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KOTA KINABALU – Twenty-eight Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) recently celebrated the Jubilee Year of Mercy with a pilgrimage to the designated Holy Doors in the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese and Sandakan Diocese on 6–10 July 2016. At the same time, they also planned a programme of outreach to the peripheries.
The pilgrimage began from Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu, with Fr Joshua Liew leading the Entrance Rite to the Door of Mercy after Mass. They entered the next Holy Door at St Peter’s Church Kudat, where they were met and welcomed by Fr Jalius Sading. The local Catholic Women’s League (CWL) took care of their needs during their overnight stay.
Arriving the next day at Ranau for the Holy Door visit at St Peter Claver Church, Fr Nicholas Stephen and the parish committee welcomed them, and were led in prayer by Sr Caroline Duli to the entrance of the Holy Door. Here they were given a catechesis on the icons of the Holy Door, and had the opportunity to renew their baptismal vows at the newly constructed outdoor baptismal pool. The visit concluded with Mass.
The following day, they continued their journey to St Martin Telupid, and were welcomed by the CWL. From there they proceeded to St Joseph Nangoh for the outreach programme, and were met with a warm welcome by the community with beating of gongs. Dividing themselves into ten groups, they managed to visit ten families. It was truly a time of grace for them as they listened to their stories, struggles in life, sickness and their journey of faith. The pilgrims experienced the Merciful Father through their simplicity, openness and gratitude.
Leaving Nangoh the next morning, they made for their final destination, the Holy Door at St Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan. After being welcomed, they proceeded with the Rite to enter the Holy Door, led by Sr Appollonia Gumpu. They next visited the pilgrimage site at Marian Hill, where they made the Stations of the Cross and prayed the Rosary. They were given a briefing on the development of faith in the diocese, and the history of the Church in Sandakan, and concluded the pilgrimage with Sunset Mass, presided by Fr Stanley William and the next day Sunday Mass, presided by Bishop Julius Gitom.
The pilgrimage has given them new insight, as they listened to the history of each Church throughout the entire journey. Praying, fellowship, and sharing their faith with people along the pilgrimage, have inspired them to continue to reach out, especially to those who are in the peripheries. They are filled with gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Consecrated Life and for the Year of Mercy, as it is also the celebration of the FSIC’s 80th Founding Anniversary. – Sr Regina Kimung fsic