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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Here is a brief order of service titled "Form of Admission of Catechumens," which can be found in the St Michael's, Sandakan parish archive. Records in our Diocesan archive indicate that this liturgy was used in the early days of the interior mission, and probably in some town churches too. The admission of "catechumens," namely those who were interested in the Christian faith but who required careful instruction before they could be baptised, was a common practice in the early centuries of Christianity. These catechumens were often taught by a catechist for about three years before being admitted as candidates for baptism at the beginning of Lent, and after an intense period of instruction were baptised on Easter Sunday. Hence, in this season of Lent, it is timely for us to reflect on our own faith and ponder the words of the prayer which ends this liturgy:

"O Lord God Almighty, we beseech thee to have mercy upon this thy servant who desires to come out of darkness into light; out of the bondage of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Help him to understand the things he ought to know and do; and give him grace to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

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KELAS SEJARAH KHAMIS: Aturcara kebaktian yang pendek ini, bertajuk "Penerimaan Katekumen," boleh dilihat di arkib paroki Gereja St Michael, Sandakan. Rekod dalam arkib Diosis menunjukkan bahawa liturgi ini telah digunakan di misi pedalaman pada waktu awalnya dan barangkali di beberapa gereja di pekan juga. Penerimaan "katekumen," iaitu mereka yang tertarik kepada agama Kristian tetapi memerlukan pengajaran yang teliti sebelum mereka boleh dibaptiskan, merupakan satu amalan biasa pada abad-abad awal agama Kristian. Katekumen ini biasanya diajar oleh seorang katekis selama kira-kira tiga tahun sebelum diterima pada awal musim Puasa sebagai calon untuk dibaptiskan. Selepas satu tempoh pengajaran intensif, mereka dibaptiskan pada Hari Paska. Oleh itu, dalam musim Puasa (Prapaska) ini, adalah sesuai bagi kita merenungkan iman kita sendiri dan memikirkan kata-kata doa ini yang mengakhiri liturgi ini:

"Ya Allah Mahakuasa, kami memohon Engkau untuk kasihanilah hamba-Mu ini yang ingin keluar daripada kegelapan kepada terang; keluar daripada perhambaan kepada dosa kepada kebebasan mulia anak Allah. Tolonglah dia memahami apa yang dia perlu tahu dan buat; dan berilah dia anugerah untuk mengikuti Engkau Allah yang tunggal; melalui Yesus Kristus Tuhan kami. Amin."
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