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SANDAKAN – Sandakan cathedral parish celebrated its feast day with missionary fervour.
The weekend of 13-14 Aug 2016 saw the entire parish of St Mary’s Cathedral here coming together as one to celebrate its 133rd anniversary on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with much fervour.
This year, in addition to the traditional celebration, the cathedral parish embarked on a ‘holy ambition’ to move the parish to rally to a common cause.
In response to a pastoral letter issued to all parishes in the diocese by Bishop Julius Gitom sometime in November last year to support the Paitan Mission financially, the cathedral parish, under the leadership of Bishop Julius himself, decided to hold a fundraising bazaar in conjunction with the parish’s 133rd anniversary.
The task fell on John Pang, who took his team through a painstaking six-month long planning and laying of groundwork to realise the event as part of the celebration on the parish feast day.
The event was preceded by a nine-day novena which saw an encouraging turnout of parishioners.
The celebration began with an opening Mass on Saturday Aug 13 at the Chapel of St Mary’s Convent, which also marked the beginning of the Rosary Rally, a spiritual preparation for the event.
The Rosary Rally, a 12-hour recitation of the Holy Rosary by the various groups, communities and ministries in the parish, has been organised for four consecutive years. For this year, the non-stop recitation was conducted outdoors at the Rosary Corridor on the Marian Mount. Those who could not make it for the outdoors recited the rosary at the rosary tower or at the chapel of St Mary’s Convent.
The rally concluded with a recital of the Rosary at the compound of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, with the blessing of the statue of Mother Mary by the bishop. After the blessing, the Solemnity of the Assumption commenced with the crowning of Mother Mary, followed by a procession to the cathedral. The Mass was celebrated outdoors at 6:00 pm.
In his homily, the bishop expressed his delight at the presence of the faithful. He remarked that their faithful participation of the nine-day novena has brought unity, solidarity and communion in the parish community. He encouraged them to continue to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parish’s Patroness, for the spiritual and physical development of the entire parish.
The bazaar was held on Sunday Aug 14. Seventy stalls ranging from games to food were put up by the various church groups, communities and ministries. The bishop was seen mingling with the faithful and visiting the stalls, accompanied by PPC Chairman Pilis Malim, John Pang and other members of the organising team.
The bazaar was an opportunity for the entire parish to work closely together. The event provided a favourable platform to strengthen the bond among the faithful.
The organising team was pleased to report that the bazaar was able to nett RM242,094, above its target of RM200,000. – Adapted from DOSPO