Fr Clement Pereira – Promoter of BEC
Parishioners from City Parish, Penang, remembers fondly their former parish priest (1992 – 1999), the late Fr Clement Peraira, as they celebrated his 40th day Memorial Mass on 28 March at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (OLS).
When Fr Clement was the parish priest of City Parish, he was well loved by all due to his humble and caring nature. It was during his time that the BEC in City Parish thrive and became very active and functional. He, together, with the late Fr Lucien Catel (also a former parish priest), was instrumental in promoting the Renewed Parish Project and community building.
The Youth Group grew, and became alive under his care as he showed true concern and support for the youth. Many youth at that time were inspired by him. They always remember his kind words and deeds to them, to encourage them in whatever they do.
Fr Anthony Pillai, who was the parish priest who took over from Fr Clement, after he left the parish, gave a homily during the Mass.
Linking the gospel about a prophet not welcome in his own land, he brought up that Fr Clement was the first Indian priest to be posted to a predominantly Chinese community parish (OLS Church). At that time, when Fr Clement was posted, he recalled, the parish is still segregated – Our Lady of Sorrows Church for the Chinese, St Francis Xavier Church/St John Britto for the Indians and Assumption Church for the Eurasians.
Fr Clement also arrived at the time, just 4 years after the 4 Churches had been amalgamated into one parish – City Parish. Many parishioners were still not comfortable with the idea.
“Fr Clement managed to convince the parishioners to discard the racial stereotypes of each Church” said Fr Pillai, “Everyone should come together as a People of God, and not as Chinese or Indian.”
Fr Pillai felt that when he replaced Fr Clement as the parish priest, it was a an easy task for him to run the parish, since Fr Clement had set the foundation for him. For that, he was very grateful to Fr Clement.
A long time parishioner, who is presently in the Parish Animating Team, Mr Peter Foo was called upon to give a sharing on how had Fr Clement inspired him.
The main celebrant was Fr Maiccal Sinnappan, a close friend, and former classmate of Fr Clement. Con-celebrating were Fr Andrew Stephen from the Cathedral, Fr Anthony Pillai from Tg. Malim, Fr. Joe Matthews, OFM Cap, Fr Dominic Santhiyagu, present parish priest of City Parish and Fr Michael Thoo, assistant parish priest of City Parish.
After Mass, there was fellowship, where the people, at the same time of tucking in good food, shared with each other their memory of the late Fr Clement Pereira, beloved former parish priest of City Parish, Penang.
– by Lucia Lai in the Herald of 17 April 2011