KENINGAU : Some 600 Filipino parishioners together with other communities gathered to celebrate the yearly event of the Feast of the Infant Jesus, famously known as the Feast of Sto. Niño De Cebu in Cathedral St. Francis Xavier, Keningau on 21 January 2018. It marked the fourth year celebration in the diocese, themed, ‘LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME!’
The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Rev. Fr. John Emerson Tepait from the Diocese of Masbate, Philippines at 2.00 o’clock in the afternoon. The event began with a procession of the statue of the sacred of Senior Santo Nino (Holy Infant Jesus) from the entrance of Dewan Solidariti to the Sanctuary.
Fr. John Emerson Tepait – in his homily said, that yearly celebration Sto. Niño always reminds us of who we were and what we were before. No matter what we have become or what have we accomplished, we are always reminded of our humble beginnings. As a child, we want no more than attention, love, care, simple things and everything for us becomes fulfilling and complete.
In the Gospel – Jesus shows how we should deal with our children. “”LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME” is an invitation for us to be aware of our important role in their lives. Jesus raised up the dignity of children by rebuking the disciples as they hinder the children to come closer to him.
We need to let our children know always that we are proud of them, that we love them, that we value them more than anything. If we don’t do it, they will grow up without mental and spiritual orientation. He added that, children are created and born like angels. By a simple glance, all one’s worries, pains, burdens and problems can be taken right away. Such is the impact of a child.
Every child should feel love and acceptance in order that their self-esteem will grow mature and develop well. There is no need to go overboard but a simple kiss or a hug once a day will do you both a lot of good. It lessens the chances of your kids becoming aggressive, antisocial and having other behavioral problems. While adolescents might be embarrassed at the physical affection, there should always be words of support and empathy to take its place. Parents should therefore spend quality time with their children. Discipline them with love and affection.
Nemo dat quod non abet, a Latin saying which says, you cannot give what you do not have. You can only give that which you have. If we don’t give love, time, attention and proper care to our children, what can they have? What can they give or offer in return?
Cherilyn Rondidas, the Chairlady of the Filipino Pastoral Committee Cathedral St. Francis Xavier & the vice chairlady of Persatuan Kababayan Sabah (PKS), expressed her gratitude to the celebrant Rev. Fr. John Emerson Tepait and thanked Most Rev. Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong for his blessings to the community and Rev. Fr. Rudolf. She also expressed her gratitude to the organizing committee for their effort and commitment and to all generous sponsors for all their support in making the Feast day Celebration a grace-filled success. She also said that the FPC has set up FILIPINO PASTORAL RELIEF FUND (FPRF) to help our Filipino members in time of death of their loved ones, critical sickness and other calamities. Each family member may contribute Rm10-20 for FPRF.
Mdm. Cherilyn, a Malaysian Filipino born in Sabah added that, “It took me time to figure out on the very first year, as I do not know how to get it started and how to conduct myself in this feast. Well, I believe that, when faith is working within you, everything impossible becomes possible.” In her speech, she wished that the community will continue to grow in faith in Jesus. And if we really believe God and live according to that faith, then God will be pleased, and we are going to be blessed.
Mdm. Cherilyn also thanked the Filipino Pastoral Committee from St. Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan Diocese for coming to support the Feast day in Keningau. Their presence made the occasion more meaningful.
After the Holy Mass, the parishioners participated in the procession of the Infant Jesus, from the Church entrance to the Dataran Solidariti hall. A luncheon fellowship was held was served with traditional local and Filipino delicacies by members of the Filipino community with PKS members and other Filipinos in the district as well as visitors from all walks of life joining in the celebration, thus making it merrier. Members of the Filipino community from St. Mary’s Cathedral Sandakan, St. Theresa & Holy Cross Tambunan, Holy Spirit Church Sook, St. Valentine Beaufort, PKS were present at the event.