A peek at the nearly completed Shrine of St Joseph on Mount Rosary at Kg Toboh Baru, Ranau

By Agnes Chai

Dec 22 2020 

RANAU – The decision to build a shrine in honour of St Joseph was a happy coincidence for the parish of St Peter Claver here.

Pope Francis has in recent days proclaimed “A Year of St Joseph”, beginning from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. The occasion was to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

Fr Nicholas Stephen, parish priest of St Peter Claver’s Ranau

Parish priest of St Peter Claver, Fr Nicholas Stephen, revealed that the parish has embarked on the twin construction of the Shrine of St Joseph and a chapel dedicated to the Holy Family on Mount Rosary at Kg Toboh Baru, in the latter part of 2019, and to time their inauguration during the following Christmas Season, now scheduled on Dec 29.

The Ranau rector confirmed that Archbishop John Wong will be officiating the event during the 9.30 am Eucharistic Celebration. At the same time, the Archbishop will also be conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation on 24 candidates.

Fr Nicholas said that to make available the Shrine of St Joseph to parishioners, as well as to other pilgrims, is indeed a good way to start the new year for the parish especially during these uncertain times of pandemic. He believed that this is the first St Joseph Shrine in Sabah to be inaugurated.

Pope Francis said the figure of St Joseph has been on his mind during the COVID-19 crisis, a crisis which has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day.

The Holy Father was referring to doctors and nurses, supermarket workers, caregivers, fathers, mothers, grandparents, teachers, as well as priests and public safety officials, who have understood that amid COVID-19 “no one is saved alone”.

In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

Let us be thankful for the Year of St Joseph and rediscover St Joseph once again as our intercessor, and source of support and guidance in our life, in particular amid the pandemic crisis.