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TAWAU – One hundred guitarists across Sabah arch/dioceses strummed their guitars, acoustic-style, during the fourth Mass at SYD-4, 9 June 2016. They were joined by the sub-organising teams and five individual youths from St Francis Xavier Cathedral as choir members. This was a historic first for a SYD celebration.
The guitarists played beautifully with uniformed strumming and perfect ending for each hymn, led by Amado Degullacion III.
On the day before, all of them went through a rehearsal session to ensure smooth playing during Mass. Amodd Deal, liturgy sub-team, said the guitarists were reminded to be extra cautious when handling their guitar because a slight noise, for example, if their guitar fell onto the floor, could cause unnecessary distraction.
To prepare for this amazing effort, several pilot studies were done. The first pilot study succeeded in gathering 50 youths to play full acoustic guitars during the third Advent Mass at St Mary’s Church Bingkor. Three other pilot efforts followed afterwards, leading to SYD-4.
In the beginning, they targeted 500 youths to play, but due to difficulties like limited space in cars, some of the participants could not bring their guitars along. So the number reduced to 150. However, the final number of guitarists available on the actual day was 100.
Among the hymns played were Table of Plenty, Terimalah Ya Bapa, and a beautiful Murut hymn titled Royowo No Kineangan.
“It is a great way to celebrate their God-given musical talent,” said Lissa Johannes who posted the video of the guitarists playing Royowo No Kineangan in SYD-4 Facebook account.
What the participants say …
Hector John, St Theresa Tambunan, 20
Gallery Walk 4, Ecology Hero – There were prominent figures who were killed for defending mother nature. It’s an inspiration to me because they were doing something good for God’s creation. I think we ought to hold more programmes for sustainable environmental, for example, tree planting.
Valentini Hendricus, Sandakan, 18
Family night – Relationship with family is most important. There is a reason why God put us in our family. During WhatsApp Jesus, I called my parents and I told them I love them, then I asked for forgiveness for my past faults. They received it well but they were also surprised why I suddenly called them that night.
Cathly Vitus, Holy Trinity Inobong, 15
Year of Mercy Talk – The words ‘It is you who define yourself’ touched me most. I always fear what others think about me and whether in any way I have hurt them. Those words awakened me that I myself define what is good and what is best (with the help of God), not others.
Debit Leba, subMOT secretariat, HTC Tawau, 19
I feel called to serve the Church when I see other youths and seniors who have long been serving here. Some of them are already in their 40s and 50s and they are still present to guide us, that is so inspiring. I joined the session on Mother Mary because it’s a true miracle. When I was 15, through the rosary, my father’s operation on kidney stones was successful, even the cost of that operation was borne by someone whom we didn’t know until now.
Daniel Ambrose, Blessed Sacrament Labuan, 20
Gallery Walk 2, History of Sabah Churches – I like to read about how the Churches in Sabah started. I’m actually from Papar, and I’m really proud to see development of Holy Rosary Limbahau from a small church, it has become bigger now. Some of us also create a Facebook account of their own Church, so I also search them for more historical info and latest news.
Felicia Nicholas, St John Kuala Belait Brunei, 23
When we were given a choice to either go for confession or counselling during the Adoration time, I was thinking that I haven’t properly examined my conscience for confession, so I decided to go for counselling with a sister instead. We were having normal conversation; she shared about her life story, and it struck me how selfless she was. She gave, and it didn’t really matter to her if she would ever receive. I just graduated but life’s circumstances did not favour me, I couldn’t find a job and I failed my Master’s scholarship. At the same time, I was selected to be the youth leader in my parish. The priest personally talked to me, strange because I was never the one to be in the limelight. When the archbishop asked those who feel called to come up for him to bless, at that time I cried the hardest because I felt it was the start of a calling. The sister kept telling me not to care what others would say; only to focus on God and to keep on praying. She said if I overcome that, then I would know the answer.
Annie Kong Yong Hung, Christ the King Church, Sibu, 31
“Be not afraid for I am with you always.” That’s what I felt throughout the five days of SYD-4. God knows what we need and He is providing everything for us, even when we aren’t asking for it. The spirit of teamwork, serving among each parish in different dioceses, has moved me. Indeed, we are called God’s children and that’s the greatest gift He gives us. Go forth, Sabah Youth Day!
Henry John, St Michael Penampang, 36
I learnt something from the journey of the cross and thematic night where they used real life issues in their skit shows. I would like to bring that back to our parish. Education like this must be channelled also to the youngest, for example, those who are in primary six and form one and two because formation should start at the earliest stage.
Juliana Tin, Vicariate of Brunei, 24
What struck me is the kindness of others. Almost every night/morning we have water problems, but I was so touched there were participants who shared their water with me even though they too needed it. This really made us close and we got to know each other more while waiting for the bucket to fill up. Before SYD-4, I always pray “Speak Lord, I’m listening” but now I realise it’s a wrong prayer. It should be “Teach me to listen to you, Lord!” God has been speaking to me through the people and issues around me but I never realised that until I’ve gone through the Gallery Walk and Thematic Night.
Ronald James, SubMOT Welcoming Night, St Anthony Tenom, 25
The challenge is to how to create a warm welcome for the participants. Not many of them could come for practice but come practice time they were all very focused. We featured dances of all tribes existing in Tawau and I think the youth had given an excellent performance that night, there was two-way communication between them and the audience.