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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A FOND FAREWELL AND A WARM WELCOME

BY JULITA, SOCCOM TAWAU
Tawau : Some 300 parishioners gathered at Holy Trinity Parish Hall on Sunday, 15th February at 7.00 pm to bid Sr. Aquinas Voon fsic a fond  farewell and to extend a warm welcome to Sr. Martha Jonik fsic and seminarian Walter Milter Mario.
Andrew Kiat, the PPC  Chairman extended his warm welcome to Sr. Martha fsic and seminarian Walter to Holy Trinity Parish. He expressed confidence that both will journey in unity and collaborate with all other communities and groups in Holy Trinity towards building a stronger community in the Church. In serving the Lord, we do not pick and choose but to serve whoever comes our way. He reminded everyone to lead a life of holiness and be a fruitful witness for God.
He thanked God for the gift of Sr. Aquinas fsic, placing her in the midst of the people in Tawau. He expressed his appreciation to Sr. Aquinas fsic for her wonderful service extended to the community especially on spiritual guidance and accompaniment.
Fr. Johnny Raju, the assistant rector of Holy Trinity Parish once again expressed his gratitude to Sr. Aquinas fsic for her unconditional service rendered to the the local community in the parish. He said, 'Age is not an obstacle in serving the Lord. No matter what we do, as long as we do it for the Lord, it shall always have an impact on others. Sr. Aquinas fsic is soft spoken and gentle. Her character has inspired all of us. Let us continue to pray that God will shower His choicest blessings upon her wherever she may be assigned.'
Sr. Aquinas Voon fsic was assigned to Holy Trinity Parish, Tawau in 2008. Her 7-year stint at HTC has inspired many parishioners through her gentleness, friendliness, being caring and kind-hearted. She has been most active in the Legion of Mary both Chinese and English ( LOM ), Chinese Special Liturgy, Intercessory Group, the Pastoral Care Ministry and the Chinese Pastoral Community. Beside attending to the home bound for Holy Communion, Sr. Aquinas fsic was actively involved in the Senior Citizen Bible Sharing. She will be missed by many  group members and close friends including the youth who came to her for comfort and advice.
In her brief sharing during the dinner, she said, 'I really treasure the moment in this Parish. I have experienced  genuine  love  extended to me from all the communities, groups or individuals. That has made me part of your family. I will always remember all your support, prayer and care towards me. I thanked Sr. Liza fsic and all the sisters in St. Clare for your concern and care.'
She will be leaving the Parish towards the end of February. Sr. Aquinas fsic at 78 will be at the FSIC Retiring House at Stella Maris Kota Kinabalu. She hoped to meet up with those she has encountered while serving in Tawau.
Sr. Martha Jonik fsic  from Papar, was the local animator for  the Convent of Immaculate Conception, Toboh, Tambunan. Thanking everyone for the event, she said, 'Each time we are allocated to a new place, we always hope for acceptance. I have been here for well over a month. I experienced your warm welcome and friendship. Hopefully we will journey together as  a family of God towards spiritual maturity.' Sr. Martha fsic is assigned as the local animator for St. Clare’s Convent apart from rendering pastoral service in the parish.
Seminarian Walter Milter Mario, a second year theology student in St Peter's College, Kuching is assigned to HTC for a 4-month pastoral exposure. He hails from Telupid and is into his 6th year of priestly formation. He was most grateful to the people in Tawau especially the priest and religious in welcoming him to be part of the parish family. He said, 'I wish that I can gain much experience from this exposure, enriching me in my own spiritual life. I need your prayer and guidance especially in my vocation journey. I will try my very best for I believe the rest will depend on God, His providence.'
The simple and meaningful gathering ended at 9.00 pm with a Closing Prayer led by Fr. Johnny Raju.

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