BUTTERWORTH – With the commencement of the piling works behind the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (NBVM) on 9 July 2018, the RM6 million NBVM Pastoral Centre moved one step closer to reality.
Father Dominic Santhiyagu, parish priest, and Father Victor Louis, Asst parish priest, concelebrated the Eucharist on Saturday, July 7, to ask for God’s blessings for the ground breaking ceremony.
At the site to officiate and witness the ceremony were Fr Victor Louis (former parish priest who initiated the fund raising for the project), Fr Dominic, Father Louis Loi, Tony Edwards (the chairman of the NBVM Building Committee), Bro Jason Raj OFMCap, the parish staff and about 40 parishioners.
Tony Edwards thanked Fr Victor for initiating the fund-building efforts and Fr Dominic for his support and patience with the Building Committee.
Fr Dominic commented that it was Fr Edmund Woon who first mooted the idea of a Pastoral Centre but then he left for further studies. Fr Victor carried on the project with several fund raising activities. Fr Dominic reminded the people to be thankful to God. He reiterated that God is the master planner and Christ is the Divine Architect. So, “unless the Lord builds, in vain will the builders labour.”
He reminded the people of the need for continuous support. Owing to the hard work of the Building Committee and the generosity of the parishioners and well-wishers, the parish building fund stands at about 2.1 million. There is still a shortfall of about 3.9 million. Bishop Sebastian Francis has promised to give RM 3 million from the diocese as contribution and an additional 1 million as a soft loan. Fr Dominic hopes that the parishioners will continue to be generous in their donations so that the building will be completed.
Then Fr Dominic led the small congregation in prayers, asking the Lord to bless the construction site and to protect all the workers from harm and injury.
After that, the priests sprinkled holy water all over the construction site while those present said the rosary and sang the hymn On this day, O beautiful Mother. Then the three priests and Tony mounted the pile driver and drove in the cornerstone, symbolically signalling the beginning of the piling works, to the applause of all present. Piling work is estimated to take two and half months according to Fr Dominic. There will then be another ceremony for the construction of the Pastoral Centre, to which Bp Sebastian Francis and some dignitaries will be invited to officiate. – Anne Marie Yap, Herald Malaysia