Uskup Agung John Wong is giving the Chrism oil during the Confirmation at Holy Family Church in Telipok

By Julia Ringgingon (SOCCOM HFC)

Jan 14 2022

TELIPOK- Seventy-two candidates completed their preparation and received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Holy Family Church here.

Their Confirmation has been delayed since 2020 and put on hold due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The rites were rescheduled by parish priest Fr David Sham to enable the parish to reorganize under these extraordinary circumstances.

In view of the seriousness of the matter, and taking into consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Fr Sham decided that the parish would confer the Sacrament of Confirmation for these candidates on the Holy Family Feast Day on Dec 26, 2021.

The candidates attended a spiritual recollection on Dec 19 as part of the preparation, followed by a rehearsal.

The rector underlined that the Church teaches that just as Baptism gives new life, the Eucharist nourishes life and Reconciliation restores life when it is broken, Confirmation strengthens that life by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (cf. CCC 1302-1303).

The Mass was presided by Archbishop John Wong, who reminded the candidates that receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation does not mark the end of formal religious education.

Rather, he said, it should be viewed as the beginning as no one can outgrow a need for a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the faith.

Therefore, the Archbishop underscored that Confirmation should not be perceived as the rite of passage or graduation. Instead it should be understood as, what God is doing without ceasing for his beloved children – a distinctive working of God in a person’s life.

He added, the significance of the Sacrament is to enable us to better defend and witness to the faith. There will be many situations where we are called upon to defend and witness and we need all the help we can get. Help from God to be “more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (cf. CCC1285).

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit associated with Confirmation is strength. We often called these strengths as virtues. These virtues (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) are divine help for us to lead a fruitful Christian life. Without them, it is impossible to fulfil our baptismal calling.

The happy occasion has given a deeper meaning of the Sacrament to the newly confirmed and to the community of believers in Holy Family Church.

Social distancing was fully observed while the number of faithful allowed during the rites was kept within the permitted number following the SOP protocol.

It is truly wonderful to see how the Lord Jesus is guiding His people especially through these hard times.