Monday, August 11, 2008

Rhythmic Tranquility

Father Peter Abas drums out
message of hope to young, old

(May 7, 2006)
I would like to acknowledge the energetic passion and patience that the Rev. Peter Abas has demonstrated since his ordination 20 years ago in his native country of Borneo, Malaysia.
A vital contributor to the international and national communities, he has traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe, counseling youth against violence and substance abuse. After arriving in the United States, Father Peter acquired advanced degrees at Fordham University and Manhattan College, and he received the Scandling Fellowship in the doctorate program at the Warner School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester.
Father Peter is often very noticeable in the community working for nonprofits such as the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center in downtown Rochester, and counseling at Saint Anne Church, where he is an assisting priest, as well as at the UR.
In addition to counseling youth, he focuses intently on senior citizens. Bornean culture, like many Asian cultures, emphasizes filial piety otherwise known as respect for elders. Father Peter believes that his multicultural background and faith empower him to act as a liaison between the church and its Asian congregation as well as between the church and elders of Rochester. He attends such educational conventions as those for Alzheimer's disease, as well as cultural meetings.
Father Peter founded the Intergenerational Peaceful Rhythmic Hand Drumming Session that meets twice monthly at St. Anne Church. The purpose of this session is to enable senior citizens to express their emotions in a safe, supportive environment. "In my country, the drum is used to call people to prayer. Drums help people reminisce and relieve stress," Father Peter says.
This philosophy is the focus of his dissertation at the Warner School, where he hopes to complete his doctoral studies. Father Peter also has established the program "Sacred Stories: Healing Journeys" at St. Anne Church, which caters to those 65 years and older.
We are in deep appreciation for the zealous efforts of Father Peter Abas, and I am fortunate to recognize him on behalf of the Rochester community.

Wendy Weeks, of Brighton, is on the Sounding Board, advisers to the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board

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