Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Farewell Beffiting a Saint

The final journey for Datuk Bro Lawrence Henry Spitzig was a touching and an emotional one, for the thousands he had touched in one way or other.

It started at St. John's Institution, the school where Bro Lawrence had first stepped foot in 1941 to teach.

Bro Lawrence was in wake since yesterday morning and thousands came to pay their last respect.

The ceremony at the school began as early as 7am when the SJI School Uniform had "Fall-in" before the School Assembly.

By eight, more people were streaming to the school for a short service before the body was brought to the St. John's Cathedral for the Eucharistic Celebration at 10.00am

At 9am there was a Brother's and Sister's Christian Community Prayer before the Amazing Grace was played by the SJI Cadet Bang Bagpipers.

Rev Eugene Benedict (second from right), blessed the body of Bro Lawrence accompanied by the Brothers and Sisters.

At 9.15am, Master David Fernandez (below), gave a welcome speech and was followed by eulogies, tributes and speeches which left everyone touched and realised what a great man Bro Lawrence was.

Some choked while they were giving their address, while some had watery eyes while others had to stop from time to time, to compose themselves and continue.

That was how touching the moments were and many among the thousands who were present were seen shedding tears.

Among those who spoke included, Encik Md Azmi Abdul Ghani (SJI Cadet Band Alumni Vice-President), Michael Simon (SJI Alumni Association), Datuk Abdullah Hj Mohaidin (Chairman PIBG SJI), Vincent Fernandez (Board of Govenors and former student and teacher) and Brother Visitor, Bro Thomas Lavin.

Master Vincent Fernandez

Brother Visitor, Bro Thomas Lavin.

The ceremony ended with the Hymn " Abide by Me" accompanied by the SJI Band Bagpipers.

This was followed by the March salute by the SJI School Uniform units before the Last Post by SJI cadet Band Trumpeter.

Fitting, Bro Lawrence left the school building after all present sang the 'School Rally" with the SJI Band accompanying. The song was written by Bro Lawrence.

The March out to the St. John's Cathedral was folowed by the SJI Cadet band and other SJI uniform units, Brothers, Sisters and distinguished guest.

At the Cathedral, thousands were waiting for the arrival of Bro Lawrence and the Eucharistic Celebration was led by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam and Monsignor Rev. James Gnanapiragasam and seven other priests which included Rev John Gnanapiragasam and Rev Eugene Benedict.

Among the dignitaries was the High Commissioner of Canada, HE David Collins(below) and his wife and Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The service which included a eulogy by Bro Thomas Lavin and a video presentation of the works of Bro Lawrence, that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes.

Archbishop Murphy Pakiam at the Final Commendation and Farewell at the St. John's Cathedral

Hundreds then accompanied Bro Lawrence on his final journey to the Cheras cemetery where he was laid to rest.

Bro Lawrence is no longer with us, but he will forever be close to our hearts and his works will be a legacy which will live on forever.

Rest in Peace Bro Lawrence and God Grant you eternal rest.

Acknowledgment: All pictures courtesy of Edward KL Chan from the Class of 81' He can be contacted at Sri Cinnmal Sdn Bhd (03-9258 6668, 9285 6658 or email: Thank-you Edward.


Edward Chan said...

Hi Tony

Thanks for the informative report on Datuk and may god bless you for your good deeds

4.30 pm

Corey said...

Thank you Tony for this blog entry. For those of us who were not able to make it that day, this helped picture Brother Lawrence's journey to the Lord's bosom.