Visitors: 1233667
Home arrow News arrow The La Salle Brothers arrow Farewell, Bro. Cassian - RIP
Farewell, Bro. Cassian - RIP Print E-mail


ImageI have to confess that I have been struggling for days to put up an article about Brother Cassian Pappu following his demise on 29 November, due not to the lack of materials. Rather, it is mainly due to a mental block possibly brought on by having to come to grip with the loss of two great Brothers, Lawrence and Cassian within a short span of time.

ImageThus, it was most welcoming when I received Bro. Thomas Lavin’s (Bro. Visitor) message that eulogized and vividly narrates the final journey of Bro. Cassian. It is part of the well-delivered eulogy by Bro. Thomas at the funeral service at the St. John’s Cathedral on Tuesday, 2nd December. I now share it with you, unedited. Thank you Bro. Thomas.

"Dear La Sallians,

Br Cassian slipped away quietly around 5.00am last Sunday morning (29th Nov.) in the Lecadia Nursing Home, KL,  where he had been resident since 7th September 2008. A total of 496 days had passed since in fell into a coma following surgery at Tawakal Hospital on 21st July 2008. Ms Irene Tan, Patrick, his nephew, Br Andrew and myself gathered at the home as soon as we could. The undertaker was called and we decided to have the wake in the St. John's school chapel and that he would be cremated. As Br Larry Spitzig had taken the last plot available for burial in Cheras,  Br Felix arranged for the reconstruction of most of our graves to take urns after cremation. The IJ Sisters near us have been doing this for sometime. Cassian would be the first for us and it would be in Br
Joseph Yeoh's grave.
The remains were laid out in the school chapel by late Sunday afternoon and a book of condolence was opened. The nearby library room in the community quarters was made available for drinks and conversation. Fortunately the chapel and the quarters had just been renovated from top to bottom and so were very fresh and presentable. We were aware that SJI is on exams and that there was need for quietness around the school. Vigil prayers were said at 8.00pm on Sunday and Monday evenings and the chapel was full on both occasions. Floral wreaths started arriving early from schools, alumni associations and friends, including one from the Immaculate Heart College, Kagoshima, Japan where he taught from 1989 to 1991. Archbishop Pakiam Murphy called to pay his respects on Monday morning but regretted he could not attend the funeral as he was leaving for Bangkok that night. We are very grateful to Br David Hawke, General Councillor, for coming at short notice to represent the Delegation of India. Cassian was one of the pioneering Brothers who went to India in the early 60's to re-launch our Lasallian mission in the sub-continent and is held in great affection by the Indian Brothers.
ImageOn Tuesday morning,(1st Dec)  final prayers were said in the school chapel and the coffin was carried downstairs to the hearse. The SJI corps of bagpipers, organised by Mr. David Fernandez,  led the cortege along Jalan Bukit Nanas to the door of St. John's Cathedral. The Requiem Mass began at 10.00am with Fr. Mari Arokiam as the principal celebrant. Msgr James Gnanapiragasam, Parish Priest at the Cathedral, preached the homily. Old Boy Fr. OC Lim S.J, now recovered from his heart surgery, concelebrated with three other priests. There was a very large attendance in the Cathedral and it was nice to see a group of students in uniform with their Headmaster, Mr AR Peters, from Stella Maris School where Cassian had been the founding Principal.
In my Eulogy at the end I expressed our condolences to Cassians extended family who were there in large numbers. I thanked Ms Irene Tan who took such great care of him in the nursing home. She was at his bedside virtually every day for several hours during his 16 months in coma. I welcomed Ms Takae Mashima, his god-daughter, who flew in from Beijing and wept most of the time during the funeral. In giving thanks to God for Cassians life I referred to India as an example of his zeal and generosity of spirit and concluded by praying a short Litany of thanksgiving of the qualities we appreciated in him, including his great vitality in the service of the Lord right up to his final illness.
ImageAs we left the Cathedral, a convoy of police outriders took over and cleared a way through the heavy downtown traffic of Kuala Lumpur to the Cheras Crematorium which is beside the cemetery.
The crematorium hall is a simple affair with a metal table in the middle where the coffin was placed. We sat on either side and offered the final prayers. We placed flowers on top of the coffin and then Patrick, his nephew, pressed the switch to lower it to the oven below. Dennis Doss led us in singing the Salve Regina and we bid our final farewells to a good and dear Brother.
On Wednesday morning we returned at 10.00am to the Cheras Cemetery to inter the ashes in the grave of Bro. Joseph Yeoh alongside 14 other Brothers.   May they all rest in the peace of the Lord.  Amen.
I would like to express our very sincere thanks to Bro. Andrew and Bro. Felix (who had to rush back from Singapore) for taking care of arrangements and to the Brothers who were present during the funeral services. In my words at the end of the Mass I also expressed our gratitude to the management and staff of Lecadia Nursing Home, Jalan Pudu, KL.

Fraternally and in hope
Br. Thomas"    


ImageI have pleasant recollections of Brother Cassian whom I first knew way back during the days when I was a student at the St. Xavier’s Institution, Penang in the mid 50’s. He was a young Brother then and a very accomplished cellist. As a member of the SXI Orchestra under the direction of the music maestro, the late Bro. Michael Pauline Blaise aka Brother Lau Hor (tiger in the local Penang dialect), he was often heard practising his pieces in the evening in the school auditorium. He was also the teacher-in-charge of the SXI Camera Club whose members won a number of prizes under his charge - (Note: he held a photography diploma from England). However, I cannot say I knew him well then as a student

Lost touch and reconnected in 1998 when I became the president of the Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur. The good Brother and I shared great personal moments together especially during  the period when I spent much time at the De La Salle Institute as a member of the joint Management Committee and acting as  the Committee's  Secretary.  We were then transforming the Institute into a tertiary education centre.

Bro. Cassian lived a life that matters. One that was filled with integrity, compassion and sacrifices that enriched, empowered and encouraged thousands as a La Salle educationist. An earlier article on his life and work can be accessed at the following link:

I must mention here that Bro. Cassian was a keen proponent for the setting up of a private Lasallian school. He had, in his late years openly lamented on the "No action, talk only" culture within the various Lasallian organizations. Bro. Cassian's interview with the STAR newspapers last year bears out his frustrations:

He particularly had fond memories of the years he spent as an educator in the local and overseas institutions of learning and the challenges he faced in the setting the Stella Maris, a Church-owned private School in KL.
He often chatted to me about his work in India from 1962 to 1966. He compiled his memories into a report (2002) which is titled: Reminiscences of My First Posting Abroad. I have the privilege of being given a copy and would share it if requested.

May his soul rest in peace.

Note: If you are unable to open the above two articles by clicking the given links, please copy them and paste them on your browser.

< Prev   Next >
Links | Contact Us | News | Home
Powered by Three Sixty Technologies