Parishioners bid farewell to their parish pastors

Close to 1,000 parishioners of the Church of the Immaculate Conception came on Sept 16 to bid farewell to their two beloved priests — Msgr Michael Cheah and Fr Nelson Joseph — who are both being transferred to Alor Setar, Kedah, with effect from October 1, 2018.

Oct 12, 2018

PENANG: Close to 1,000 parishioners of the Church of the Immaculate Conception came on Sept 16 to bid farewell to their two beloved priests — Msgr Michael Cheah and Fr Nelson Joseph — who are both being transferred to Alor Setar, Kedah, with effect from October 1, 2018.

Msgr Cheah served in the parish for eight years and will be leaving many footprints in the hearts of the people through his kind and firm ways and for the various infrastructure upgrades and new parish centre project he helmed. He was also instrumental in enhancing many liturgical and spiritual aspects of the parish.

Fr Nelson Joseph, whose stint as assistant parish priest was for only a year, has touched many lives through his outreach, personal interactions and for enriching the spiritual lives of the parishioners.

The affection for both priests was apparent as everyone was jostling for photos with the two and bidding them warm goodbyes.

Parish Council Chairman David Sivapatham’s speech highlighted both the personal side of Msgr Cheah viz. as an avid fan of the EPL club Arsenal FC, and his life as a parish priest with the many contributions he made to uplift the spiritual and cultural lives of his parishioners.

This included exposure to cultural experiences like concerts, making reverence for the liturgy a priority and also organising retreats and pilgrimages, revamping the church choirs and the Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and bringing parishioners together through Parish Day events.

Fr Nelson, meanwhile, was commended for introducing the concept of sacred silence into the Eucharistic celebrations and for the spiritual advice given to the youths during his brief stint in the parish.

In his address, Fr Nelson said his time in the parish had marked a full circle, as he had served in all the states under the Penang Diocese. He expressed his happiness at being in the parish and was looking forward to continue working again as a team with Monsignor Cheah.

Speaking straight from the heart and not mincing his words, Msgr Cheah confessed that the initial years in the parish were challenging ones but his stint has now come to be regarded as having served in “one of the best parishes,” thanks to the parishioners and their willingness to respond and cooperate.

“Continue the good work in the parish especially in liturgy and pastoral work and always place reverence to God as a priority, along with your generosity of friendship. “My eight years in the parish here have been very happy ones. Please extend the same brand of support and love to your next parish priest,” he added.

As the parish readies to welcome its new parish priest, Fr Jude Miranda, we thank both Msgr Cheah and Fr Nelson for their gifts of guidance, unfailing support and love to each one of us. -- IC Parish Media Team

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