacara pemotongan kek diadakan di kalangan pegawai dan anggota Polis bersama dengan Paderi. 
Progam ini diadakan bagi memperingati sambutan Hari Polis ke 211 tahun 2018. Selain itu, ia juga bertujuan untuk mengeratkan lagi hubungan persaudaraan di kalangan keluarga Pegawai dan Anggota polis beserta umat Gereja.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

St. Mary's Cathedral Parish welcomed 85 new members

Article by Romeo Barintang
Photos by SOCCOM
Sandakan- Easter Vigil was celebrated by His Lordship Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom and concelebrated by Fr. David Garaman, on 24th March 2018, at St. Mary Cathedral’s compound, attended by some 1500 parishioners. The Mass began with the blessing of the fire and the lighting of the Easter candle, symbolizing that Christ came into our lives as the light of salvation, illumined our darkness and led us to the path of eternal life.
In his homily, the prelate called upon all brothers and sisters who are going to be baptized in the resurrection of Jesus to be filled with joy in their hearts, to step out from darkness into the light of Christ with bonds of love thru baptism. The prelate also addressed the faithful on the importance of renewing their Sacrament of Baptism. It is a reminder that Christ has risen and lived among us, to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour, who saves mankind through his unconditional love and sacrifice.
This year around, St. Mary’s Cathedral welcomed 60 new members: 48 from the BM class, 8 from the English class and 4 from the Chinese class.

Easter Vigil at St. Mark Church
"In life, we have a big rock that weighs us down. What is that big rock? It's our sins. The resurrection of Jesus has removed the rocks that weighs us down. Believe that even now, He is still able to roll away the stone that weighs us down in our lives." -Fr. Christopher Ireneus-
St. Mark's Church welcomed 25 new members, where 24 are from BM speaking class and 1 from Chinese speaking class.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

St. Mary Cathedral Neophytes Testimonial

Adriana Cham
I am Adriana, 17 years old. Before I join RCIA, I know nothing about God, although my family took me to the church since I was young. Most of the time I am just daydreaming and didn't care to know who Christ is. After I joined the RCIA last year and  I dare say is that I'm glad that I had made the decision and no regret.
I finally get to understand that only Christ can fill the emptiness in my heart. He died for our sins and still forgive us because he loves us more than we love him.
After knowing Christ's goodness, I make effort to change my bad habits gradually. I learned to be more patient and help those people who're in need of help.
By prayer,  my pain is eased and relieved. I thank God that he is always  with me even when I'd done wrong. He takes all of my problems and allow me to depend on him to lead and guide me daily.

Adeline Cham
I am Adeline Cham, a secondary school student. Before joining the RCIA, I do have  few experiences with the Catholic Church as I attended mass frequently with my mother, brother, sister and relatives who are Catholics but had no idea what was going on during mass. I couldn't understand anything because I wasn't really listening. I felt lost and out of place not knowing what to say when everyone in the Church was responding or saying prayers. I was curious and started asking my family questions about the Church to have a better understanding.
As such I decided to enroll for the RCIA with my sister. In the  process of our sessions, I began to realize several issues; the Catholic Church is the one true church that I was searching. I'm determine and want to be a Catholic.
I feel that I know God better. I was never alone. HE is always with me, carrying me through the dark and bright. I'm more confident.
Looking back, I found that I was wrong to believe and thinking that God had ever abandoned me and my family in those very moment of our deepest despair and lost. I know now that God loves me and allow certain things to happen in our lives because HE knows that is best for us.
He wants me to be with Him and share in His love; and I hope to be able to do just that. I am so grateful that I have this knowledge and understanding through my involvement in the RCIA session. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Alicia Noriko Suzuki
I’m Alicia Noriko Suzuki from Japan. I married a local man in 2001. I have two daughters (15yrs and 12yrs old). All my husband's family members are Roman Catholics except me. I followed them to church ever since l was married and had always observed what was performed in mass. When they went for the Holy Eucharist, I felt lonely. At that time, I didn’t have confidence to participate in RCIA because of  language barrier. I can’t speak and understand English very well.  I had thought of conversion into a Catholic in Japan but I cannot be back to Japan for such a long period for RCIA because of family commitment here in Sandakan so I pluck my courage and decide to participate in RCIA here in St Mary's Cathedral. I was a hot tempered, negative person before I joined RCIA. I began to feel better and more positive as the sessions advanced. I am able to control my feelings. The fear and uncomfortable language barrier was not in existence anymore. In this, I think and believe the Holy Spirit helped me to understand the word of God and overcome all my fear. If I’m still in Japan, I think I will  not be baptized and I will not know how to open my bible to read. I was so excited and anxious during my baptism by Father David on the Easter Vigil. I thought I was going to die as I felt I cannot breathe. But after the immersion, out of the pool, I heard  many people clapping  for me and at the same time I saw my daughters cried. Thanks God, I'm not dead, alive both physically and spiritually. When I’m received my first Holy Eucharist, I was very excited and do not know what to expect. My husband said he cried with the “tears of joy” for me. Now I believe in the existence of God.  I thank God for  I can be  with husband and family sharing the same faith. I am thankful for the right timing to participate in RCIA as all our friends there are very friendly, kind, helpful. Though I’m chosen as a leader of English RCIA in this batch, they share all my work load, understanding that I'm a foreigner. Last but not least, thank you to Bishop Julius, Fr David, all the facilitators, my family members and friends for supporting, guiding and leading us in this journey of faith. Please continue to support, guide and lead us to the happiness of heaven with God’s love. Amen.

Kesaksian daripada Baptisan baru gereja St. Mark, Sandakan

Rudiandi Sanga Ria @ Rafael
Selama sepuluh bulan saya belajar dalam kelas IKD, saya merasakan ketenangan di dalam jiwa saya. Dengan mengikuti kelas IKD, saya dapat memahami injil dan juga sabda TUHAN. Melalui pembelajaran ini, banyak menyentuh hati saya dan saya dapat memahaminya sehinggalah saya diterima menjadi seorang Kristian Katolik. Saya amat berterimakasih atas tunjuk ajar daripada para pembimbing. Hanya TUHAN yang membalas budi dan jasa mereka. Amen.

Cosmas Anak Sanyaw
Nama saya Cosmas Anak Sanyaw. Saya berasal dari Kuching Sarawak. Saya telah mengikuti kelas IKD di gereja St.Mark untuk tempoh lebih kurang 10 bulan. Sebelum saya mengikuti kelas IKD, saya jarang datang ke gereja. Saya selalu mengelak untuk mengikuti misa. Semasa di dalam kelas IKD saya telah didedahkan dengan kisah Tuhan. Dengan itu saya dapat memahami hubungan antara manusia dan Tuhan itu adalah penting dalam kehidupan kita. Semasa hari pembaptisan saya berasa sangat gemuruh bercampur gembira kerana saya telah diberi kehidupan yang baru. Saya bersyukur kepada Tuhan di atas berkat dan cinta kasihNya yang terus memanggil saya untuk diselamatkan melalui pembaptisan.

Nama saya Shareen. Saya berbangsa Filipin Bisaya tapi saya dilahirkan di Sandakan, Sabah. Saya telah mengikuti kelas IKD dengan mengenal Tuhan Yesus Juruselamat kita dan memahami cinta kasih Tuhan kepada manusia sangat besar. Semoga selepas pembaptisan ini saya lebih dapat mendekatkan diri kepada Tuhan dan menjadi anak Tuhan yang baik. Saya bersyukur atas cinta kasih dan berkat Tuhan yang telah memanggil saya melalui pembaptisan ini.


New Advent