All shall bear witness to Christ

The Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Sandakan was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on March 14.

Mar 27, 2024

The clergy renewing their vows before Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom.

The Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Sandakan was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on March 14. This sacred occasion served as a reminder to the priests of their divine calling as ordained ministers, entrusted by the Lord to carry out His work on earth.

During the Mass, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom led the congregation in prayers for the late Fr Marcellinus Ponking, who passed away in December 2023, and for Fr Thomas Makajil, currently undergoing treatment in Kota Kinabalu, and urged the congregation to continue praying for them.

Clergy from across the diocese, including Tawau, Beluran, Telupid, Lahad Datu, Paitan, and Sandakan, gathered in unity to concelebrate the Chrism Mass, after their regular clergy recollection. This coming together of clergy and faithful symbolised the solidarity and strength of the Church community.

In a solemn moment, the priests renewed their vows of ordination before Bishop Julius and the assembly, reaffirming their commitment to serving God and His people. The congregation bore witness to the consecration of the holy oils essential for the sacramental life of the Church.

In his homily, Bishop Julius explained the significance of the Chrism Mass and related the importance of each consecration of the three oils needed for the administration of the sacraments. He highlighted that the priesthood of Christ was not only attributed to the ordained only but also to all baptised people. “We shall all bear witness to Christ by baptism,” he said. He also reminded the faithful of their role as the gate that opens up to the pathway of God to others, that is driven by the love of Christ and continues to serve with zeal.

Bishop Julius also gave an account of the remarkable and intelligent Bishop David O’Connell, a bishop who was shot to death in Los Angeles. Bishop O’Connell had reminded priests, in one of his messages, of their responsibilities and that their words matter. When they speak, preach, teach and counsel, the faithful listen to God’s words. Speak the truth which is Jesus Christ and live the Word. As the Chrism Mass concluded, Bishop Julius urged the congregation to continue praying for him and his fellow priests, acknowledging the spiritual challenges they face in shepherding God’s flock.

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