BSC KUCHING: Emmaus Servant Community was founded by the late Rev Fr Leonardo Polinar from the Philippines in 1992, in Kuching. It is among 300 plus “servant communities” in the Philippines and abroad.
From a trip to conduct a Life in the Spirit Seminar to a capacity crowd of more than 800, Fr Leonardo Polinar’s visit evolved into a community called ‘Emmaus’ a name chosen by its first Head Shepherd, Rev Fr Lawrence Chua.
Commissioned on 15 March 1992 with a small group of parishioners who stepped forward in faith, it grew to 57 aspirants who pledged to Love and Serve, at a Covenanting ceremony on 22 March 1993 at Holy Trinity Church, the birthplace of Emmaus.
With the transfer of Fr Lawrence Chua to serve as Rector at the new Blessed Sacrament Church in 2003, Emmaus, which is parish based, made the decision to move the community to Blessed Sacrament. Today, 27 years later, Emmaus Servant Community has many ministries under its wings, including a Youth Ministry and a Chinese speaking community.
Recently on 15 September, after two days of Retreat at the Blessed Sacrament Church hall, 129 members of Emmaus went through another Covenanting ceremony. While the majority were members renewing their pledge for another two years, there were seven new Youth members, four new Chinese section aspirants, and two new English section aspirants.
To conduct the Retreat as well as the Mass and Covenanting ceremony were the Servant General of PACEM, Rev Fr Walter Zerda, and PACEM priest Rev Fr Raul Dumadag.
PACEM (Pastoral Assistance Community Education Mission) was founded by Fr Leonardo Polinar in 1988 and housed in Bohol, Philippines. On 26 September 2018, the Congresso of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life gave its assent so that PACEM may now be erected as a society of apostolic life of diocesan right.
On 13 September, a day prior to the Emmaus Retreat, Fr Walter celebrated a special evening Mass to pray for healing, concelebrated by Fr Raul and Rev Fr Felix Au, the Rector of Blessed Sacrament Church. Fr Felix is the present Head Shepherd of Emmaus.
Several hundred people turned up to be prayed over and to be ministered to. Members of Emmaus Healing and Deliverance ministry were in attendance. Many parishioners openly acknowledged healing in one way or another.
Accompanied by members of Emmaus Pastoral team, Fr Walter and Fr Raul also paid a courtesy call on His Grace, the Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh, at his office at the Archdiocesan Curia Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) where they had a fruitful dialogue.
Photos: John Lai/ Stephanie Chua/ Carol Francis