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SANDAKAN – Parishioners of St Mary’s Cathedral prepared for the celebration of the parish 134th anniversary with a nine-day novena, culminating in the Eucharistic Celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 15 Aug 2018.
Prior to Mass, the 500-crowd gathered in front of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre to pray the Rosary, which concluded with the blessing of Mary’s statue by Bishop Julius Gitom before processing to the Cathedral.
At Mass, Bishop Gitom highlighted three words, “struggle”, “resurrection” and “hope” which were the essence of the day’s liturgical readings.
Referring to Mary, the Mother of Jesus in the first reading, Bishop Julius underlined that she always accompanies us in our struggles, and sustains us in our fight against evil. In praying the Rosary, we invite Mary to pray with us and to journey together with us, remembering that in our struggling together as a community, we become stronger because we, the people of God, have come together as a community of faith.
Referring to the second reading, the prelate reiterated the Church’s truth that “Christ has truly resurrected from the dead”. Mary shared the pain of Jesus’ cross and was given the gift of resurrection.
He concluded, the feast of Assumption expresses a fervent hope that our faith in the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven makes our faith in our own resurrection firmer. Though in heaven, she continues to be with us in the struggles of everyday life and strengthens our hope to live out the parish’s vision of a “Christ-centered community serving one another with love”. – Wendy Yong