|Brother Columba (left) with two staff of Today's Catholic|
We have never met each other (not until about two years ago when we finally did at the launching of your Living Our Faith book), but we became acquainted through emails due to work.
I am not a student of yours (and I silently envied those who were), but you became my teacher through your Signpost column (published in Today's Catholic - it is a great blessing for me to be the first person to read your articles).
I never knew what kind of a person you were, but stories from those who knew you and the many old photos we keep in our Today's Catholic archive gave me reasons to adore and look up to you (Oh, those blue eyes and that smile - I recognised that smile!)
Did you remember our first meeting? Nah, you couldn't possibly have noticed my nervousness. It was the same nervousness when we meet our "idol" for the very first time.
But I remember.
I remember how I selfishly insisted to walk you back to the Brothers' Quarters after the Mass. I remember you offered to hold my hand, and held it tight, just like a grandfather taking his little granddaughter by the hand.
My heart melted. I did not know anymore — if it was me holding you to make sure each step you took was steady, or was it you who were holding me, to tell me that "I am here for you."
Perhaps, you read my mind. You knew that my real, unspoken intention was to have some private time with you. And you so generously granted it, sacrificing that 20 minutes or so for me, which could have been the time you planned to spend in reflection and silent prayer as you walked back to the Quarters alone.
I remember, that entire week (or probably months) whenever that memory of us walking to the Brothers' Quarters came to mind, I longed to see you again.
Such was the memory I have of you. That one and only precious memory, which I will cherish for ever. Until, God willing, we meet again in Paradise.
Thank you, Brother Columba, for everything you have done. May your beautiful soul rest in God's eternal peace and joy.
Brother Columba Gleeson was the first editor of Today's Catholic (the monthly newspaper by the Archdiocese of Kuching).