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At 25, CMI poised to begin new journey

BUKIT PADANG – Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) culminated her silver jubilee celebration in a thanksgiving Mass and a grand dinner at Putera Theatre Ballroom on Oct 28.  At 25, she is poised to begin a new journey in which she is tasked to build the long-awaited church extension.

At the auspicious dinner event attended by 900 people, Archbishop John Wong recalled with much fondness of finding CMI a homely environment, contributed by her structure and her parishioners’ warmth and homeliness, whenever he was required to celebrate Mass there in 1999-2002.

He added “I was then the assistant priest, and Fr Cosmas Lee the rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, thus making him the first parish priest for CMI.”

Now 25 years later, the Masses are packed, the car park is overflowing, the archbishop had to acknowledge that there is a dire physical need for more amenities.

Notwithstanding, tribute was paid to the farsightedness of the late Fr Thomas Sham, who saw the need to have a church in Bukit Padang even though it was not so developed, with only a few houses around.

Heartened to see more and more Catholics from areas outside of Bukit Padang not only coming to attend Mass in CMI, but actively involved in the various ministries and apostolates, Archbishop Wong appealed for more to come forward to share their talents and skills to build up the faith community.

He said “I believe there are many who are professionals, and people of good standing in society.  I urge you to give your time to the mission of the Church…all of us are called to mission, to build the Kingdom of God.  The Church does not belong to a few.  You and I are the Church.”

Catherine Engsun, recently elected Parish Pastoral Committee chairperson for the new term of 2018-2021, picked up the same intensity, urging a wider participation from parishioners to help write a new page of the Church’s history with the extension project, and with unsparing support in terms of service and finance. 

She gave honour to other pioneering founders who were present, acknowledging their hardship and sacrifices, and maintained that “the fruit of their labour is what we are celebrating today”.

Engsun also paid tribute to past parish pastoral committees, whose efforts to promote unity and bonding had paid off, resulting in a stable and vibrant church and an exceptional fast pace of growth.

Judging from the successful organizing of the Jubilee events, beginning with the exhibition, pilgrimage, triduum and Mass and dinner, talents abounded and more remained to be tapped.

Present at the gala dinner, was Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, who once famously remarked “A church without a community is not a church.”  For the jubilee event, the Emeritus paid compliment to the community of CMI in the souvenir booklet “It has grown, not only in number, but as a believing and evangelizing community.  It is a Church alive!”

New rector, Fr Paul Lo, who also wrote a message in the souvenir booklet, succinctly expressed the hope that the Jubilee celebration would pave the way in making CMI a parish in the near future. – CS

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