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TAWAU – The Fourth Sabah Youth Day (SYD-4) ended on a note of hope when over a hundred participants stood up for a special blessing from Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu (KK) at the end of the concluding Mass on 10 June 2016. This took place at Holy Trinity Church here.
Visibly moved, the presider said the future of the Church in Sabah is “bright and in good hands” if all of them responded positively to the call to serve the people of God as priests and religious.
It was the culmination of four-and-a-half days (June 6-10) of gathering of almost 2,000 youth from across the three Sabah dioceses including a few from Brunei Vicariate and Diocese of Sibu, 36 clergy, and 37 religious sisters.
Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan Diocese (host diocese) then announced that the host for SYD-5 in 2020 would be Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese. Archbishop Wong accepted the mandate and said the venue would be in Limbahau Papar. This announcement was followed by a pyrotechnic display when the archbishop touched the crystal ball highlighting the next host and venue revolvingly. Later the Youth Cross and the icon of the Blessed Mother were handed over by the outgoing organisers to the incoming organisers. The host banner was also handed over by the Sandakan bishop to the KK prelate who entrusted it to Papar Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Representative Aaron Jr Augustin and Limbahau PPC Chairman Sylvester Joseph. Papar has two parishes: Holy Rosary Limbahau and St Joseph Papar under one parish priest Fr Thomas Yip and his assistant, Fr Thomas Madanan.
SYD was the outcome of the local Jubilee of Youth in 2000. The Youth Commission of KK Archdiocese and Youth Apostolate of Keningau Diocese saw it was good for all the youths to gather once in four years to share their experiences and to journey together towards maturity in faith. It would be hosted alternately by the two dioceses. So far Keningau has hosted it twice, in 2004 (St Francis Cathedral Keningau) with 1,000 participants and 2012 (Holy Cross Toboh Tambunan) with 3,000 participants; KK once in 2008 (St Peter Claver Ranau) with 2,000 participants. Sandakan Diocese was erected in 2007 and so it fell on it to host it this year.
Holy Trinity Tawau was chosen as the venue. It has an area of 11 acres with a church, parish hall, catechetical building (2013), school buildings (Holy Trinity Kindergarten, SRK Holy Trinity, SM Holy Trinity, SM St Ursula), convent (St Clare) and ample parking space to hold the events organised.