Archbishop John Wong led the Rite of Confirmation for the candidates at Sacred Heart Cathedral during his pastoral visit on Nov 21

By Catherine Wan

Nov 24 2020

KOTA KINABALU – With the relaxation of CMCO recently, at the advice of the Head of the Archdiocese, clergy and parishes were encouraged to open for public Mass and prepare their candidates to be conferred the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

The timely permission from the authorities to allow for the reopening of non-muslim places of worship coincided with the Sacred Heart Cathedral parish plan for the Confirmation to be held on the Solemnity of Christ the King during the pastoral visit of Archbishop John Wong. Due to the pandemic breakout since March, the event became uncertain.

With God‘s providence, the Confirmation 2020 was administered smoothly on Nov 21 for English speaking candidates and Nov 22 for Chinese speaking and BM speaking candidates. The occasion was a triple joy for the parish as that day was also the 39th dedication anniversary of the Cathedral.

During the homily, the prelate challenged the confirmands, mostly aged 16, with the question: Is Jesus your King? He explained that if Jesus was proclaimed as King in our life, we would be led to a new dimension of life, a life committed towards charity, that is, towards the poor and less fortunate. He further expounded on the significance of receiving Confirmation, which is receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit, who would guide them onwards to be soldiers of Christ.

As a soldier of Christ, one has to identify the enemies throughout our life’s journey in order to defend one‘s faith. The prelate pointed out three main enemies, namely oneself (the flesh), the world and Satan.

“We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit to do God ‘s will rather than listening to the whispering of Satan to do its will,” said the Archbishop.   He encouraged them to allow Jesus to shepherd their life as they strive to be His witnesses of His love.

This year the total number of confirmands at 232 comprised 110 English speaking confirmands, 32 Chinese speaking confirmands and 90 BM speaking confirmands. Due to SOP requirement, the attendance at Mass was limited to the candidates, godparents, parents, a few choir members and communion ministers, not exceeding 330 people. The respective Masses were also streamlined to enable parishioners to participate from home.

Earlier in the week all candidates were required to make Confession as preparation.

At the end of the Mass, parish priest Fr Paul Lo urged the confirmands to be more self-giving to others as they enter adulthood in their Christian life. Meanwhile, the prelate also exhorted the youth to volunteer themselves to various church ministries or to join church communities to enable the continual growth of their faith.

Before dispersing, photo-taking under strict SOP was arranged for the candidates, while observing the protocol of doing away with fellowship for safety reason.