Saturday, March 24, 2007

Construction of the New Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

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Finally, after years of unsuccessful attempts, our new Marian Shrine was finally completed. The existing Shrine replaces the old one which was demolished to make way for the Parish Hall.

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The Existing Shrine before it was demolished. The New Shrine is built behind it.
It was rather small but was a very popular stop. You can see people praying there throughout the day and night.

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The old shrine was similar in design to the shrine in front of the former Cathedral of the Assumption. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima is also identical to the one there.

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The Shrine at the former Cathedral of the Assumption. The old Shrine our my parish used to look like this before it was demolished to make way for the parish hall.

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The Stages of the Construction

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The Early stages on construction

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Almost done. The back wall is not yet completed.

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A closer look

There have been many efforts to replace the current shrine with something more grand and fitting. Recent efforts included plans by former parish priests, Fr. Alexander Edwin and Fr. Francis Xavier which have come to nought. Finally, however, a new shrine was designed and built by our very own parishioner, Mr. James Jeremiah, who has also recently completed a Grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in Nibong Tebal.

The Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes built by James Jeremiah


Unlike the grottos associated with Our Lady of Lourdes, this Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima follows a different design. Our Lady rests in a traditional semi-spherical alcove, flanked by 12 pillars. The 12 pillars symbolize the 12 apostles, the foundations of the Church according to Rev 21:14.

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The blue lighting in the Shrine, besides being the colour of Our Lady, symbolize Heaven, where the Blessed Virgin is enthroned and reigns as Queen. The yellow lighting from below symbolizes the fire of the Holy Spirit which illuminates and radiates through Mary when He overshadowed her at the Annunciation after receiving her fiat. The 12 pillars are also illuminated by lights and the image of the 12 Apostles surrounding the Blessed Virgin Mary is reminiscent of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church in the upper room.

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Before the image was translated.

When the Shrine is fully complete, the old altar which used to be at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel will be placed in front so that Masses may be celebrated here. Much more work is yet to be done, including taking down the old shrine, landscaping and putting in the floor. But when the shrine is completed, it will be an oasis of prayer and a place where the faithful can encounter the Blessed Virgin Mary to implore her prayers and intercession.

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So, what do you guys think our our new Shrine. Do drop your comments. I will post the photos of the blessing and translation of Our Lady's statue tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it.

PS
The theological note was written by me. The normal order would be to design something according to some theological principle or idea and then build it, but in my parish, the thing was built first, and only after the Shrine was up was I asked to write some kind of theological explanation and justification for the design. =)

3 comments:

Ttony said...

Guess where I'll drop in first, if I'm ever fortunate enough to visit Penang!

MrSmith said...

Andrew,

OT, I know, but I couldn't read this piece without letting you know about it, especially considering your posts on modesty and the citing of the Fatima prophesies. Oh, Fatima, ok, so maybe it is a little on-topic. :-)

Andrew said...

Ttony....come on down!!!

MrSmith, I read it...interesting. Modesty is a virtue that would do us good to regain.