Archbishop John Wong is signing the official plaque of the new kindergarten, Nov 7

By Ephraim Kouju (source: Ronald James)

Dec 14 2021

KOTA BELUD – 7 Nov 2021 was a special day for the parish of St Edmund, when Archbishop John Wong came to bless and officially open their mission kindergarten, Tadika Santo Edmund here.

Parish priest Fr Ambrose Atang and assistant priest Fr Florian Marcus assisted the Archbishop in the blessing and opening ceremony.

Kota Belud is located about mid-way between Kota Kinabalu and Kudat. The town is famous for the Sunday ‘tamu’ or Sunday open air market. But on this day, the town was quiet due to the Movement Control Order which prohibited the operation of the ‘tamu’. 

On this day, the sun shone brightly in empathy with the feelings of the children, the staff and the Board of Governors (BOG) on their hopes and expectations of the school.

Sadly, the children and parents could not be physically present for the blessing due to the mandatory SOP which significantly limited the number of guests, but they were there in spirit and buoyant in their hopes for the kindergarten. The event began with Holy Mass followed by the blessing of the kindergarten.

Archbishop John Wong is blessing the kindergarten

The mission kindergarten was mooted in 2019 but delayed due to the onset of the pandemic. The kindergarten is located in an old double storey building near the church that had, at one time, been used as a hostel for boys. Except for the rooms at the upper floor which were used for Sunday school activities, the building had been empty for a number of years.

With seven rooms and six toilets, it was ideal to be converted to a kindergarten. However, much work had to be done to make it presentable as a school for young children.

Undaunted, the chairman of the BOG Ronald James, led members of the BOG and some friends to transform the old building into a really bright kindergarten. In order to save costs, most of the work were done on voluntary basis, and on many occasions, late into the night. It was an excellent example of cooperation, commitment and desire to have a mission kindergarten in Kota Belud.

Archbishop John Wong with members of the Kindergarten Board of Governors (BOG)

Later, when the parents were asked for their comments on the kindergarten, some said that they are blessed, happy and excited that they can finally send their children to a mission kindergarten.

They feel blessed knowing that the children will not only learn academically, but will also learn how to pray. They are excited because the kindergarten opens up an opportunity for their children to develop their social networking with other Christian children and friends.

They also hope that the teachers will instill good behaviour in the children and teach them to be independent. Other parents said that they are sending their children to the kindergarten not only because it is a mission kindergarten but also because the language of delivery is in English. All of them hope and pray that more parents will send their children to Santo Edmund Kindergarten.