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KOTA KINABALU – St Simon Likas celebrated its traditional three-in-one yearend do with a barbecue on 27 Dec 2015, feast of the Holy Family. The celebration marked the feast itself, Fr Cosmas Lee’s 39th ordination anniversary, thanksgiving for all parishioners, and appreciation of the parish children.
For those arriving at the Church from the parish hall, the smell of enticing barbecue filled the compound on Sunday morning for the Feast of the Holy Family.
Those events were summed up in the opening of Fr Lee’s homily:
“I hope your senses are not so dull as not to have seen the smoke and smell the aroma of ‘ayam panggang’ (barbecued chicken) as you came to Church this morning. We’re going to have a little party after Mass. Everyone is invited. But knowing that half of you will not go, I will do the homily as my speech there… so that we will have something to reflect on this great Feast of the Holy Family.”
However, the homilist’s tiredness after the hustle-bustle of Christmas could be heard when he said: “When you are in a war, and if you keep on fighting, there is a thing called ‘battle fatigue’. (Most people would think that) aiyo, just went to Church two days ago, today go again, better sleep first lo. You see how much we need the endless mercy of God.”
“Today we are celebrating our traditional 4-in-1 celebration. First, to celebrate the family, not just our own family but also the family of the whole parish community. Secondly, to thank and appreciate all those who have served in this parish the whole year. I wouldn’t mention the names. Then, it’s a day that we’re supposed to appreciate our children. Give them a chance to rejoice, to celebrate because they are our future… future of faith, future of understanding of God’s love and mercy.”
On his 39th ordination anniversary, Fr Lee shared how ministering a parish community and to say “yes” to God is also to suffer:
“I am grateful that people remember and they want to celebrate (my anniversary) despite their ‘battle fatigue’. Because, why? It is not my celebration. I was ordained by the Church, in the name of God, for you. I’m here for you, I’m your priest that’s why you celebrate. I don’t celebrate because I was ordained.
“Ordained to suffer… not much to rejoice, you know. Every family needs a father. You call me ‘Father’ I hope you don’t regret it. And I am supposed to minister you so that you’ll all be children who’ll know to be good prophets, priests and ‘kings’ – the roles we’re supposed to play since our baptism. To be a prophet means to know the Word of God, to be able to speak for God in our life, to evangelise, to reach out – with the truth, not with nonsense. And we think that all of us know how to serve, like Jesus the King, the Shepherd King – to govern our family, to govern our community, in truth, in justice, in mercy.
“And finally, this family, through the service of an ordained Minister, will be better worshippers, priests, to be able to worship God rightly, truly, sincerely, and that this worship of God will be translated into our prophesying and our servicing as that Shepherd King in our governance of our family… so it is you who should be rejoicing and not so much me. I am the ‘victim.’
“We pray for each other that we may all become a good family, with the Father; that the children are listening. Children should be allowed to be themselves, guided by the commandments of God,” Fr Cosmas said, concluding his longer than usual sermon.
Meanwhile, at the parish hall following the Mass, the Parish Pastoral Council chairlady Anne Wong, on behalf of the community, thanked Fr Cosmas for his dedication to his call to shepherd the Likas parish.
The highlights of the event included the culminating of the caroling at the parish-level where groups of carolers, led by Vincent Wong, sang Christmas songs on the stage. The food served included spaghetti, fried chicken, satay and ‘sao nyuk,’ among others. – St Simon Church Likas Soccom