BSC KUCHING: The Emmaus Servant Community (ESC) celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a Covenanting Mass and Dinner on 19 March 2022.

Uniquely special was the Renewal and Covenanting Pledge of ESC members. Only 87 members were present in Church, while 30 plus members participated via Zoom. The hybrid Covenanting Mass enabled members who had tested Covid positive, and those who preferred to self-quarantine, to also participate. Seven aspirants from Chinese Emmaus took their pledge for the first time.

Emmaus members renewing their covenanting pledge before Fr Patrick Heng

ESC started as a covenant community in 1992 at Holy Trinity Church, Kenyalang. A small group of parishioners intent on setting up the community approached the parish priest then, the late Fr Lawrence Chua for permission and a name. He chose “Emmaus” in reference to “The Walk to Emmaus” from the Gospel of Luke 24, with a view that their core make-up and formation of members would be from the Word and the Eucharist.

ESC was commissioned on 15 March 1992 with Fr Chua becoming its first Head Shepherd and Pauline Lim as Head Servant, a coveted post she still presently holds. On 22 March 1993, a group comprising 57 aspirants became covenanted members of ESC.

As a parish-based community, ESC migrated to Blessed Sacrament Church (BSC) in 2003, in a move made to join Fr Lawrence Chua after he was transferred to take charge of BSC.

The 30th Anniversary Dinner was a low-key affair, because of the pandemic. It was graced by Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh, past Head Shepherd Fr Felix Au, and present Head Shepherd Fr Patrick Heng.

While acknowledging and thanking the invited guests for their presence, Pauline Lim also paid tribute to other Shepherds who had played an important role in moulding ESC along its journey, namely Archbishops Emeriti Peter Chung and John Ha, the late Fr Lawrence Chua and PACEM Founder Fr Polinar, and a host of other priests, religious and spiritual personalities, both local and overseas.

“This 30th Anniversary celebration is truly an occasion of thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness and unfailing generous love to Emmaus for the past 30 years. That, we could have journeyed all these years and now entering the 30th year, especially when having to undergo very challenging moments along the way, is a testimony of God’s faithfulness that He is always with us and that He provides the necessary grace for the occasion. Praise and thank the Lord for His goodness to us!” Pauline said.

Archbishop Simon Poh speaking to Emmaus members at its 30th Anniversary Dinner at Boulevard Restaurant

Archbishop Simon Poh congratulated Emmaus on its 30th Anniversary and also made reference to the number 30. He said Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30. It is also the age when young couples settle down in marriage. Likewise, Emmaus has come of age, and now “needs to prepare, equip and entrust the leadership to the new generation.”

“We fondly remember the generations before us. Tonight, we pray for Fr Lawrence Chua who started this Emmaus community. May he rest in peace.” The Archbishop advised the Emmaus members to allow the Holy Spirit to equip and empower them wherever they are, adding, “Each of us is called to blossom and bear fruit where we have been planted.”

Pauline and Archbishop Simon were joined by Fr Patrick, Fr Felix, with Mervyn representing the Emmaus Pastoral Team, to cut the 30th Anniversary cake.

Cutting of Anniversary Cake. Pic shows (L-R) Fr Felix Au, Mervyn Jong, Archbishop Simon Poh, Pauline Lim and Fr Patrick Heng

By Ivy Chai
Photos: John Lai