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800 turn up for the opening of the Paitan Mission Pastoral Centre

Bishop Gitom (R), assisted by Fr Makajil, cuts the ribbon to open the pastoral centre, 18 Dec 2016.

SANDAKAN – Around 800 faithful turned up for the opening of the Paitan Mission Pastoral Centre on 18 Dec 2016.

The 1200 sq ft concrete single storey building, costing RM100,000, provides the mission with an office, a meeting room, two guest rooms and a pantry.

Since a resident priest was installed in February 2015, the administrative and coordination centre of the Mission, which cares for 14 chapels, is run in a little cramped wooden priest’s house. The new centre is connected to the priest’s residence by a parking space which has also become a multi-functional compound.

Bishop Julius Gitom presided over the Mass, concelebrated with Father Thomas Makajil.  Deacon Christopher Ireneus assisted at the altar.

During the Mass 58 boys and girls received their First Holy Communion.

The rite of blessing and opening of the pastoral centre took place after the Mass.  Then all adjourned to the open hall of St Francis of Assisi Chapel for the reception.

The organisers took the opportunity to commemorate the 38th priestly ordination of Fr Makajil.

Organising chairman Welly Pius expressed the people’s hope that the bishop would extend their pastor’s contract in Paitan Mission.  But the bishop replied that it would depend much on the pastor himself and the people themselves.  The mission was opened in 1982 and had been extended three times.

The event concluded with performances from various groups, the highlight of which was the giving of 400 gifts and goodies to the children.  The gifts were donated by the parishioners of St Mary’s Cathedral for a second consecutive year. – Dalius LL

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