Oi tobpinai ngaavi ku id di Tuhan Otumbazaan zou do…
LABUAN – Eighty members of the Bethel Prayer Community embarked on a pilgrimage to Blessed Sacrament here to mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy and to live “the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercy of God” on 20 May 2016.
Responding to the Holy Year called by Pope Francis, to make a “journey that starts with spiritual conversion,” Bethel pilgrims, with assistance from Prayer Groups leader Gerard Lean and PPC Chairman Ambrose Tati, made a meaningful journey.
Not only were the pilgrims privileged to walk through the doorway of the church, they were also brought to a walk into the past to hear of the amazing feat of how Catholicism began in Labuan in 1857 by Msgr Don Carlos Cuarteron, and ultimately how Labuan became “a doorway of Good News to Sabah (North Borneo.)”
According to history told them, between 1927 and 1931, there were a total of nine Mill Hill priests in Labuan, and in 1931 Fr Stotter named the church “Corpus Christi or Blessed Sacrament.” He was also the founder of St Anne and St Anthony School.
Fr John Lee, now Abp Emeritus, was the residing priest of the Blessed Sacrament Church from 1968-69. The last foreign priest was Fr John Salm from 1980-96 and since then, there has been no resident priest but only visiting ones twice a month. The pilgrims were urged to pray for the island church to have a resident priest in place in the very near future.
A combined Pentecost Prayer Meeting with the local prayer groups also took place on the first evening, which ministered to a sizeable faith community.
Before the evening concluded, the visiting pilgrims were privileged to hear a brief history of how Renewal started in Labuan.
A Faith cum Healing Rally, which brought many to marvel at the power of God’s anointing and visitation upon His people, capped the second evening.
At different stages of the pilgrimage, many have felt the touch of the Holy Spirit, moving them to tears.
Besides visiting places of pilgrimage, Bethel members, led by their leaders, also engage in both corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in their daily lives. They also make it a point to celebrate reconciliation more often. – Simon Chong