Sowing Seeds, Fostering Faith
During the Japanese occupation of World War II when priests were about to be arrested Monsignor A Wachter urged my father, Julius Elias Daut, and others to ‘go and spread the gospel’. At the end of the war in 1945, he took the exhortation and followed the Australian army to Labuan.
Julius Elias was born in a village called Dabak, Penampang, Sabah (then North Borneo) Malaysia in 1920. He was of Kadazan descent and belonged to a poor family of farmers. Born in a Christian family, he grew up in the midst of rampant paganism and rituals. In 1942 his marriage was blessed by Mgr Watcher. e Lord blessed them with six children.
In the 1970’s there were shortages of priests to serve the faithful in Sabah, as all foreign priests were either forced to leave or deported. It was a time of persecution and forced conversion to Islam. Christians, including many prominent church leaders were coerced or enticed to convert to Islam. Failing to do so they were prosecuted. Elias remained firm in his faith.
In the absence of priests Bishop Peter Chung appointed Elias, Constantine Cheah and Anthony Yen to serve as prayer leaders and care for the spiritual needs of the faithful. they led the Sunday services, distributed Holy Communion
People of Asia Journeying with Jesus
whenever possible, visited the homebound, consoled the grieving and buried the dead. they served the mission passionately for many years, building relations and sowing the Word among the community, resulting in many conversions. In course of time many young leaders replaced them.
Elias le a priceless heritage of his blessings for the people and his own family. He was an ardent devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a member of the Legion of Mary. In his final years, he devoted much of his time to promote devotion to Our Lady and the rosary. He would make rosaries and give them away. He also taught his children and in-laws to make rosaries. His children, in-laws and grandchildren followed the example of their father by continuing to serve the Lord as catechists, members of the pastoral councils, communion ministers and active members of the various catholic associations.
Elias was called to rest in the Lord on 5th August 2019, just after celebrating his 99th birthday. Like Paul, he too could say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2Tim 4:7).
This story is shared by George Elias, the son of Elias Daut. George aged 71, continues to be an active parishioner at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Labuan. He is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and brings Communion to the homebound, and grieving. Formerly he served on the Liturgical Committee. Currently, he is an Elder of the Catholic Charismatic Covenant Community in his Parish.