In January 1997, upon completing my second year at the seminary, Fr. William (who had completed his first year) and I were assigned pastoral work at St. Joseph’s Church, Sentul for a month, under the supervision of the late Rev. Fr. Edward Soosay. Our main task at the time was to take stock and inventory of all the backdated church collections, and clear the storerooms.
However, one Monday morning, Fr. Soosay invited me to Mentakab, as he wanted to run some personal errands. I was a bit anxious about the trip – because Fr. William didn’t accompany us as he was on leave – but I went anyway. Fr. Soosay and I left for Mentakab after the morning Mass in his Toyota Corona. Along the way, we chatted about a few things, but most of the time we were silent.
On our way back to Sentul from Mentakab, I enquired and clarified a few matters pertaining to his priestly life. I spent the next two hours listening to his sincere and heartfelt sharing. As I was a young seminarian at the time, I found his thoughts and opinions enlightening. It deepened my understanding of the priesthood and its various roles. Upon approaching Sentul, I remember saying to him, “Father, if I were you, I wouldn’t have joined the priesthood. I would have enjoyed my life.
The one-month spent with Fr. Soosay was certainly an experience I will not likely forget. My priestly calling was enhanced and I got to know him well enough to call him a friend. He always appreciated my work and was always positive about me. He served as a priest and servant of God. I admire him for his deep love for God and his faithfulness to the priesthood.
Archbishop Julian Leow announced Fr. Soosay’s demise in our Clergy WhatsApp group on 10 January 2018 around 6:30 pm. It saddened me, because I had met him just two days before Christmas at our parish house. I was curious to know the details of the wake and funeral Mass. In fact, some parishioners inquired about the arrangements and strongly encouraged me to bring the wake to our parish, as Fr. Soosay was the first son of St. Joseph’s Church – ordained by Archbishop Dominic Vendargon on 8 January 1966. He served our parish from 1991 – 2000.
After giving it much thought, and despite knowing that it would be tedious work over the next few days, I made a request to Archbishop Julian to have Fr. Soosay’s body moved to St. Joseph’s Church. The day after he returned to the Lord, mass was held for the repose of his soul at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home (LSP), attended by 11 priests. After mass, his body was transferred to Sentul, where he lay in wake for parishioners and families to pay their last respects. His funeral was held on Saturday, 13 January 2018 with the reverence deserving of a faithful priest.
My dear parishioners, I appreciate all your hard work in ensuring everything went well throughout the wake and funeral. We will always cherish the warm memories of the late Fr. Edward Soosay and count ourselves blessed to have had him as our shepherd. He remains in our prayers always. It was a meaningful tribute we gave – for his years of service to Jesus Christ, to his Church and to all the parishioners he served.
Fr. George Packiasamy.
Funeral Mass photos