Tuesday, January 11, 2011
7th January was a significant date for the Franciscan friars based in Kuching.This date marked the 10th anniversary where the Franciscan friars from the Custody of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei was given the responsibility to look after St Ann parish in Kota Padawan.
During the 10-year period, there were changes brought about to cater to the needs of the people in the parish such as:
(1) The frequency of Mass on weekends was increased,
(2) New infrastructures were built for example:
(a) Classrooms for Sunday religion classes;
(b) St Ann Gift Shop;
(c) A Canteen area for fellowship and bonding
among the parishioners after Mass;
(3) Plans are underway to build a new Church on the vacant plot adjacent to the present Baruk;
(4) 3 new Catholic villages have been established so far and more new housing estates are beginning to mushroom around the parish.
There is a good indication that the community in St Ann is growing over the years and these are the on-going challenges to be faced by the current friars. However, the friars live in hope as God's instrument to sow the seeds of God's presence and love amongst the people in their ministries.
The building of the new St Ann's Church remains a real challenge in the coming years as Archbishop John Ha had mentioned that the people in the housing estates around St Ann need a proper place of worship and therefore the friars have embarked on this initiative since 2006 to design and build a new Church in 10th Mile.
One notable friar who served in St Ann was the late friar Alban Mitchell from Australia. He was ever ready to go out and serve the people despite his lack of proficiency in the local languages. A trademark of Alban that is still visible at the St Francis of Assisi friary is the bottle brush tree, that was planted by him in 2001.
Other friars who served close to 10-years in Kuching are friar Michael Goh and Joseph Lee. Friar Michael was involved with the formation of the Sisters of St Francis Sarawak sisters (SSFS) while friar Joseph Lee was involved at the parish. Both of these friars have taken up new appointments in Singapore for the coming term.
We pray that the good Lord will continue to bless our presence here in Kuching and more importantly to share our lives and spirituality as Franciscans in the Kuching Archdiocese