So reads the backdrop banner, which was pinned on the stage wall at Dewan Kinabalu, Kinabalu National Park, Ranau. It was positioned there for the Special Mass that was celebrated on Saturday afternoon Jun 13 to pray for the departed souls of Joseph Solugin, Valerian Joannes, Ricky Masirin and Robbi Sappinggi, as well as for others who perished in the wake of the earthquake that struck Ranau Jun 5.
In response to a request by Archbishop John Wong of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, for a Mass to be celebrated for the souls of those who have died due to the quake, parish priest of St Peter Claver Ranau Fr Nicholas Stephen presided over the Special Mass, saying that the Mass is also to bless and pray for the protection of all climbers. The Mass was concelebrated by assistant priests Fr Francis Tsen and Fr Florian Dompok, and Fr Daniel Jomilong of St Joseph of Kiulu.
Similar ceremonial rites were also conducted by the Buddhist and other religious groups on other days.
The hall was packed to overflowing. The families of the deceased mountain guides were seated in the front rows. Many came from neighbouring villages in Kundasang, Bundu Tuhan and Kampung Kiau.
Fr Nicholas, in acknowledging the immense loss and the accompanying sadness, called on the faithful to give continuous support to the affected families.
“Letting go is never easy. Even when parents let go of their children who wish to further their studies abroad is tough, how much harder will it be for those who have lost their loved ones to death?”
He added that we were not to mourn as death is the beginning of new life. He gently urged the families of the deceased not to despair but to go on with life, based on the hope that comes with the promise of eternal life to those who believe in Christ. He reminded that the mountain guides, porters and other workers who were involved in the rescue, emulated Jesus, by sacrificing their lives for the love of others.
At the conclusion of the Mass, those assembled lined up to offer the family members of the deceased consolation and a warm touch. Though emotionally charged, the atmosphere emanated a message of hope and trust that God is with His people even in tragedy, and in Him the people unite and come out more resilient. – Sr Dariah Ajap fsic
In solidarity with the affected families
RANAU (CS) – The Franciscan Sisters, led by Mother Superior, Mother Grace Deosing, visited the affected families of the deceased mountain guides Jun 10 to be in solidarity with them.
Bishop Cornelius Sim, Apostolic Vicar of Brunei (pic), who was in Sabah for a steering meeting on BILA Youth Jun 8-10, managed to finish his tasks a day ahead so as to join the Religious Sisters in their solidarity visits Jun 10. With him were Fr Patrick Gomez from Bangladesh and youth leader from Brunei, Jen De Loyola.
The prelate was able to be present personally to offer his consolation and prayerful assistance to the victim’s families who were movingly touched by his care and concern.
Community groups from the various parishes were on hand to assist the bereaved families to receive visitors from the government representatives, church groups, other faiths, and NGOs. – Sr Dariah Ajap fsic