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TAMBUNAN – Over 3000 thronged the much awaited 4-in-1 annual celebration of the diocese on 6 May 2017, which was hosted this year by Holy Cross Church (HCT) Toboh.
Keningau Diocese celebrated its 24th anniversary, which in effect, launches the diocese towards the anticipated Silver Jubilee next year with a year-long programme, as well as the 24th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary of Bishop Cornelius Piong, and the Diocesan Kaamatan Festival.
The Eucharist was presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong and concelebrated with the diocesan clergy.
In his homily, Bishop Piong reminded the faithful of the diocesan vision ‘of a committed and effective community serving God’s Kingdom,’ which continues to be “our focus and path of faith.”
The prelate reiterated that this vision has to start from “the hearth of our homes where knowing Jesus is given priority daily.”
He warned of the many temptations and distractions that would cause them to deny and to leave Christ, and that the only way to stay focus, faithful and willing to sacrifice for God, is to have a close relationship with Him for He is ” the source of our strength and wisdom to choose the right path.”
Father Bede Anthonius, parish priest of HCT, said the celebration was a special event in the history of the Toboh parish. “We are grateful to God because we are able to celebrate the 24th episcopal ordination anniversary of our bishop and at the same time the 24th year of the existence of the diocese,” he said.
He reiterated the bishop’s call to the people to take seriously the diocesan vision and mission, and suggested that the acronym UTK should not only stand for Ulang Tahun Keuskupan (Diocesan Anniversary) but also ‘Umat Tetap Komited’ (Committed Parishioners), which means that parishioners should be committed in their responsibilities in the Church.
Helen Gurini, HCT PPC chairlady, highlighted Bishop Piong’s ordination motto ‘Joyfulness is Togetherness’ as a reminder to the people, and invited them to pray for God’s grace to strengthen the bond of unity among the parishioners regardless of culture.
Bishop Piong thanked the organising team for planning and preparing for the 4-in-1 celebration since June 2016. He announced that the next host will be St Francis Xavier Cathedral Keningau (KSFX). Stella Kinsik, KSFX-PPC chairlady received the UTK banner from him.
After Mass, the crowd adjourned for lunch, entertained by the various performances of the different outstations. Bishop Piong, accompanied by the priests and committee members, visited the Kaamatan booths and galleries prepared by the parish. – Aldrin Benedict