The Filipino Pastoral Community (FPC) of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish held its Silver Jubilee Celebration, themed Jesus Christ Risen Saviour on Saturday May 31 at St Joseph’s Church.
The anniversary celebration commenced with the Flores De Mayo (Procession and Crowning of Mother Mary) at St Joseph’s Church, a mere five kilometers from town. Filipino parishioners gathered at the Church at 4.30pm to recite the Rosary and thereafter proceeded into the Church in a colourful procession led by children. Parishioners brought along flowers as offerings. The event, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, marked the close of the Rosary month.
The Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration, also the Feast of Ascension in Tagalog was celebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish. More than 300 Filipino parishioners participated in the celebration including some 30 FPC members from Tawau.
In his homily, Fr Thomas said that the celebration was not just the Silver Jubilee of the Filipino Pastoral Community but the Feast of Ascension, the close of the Rosary Month and Pesta Kaamatan. He invited the Filipino community to continue to journey in faith with joy and to step forth to participate in the life of the Church, remaining always as authentic witnesses. We are to remain united with Christ through the Eucharist, a memorial instituted and given us by Him. Staying close and experiencing Him will give us eternal life.
By praying the rosary, we are uniting ourselves with Mother Mary. We draw closer to Christ through her intercession. He commended the community for it’s role in uniting the people, a testimony of church /community life.
The dinner reception was held at the Parish Hall after Mass at around 7.30pm. In his message to the community, Fr Thomas said, “By your active collaboration you have given the parish a ‘Catholic’ identity. Your active participation has become the catalyst of renewal and transformation in the parish especially in the early days of the missionary era of the Catholic Church in Sandakan.”
Siony Fiel, the Chairperson of FPC, shared that, “Twenty-five years is really a long, rough and winding journey. God has been good and has been showering His blessings upon the community. Our FPC has moved forward, taking one step at a time in our commitment in the many church ministries and activities, be it spiritual, social or material.”
She hoped that the spiritual values strongly grounded in the community will pave the way for the next generation to respond in serving the Church. To-date, there are some 500 families registered with FPC.
During the dinner, members of the community presented some interesting performances to the delight of the audience: folk dances, contemporary dances, sketches, live rendition of songs, slide presentation on the past 25 years of FPC, and a cappella by the FPC of Tawau. There was a presentation of ‘recognition and appreciation’ awards to senior citizens and members who have contributed to FPC. The highlight of the night’s event was the catwalk by the seven muse participants and the crowning of ‘FPC Muse’ of the year