By Joseph Then
SERIAN — On 28 December 2019, 1,300 parishioners and friends attended the five-in-one 2019 year-end fellowship dinner organised by the St Theresa’s Parish Pastoral Council.
The dinner was to celebrate Christmas, celebrate the new coming year, to bid farewell to Rector Fr Paul Herry and to welcome new Rector Fr Leonard Yap, welcome Fr Robert Dissem, and happy birthday to Fr Paul Herry.
Members of the parish youth ministry, chinese community, catholic senior citizens’ fellowship and some talented parishioners presented items to entertain the function.
Among those attending the dinner were the guest of honour, Archbishop Simon Poh, outgoing rector Fr Paul Herry, incoming rector Fr Leonard Yap, incoming priest Fr Robert Dissem, parish priests, sisters, parish pastoral council chairman Dennis Sung and members, special function committee chairman Dennis Edwin and members, members of parish lay organisations, parishioners and friends.
The auspicious dinner commenced after the blessing before meal by Rector Fr Paul Herry who was surprised to know they would also celebrate his birthday.
In his speech at the dinner, Archbishop Simon Poh urged parents to make sure of their children’s faith formation and to see that they receive the sacraments of baptism, confession, communion and confirmation.
He explained that the archdiocese’s recent priests’ reshuffle exercise is the new era of the archdiocese. The church needs new generation priests to lead in the new era. That is why many new rectors are appointed from the younger generation priests. These newly appointed rectors had been serving the parishes together with different experienced rectors in the past, and they are therefore experienced to lead the church.
In his speech, Fr Paul Herry thanked the parishioners and friends for their co-operation, assistance, love and care during his service in the parish.
In his welcoming speech earlier, chairman of the parish pastoral council Dennis Sung reflected: “Are we satisfied with what we have contributed and achieved so far? Let us not be complacent if we have but to continue to strive to do better. Let us be motivated by tonight’s gathering to do so in the coming year, if we have not done so.”
He continued: “In order to achieve success in our undertaking, we need your support and cooperation. As what Helen Keller had said, ‘Alone, we do so little. Together, we can do so much.’
“Priests come, priests go, that’s the priests’ vow of obedience to their superior. Farewell is often an emotional time, especially when you have grown fond of the other person and have gotten close to them. Tonight’s function is equally a significant occasion for us to express our gratitude and appreciation to Fr Paul Herry for serving in our parish for the past 12 years and will be transferred to serve at St. Stephen’s Church, Bau.
“During his tenure of service here, Fr Paul Herry had committed himself and served the parishioners through pastoral cares and priestly ministry. He has a fair share of the ups and downs of our parish’s development and pastoral works.
“Fr. Paul’s personality has instilled a sense of belonging amongst the community, especially among the youth, to be active in church activities. He had inspired six youths to priestly vocation and two religious sisters from the parish.
“Fr Paul, your contributions will be remembered and highly appreciated by our parishioners that you have served and helped. May God continue to bless you with good health,” Dennis concluded.