HAVING consulted the College of Consultors, His Grace Most Reverend…
“As deacon you are to help the priests and the bishop in the ministry of the word, of the altar and in charity showing yourself to be servant of all. With the help of God, you are to go about all these duties in such a way that you will be recognized as a disciple of Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve. You are a minister of Jesus Christ and you are to serve like the disciples and to do the will of God. Serve the people with love and joy.”
With these words, Bishop Julius Gitom as ordaining minister, addressed the candidate who was to be ordained during the Rite of Ordination.
With Bishop Julius Gitom at the altar, were priests from the Sandakan Diocese Fr Thomas Makajil, Fr Phillip Muji, Fr Sunny Chung, Fr Simon Kontou, Fr Marcellinus Pongking, Fr Johnny Raju, Fr Jasery Gabuk, and Fr Nicholas Stephen from Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese, and assisted by Deacons Harry Dorisoh and Hilanus Simon from the Keningau Diocese.
Referring to the occasion, the prelate said “I am glad that you are here to witness this rare occasion, a cause of great rejoicing. We thank the Lord for his blessings for the gift of Deacon Stanley to help ensure that the saving work of his son Jesus Christ will continue in his Church.”
Thanking Stanley for his response to God’s call. he prayed that God would accompany him as he begins his diaconate service with the Diocese of Sandakan.
He called on the people to pray for him and to support him generously throughout his diaconate service not merely materially but spiritually as well.
“There are many more seminarians in various stages of formation. God willing we will witness more of such ordination in the years to come,” said the prelate.
He expressed his gratitude to all who were involved in making the event a momentous one, in particular to those who were responsible for the formation of the deacon in his journey to priesthood, not forgetting the generosity and support of his parents and family members.
“This is the second diaconate ordination for the Diocese as well as the Cathedral. Let us give thanks and praise to God Almighty for granting us our fervent prayer for vocations. Continue to pray and God willing we will witness another ordination next year and many more in the years to come,” said the Cathedral parish priest, Fr Thomas Makajil.
David Garaman was the first deacon to be ordained in the Cathedral on March 19, 2010, eight years ago since the inception of the diocese.
In his turn, the newly ordained deacon thanked the prelate for accepting and ordaining him. He expressed his appreciation to the Bishop and his presbyterium for their invaluable advice, guidance and support. He singled out Fr Nicholas Stephen, who acted as his retreat master for the reflection and accompaniment.
To the parishioners, he expressed his happiness for their presence at his diaconate ordination, which would spur him on to grow closer to God and to His people. “I pledge to do my utmost in discharging my duty as a deacon.”
To the young people, he implored, ‘Please do not shy away from me merely because I am a deacon. Continue to be my friends. Journey with me.”
Turning to his mother, Pheliscita Francis Alasa, he has this to say. “Mummy, when I broke the news to you that I wanted to be a priest, you never stop me. In fact you encourage me. I may not have a ‘family’ of my own but look, I have a big family here surrounding me. Thank you for supporting me.”
Stanley hails from Lahad Datu. His family was originally from Penampang but when his late father was transferred to Lahad Datu, the whole family followed and eventually settled down in the district.
His journey to priesthood began in February 2007 at the Catholic Diocesan Center Kota Kinabalu, and thereafter to St Peter’s College, Kuching. He was appointed Lector in November 2011, Acolyte in November 2012 and completed his pastoral study as a seminarian in December 2014. He started his pastoral exposure in St Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan in 2012, St Martin’s Church Telupid in 2013, Holy Trinity Tawau 2014, before being assigned to St Mary’s Cathedral.
When interviewed by SOCCOM of his experience during his pastoral exposure, he shared that the best part was working with the congregation with diverse backgrounds, races, languages and cultures. He has to adapt to each situation according to the community in order to be accepted and to be able to serve effectively.
A particular challenging service was when he underwent a two-month Clinical Pastoral Education in Assunta Hospital Kuala Lumpur in which he ministered to patients in critical and terminal stages. The experience has indeed greatly enriched him towards his priestly ordination in the near future.
His advice to those who felt the call to religious or priesthood, “Do not be afraid or hesitant but to keep praying. Let God guide you towards that direction. If you are called, God will surely show the way.” – SOCCOM SANDAKAN, Dalius LL