By Ivy Chai
KUCHING — On the evening of 9 February, about 500 people were at a local restaurant for the farewell dinner organised for Fr Felix Au, the outgoing rector of Blessed Sacrament Church (BSC). It was graced by Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung and Fr Lawrence Chua, the first rector of BSC.
At the same time, the function was also to welcome the parish’s new rector, Fr Patrick Heng who will be officially installed by Archbishop Simon Poh at the Saturday Sunset Mass on 22 February.
In his farewell speech, Fr Felix Au thanked everyone for their support for the three years he has served as rector of BSC. He recognises many talents in the parish, and has observed many parishioners becoming more empowered to live their calling as Christians.
Although he would have liked to be around to ensure the proper implementation and completion of the many projects in the pipeline, he has to trust in God that the “interruption” by his summon to study Chinese in Taiwan for one year, is all part of God’s plans.
Fr Felix gave credit to Fr Lawrence Chua for handing him a robust foundation to work with. He praised him for building up the Church and the community to where it was on the day he took over as rector, to which he has also “added on a bit.” He appreciated Fr Chua’s good advice and the space given to him to exercise his ministry as rector.
Fr Felix also gave thanks to his family for their constant support and love, especially his parents, Simon and Marian Au. He urged everyone to be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
His parting wish was for the community to remember him in prayers. He said the best gift would be for prayers that God would mould him to be a good priest for His people.
Incidentally, both Fr Felix and Fr Patrick will be celebrating their sacerdotal anniversaries only days from now. Fr Felix was ordained on 23 February 2004, and Fr Patrick ordained on 18 February 1995. They were presented with a cake each to mark their 16th and 25th ordination anniversaries.
Fr Patrick Heng, in his short speech, expressed his trust in God’s plans. Given its history, he felt comfortable to move from Holy Trinity Church (HTC) to Blessed Sacrament as he sees Blessed Sacrament as a sister-parish of Holy Trinity. Fr Lawrence Chua was rector of HTC before his transfer to BSC in 2003.
In response to Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung’s earlier call for him to be proficient in the Chinese language, Fr Patrick urged the community to pray for more vocations of the priesthood, especially to serve the Chinese speaking community. He asked for prayers for Fr Felix, and for Mother Mary to intercede for all of us.
The BSC Parish Pastoral Council and the various ministries and lay organisations presented entertainment items that contributed to a memorable night.