KOTA KINABALU: The rector of St Simon Catholic Church Likas celebrated his 43rd anniversary at the parish on the feast of the Holy Family on Dec 29, last year.
Fr Cosmas Lee, in his usual no-nonsense sermon, shared how some people would probe his decision to join the priesthood with these stereotyping questions on the vocation he’s chosen — “Why did you become a priest?” “You don’t look, sound or smell like one.”
“I’m the eldest of 11 children. I spent a lot of time at Sacred Heart, especially with the priests in the parish,” he said of his adolescent years.
“The priests were such wonderful fathers. I then began to appreciate my own status as the eldest in the family. I started being grateful about the role I have to educate my own.
“I wanted to be the ‘father’ of not just one family but of many families. It all started in the family,” he said, emphasising also on the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
He added that he hoped the men have not stopped being ambitious about being a good father in the family. “The Lord honours the father in his children.”
“You know, I’m celebrating my 43 years as a priest… I’m getting old,” he said, asking the people to pray for him.
“I don’t want to become a grumpy, old man — becoming a monster of a pastor! Because I see my ‘children’ are not sympathetic with me getting old,” he said candidly, to some faint laughter from the congregation.
“The family is a domestic church. You have a good family, you have everything.”
Meanwhile, after the morning service, the community had a thanksgiving fellowship for the rector’s sacerdotal anniversary as well as for all members of the ministries and caroling groups at the parish hall.
Ahead of the cake-cutting ceremony, the choir sang “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” for the rector.
The Parish Pastoral Council chairlady, Anne Wong, gave a brief speech to thank the rector for his service in the parish. She promised, on behalf of the community, to pray for the latter so he doesn’t turn into a “grumpy old” pastor, in response to his earlier sermon.
During the event, the rector also blessed the mini library at the hall, which officially opened on Jan 5. Its operating hours is after the morning service up to 12pm the same day.
The library is situated to the left of the stage in the hall.