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KOTA KINABALU – The archdiocese received over a thousand new members this Easter either at the Easter Vigil, 15 April 2017 or on Easter morning, Apr 16.
With few exceptions, the elect in the different parishes received the preparatory rites on Holy Saturday morning Apr 15. Some received the sacraments at the Easter Vigil while others received theirs on Easter Day.
The children were given anointing after baptism while the adults received Confirmation and Holy Communion.
Among the neophytes were some who were accepted into full communion with the Catholic Church.
During the Easter Vigil at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, Archbishop John Wong congratulated not only the neophytes but also the 41 members of the Neo-Catechumenate community who have completed the way. Indeed, the Mass was concelebrated by three priests of the community – Father Giuseppe (Pippo) Lauria, Father Saimon William and Father Ernesto Lagan (also the minister for the baptisms).
In his homily at the Easter Vigil, Abp Wong exhorted the congregation to reflect on their own “Galiliee” – the place where they first encountered the Lord and were changed by him.
The Vigil comprised four parts (1) Service of the Light – the people gathered at the parish centre foyer for the blessing of new fire, the lighting of the new paschal candle and the procession with lighted candles (from the paschal candle) into the darkened cathedral. When all had entered the church, the Exsultet was partly sung and partly recited by Abp Wong.
(2) Liturgy of the Word. Three Old Testament readings were proclaimed before the Gloria was sung followed by a New Testament reading and the Gospel according to Matthew.
(3) Baptismal Liturgy which began after the homily. Baptism was administered either by immersion or infusion. While waiting for the neophytes to return from changing into their baptismal garments, the faithful renewed the promise of baptismal faith together with those who entered into full communion with the church. The children were anointed with chrism while the adults were conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation.
(4) Liturgy of the Eucharist. The bread and wine together with other gifts were brought forward by the newly baptised. At Communion time, the newly baptised received Holy Communion under both kinds.