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KUCHING — A total amount of RM513,870.04 was presented to the Carmelite nuns of the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 16 Dec 2017. Out of the sum presented, RM213,870.04 came from the fundraising dinner raised on the previous day and a grant of RM300,000.00 from the State Government. Another RM300,000.00 is still needed.
The fundraising dinner in aid of the rebuilding of the Carmelite Monastery in Kuching was held at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) on Oct 15. It was organised by Christ the King OCDS Community (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites) and Friends of Carmelites headed by Datin Sri Annie Fong OCDS. Tickets were sold at RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM1,000 per table respectively. Archbishop Simon Poh, Archbishop Emeritus John Ha, Father Kenneth of the Cross, OCD who represented the Carmelite Friars, priests, religious brothers and sisters from the Archdiocese of Kuching together with well-wishers attended the dinner.
During the dinner, Abp Poh explained the revised cost for the rebuilding.
“When the rebuilding of the termite-infested Carmelite Monastery was mooted quite a few years ago, the simple estimate was that RM4 million should be sufficient. By the time the drawings were ready for tender in 2016, the cost of materials had gone up, government service tax had to be added and the Ringgit had depreciated. When we calculated the allocation for interior furnishing, kitchen equipment and utensils, etc, the total budget ballooned to RM5.9 million to complete the whole monastery,” said the prelate. He further informed all present that there was still a shortfall of RM1.1 million.
Carmelite Father Charles Serrao, a former Definitor General whom the nuns know well for 25 years, was invited to the dinner. However, he could not make it due to other commitments in his Province back in India. His speech was pre-recorded and played that evening. He highlighted the charism of the Carmelite nuns and explained why it is necessary to rebuild such a big monastery for them.
In another video, Mother Prioress Sister Marie Evelyn addressed all those present and thanked them for their support towards the rebuilding project of the nuns. The video also featured the cloistered life of the nuns, the making of altar bread and the progress of the construction work of the new monastery. They also had the privilege to hear the sweet voices of the nuns, who sang for them towards the end of the recorded video.
All invited guests together with the working committee and OCDS members took part in the cake cutting ceremony to mark the Solemnity of St Teresa of Jesus and the 17th Anniversary of Christ the King OCDS Community. Thereafter, the Secular Carmelites led in the singing of the song “Salva Regina”. The working committee also entertained all present with a song entitled “I will follow Him.”
The nuns of Kuching Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and organisers would like to thank everyone for their presence and contribution towards the success of this first fundraising dinner. The rebuilding of the new monastery is scheduled to complete by June 2018. Contribution towards the rebuilding project can still be made by using the Brown envelope or directed to the Archbishop’s Office. – Catherine Sim OCDS