“Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine.” With these words from Ezra the priest the congregation was sent out following a farewell Mass for Fr Seelan attended by over 300 people who turned out to wish him all the best for his new role and to thank him for his great contribution to St John’s, particularly as chaplain at the hospital.
Afterwards, a pot luck party was held in the Narthex hall, provided by parishioners who were encouraged to come along in traditional dress and bring their national food. They had cooked up a rich feast with a variety of international dishes, including a whole roast pig, in keeping with the diverse nature of the parish.
A presentation was made and, after a thank-you speech by Fr Seelan, a farewell cake was cut and Fr Seelan was given presents including a slow cooker and a clock that plays a variety of tunes, including Christmas carols, and rings the chimes of Westminster on the hour.
Fr Seelan, born in Chennai, India, has served the Cathedral for four years. He did his seminary training in Bangalore and was ordained a priest on April 16, 2005. He served as a missionary in East Africa. At the Cathedral he also worked as a hospital chaplain.
The farewell party was an opportunity for parishioners to express their gratitude to Fr Seelan for his loving ministry and his friendship to us all. We didn’t want him to go without letting him know how much we appreciate him and will miss him so much.
For four years he has served the Cathedral with love and dedication, bringing his warmth and kindness to everyone. He has been generous with his time and has a gentle way of listening to people’s problems, always going the extra mile to help. He has a gift of making people feel very welcome.
Although St John’s will miss Fr Seelan, we take heart from the final words of the reading at Mass: “Do not be sad; the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”
We wish Fr Seelan every blessing for his new ministry as Parish Priest at St Oswald Peterborough.
Pictured above is Fr Seelan with friends and parishioners at St John’s after his farewell Mass.