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Bishop Julius celebrates 25 years of priesthood

25th Anniversary Rt. Rev. Julius Gitom (3)SANDAKAN – About 200 parishioners gathered at St Joseph’s Church to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bishop Julius Gitom and the 36th anniversary of Fr Thomas Makajil’s ordination to the priesthood, Nov 19.

Concelebrating the Thanksgiving Mass with him were Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau, seven Diocesan Priests and five other priests, all former classmates of Bishop Julius at St Peter’s College, Major Seminary, Kuching.

Also present at the celebration were Mother General, Sr Grace Deosing fsic,  religious sisters of FSIC, RGS and religious brothers of SG.

The prelate attended St Peter’s College, Kuching from April 1982-May 1988. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Emeritus John Lee on 19 November 1989 at St Pius X Bundu Tuhan. He holds a licentiate in Moral Theology, a master degree in Spiritual Theology and a licentiate on Canon Law. He lectured on spirituality at St Peter’s College from 2000-2003. He was elevated as Bishop of Sandakan in July 2007.

In his introductory note, Bishop Julius said, “The priesthood is the gift of God to the community. It is a sign of God’s love, a sign that He cares for us and a sign of His presence among us.”

In his homily, he shared that each of us has some religious experience where one feels the closeness of God.  He invited parishioners to recall their personal ‘religious’ experience, the precious moment of encountering God. Those are special moments in life, giving us joy, hope and confidence.

As regards to the talents gifted us by God, he said, ‘Use them or lose them.’ He called on everyone to use all possible opportunities to use their time and talent for the service of others for the glory of God.

After the celebration, parishioners proceeded to the Bishop’s residence, a short distance from the church for the blessing of his new home, which was led by Bishop Cornelius of Keningau.

After seven years of its establishment, the Diocese of Sandakan has eventually acquired a permanent home for the Bishop. Bishop Julius was overwhelmed and extended his appreciation to all attendees for being present.

He conveyed special thanks to the good samaritan who paid for the house and all its renovation work. The diocese is deeply indebted to him for his generosity. He also thanked all those who were involved in ensuring that the house could be completed according to schedule. – SOCCOM, DS

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