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SANDAKAN – Speaking directly to the neophytes, Bishop Julius Gitom threw a challenge to them to participate in the many programmes and ministries in the Church, particularly as facilitators in the RCIA.
Parish priest, Bishop Gitom was making a point to new members of his fold as St Mary’s Cathedral here welcomed 76 neophytes with a dinner reception at the parish hall on the Feast of Pentecost on 15 May 2016.
This year St Mary’s Cathedral received 54 members from the Bahasa speaking community, 16 from the Chinese and 6 from the English speaking community.
Bishop Gitom also expressed his gratitude to everyone for coming together to welcome the neophytes into their Catholic family. He was especially grateful to the RCIA facilitators who have dedicated their service in the ministry. On the same note, he also reminded the parishioners that the ministry is not solely the responsibility of the facilitators but the responsibility of the whole parish to accompany the neophytes in their journey of faith. He encouraged more parishioners to come forward to serve in this noble ministry.
Referring to the Feast of Pentecost, the prelate concluded, “This evening is appropriate to welcome the neophytes because it coincides with Pentecost Sunday, the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church. Let us emulate the first Christian community, who were eager and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring good news to other people. Let this be our spirit not only today but throughout our lives in bringing good news to others.”
During dinner, the neophytes were given an opportunity to testify to their faith.
Neophyte Eric Ng said “My family and I are born anew. The beauty of the faith is love and it is love that has changed my life. Love that flows in the family and the community has brought us closer and enhanced unity. I am now a member of the Sri Taman BEC. There are still much to learn about my new found faith and my community is giving me the much needed support.”
Another neophyte, Ericson Somania said – “RCIA has taught me how to live as a Christian, how to turn to God and pray, how to be forgiving and how to love one another. The interactive sessions throughout the process have enlightened me on the many challenges in life. Now I realise that God is always with me in all situations. I pray that I will be able to go through with the challenges of life. I am happier, calmer and at peace. – Dalius LL