Sandakan : The Chinese community of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish celebrated the lunar New Year mass on the first day of the festive season Thursday, 3rd Feb 2011 at St Mary’s Cathedral presided by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, con celebrated by Fr Thomas Makajil and Fr David Aloysius Garaman.
Right after mass, there was a colorful and lively lion dance performance ushering in the year of rabbit at the entrance of the Cathedral. The lion dance symbolizes prosperity, good health and fortune in the upcoming year.
Bishop Julius flanked by Fr Thomas Makajil (left) and Fr David (right) presenting an ‘ang pow’ to the lion as a long standing tradition of the Chinese which symbolizes ‘good luck’ to the recipient.
Sunday, 13th February 2011 the Chinese Pastoral Committee (CPC) hosted a 44-table CNY dinner with some 500 people in attendance, at the Parish Centre.
Paul Chin, the Chairman of CPC welcomed all who came in support of the CNY event and among which he said, ‘The CNY gathering is an annual happening not just for the Chinese community but for all communities in the Parish. We hope to build a closer rapport with one another and to expose and share our culture for the promotion of solidarity.’
Fr Thomas Makajil, the rector expressed his appreciation to CPC for the initiative taken to organize the special occasion , celebrated in family spirit.
‘The coming together of people in such event to share our varied gifts in harmony is great witnessing in itself.’ he said.
He called on the people to lend support to all parish activities and to continue to journey as one community in the Cathedral Parish. He hoped that the CNY will usher in prosperity for the Church, the family and each one of us.
Bishop Julius expressed his gratitude to the CPC for making the celebration, an occasion for all communities ~ a sign of great solidarity among the people of God. He called on the people to look into the reality of the local Church, the acute shortage of priests to tender to the flocks.
The prelate said, ‘As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us look back the yesteryear, ponder the moment and look forward for a brighter tomorrow. Build our future with hope in brotherly love.Pray for more priestly vocation especially from the Chinese community’
The CNY celebration was jointly graced by Bishop Julius, Fr Thomas, Fr David, Sr Appollonia fsic, Paul Chin, John Baptis, the PPC Chairman and leaders of the various Chinese ministries by bursting the hundreds of balloons giving rise to the similar unending cracking sound of fire crackers.
In traditional Chinese celebration, offering toast during dinner is a significant expression of honor and goodwill.The first toast proposed to all present for their support in making the function a success. The second toast for Bishop Julius, clergy and all religious that God will continue to bless them as they shepherd His people. The final toast proposed to all, that the Year of Rabbit be a prosperous and peaceful year filled with God’s abundant blessing.
|The dinner reception
During the course of the dinner, the people were entertained to a host of songs and dances – both traditional and contemporaries by the various Church groups.
The Chinese community of St Mark’s Church presented a sketch on the ‘Reunion Dinner’
Presentation of prizes to winners of lucky draw, guess the right price for items displayed and guess the right number of sweets in the container.