How are you doing?
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God for every reminder of you. In every prayer of mine for you all, I have always made requests with joy, due to your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:1-5 (NASB)
Saying good-bye is always hard to do especially when there has been a deeply spiritual and personal relationship between people. Such words of departure are unforgettable, searing the memories of the listeners or readers as one pours out their sacred shared experiences, and knowledge that they had in common.
I felt something in me when it was disclosed that I was leaving on transfer. If it were possible for me, I would have suggested to stay here but it is not possible now. It is a call I had to answer. There are things that cannot be expressed with words of speech, but only cherish in the heart. This is how I feel right now. I came to Caloundra on 13th December, 2021 but my work started on 1st January, 2022. On my arrival, I met Fr. Peter Brannelly, Fr. Josh Whitehead and Fr. Dang Nguyen. They received me with open arms. Fr. Peter took me around the churches, gave me teaching and encouragement on how to do ministry in Australia. In August, 2022, Fr. Josh became my boss and Fr. Francis Fernandes came into the family. It was good having you guys around me. To my brother, Sang, I pray that one day I will celebrate the Holy Eucharist with you at the Lord’s Table.
To you, Bishop Brian Heenan, thank you so much. Your fatherly advice was at its best to me. I learnt a lot from you. In my stay in Caloundra, I came across Fr. Joseph, Fr. Tyrone Deere, Fr. Dudley McMahon, Fr. Ashley, Fr. Tijo, Fr. William, Fr. Isaac, and many others. I will miss you all, especially at our Sunday lunches where we share brotherly love with a beautiful meal. It was fun. To our new priest, Fr. Gerard Lai, may God be with you as you start your priestly ministry. To you, my good and loving people of Our Lady of the Rosary, Caloundra, Our Lady of the Way, Landsborough, Mary Mackillop Church, Beerwah, Sacred Heart Church, Maleny, Blessed Frederic Ozanam Chapel, Currimundi, Good Shepherd, Kawana, Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Little Mountain and Unity College Chapel, Caloundra West, you are wonderful; you are awesome; you received me as one of you. I cherish all the love, advice, encouragement, and the good times we shared will always go with me.
I will not forget our caring Parish Office Staff, Vicki Howard, Edgar Pitargue and Eileen Roberts, thank you for making our work easy. To Dawn Morrison, you treated me like a son, thank you so much. Anytime you see me, you always ask how I am doing, Eji? To all the Parish Volunteers and Parish Leaders, God bless you all. May God continue to strength you as you work for Him.
The principal, the staff, teachers and students of Our Lady of the Rosary School Caloundra, you made an impact in my life. The Wednesday School Liturgy was inspirational to me. The Friday School Mass, where you read and sang was beautiful. The smiling UTUTU OMA (Good Morning) greetings always reminded me that I have brothers and sisters in you. I will not forget the “High Fives”, the colour runs and coming to your classes always made my day. Very soon, I will go home for my first holiday since I came to Australia. I have many stories and experiences to share with my people. I will share with them how good and lovely you were to me. Continue to pray for me as I will always pray for you.
Once more, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for all your concerns towards me. I will miss you all. Thanks so much. Remain blessed and always remain in God’s love.
Fr Eji (as many call me)