TANJUNG ARU – On 21 Sep 2014, JWG Bible Class gave a simple but sweet and swift ‘farewell’ to Fr Fundes whom the students knew and loved since they were 4 years old! They gave Fr Fundes a t-shirt on which is printed the acronym of his name FUNDES describing him as Friendly, Understanding, Noble, Determined, Extraordinary and Swag! (slang word for awesome, fun, cool) A perfect description from the young ones!
Stella Maris Parish is 51 years old, and he is the first young and good looking priest who ever served in the parish.
Being a priest since 1998, and with just 4 years of experience, many parishioners doubted what this young priest could do!
I, for one, had the biggest doubt. However, Fr Fundes gave me the confidence and guidance to facilitate in JWG Bible Class. He told me “Your mission is to ensure that these kids continue to learn the teaching of Christ by understanding the Word through action”.
Fr Fundes’ ‘laissez faire’ leadership has helped many youths to believe in themselves and served willingly in the Church. As Jeremy Chin said, “Fr Fundes gave us the freedom. He knows when to pull the rein and when to release!”
He is willing to give the opportunity for one to prove one’s worth, and when you succeed he will encourage you more, when you fail, he will support you! Seldom would you see Fr Fundes lose his temper and this attitude has made him approachable to many, whether you are a parishioner of Stella Maris or not!
The young ones described him as “you are my father” as shown by the kids crowding round him after Mass or in any functions. They would hold his hand, joke with him, and climb on his back. He understands the needs of the youths and has the internet installed in the parish where the youths could gather for a good cause!
Fr Fundes is also loved by the elderly as well. My mother said “he is one priest who stood and offered me a seat during Confession.”
Suzie Willie said “his smile never fails to welcome any parishioners” and Diana Wong said “he is always available with advice”… And the list of goodness goes on, but one significant signature that will truly be missed will be his thundering laughter, and this everyone agrees!
During his 12 years in the parish, Fr Fundes’ charisma and humility have undoubtedly won the hearts of many (both young and old). We are proud and have been blessed that he has been our parish priest!
I would say that his charm has helped formed a parish of unity through diversity, love and patience, boldness and sincerity.
Fr Fundes…it is not a ‘good bye’! He is moving on where he is most needed. We, at Stella Maris Parish, will forever be grateful for the seeds he has sown. He has indeed made positive impacts! Furthermore, he is just a viber away! – Contributed by Teresa Alberto