LAHAD DATU – Addressing the faithful at the Eucharistic Celebration for the 7th Sandakan Diocesan Anniversary at St Dominic’s Church, Bishop Julius Gitom told the people of faith to adopt a change of attitude towards neighbors in order to build up the community through BECs in line with the diocesan pastoral thrust.
“Do your best to produce fruits for His Kingdom, and when we celebrate the 8th Diocesan Day next year, we could confidently say that we have in fact done our best for His Kingdom,” said the prelate.
St Dominic’s Church, Lahad Datu hosted the 2-day celebration of the 7th Anniversary for the Diocese of Sandakan, with a dinner at the Chinese Secondary School Hall on 5th and the Thanksgiving Mass on 6th.
Close to a thousand faithful from across the diocese attended the event. All the seven diocesan priests, Msgr Nicholas Ong, Fr Thomas Makajil, Fr Simon Kontou, Fr Jasery Gabuk, Fr Johnny Raju, Fr Marcellinus Pongkin, Fr Philip Muji, and Fr Bede Anthonius from the Diocese of Keningau were present at the occasion. Also present were the religious sisters of the FSIC and RGS and the religious brothers of St Gabriel.
Fr Simon Kontou, rector of St Dominic’s Parish emphasized that the Diocesan Day has brought the diocese together, and that the sharing of meal together was an expression of friendship, solidarity and unity.
“Our presence here tonight is an acknowledgement that we belong to the Diocese. As members, we have a responsibility to contribute to our Diocese in furthering the Kingdom of God. Let us celebrate the ‘ONENESS’ with a joyful heart,” said Kontou.
On the same occasion, Bishop Julius launched the first local Christian spiritual song album recorded by the parish choir. The proceeds would go towards the proposed Pastoral and Worship Hall Building Fund.
After the cake cutting ceremony for the Diocesan Day, another cake was brought forward for the occasion of Bishop Julius’ 57th birthday.
The prelate led the diocesan family to praise and thank God for guiding them for the last seven years, and called on the people to live in unity as one in His body, embracing all in the community, “We are called to build His church. We are to share the Good News. We need to be sincere, genuine, serious and be inflamed with zeal and the right spirit to spread His Kingdom. Never remain lukewarm in our approaches.”
He urged the people to share the faith in the workplace, the community and family, “Like the Good Samaritan, we are to reach out to our neighbors in need especially within our community. We are to relate to one another in our BECs to ensure that we remain a close-knit community of faith.”