HISTORY OF THE PARISH
 

PERIOD 1894-1998:

THE PIONEERS: Fr. FEE, Fr. PERRICHON,  Fr. SAUSSEAU and Fr. PASSAIL

In 1892, after returning frm France where he had gone on leave, FR. R. FEE was allowed to concentrate his efforts on South Perak. This area had been sporadically visited by missionaries from Penang but, while some groups of Indian Christians had already settled there to work on the newly established rubber plantations, there had never been any priest in residence in the area. In 1894, FR. R. FEE managed to acquire a piece of land in Teluk Anson and, after much opposition, set up a small chapel made of wood and attap. He took up residence there and, after a short while (6 months to 1 year) he also put up another chapel in Tapah. From then on Teluk Anson and Tapah formed one single parish covering the whole of South Perak and even including Ipoh and Sitiawan. Meanwhile, mostly for Chinese Christians, 2 parishes had already been established in Batu Gajah (1882) and St. Michael, Ipoh (1890).

It was in June 1896, while he was in Tapah, that FR. FEE received from Rome his appointment as Bishop of Malacca and was installed in Singapore on 22.11.96.

His successor at Teluk Anson  was FR. L. PERRICHON (1896 - 1900), a young priest who was not afraid to walk the distance between Kuala Kubu Baru - Tapah along a road that was then under construction, in order to visit his scattered Indian Christians. He was later (1921) to become Auxiliary Bishop of Malacca, but for the present he left Teluk Anson for Penang in 1900.

After a short interim by FR. DUVELLE (1900), FR. M. SAUSSEAU (1901 - 1905) took up residence at Tapah. It is from there that, while visiting the Indians of lpoh, he noticed the need for the Indian community to have a separate place of worship. In spite of many difficulties he spared no efforts to put up the first Church of 0. L. Lo~des, Ipoh, which was blessed on 22 October 1905 by BP. BARILION. The new parish of 0. L. Lourdes was then separated from Tapah and FR. SAUSSEAU became its first parish priest. FR. J. PASSAIL took care of the parish from 1906 - 1909

PERIOD 1909-1928: CONSOLIDATION: Frs. PERISSOUD,  SAUSSEAU  and PERISSOUD

From 1909-1914, FR. D. PERISSOUD was in charge of the Indian Communities of Teluk Anson and Tapah and other scattered outstations in South Perak. The priest would reside either in Teluk Anson or Tapah as these places were about 25 miles apart. Despite very limited resources, FR. PERISSOUD managed to extend the chapels and set up residences in both places. Formerly there were more Christians in Tapah but soon Teluk Anson became more important. For instance, the figures we have for 1912 show 650 parishioners in Teluk Anson and 450 in Tapah. FR. PERISSOUD was also in charge of Lumut and Sitiawan, a one-day boat-ride away. In 1911 the Chapel of 0. L. of Mount Carmel was erected in I-umut.

On 24th February 1914 the Church of St Anthony, for unknown reasons, was completely destroyed by fire and, for a long time, rell~Ious ~rvices had to be conducted under a temporary shed. FR. PERISSOUD immediately started collecting funds for the building of a new Church and he had already collected a good amount when he was mobilised and called back to France for the duration of the First World War (1914 - 1919) FR. SAUSSEAU was, once again, put in charge of the Parish (1914- 1920). As he was also in charge of several other Districts, and as the War was going on, he could not continue with the restoration of the Church and things were at a virtual standstill until the beginning of 1920 when FR. PERISSOUD returned and, once more, re-started the collection of funds. Despite the podr economic situation generous donations poured in from Christians and non-Christians alike, from Teluk Anson and elsewhere. The list of the main donors can be seen at the entrance of the Church.The new Church was erected by the late Mr. Ng Poh Loke, a T. A. building contractor at a cost of RMSO,000.00. It was completed in 1922 and blessed on 6 May 1923 by MGR. MEREL, Archbishop of Craina.In 1921 FR. PERISSOUD, opened the "St Agnes School" with an enrolment of 60 pupils. In 1926 the I. J. Sisters came to T. A from lpoh. FR. PERISSOUD continued to take care of the 1500 parishioners until 1928 when he was called to become parish priest of St. John's, Kuala Lumpur. Before leaving, in 1928, he built the Church of St. Francis of Sales at Sitiawan.

PERIOD 1928 - 1947 PRE-WAR - SECOND WORLD WAR - BALOCHE - BONAMY - ALOYSIUS - EDMOND

FR. BALOCHE (1929-1931) succeeded FR. PERISSOUD and was happy to enjoy the new Church and the new residence left by his predecessor. By the time he went on leave in 1931 the enrolment of the School had gone up to 235 pupils and, during his leave FR. PERISSOUD managed to provide an extension of 8 classrooms and a Hall.

FR. BONAMY (1931-1934) found it difficult to take care of the increasing number of Catholics who were scattered in many outstations. On 2 February 1931 he opened, in the Church Compound, the "St. Anthony School" with an enrolment of 11 pupils. Until then the Catholic boys had been schooling in the Methodist School. The enrolment steadily increased: 52 pupils in 1937; 207 in 1941; 333 in 1947 (when the La Salle Brothers took over); 1389 in 1961 ; etc

In 1934, FR. BONAMY left the parish for Sungel Patani and~was replaced by FR. I. J. ALOYSIUS (1934-1936) who, later and for many years, was to become the first Vicar General of the Penang Diocese when the Diocese was erected in 1955.

In 1936 FR. J. EDMOND (1936 - 1947) was put in charge and he saw to the completion of the St. Anthony School (1941). FR. EDMOND was in Teluk Anson throughout the war when the Church was facing a veiled persecution from the Japanese.

POST WAR PERIOD 1947 - PRESENT DAYS

This post-war period was marked by 3 main events for the Church in Malaysia

Immediatdy after the war, FR. AROKIANATHAN (1947-1949) replaced FR. EDMOND and It was he who welcomed the first La Salle Brothers in 1948. FR. F. DE SILVA (Oct. 49- April 50) was in T. A. f~ 6 months and FR. D. VENDARGON for one year ~ay 1950-May 1951). As everyone knows FR. D. VENDARGON left usfor St. Anthony's, K. L from where he later became the First Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Kuala Lumpur (1955) and later still (1972) the first Archbishop of Peninsular Malaysia. FR. AROKIANATHAN retumed for a second term of office in Teluk Anson from 1951 -1953.

FR. ROLAND BROSSARD took over from 1953-1959. The number of Catholics at that time was about 2500. Fr. Brossard built the Fatima School (now Chapel of Fatima) in Bagan Datoh. He also started schools at Tanjong Malim, Slim River, Bidor, and Tapah. He was ably assisted by priests expelled from China: FR. GRANDVIU£MIN (1953 -1954), FR. MONTAGNE(1955 -1956) and, as from 1956 by FR. M. K'I who succeeded him in 1959 (1959 - 1970). It is while FR. K'I was in Teluk Anson that the parish of Tapah became an independent parish with Fr. P. PANG (1960-1965) as the first parish priest (covering Bidor, Slim River, Tanjong Malim and, occasionally Cameron High-lands.) Since then, the priests in Tapah have been : FR. R. AUGUSTIN (1965-66), FR. L CATEL (1966-67), FR. AUDIAU (1967-74), FR. STANISLAUS (1974-76), FR. CASET(1976), FR. G. BELLEVILl~(1976-84), FR. C. PEREIRA(1984-89) FR. L. CATEL (1990), FR. BERNARD PAUL (1991- present) FR. M. K'I, parish priest from 1959-1970 was himself assisted by FR. R. AUGUSliN (1959 - 1965), FR. ROBIN ANDREWS (1965-1967), FR. M. moo (1967) and FR. STANISLAUS (1967-1973). It was FR. M. K'l who started the St. Anthony Primary School in Langkap.

When FR. K'I left the parish FR. STANISLAUS stayed in charge of the Indians till 1973 while FR. M. SURMON took charge of the parish (1970-1978). During the period 1973 - 1976 FR. B. MICHAEL was specially in charge of Tamilspeaking parishioners. It was during FR. SURMON'S tenure in 1976 that the shrine of 0. L of Good Health was erected near the Church by Mr. A. Arokiasamy. The statue of 0. L. of Velangany was specially imported from India.

In 1978 FR. F. MICHAEL(1978- 1981) wasputin charge of the Parish. DEACON. AMALORE SENGOL W$O had come for his pastoral formation (Jan. - July 1980) and had endeared himself to all parishioners suddenly pass'~ away after an unsuccessful knee operation. He was 27 years old at that time.

From Aug.1980 till Dec.1990 Fr. A. CHONG very ably served the parish, in spite of being handicapped for a while by a nasty motorcycle accident. Catechist MARY ANANDAN assisted him with the Tamil-speaking parishioners.

Since January 1991 FR. P. GAUTHIER has been looking after the Parish. FR. GREGORY HWATT assisted him first as a deacon (March 9 1-June 92) then as a priest (July- Nov.92). The present population of the parish is about 3000 with outstations at Langkap, Simpang Ampat, Kuala Beram, Sungei Beram, Bagan Datoh, Sabak Beram, Ulu Beram and Changkat Menteri. A good number of Indonesians (about 400) mostly from Flores are scattered in various isolated places. It was during the time of Fr. Gauthier that Catechist Sinnappan was sent here to help in this parish, especiallyu with the Tamil speaking parishioners. After six untiring service in this parish, he was called to the Lord in September 1996. May God rest his soul with Eternal Rest and Peace.

Fr. Dorette, the chancellor of Penang Diocese, took over the parish in September 1998. During his time the PAT members were formed and the parish started to implement the new Diocesan plan. Fr. Dorett was resonsible for the changing of the church roof.  As he was nearing his Golden Sacerdotal Jubliee, he was replaced by Fr. F.Regis.  His coming and going away was swift. He was replaced by Fr.A.Pillai as Administrator.
 
 


SOME NOTES ON THE LIFE OF FR. R. FEE THE FOUNDER OF THE PARISH 1856 - 1904

Fr. Rene Michel Marie Fee,  founder of the Teluk Intan Parish, was born on February 4, 1856 at Ambrieres, in the west of France.

When he decided to join the Mission, his parents generously accepted the sacrifice of their son to the service of God. On completion of his studies, he was ordained a priest and appointed for the Mission of Malaya. He left France on 20 April, 1879 and landed in Singapore one month later. He was appointed as an apostolate among the Indians.

Then he was called to Penang to replace Father Hab, who was suffering from exhaustion and ill-health. Father Fee looked after the Indian Christians on Penang Island and also those in various rubber plantations scattered over Province Wellesley. Since travel was on foot or horseback, this was'no easy task.

Father Fee had long dreamed of a settlement where Indian Christians could develop and form one community. In 1882, he managed to get a concession of about 200 acres (later increased to 700) near Bagan Serai. "Soosaypaleyam" (St. Joseph's Village) started with Father Fee and 10 pioneers. By 1885, there were more than 30 families and in 1889, the population had grown to 450, with 180 baptisms.

In 1892, Father Fee left for a few months' well-deserved rest in France. When he returned to Penang in the same year, he turned his attention to South Perak. In 1894, aged 38, he visited the few Christian settlers here. After overcoming difficulties from civil and religious authorities, he eventually secured a piece of land in Teluk Anson and built a small chapel. He did the same in Tapah.

In 1896, Father Fee received his appointment as Bishop of Singapore. As Bishop, one of his first concerns was the evangelisation of the Orang Ash, with whom he had come into contact in Tapah. In 1901, he baptised about 100 Mantras in Negeri Sembilan.

Mgr. Fee, also very well aware of the value of learning, concentrated his efforts on education. Assisted by Sr. St. Andre, he established the Convent in Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur. This was followed by the establishment of Convents in Taiping and Seremban. Meanwhile, new Ia Salle Brothers Schools were started in Seremban, Malacca and Kuala luimpur.

In 1903, Mgr. Fee experienced difficulty in swallowing solid food. In November of that year, he was advised to seek treatment in France. The diagnosis was cancer of the throat. He went to Paris, where he died peacefully on 20 January 1904. He was only 48 and had spent 25 years of that time in Malaya. He was buried in his native villag~ of Ambrieres on 24 January 1904.

The Founder of our Parish is a magnificent example of a man fully dedicated to God and the people (of Malaya). As a young man, one of his outstanding qualities was humility. Although a brilliant student, he preferred praising the successes of others rather than his own. As Bishop, his joy was to travel from Singapore to Penang, visiting each station in his Diocese and sharing the worries and joys of his priests. He will always be remembered as a great pastor with a love for the poor and humble.