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COVID-19 pushes back ordination of Deacon Stephen Esguerra

SANDAKAN – Due to ongoing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Julius Gitom of Sandakan Diocese has decided to reschedule the ordination of Deacon Stephen Esguerra to the priesthood to a later date.

The decision to postpone the ordination event is a precautionary measure to counter against the spread of the coronavirus. The ordination was originally scheduled for May 25 at Holy Trinity Tawau. 

Esguerra said, “The diocese made the decision to adhere to the rules under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) issued by the government.”

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has on May 1 announced that the CMCO, effective May 4-Jun 9, among others, does not allow any religious activities to take place.  

“I accept the decision to postpone the ordination after discussing it with my Bishop as we see the constrain in our current situation. All I ask is the faithful to continue to pray for me in this calling,” said Esguerra.

Deacon Esguerra, 38, hails from Kg Ulu Madai Kunak and has journeyed on a nine-year formation on the road to priesthood.

In 2011-2012 he entered aspirancy and Initiation Year in Kota Kinabalu, and proceeded to Major Seminary in Kuching for Philosophy and Theology for seven years in 2013-2019. Bishop Julius ordained him to the office of deacon on 28 November 2019.

During the lengthy formation, he became acquainted with works of service through pastoral immersions which took place in varied forms and parishes: Youth Ministry, Kg Sudat, Kuching, Sarawak (2015), St Martin Church, Telupid (2016), St Dominic Church, Lahad Datu (2017), Our Lady of Fatima Church, Beluran (2018), Paitan Mission (St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, Sukang, Paitan) (2019) and St Mary’s Cathedral, Sandakan (2019). Linda Edward

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