IPOH (Herald Malaysia): St Michael’s Church parishioners marked the 80th birthday celebration of their much-loved priest-in-residence, Fr Robin Andrews, with a grand Eucharistic celebration on Sept 17, followed by a sit-down lunch at a Chinese restaurant with 490 parishioners.
The event was organised by SMC parish priest Fr Stephen Liew and a small committee comprising parish chairman James Lau and his wife Theresa, Jude Quah, Josephine Lim, Steven KK Ng, Paul Cheok and Agnes Wong.
Fr Robin, a gentle and soft-spoken priest, has grown dear to many parishioners with his approachable ways, offering wise and practical advice on working and caring for relationships with others, especially in family life.
Fr Robin, whose actual birthday falls on Sept 19, wished his twin brother Colin a Happy Birthday at the start of the Mass. Colin, and his sister Shirley, were unable to attend the celebration but were represented by their extended family members.
Fr Robin celebrated the joyful morning Mass at SMC. Concelebrating with him were Fr Rudy Wong CssR, Fr Steven Ng CDD, and Fr Moses Lui.
His homily was on forgiveness, in line with the day’s Scripture readings. It dealt with how to nurture and grow in our relationships with God, others and self, through forgiving others when they hurt us.
“God wants us to forgive others like in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant,” he said.
He added that if we don’t forgive others, our prayers will not be heard and our spiritual life will collapse.
If we are open to forgiving others, we are showered with blessings from God.
Generally, people tend to respond with a “No” to forgive another person for hurting us, and this is a terrible thing to hear, since it can only bring about more hurt.
Otherwise, we say we want to forgive but are unable to. While this may be true, we cannot remain silent and unresponsive. Instead, we should bring it to Jesus in prayer, asking Him for the grace to forgive.
“Jesus prayed for those who hurt and crucified Him, while on the cross,” said Fr Robin.
“Another more common response is there is nothing to forgive as we have not wronged others. This is erroneous and always destructive. So instead, ask God to show us those persons we have offended.
“We must continue to forgive as much as possible, and set no limits as God doesn’t limit forgiving us. Forgiveness is only complete if we do something to be reconciled with the person.
“The Lord’s prayer speaks of forgiveness so we must forgive others as God forgives us. By refusing to forgive, we are asking God not to forgive us,” he said.
At the lunch, Fr Robin thanked Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam, St Michael’s church parish priest Fr Stephen Liew, Fr Jude Miranda, Fr Michael Dass, Fr Edmund Woon, Fr Rudy Wong, Fr Moses Lui and Fr Steven Ng for attending the celebration. Many other religious brothers and sisters also attended.
Fr Lui blessed the food. He also made a short speech highlighting Fr Robin’s contributions at College General, when College General was expanding and required fund raising since he was very good at accounts.
Fr Robin thanked SMC parish priest Fr Liew, all those who came, including his former parishioners of St Joseph’s in Batu Gajah, St Michael’s Church and neighbouring parishes, and especially the Lord Jesus for bringing him to 80 years of age.
“I always wanted to be a simple, humble and happy priest, and as I know you all have problems, if I am happy, I won’t add to your problems.
“I retired four years ago, but I want to encourage the retirees who are here. Don’t look upon yourself as retired, but Re-fired! Retired seems to describe a decrepit and weak person, but re-fired depicts an energised, vigorous new you with ooomph. So live with new vigour and oomph in your lives and praise the Lord,” he said.
Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online