By BOB HO
NOV 9, 2023: Jonathan Lee will always be remembered as one who radiates love, the love of God and the love for one another. His presence in church shone brightly on his elderly parents’ love for him. And he filled the hearts of many with love.
Joseph Lee and Connie Koh would brave the pandemic, rain and traffic to get their son, who was suffering from Down Syndrome, to mass.
“He was always very eager to be in church, even as early as 5.30am. He would hold our hands, motioning us to go,” Joseph said at their son’s wake at St Ignatius Church (SIC) in Petaling Jaya.
Jonathan died from pneumonia on Oct 4 while visiting his brother Theodore and family in Perth. His parents were with him. “We are grateful to God that he lived a full life until 40,” Joseph said.
Jonathan’s love for God opened doors for him to be an altar server, starting at the Chapel of Kristus Aman before moving to the Church of Assumption and later the Church of St Thomas More (STM).
“It was a divine calling he happily accepted. We were a bit unsure but we are thankful he could serve the Lord,” said Connie.
Clare See of Assumption said: “Despite his special condition, he served faithfully with dedication and commitment. Nothing is impossible for Jesus.” She felt Jonathan was “truly an instrument of love and peace, who had set an angelic example to us all” and “his parents are true shepherds”.
To Anne Sew of STM, Jonathan was a blessed child of God. “Always happy and loving to anyone he met. I loved to see him around in church.”
Jonathan proved to be contagious. Marlyn Chong of SIC usually gave him her sweater when he felt cold during mass. “We must give glory to God because our actions are always prompted by the Holy Spirit,” she said.
On Nov 3, Jonathan was finally brought home after all procedures were completed. SIC assistant parish priest Fr Martin Then CDD celebrated the requiem mass on Nov 6.
Concelebrant Fr Gregory Chan, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, said he saw Jonathan as “someone who is closest to God, someone who is happiest serving God”.
He added that God raised him to be an altar server at the Church of Assumption (Fr Gregory was then the parish priest) because Jonathan “was above all, a child of God. He is able to discern the spiritual.”
In the obituary, the family wrote:
You were God’s special gift to us,
What we had, you did not possess,
Yet, through your disabilities,
Your love conquered all nonetheless.
If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
We’d walk right up to Heaven,
And bring you back again.
Jonathan was very happy on the day he died. “He called out ‘Pa’, very clearly for the first time. Moments later the Lord switched off the light and took him home,” Joseph said with tears in his eyes.
May Jonathan’s light forever open our hearts to see every child through the eyes of Christ.
We at Journey With Us – Asia offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Lee.
May his soul rest in peace.