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KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral here has the distinction to host the first solemn profession of two members of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) on 9 Sept 2017.
Some 400 people including visitors from Singapore and West Malaysia turned up to witness the solemn profession of religious vows by Friar Aiden Peter Jr and Friar Cruzender Alex.
Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau presided at the Eucharistic Celebration but Friar Philip Miscamble, Provincial Minister of Australia-New Zealand-Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, officiated the rite of solemn profession.
Joining them at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan, Friar John Wong Wai Long, Custos of Malaysia-Singapre-Brunei, Father Joshua Liew, Father Thomas Madanan, Fr Leslie Bingkasan sj and some of the friars.
The rite of profession started after the gospel proclamation. Friar Wong called the names of the two candidates who declared their intentions to the provincial.
In his homily, the provincial linked the Franciscan Charism to the scriptural readings, encouraging the candidates to stay strong and faithful to their calling.
After the homily, the provincial examined the candidates on their readiness to consecrate themselves to God and to seek perfect charity according to the rule and constitutions of the Franciscan religious family.
At the end of the examination, the provincial confirmed the intentions of the candidates.
All knelt while the candidates prostrated themselves at the chanting of the Litany of the Saints.
After the litany, two professed members of the community went to the chair of the provincial and standing, acted as witnesses to the candidates who, one after the other, knelt before the provincial and read aloud the formula of profession prepared by themselves beforehand.
At the completion of the formula of profession, the provincial accepted the vows of the two. When they have made their professions, the newly professed went to the altar to sign the document of profession, which was also signed by the provincial and the two witnesses.
The neo-professed knelt once more for the solemn prayer of blessing by the provincial.
The rite of profession concluded with the exchange of peace between the neo-professed and the Franciscan Friars. The neo-professed now sat with the Friars at the left side of the sanctuary.
The Mass continued with the Prayer of the Faithful.
After the Mass and speeches by the neo-professed, Friar Wong and Abp Wong, all were invited to the parish centre for lunch and stage performances by various groups.
Born on 22 Sept 1984 in Tawau, Friar Aiden is third in a brood of three boys and two girls born to Peter Julian and the late Betty Okala. He entered the congregation in Singapore in 2010 and made his first profession on 7 Jam 2012 there. He will have a few months of ministry in Ranau after his solemn profession.
Friar Cruzender was born on 25 Oct 1978 in Kota Kinabalu, the second child in a brood of two boys and one girl born to Alex Muating and Nora Sinor. Like Aiden, he entered the congregation in Singapore in 2009 and took his first vows in 2012 together with him. He will have his pastoral ministry in Tuaran.
Currently, there are 10 Sabahans in the various stages of formation and one priest (Friar Francisco Basnayake – ordained last year at Stella Maris Tg Aru – now in Japan) among the OFM Malaysia-Singapre-Brunei.