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SANDAKAN – Fifty-one newly baptised members of St Mary Cathedral here were told to be bearers of good news at a welcoming dinner at the parish hall on 4 June 2017.
In welcoming them, Bishop Julius Gitom said, “Your baptism does not end here; rather your commissioning to go forth as part of this faith community, to bring the good news of peace and love to others, is just the beginning of your faith journey!”
This year the cathedral parish received 23 adults and seven children from the Bahasa-speaking community, 14 from the Chinese and five adults and two children from the English speaking community. They have all undergone the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) programme for about a year.
The event began with the newly baptised entering the hall, holding lighted candles, to the accompaniment of a sung hymn ‘Walk in the Light’ by the parishioners who had turned up to support them.
Lionel Randasan, catechetical committee head, thanked everybody for coming in support of the new members, and the organising committee for their tireless efforts in organising the event.
In his speech, he said, “Practise what you believe, and journey together in faith with the brothers and sisters in the church.”
In his turn, Bishop Gitom expressed his gratitude to the Catechetical Committees, the RCIA facilitators and Sunday School teachers for their dedicated service in the ministry.
He reminded them that it is “the Holy Spirit who is at work in touching the hearts of the neophytes to commit themselves to the Lord” so that no one would take the credit for God’s work.
Quoting St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, ‘Nobody can say Jesus is Lord….unless the Lord touches his heart’ (cf 1 Cor 12:3), the bishop acknowledged that there is nothing anyone could do unless the Lord touches their hearts.
“I thank the neophytes for responding to the Lord’s invitation,” he said, affirming the newly baptised.
He concluded by encouraging the new members to join the many ministries and communities in the church and to channel their God-given talents in serving the church.
During the dinner, some of the newly baptised shared their personal testimonies. – Dalius LL