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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary

By: GerardCSH, Romeo, Leonard

Sandakan: Around 300 parishioners, clergy, religious of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception as well as invited guests gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan to celebrate Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil’s 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass on 6th November 2018.
Fr Thomas is the resident priest of the Paitan Mission, the only missionary area in the Diocese of Sandakan.
Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan, presided over the 3.00pm tri-lingual Eucharistic celebration con celebrated by Mgr. Nicholas Ong, Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil and 7 other priests from the 5 parishes in the Diocese of Sandakan.
Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil in his homily, shared about his recent visit to Catholic Sabah in Kota Kinabalu. He was there to see an old friend. He noticed the tremendous changes and many new staffs. He met one of the staff who recognized him and asked, “Are you the missionary in Paitan?”
The word “MISSIONARY” struck and challenged him. He reflected on the word of the Holy Father calling the clergy and religious to move out of their comfort zone, to be with the people tending to their needs. Clergy and religious are likened to shepherds living with the smell of the sheep, leading the flocks with compassion and dedication.
Msgr. Nicholas Ong and Rev. Fr. Thomas Makajil, both celebrate their 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary this year.
Rev. Fr. Thomas touched on Jesus’ preaching at a synagogue in Nazareth where He read from the Book of Prophet Isaiah which was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” All faithful are called to continue with the core mission of the Church.
Later in the evening, a subscribed dinner in commemoration of the event was held at Hakka Hall at 7.30pm. Approximately, a thousand people attended the dinner. Among them were Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan, 9 Diocesan Priests, 16 religious of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and the guests of honor, Datuk Alexander Khoo and Dr. Francis Paul, the Director of Duchess of Kent Hospital, Sandakan.
Master of Ceremony, Mr. Christopher Aban and Mrs. Irene Johnny
The celebration began with the grand entrance of all guests followed by the Murut Ethnic traditional Dance as the opening ceremony.
Rev. Fr. David Garaman, the Parish Priest of St Mary’s Cathedral led the Opening Prayer. In his speech, he congratulated Rev. Fr. Thomas for his journey in priesthood for 40 years. He wished him many more joyful and fruitful years in his priestly ministry.
Paul Leo Lohuji the chairman of the Paitan Mission Committee cum Organizing Chairman of the 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary of Rev. Fr. Thomas, extended his appreciation to all who have attended the auspicious and historical celebration. The celebration is organized in recognition of his huge contribution to the mission of the church, through his ministry as a priest for 40 years. “Through this celebration, we can share and be reminded of his journey of faith since becoming a priest 40 years ago and his strong commitment in serving the people of God”.
Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom in his address congratulated both Rev. Fr. Thomas and Msgr. Nicholas Ong for their 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary. The prelate sincerely congratulated Fr. Thomas for his steadfastness and love for his church. Priesthood is not an occupation. It is a vocation given by God, for God and for his people. And therefore the responsibility of a priest is to lead his people back to God. He is a shepherd whose only concern is for the flock of sheep entrusted to his care. Therefore, we can attest that Fr. Thomas is a true shepherd after the heart of Christ as Pope Francis says, “A priest should always be out on the road nurturing and leading the flock”. The Diocese is indeed blessed to have a priest who is passionate, dedicated, generous and whose main concern is for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
In his thanksgiving address, Rev. Fr. Thomas thanked and glorified the Lord for all the blessings showered upon him throughout his 40 years in his priestly ministry. He thanked Bishop Julius for the opportunity granted to him to continue to serve in the Paitan Mission. “One of my dreams is the empowerment of the laity who made up 99% of the body of the Church alongside the clergy and the religious living the faith as best as they can. Both laity and clergy have complementary roles in ministry and mission”.
A wide range of entertainment was presented during the occasion; slide presentation on the background, ordination and priestly ministry of Rev. Fr. Thomas, songs by talented individuals and groups, traditional dances presented by the Paitan Community, Filipino Pastoral Community (FPC) and Keluarga Besar Katolik Indonesia (KBKI).
Invited local singer, Mr. Janniri Sipaji
The thanksgiving fellowship ended at 10.00pm with a Closing Prayer led by Rev. Fr. Christopher Ireneus, the Assistant Parish Priest of St Mary’s Cathedral.

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