KOTA KINABALU: As in the tradition of St Simon Catholic Church Likas parish, another Mass for Children and Young People was celebrated on Aug 21.
Parish rector Fr Cosmas Lee got candid with the children and young people as he talked about the recent Sabah Youth Day. Besides the event, some of them also for the first time discovered the existence of the different dioceses in the State.
More importantly, they learned that “there is no celebration without the people”.
“Last June 6, I went to join all the young people gathered together for the (4th) Sabah Youth Day,” Fr Cosmas said, adding that the Mass was supposed to begin at 5pm. “Over 2,000 young people were gathered in the school about 300m from the (Holy Trinity) Church.”
He described how an hour before the Mass, everyone went to the main door to watch the youths from the three dioceses of Sabah as they made their unique procession into the Church.
Fr Cosmas quizzed the young people on the dioceses in the State – the Kota Kinabalu (KK) Archdiocese, and the dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan.
He went on to tell the young people on the number of parishes under the three different dioceses. “You know, KK got 19 parishes, oh! Keningau got nine parishes and Sandakan got four.”
He said all the young people from the 32 parishes were dressed up “special” as they lined up at the school prior to their march towards the Church, adding that it went on for about an hour as the people watched “one colourful group after another, one action after another. Very nice to see all kinds of colour, sights, slogans and singing!”
According to Fr Cosmas, he was awestruck by the diversity of the different groups. “I was very happy because I saw so many people. Imagine, over 2,000 young people!”
However, he said he had an even bigger experience previously in 1972 – “when I was much younger”.
“I was in Rome and one Easter Sunday morning, I went to serve the Mass of Pope Paul VI. I went to his room (at the Vatican) and helped him to walk to the Sacristy.
“After Mass, we went up to the balcony (overlooking the St Peter’s Square),” he said, adding that a huge crowd gathered there.
“At the end of the big square, there’s a long, wide road up to the Tiber River – that road is called Via della Conciliazione, which means Reconciliation Way. All come from beyond the river, and then the Pope blessed them.”
He said the name of the special blessing was “Urbi et Orbi” – the blessing of God to the whole world. “Blessings on the hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, brought by the way of peace and reconciliation!”
Fr Cosmas described his awe as he saw the crowd in the thousands from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.
“And they are my brothers and sisters – all kinds of people but we belong to God. God loves everyone.
“God calls everyone from every nation, people, language and culture. He calls all – even the sinners. He doesn’t exclude. We are really Catholic – global, universal!”
Towards the end of his sermon, he asked the children and young people to repeat after him: “A friend in need is a friend indeed. Jesus is our friend indeed!”
Fr Cosmas also expressed his appreciation towards the parents who faithfully sent their children involved in the junior choir for practise on Sundays.
After the Mass, the children, their parents and teachers had fellowship at the parish hall. Among those present were Brother Lawrence Blake as well as Dr Jeffrey and Angie Goh.