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PAPAR – Kota Kinabalu prelate blessed the newly-built Pamaladan chapel in Bongawan on 5 Jan 2018.
Bongawan is a small town located between Beaufort and Kimanis, and 70 KM away from Kota Kinabalu. The main attraction here lies in the pre-war and post-war British-colony wooden shophouses built in 1922 and 1950 respectively.
In his first visit to the outstation there, Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing before presiding at the Mass, concelebrated with Father Thomas Yip and Father Rayner Bisius.
Among those present were seminarians Gilbert Marcus and Freddy (former catechist of Ulu Lumagar), Franciscan Sisters and novices, and representatives from Papar, Limbahau, Bongawan and Kimanis.
In his welcoming speech, Adrian Willy, community chairman, thanked Fr Yip for his efforts in encouraging the community to build the chapel.
On his part, Abp Wong expressed his hope that the community will continue to build itself up into a living community.
The blessing of the grotto took place after the Mass outside the chapel followed by a simple fellowship meal for all.
The construction of the first chapel was mooted by Adrian Willy Lobinting of St Michael Mandahan in 1994. With the approval of Martin Guti, community chairman, and the advice of Fr Thomas Makajil, the chapel was completed and blessed by Fr Makajil in June 1995.
On 19 June 2016, it was proposed to build a more sustainable building as the community has grown by leaps and bounds.
The construction of the new 25 ft by 45 ft chapel began on 14 Aug 2017 and completed on 25 Nov 2017 at the cost of RM60,000.00 sponsored by a generous donor from Kota Kinabalu.
The old chapel was closed and the first Mass in the new chapel was celebrated by Fr Bisius on 26 Nov 2017.
The chapel is about 40-minute drive from Papar town. It has a thriving community and has been a venue for many activities such as RCIA classes, Marriage blessings, recollection for youth from Bongawan Zone (Sept 2001), and the youth outreach programme Belia Masuk Kampung (BMK) in Nov 2001 led by Father Bruno Yasun. – William Charles Mindus, SOCCOM Papar/other sources