The Passing Of A Great Educationist

There was no Mass this morning. The parish priest is attending the Priests Annual Retreat at Stella Maris which began on September 7. Instead, a Service was conducted by a lay leader in his absence. A service without a priest felt somewhat different. Nevertheless, the essence of the worship was still the same. We came together as a community to strengthen our faith and to renew our spirituality.

After the Service, Peter and I went to pay our last respects to Father Arthur Julien who died September 11. He was eighty seven. His body is laying in state at Dewan Holy Spirit which is adjacent to the Cathedral. I do not know Father Julien personally. What I knew about him I heard from my parents a long time ago. They had had talked about Father Julien and had high regards for him for the immeasurable role he played in the realisation of the Heng Ee schools.

He was a well respected figure in Penang for his ceaseless effort in supporting Chinese education here and for being able to speak fluent Mandarin. Many older generation Catholics and those whose lives have been changed for the better by Father Julien’s works remembers him with affection. To quote Lucia Lai: ?Father Arthur Julien will indeed be remembered fondly as the mat salleh man who became Chinese in the process of his contribution to Chinese education.?

Jeff Ooi and Lucia Lai also blogged about the demise of this great educationist. Father Julien had touched many with his generosity and effort in promoting literacy here. Foreign Catholic priests like him who had dedicated their lives to the educate Malaysians are a dying breed if not already extinct. They have transformed countless lives with their selfless contribution based on their love of educating people from all walks of life all, irrespective of creed or colour. Father Julien is one of those outstanding ones. His funeral is on September 14. May the Lord grant him eternal peace.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “The Passing Of A Great Educationist”

  1. peter, it’s a good thing you went to church though i told you there will be no mass eh. if not, you would have missed paying your respect to fr julien.

    actually i wanted to go to pay respect to him today in the afternoon with my mum and sis but something came up and i didn’t. never mind, but for sure i will attend his funeral. don’t know if i can snap some photos or not because i feel uneasy snapping photos of funeral (or in church).

  2. Lucia,
    It should be all right to take photos as long as you do not interrupt the flow of the Funeral Mass. It will be a great record for posterity of this extraordinary man who left such a great legacy to the people of Penang.

  3. I am truly sorry 2 hear of Fr. Julien’s passing. Tho’ I have not had any contact with him for years, I remember him fondly as one of my cathechism teachers in my very early teenage years….. he was kindly, had a great sense of humour – and of course his ability 2 speak fluent Mandarin put me 2 shame 2 this day !!

  4. Pauline,
    His death is a great loss to many who have come to regard him as a champion of the poor and most of all of Chinese education. I am sure his funeral just now was a grand affair befitting a great man like him. May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

  5. We just found it hard to realise that we had a saint living in our midst. Though I did not know who he was in person, but when I read of him many years ago, I could tell that this man was filled with nothing but God’s love, the grace and peace of Christ and the fellowship of the Spirit. To note that he was from the Paris Foreign Missions was already a ‘wow’ factor (These men just go wherever without question and do the work of God). However, it is no use mourning as we now have 1 thing to learn from this:
    1. Celebrating the finished race of Fr. Julien and continuing it.

  6. Colin,
    After reading your comment, it struck me that Father Julien is one of the wealthiest men around. You can only give what you own. He gave everything he had and more and touched more lives than many of us can in many lifetimes. This is how great a man he was. Yes, father Julien’s legacy should be continued so that many more people can benefit from his generosity.

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