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SANDAKAN – Around 120 parishioners including Bishop Julius, Fr Phillip Muji, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Franciscan Sisters commemorated the Feast of Immaculate Conception beginning with the recitation of the Holy Rosary along the Rosary Corridor at Marian mount, and concluding with the Eucharistic Mass at the top of Marian Mount (pic).
The Mass, celebrated for the first time outside the Church amidst the natural environment, marks a new chapter for the Marian Feast celebration in the Cathedral.
In his homily, Bishop Julius shared that Mass celebrated at the top of the hill is symbolic as it not only reminded the faithful of the beauty of God’s creation but also of the God-and-man encounter as related during Moses’ time and the transfiguration of Jesus .
During this Advent, the prelate reminded the faithful not to be distracted by the many voices of commercial and business world which draw everyone into instant Christmas mood. He explained that the many voices choked out the voice of St John the Baptist calling everyone to “Prepare the way for the Lord”. The one person who really prepared the way for the Lord was Mary. When the angel Gabriel approached her, though fearful at first, but at the end she professed her “Yes” to the Lord. She made way for the salvation of mankind. The prelate encouraged all to emulate Mary to say “Yes” to the Lord and not be drowned by the disruptive voices we hear around us.
In concluding his bi-lingual homily, Bishop Julius reiterated, “Advent is a call to be aware of God’s presence in every moment of our life. In fact we encounter him and therefore we ought to put into practice what is expected of us”.
After the Eucharistic celebration, everyone adjourned to the parish canteen for fellowship and light refreshment.
Since the launching of the Marian corridor about three months ago, the parish SOCCOM took the opportunity to interview the coordinator, Edward Mosigi on the development of Marian Mount.
He briefed SOCCOM that under the short term plan, the committee is widening the path and beautifying the five stations along the corridor. At the same time safety railings are being installed along its one km path.
The long term plan would be to build an open chapel by next year, to be named as the Mini Marian Crown Chapel.
After the declaration of St Mary’s Cathedral as a pilgrimage center for Sandakan Diocese, the parish is gearing up its infrastructure in fulfilling its pilgrimage’s status. The progress of the Marian Mount would very much depend on the availability of funds. The Parish Pastoral Council welcomes any donation or sponsorship from generous and kind parishioners in realising the plan for Marian Mount. – SOCCOM, Dalius