SANDAKAN – A thousand Catholic faithful witnessed diocesan seminarian Stephen Esguerra being ordained a transitional deacon at St Mary’s Cathedral Oct 28.
His ordination theme was “Do not let your hearts be troubled, but put your trust in God” (Jn 14:1).
He is the fifth candidate to be raised to the Order of Deacons since the inception of the Sandakan Diocese in 2007.
Bishop Julius Gitom officiated the Rite of Ordination on being presented the candidate by Fr David Garaman, parish priest of St Mary’s Cathedral.
The concelebrants included priests from the diocese and Fr Francis Dakun from St Peter’s College Kuching.
Bishop Julius addressed the candidate “Do the will of God generously. Serve God and mankind in love and joy as well. Be firmly rooted in faith, not merely listening to God’s word but also preach it, and express in action what is proclaimed.”
During the Presentation of the Book of the Gospels, the prelate placed the Book of the Gospels in the hands of the newly ordained and said “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practise what you teach.”
In his speech after the Mass, Fr David underlined “We have been blessed by God for the gift in witnessing and celebrating two ordination ceremonies, the recent priestly ordination of Fr Dafrinn Diwol, and today the diaconate ordination of seminarian Stephen Esguerra.”
The newly ordained deacon thanked God for His blessing, love and compassion without which he could not imagine becoming a deacon.
He believed that with God’s help he has gained the experience that has shaped him to become what he is today.
He thanked Bishop Julius and the clergy, as well as his formators for their guidance and support.
Bishop Julius, in his turn, concurred that the day was a blessing from the Lord, a gift granted to the community.
He took the opportunity to encourage the youth to continue to serve God and to respond to the call to priesthood or religious life.
To the newly ordained, he pledged his continuous support and prayer for his priestly ordination in the near future.
Following the Mass, all adjourned to lunch at the parish hall. – SOCCOM Sandakan