Oi tobpinai ngaavi ku id di Tuhan Otumbazaan zou do…
PENAMPANG – Weeks of preparation culminated in the joyous celebration of the opening and blessing of Tadika Harmoni St Michael Penampang on 22 Apr 2016.
The opening and blessing ceremony took place after Mass, which was presided by Archbishop John Wong, and concelebrated with parish priest Fr Fundes Motiung and Fr Wiandigool Runsab.
The new Mission Tadika, comprising three classrooms, was located in the parish hall. The prelate officiated and opened the kindergarten by unveiling the plaque commemorating the blessing and opening. The event was witnessed by Spiritual Advisor of Archdiocese Early Childhood Education Committee (AECEC) Fr Jalius Sading, parish priest of Inanam parish Fr David Sham, FSIC Sisters from St Joseph’s Convent, catechists, members of AECEC led by Jennifer Anjek, members of the Pastoral Committee of Penampang, the Board of Governors (BOG) of Tadika Harmoni St Michael, and parents and children of the kindergarten.
The kindergarten welcomed 46 young children between the ages of 4-6 on 4 Jan 2016 to the three modest classrooms which are also used by Sunday school students. The number of children has risen to 56, indicating a positive response from the parishioners.
A kindergarten in the parish hall is not a new concept for the parishioners. In the 1970s, a kindergarten, comprising 110 pupils and four teachers, had been operating there, run by the Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph’s Convent. However, the kindergarten was shut down in 1982 when the government terminated their work permit, and for many years after that, the parishioners sent their children to the Kota Kinabalu mission kindergartens or to other kindergartens nearby.
Tadika Harmoni is one of the 13 new kindergartens that have been established by the Archdiocese Early Childhood Education Committee over the past year. Archbishop John Wong commissioned AECEC in July 2014 and entrusted it with the implementation of his vision for the revival and establishment of new mission kindergartens as the foundation of faith formation among young children.
The opening and blessing was immediately followed by a fundraising dinner organised by the BOG, and was attended by Archbishop John Wong. In his address to the attendees at the dinner, the prelate highlighted that the early years of a child’s life are a critical period in the child’s development, which includes spiritual development and faith formation. It is for this reason that the mission kindergartens are set up. He expressed joy in seeing the mission kindergartens being established and urged AECEC to continue to work hard to identify more kindergartens for parishes within the archdiocese. – Ephraim Kouju