KLANG: Reverend A.P. Thomas, the deacon of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes here and St Anne's Church in Port Klang, has died at the age of 87.
He died on Friday (May 1) at 1.15pm at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital due to heart failure after suffering breathing difficulties.
Thomas leaves behind his wife Daisy Thomas, five children and eight grandchildren.
Thomas' eldest grandson Jared Pereira said that his grandfather was always admired for his steadfast commitment to the Catholic church.
“One beautiful trait was his smile. My grandfather’s smile radiated love for all in the family and people outside the family, ” said the 28-year-old.
In 2014, Thomas celebrated his 40th anniversary of his ordination as a deacon at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.
As a deacon, Thomas's responsibilities included baptisms, preparing couples for marriage, visiting the sick at hospitals, counselling couples and guiding teenagers.
The third of four siblings, Thomas was born in 1933 in Vettukad, a fishing village eight miles from Trivandrum in Kerala, India.
In an interview in 2014, Thomas told StarMetro that his home in Vettukad was 300m from the St Dominic Church and he served as the sacristan for worship coordination at the age of eight.
In 1953 at the age of 20, Rev Thomas came to Port Swettenham (now Port Klang) where he took up various jobs, including acting and bookkeeping at several private companies.
He received Malayan citizenship in 1957, and in 1961, he was employed as a government servant with the Education Ministry in Kuala Lumpur before being transferred to Kuantan where he was active with the St Thomas parish.
On April 16,1974, the late Archbishop Dominic Vendargon ordained Thomas as a Permanent Deacon in the Church of St Thomas in Kuantan.
Thomas served the Kuantan parish from 1974 to 1996 until he retired from government service, and he later moved to Klang where he served the local parish.
On his involvement with the Catholic church, Thomas had told StarMetro that it was a very rich spiritual experience, adding that he found it memorable watching children he baptised grow up to be successful adults.
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