Saturday, April 25, 2009

Help Us Build Our Church this 1 May 09

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Come Friday (1 May 2009), we, parishioners of St Thomas More (STM) will celebrate our annual Family Day. Our very first as STM parish.

Being Workers' Day and a public holiday, most of us are encouraged to take our minds and hearts off our daily grind -blood, sweat and tears - and instead refocus on spending time together as a domestic family as well as the Body of Christ, celebrating mass in the morning, followed by makan (feasting) and games.

Every year, our respective BECs (neighbourhood small groups/cell groups) and ministries also take the opportunity to raise funds for our yearly activities. Yes! This is the time of the year when the bulk of funds flow in (well for most BECs and ministries anyway).

This year, I personally feel, our parish has a common vision and mission. That is to raise over RM10 million (just about USD 3 million - we accept all kind donations from our universal brethren throughout the world) so that we can finally have a permanent place of worship.

You see, before we became a parish (which was very recently this year - I can't really remember the exact date), we were just a chapel community known as Capel Kurnia Kristus (CKK - Chapel of Christ's Blessing, literally translated).

Just to sidetrack, our Archbishop Datuk Murphy Pakiam, prefers chapels to be named in Bahasa Malaysia (our national language) while saint names or Marian names are given to parishes.

Perhaps, His Grace, chose the name of St Thomas More for our parish because he (St Thomas)was a politician who stood up for justice until it cost him his life. Well, we in Malaysia definitely need such a role model for our politicians, especially now, with the kind of Perak "frogs" emerging (heartbreaking because it's my homestate).

Btw, who needs television anymore with the many Kisah Benar (true stories) happening around us, of which an international Mongolian spy was blown up into pieces after being at the wrong place, with the wrong person, at the wrong time. Many "famous" people were also ending up in the missing persons lists for short spurts and extended periods (for some, perhaps permanently). Only God knows and time will tell. We certainly live in interesting times. Great stories to tell our children and grandchildren.

Back to the original story, CKK started off as just a small group of Catholic families celebrating mass together in Subang Jaya sometime in 1981. Then it grew when the USJ areas opened up and the congregation, through God's Grace, started to celebrate mass regularly at two double-storey shoplots in USJ 11 sometime in 1995. As the numbers grew, as well as its activities, CKK officially moved into our current location in SS13, Subang Jaya (close to the Sunway area) since year 2000 (location map above). I was told recently, that the very first mass celebrated in our present home was sometime in 1999.

Ever since then, we celebrate mass in a badminton hall which is now part of the Sri Sedaya private school. Every Sunday, as early as 6am, a very committed team of people will dress up the hall and transform it into a church - equipped with the stations of the cross, altar, chair for the presider and the works in time for the 8.30am mass, while another team strips it down at about 1pm after the 11.30am mass.

I must say I'm proud of this odd arrangement at times as it shows our unity, creativity and persistance to hold on to the dream of one day celebrating mass in a permanent and visible church building.

As I write this post, I'm glad to say that the map above will soon be obsolete. We were informed that piling works for our new church building (located in the industrial around the area near USJ3, 4 and USJ 12), had already began. In fact, most of us were overjoyed when Fr Simon Labrooy, our new parish priest showed us an artist impression of our new home at the end of the Easter Vigil and Easter morning masses. It really wowed me (and I think the rest of the congregation).

Fr Simon's heartfelt prayer (and I think for most of us too) was to celebrate Easter 2010 in the brand new STM building.

The only thing left to make that prayer a reality is of course the extra RM9.5million. According to the financial report on the building fund we have ONLY raised about RM487,477.63 as at Feb.
Dear friends, fellow Catholics, near and far. We appeal to your generosity to help us build our church.

Besides pledges from STM parishioners, we had and are continuously raising funds through different activities. Will post them regularly as they come up.

As I mentioned earlier, our Family Day is a great event to help us cos' all proceeds will go towards building our new home. Every nasi lemak (SS19B BEC - my former BEC) or corn-in the-cup (Choir) you eat or game (Putra Heights BEC) you play will help us build our church, brick by brick.

For me personally, I shall be offering Knotted Rosary making classes - in line with praying the Rosary in May. Shall post more about it very soon (must advertise a bit la).

So bring your friends and family to STM this Friday morning. Join us for mass at 8.30am (if you can). Food, fun and games will commence from 9.30am and is estimated to end by about 1pm. Pls call me to book the coupons at RM10 a book.

To me, the new STM church will not only be a good thing for us parishioners, but actually a BIG victory for all Malaysians Catholic Christians and even non-Catholic Christians.

In times when getting approval to build a church is so hard to come by, STM will indeed be a great sign of our Almighty Allah's Awesome Power and Glory.


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