Fr Nicholas (middle), Fr Ned (right) and a representative of the group from Singapore venerating the Our Lady of Fatima statue in the event

By Clarence Dol

Sep 6 2022

RANAU – Hundreds of Christians marched for three kilometers from Kg Tambiau to the Kg Toboh Baru to mark the Fourth Anniversary of the Mount Rosary pilgrimage site here Aug 31.

Pilgrims gathered from across the state as well as the neighbouring country of Singapore, and marched together in an uninterrupted procession, led by the crucifix, the Divine Mercy image and Our Lady of Fatima statue, while praying the rosary.

Ranau parish priest, Fr Nicholas Stephen said, previously, the Mount Rosary was built only for Ranau as a spiritual station, but since it was built, miracles after miracles happen in the site dubbed by some as the ‘Lourdes of the Far East’.

“We are grateful to God that we can be present for this anniversary after more than two years of not being able to celebrate this due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Have you ever asked yourself why you are still alive until now?

“We are going through temptation after temptation, not only due to COVID, but also due to uncertainties in the economic realm. A hundred years ago, during Our Lady’s apparition in Fatima, Portugal, to three children namely, Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia, Mother Mary said in the end, her immaculate heart will triumph.

“This is why Mary’s role in our lives is very important because she is the mother who brings us to Jesus. This is especially true for the past two years where we could see the devil’s effort in destroying families and marriages. This is the temptation of our times,” he said.

Towards that end, Fr Nicholas, who was joined by Fr Ned Columba, Fr Maximiliano Hontor and Fr Peter Chung, reiterated that the message of Our Lady of Fatima is  important for Christians to contemplate.

“For us to be here right now in the rain, we should ask ourselves why we are here, when it is more comfortable being at home.

“This is a calling, for many who come for the pilgrimage looking for miracles; yet the very reason one could reach here is a miracle in itself. Those who reach here today are the miracles,” he underlined.

Participants in the procession from Tambiau to Mount Rosary

Fr Nicholas, who is soon to take the position as Vicar General of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese said, the pilgrims who came to Mount Rosary are those called by God.

He underscored “Many who have many possessions are not able to be here if there is no calling from God, even if they are from Ranau. Miracle is every day; when you arrive at one place and you see God is at work – that is miracle.”

“Jesus’ first miracle happens through the intercession of Mother Mary. This year I am very grateful to God and pray that my brothers and sisters wherever you are will experience the grace of God through Mother Mary, the Mother of God, who takes us and shows us to Jesus,” he added.

“Mother Mary brings people to Jesus. During the wedding in Cana when Jesus was invited with His disciples, Mary realised they ran out of wine.

“A mother knows what is lacking in the household, especially when her children are not well, or if they run out of food. She also brings her scattered children back together.

“Thus, a mother’s heart is very tender and compassionate. That is why, when the wine ran out, Mother Mary realised there was no joy and happiness there, and told her son Jesus only with the words ‘they ran out of wine’.

“Jesus answered, ‘My time has not yet come.’ But Mary called the servants then and there and said, ‘Do what He tells you,’. Jesus told the servants to fill six jars with water and turned the water in the jars into the best wine, which lasted the marriage feast,” he said.

Fr Nicholas also urged those who came to the event to always pray for one another and to bless the people around them instead of wishing ill of others.

“We must learn how to bless people, and not to blast and to bluff. We must realise that we tend to send many souls to hell instead of to heaven when we get angry and say bad words to others.

“This is how we show that, not only we believe in God, but also we acknowledge Him in our lives as well,” he said.

Fr Nicholas thanked all the pilgrims present, and hoped that such celebration will continue to be organised in years to come.