Thursday, April 28, 2011
PAPAR: It was a joyful and memorable day for the elderly residents of Holy Family Purak, Papar. On March 14 they were visited by a group of children from Maria Rani doh Kahansanan, Holy Nativity Church Terawi, Penampang, Sabah. The children arrived at 10:00am and were greeted by Sr. Patricia, FSIC who is currently serving and assisting the elderly residents. The children wore striking red Tshirts with the empowering slogan Save children from child sexual abuse.
This slogan was also a theme campaign for a special Holy Mass tto make people aware of child sexual abuse in this vicinity in November last year, a week after Fr P. Abas’ arrival from the USA. The children sang two songs which were much appreciated by the residents. One of the residents said, “These children are precious, take care of them.” In addition to entertaining the residents, the children were given information about the home for the elderly.
Sr. Clara, FSIC, gave the children a brief historical background about Holy Family Purak. Later, the children were given a guided tour around the residence. Fr Peter Abas who is the spiritual advisor of Children of Maria Rani doh Kahansanan stimulated the cognitive and emotional powers of the elderly residents by producing peaceful rhythmical beats on a drum.
He invited two elderly women to play the drum with him. Fr Abas had travelled around the USA for many years with his drums and drummed with many elderly individuals at different independent living residences for the elderly, and at nursing homes. While in Rochester, New York, Fr Abas earned his doctorate in gerontology and was a practitioner in Gerontology as Geriatric Consultant and Clinical Chaplain at the Sisters of Mercy of America’s independent living residence.
After almost seven years, his experiences led him to formulate some intervention programmes for the elderly. In addition, his active, humble and friendly personality helped the elderly to better mingle with each other. During his career he developed and founded an excellent way of nurturing the aged called Aging Gracefully. In July, 2009 in Paris, France, he presented and spoke at the World Conference of International Association of Gerontologist and Geriatrics.
It was then that he began to pursue his talent and interest in therapy by joining a special class in drumming. After acquiring drumming skills, he developed an interesting therapeutic theory that employs drumming in healing loneliness. Fr Peter Abas conducted a very short session with the elderly of Purak residence with an inspiring beat of a drum for the first time since his homecoming in early October 2010.
This article was published in Herald News on the 24/4/2011.