Anthony Soosay was the first sacristan at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Puchong, He passed away on Feb 17 – Ash Wednesday. He was 80. This is a tribute written by AGVINA DICOM
FEB 19, 2021
Mr Anthony Soosay – the memorable name of a good gentleman whom I could never possibly forget.
When my father and I first moved to Bandar Puteri, Puchong way back in February 2008, we went searching for the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to meet with the Parish Priest (then Msgr Leonard Lexson) regarding the blessing of our new home. I think we drove past the church building quite a few times without realizing that the church was actually right in front of our eyes! It was a week day and when we entered the church grounds, there was no one in sight except for the security guard and an elderly gentleman who was cleaning the altar area.
Upon seeing us praying inside the church, he came down and introduced himself as the church sacristan to us. That’s how I first met Mr Anthony Soosay. He was very jovial, friendly and even joked with us new comers. I smiled watching my dad and him hit it off as they both exchanged past experiences and similar events from their younger childhood days.
Since then, we would regularly chat with him whenever we came to church. Sometime in 2009, the church had a new sacristan and we heard from some parishioners who were close to Mr Anthony that he had taken leave from his duties as sacristan due to health issues. After that we rarely saw him and only managed to meet him when we happened to attend the same mass that he did.
In early 2014, my dad became wheelchair bound due to his Parkinson’s and I would bring him to church every Saturday for sunset mass. What a pleasant surprise it was to bump into Mr Anthony at one of the masses! He quickly walked over to us and said hello. He seemed to have lost some weight and moved much slower but was still full of enthusiasm and humour. You could see the joyful sparkle in his eyes upon seeing my dad.
And so we got to meet Mr Anthony again regularly especially after sunset masses, Holy Hour and at Friday evening masses. He was a very kind and thoughtful man, always asking about our health and I appreciated him for the understanding and compassion he showed towards my father. Just before Easter or Christmas time, he would always give me a small ‘angpow’ packet and ask me to buy some cake, chocolates and ice cream for my dad. Of course my father was elated as he and Mr Anthony both had a sweet tooth and shared a great liking for sugary delights! Sometimes he would also ask me to use the ‘angpow’ money to buy provisions for any poor family in need since I was a member of the Parish Integral Human Development (PIHD) at that time.
He was full of generosity and everyone knew him for his simplicity, humbleness and respectful character. There was even once when he came up to me and said “I want to give you something but I don’t have anything, so I give you this bunch of curry leaves that someone gave me!” I won’t forget the broad smile on his face as he handed me the curry leaves.
I will forever remember Mr Anthony for his considerate nature especially after my father passed away in July 2017. He knew how close I was to my father and how much I missed my dad’s company, and so every time after Tamil mass, he would walk over to the peon where I usually sit and ask me how I and my family were doing. His fatherly care and concern was consoling as he reminded me of my own dear father.
It was here that I got to know him better especially of his past time interests and hobbies. To my surprise, just like my father, Mr Anthony also loved to collect old postage stamps and rare old coins. Apparently Mr Anthony was a life member of the Philatelist Society of Malaysia and the Malaysian Numismatics Society with the title Philatelist (someone who studies and collects old postage stamps) and Numismatist (someone who studies and collects old paper currencies, coins or tokens).
He thought me how to organize my dad’s old stamp collection and even gave me a rare old stamp and some old coins as a gift. Those tokens were the last gifts I had received from Mr Anthony. The pandemic began and we were all confined to our own situations and spaces.
The news of Mr Anthony’s demise was an unexpected shock for me and for many in our church community, I’m sure. There’s always a deep sadness when an elderly pioneer of the church passes on. It feels like one of the oldest genuinely good souls that once enlightened the church community has now returned to God’s heavenly sanctuary. Whenever I think of these special old souls like Mr Anthony Soosay, this gospel verse comes to mind. “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new, for he says the old is good” Luke 5:39.
If Mr Anthony could hear my prayer, I would like to convey this to him–I’m grateful to our God for having given us the chance of knowing you in this lifetime. For all your hidden sacrifices and sufferings endured, may the Good Lord bless you with His Promise of Everlasting Life.
Until we meet again at heaven’s gates, I wish much peace, love and happiness for you, O’ gentle and kind soul – Mr Anthony Soosay.
Deepest condolences from us at Journey With Us – Asia to Anthony Soosay’s family, Agvina Dicom and all who knew him. May his soul rest in peace.