The following post is very personal and rather long, so if you’re not interested, just skip. TQ.
Prologue: After I left Brunei in 1999, my Faith was the 1 thing that remained constant…throughout my journey as a student and into my working life, I started to become active in youth groups wherever I went. In Meradong, it was our mini daily gatherings before night classes, in Kuching it was the Young Catholic Undergraduates (YCU) and in Shah Alam, it was Catholic Student’s Society (CSS). I still keep in touch with CSS and was reunited with YCU when I worked in Kuching. I also joined Kuching’s Empowered Ministry (Youth Ministry of St Joseph’s Cathedral). But ever since I returned to Brunei, my Faith has been slacking…
The past week, however, has been different…but in a good way. A very good way.
On Monday, after work, I spontaneously decided to go to Church of Our Lady of Assumption (COLA) in Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). I wanted to get the Mass schedules for the upcoming Holy Week, but it being the time when people get off work and the afternoon sessions in schools are over, it meant 1 thing – JAM! From my office to the church would take about 5 minutes or less, but with the jam, it took like 20+ minutes. I was not really farmiliar with COLA as we go to Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception (COOL) as my family lives in Seria so I decided that I would not attend Mass if I could not find parking (as St George’s School is right there beside it, there are many many cars) but fortunately I did. A Higher Power was at work that day. Little did I suspect…
COLA‘s Parish Preist is currently under the care of Bishop Cornelius Sim, with the recently ordained Father Arin as Assistant Parish Priest. Both can be considered to be “originally” from COOL and my family’s history with the Bishop went back to long before he became Bishop. He was our Parish Priest in COOL back when I was just a little girl. Even after I left Brunei in 1999 to continue my studies and only really “came back” some 9 years later, I was touched he still remembered me. He actually hugged me when he saw me one Sunday after Mass at COOL when I came back to work here 6 months ago. My older brother actually teased me that the Bishop was “welcoming back the Prodigal Son”. 😉 Yeesh. In short, you could say that apart from being a Father in the Catholic sense, he’s personally a father-figure to me as well. And 6 months ago, he told me that if I were in BSB, meaning COLA, that I should look for him.
I have gone to COLA a few times since then but Bishop was nowhere to be found and not knowing anyone else, I usually immediately left after Mass. But on that day, I finally had the chance to say HI and what happened after that was just…my calling?
Bishop “kidnapped” me and “recruited” me to join the Youth/Young Adult Group of COLA and introduced me to all the active youths and others there that day. They had Bible Study that night and since I obviously came unprepared, Bishop lend me his Bible. By the end of the night (it was 10pm when I got home), I was “signed up” to join them on Tuesday and Wednesday night as well. Bishop, what have you gotten me into? 😀 LOL!
On Tuesday we had the Station of the Cross : Scriptural Version which was the one used during World Youth Day (WYD) 2008 in Sydney. It was really moving…and I hope that I’ll be able to join the next WYD, which will be held in Madrid, Spain in 2011. On Wednesday we had the Adult Faith Formation : Following in God’s Footsteps (?) conducted by Father Arin, who, although my childhood did cross paths with his teen-hood, doesn’t know me. Yet. 😉
Epilogue: Yes, my Faith had been slacking for quite a while. With Easter coming, its about time I am “resurrected” from my “sleep”. Thanks Bishop, for “kidnapping” me that day…and thanks especially for always remembering me and my family… 🙂