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shepherds-voiceFirst of all, let me officially welcome Fr Coogan to KK, even though he has already arrived here quite a while ago.  I wish to thank his former students and parishioners who have prepared for this visit, and those of you who are here tonight to celebrate his 90th birthday.

I am sure since his arrival, Fr Coogan would feel very much at home among you all, eating Asian food, speaking Asian languages, and celebrating Asian festivals with you.  I heard Father could still speak Hakka well.  It just shows how much Father appreciates our Asian culture.  Thank you, Father, for your visit and happy birthday to you!

On this occasion of his 90th birthday, I wish to congratulate Fr Coogan for a long and fruitful life.  At this age, many of our people would have preferred to stay home and watch TV.  But Father could still travel all the way from England to come and visit his students and friends.  This is a challenge to many of us.  So, if we want to remain strong and healthy, we need to move around a bit, have some exercise and above all, keep each other in close contact.  Life will be much more meaningful when have the company of one another.  I guess this is one of the secrets of Fr Coogan.

Anyway, to you, Father, on behalf of everyone here, I wish to thank you for your many years of service as a pastor and educator in Sabah.  Some of your students have migrated elsewhere, some have passed away, but many are still around.  I believe each of them could testify that what he or she is today is due to the educational foundation they got from you. Indeed, they were fortunate to have you during those times.  Thank you for your contribution to our society.

Before I conclude, I wish to thank the small group of people who volunteer to bring Fr Coogan down the memory lane.  May you be blessed by the presence of Fr Coogan.  Maybe Father would agree with me that Sabah has changed a lot physically but the friendliness and simplicity of our people still remain the same.  I do hope Father will bring home these memories to England.

Thank you and may God continuously bless Fr Coogan with the joy, peace and love of the Lord.  Happy Birthday to you, Father!

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