Sacrament of Initiation and Confirmation at Stella Maris parish. Top: Newly baptised with their Godparent. Below: Newly confirmed with their Godparents

By SMP SOCCOM

Nov 28 2020

TANJUNG ARU – Twenty-two Elects of Stella Maris Church reached the Scrutinies stage, only to have their dream of receiving the Sacraments of Initiation dashed by the CMCO. So near yet so far!

The Rites of the Scrutinies of the Elect were to be celebrated for three consecutive Sundays beginning Sep 19, but their joyous anticipation had to be postponed with the implementation of the government Conditional Movement Controlled Order (CMCO).

Though the pandemic had pushed back the Reception of the Sacraments of Initiation since April, which is traditionally celebrated by the Church at Easter Vigil, the Elects, as well as 18 Confirmands did not give up their hope.

As soon as the CMCO was lifted, assistant parish priest Fr Peter Abas immediately sent to the Elects an advisory for them to prepare for the reception. Announcement regarding the celebration was posted in the parish’s Facebook page, with a request to parishioners to also pray for them.

In strict compliance with the SOP protocol to prevent the spread of the pandemic, Fr Peter baptised and confirmed the 22 Elects, two at each session in the presence of their godparents, Fr Peter and his assistants.

Stretching from Nov 13, with two sessions each day, it took the parish six days to welcome its newest members to the fold. The following week on Nov 24 and 25, eighteen candidates also received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Despite the long delay, the neophytes were filled with joy to be finally “one family” with the Catholic Church, and just in the nick of time for Advent.