Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

I hope that in your parishes, you managed to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker which the Church instituted to counter the Communist May Day. The Church proclaims that work is not something to be ashamed of, something demeaning, but something that makes us co-creators with God who worked to create the world. God rested on the Sabbath and we are invited to join Him in the Sabbath rest at the end of days, but in the meantime, we work.

Within the bounds of my parish is the Chapel dedicated to St. Joseph the Worker, located in Hong Seng estate. Hong Seng is a most interesting place. It's a small village, populated mainly by Indians with a Chinese minority. Because it is located in a Chinese cemetery, the houses are built amidst the old graves. There are Indian families whose houses are literally built around the graves. On the bright side though, the graves are well tended and clean.

The people of Hong Seng used to be estate workers, so the person of St. Joseph the Worker is someone they really identify with. I'm not really sure exactly what kind of estate it is, but I suspect it used to be a rubber or pepper estate. There's a place called Pepper Estate further up the road, near to where I live.

I like coming here as the people are welcoming and friendly and there is a sense of community that is often missing in a large parish.

In the photo below, you can see our assistant parish priest, Fr. Mark Michael coming to the chapel on a motorcycle. The convoluted, small roads make driving here a nightmare. Bikes are the way to go. I really admire the folks who manage to drive a 4-wheel drive in and around these roads. I'd have a panic attack if I have to drive here. The background gives you an idea of what Hong Seng is like, so if you're expecting a domed, baroque Church building with gilt stucco, well, sorry to disappoint. =)

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The Feast day celebration was preceded by a nine day novena to St. Joseph ending with triduum Masses celebrated in English, Mandarin and Tamil. The Feast Day Mass itself was trilingual. Before Mass began, and it being the 1st of May, the month of Mary, your humble scribe was given the honour of leading the people in the rosary. I had chosen the Joyful Mysteries for the focus of our meditation. The photo below was taken by me and shows me making a point during the recitation of the rosary.

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You can see the people crammed into the Chapel. The building itself is a no frills, double storey wooden structure, with the chapel on the top floor which is at road level and the basement used as a store. It celebrated the 35th anniversary of it's dedication 2 years ago.

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For the day, the basement served as a makeshift sacristy. Blogger Mark, who heads our altar servers, can be seen here with the servers before the Mass began.

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The chapel overflowed, so marquees were set up outside the Chapel and on a portion of the cemetery that overlooks the Chapel. Attendance was good with the seminarians from College General joining in the celebration as well.



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The entrace procession was a real short one.

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Here, you can see the interior of the building and the altar. Nothing fancy.

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What do you think of the glowing altar cube? I lent them my missal stand but, if you pay attention to the later photos, you can see it was not used.

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Father Mark Michael was the main celebrant.

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Censing the altar.

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And the people. The photo is not fuzzy. It's the incense =) The low roof is a great incense retainer.

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If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I'm a real big fan of incense.

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Hoc est enim Corpus Meum.

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Come to think of it, I'm not sure which part of the Mass this is. Why are the people standing? Hmmm... Mark? Any ideas?

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Distributing Holy Communion.

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You can see the decorated altar of St. Joseph in this picture.

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Blogger Mark, taking a moment.

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The people flocking to the altar of St. Joseph to ask for his intercession.

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The altar was decorated with white lilies, the symbol of purity.

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In typical Penang style, after the Mass, we feasted on chicken curry, rice, vegetables and pineapple and cucumber salad generously prepared by the good folk of Hong Seng.

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All the people lined up as the chef dished out the food prepared in huge pots and we ate on the graves of some long dead people. How cool is that!

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Well, here's wishing you all a Happy Belated Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to all the workers and all the Josephs, Joes, Giuseppes, Jozefs et al.

Sorry, Joee, there's no feast of St. Joseph the student, so next year, when you've got a job, then Happy Feast Day to you too. =)

PS.

Here's what I wrote for the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th this year. It tells a little about how I grew to appreciate the person of Joseph and what he means to the Church. Do give it a read if you haven't.

14 comments:

Fr. Daren J. Zehnle said...

Very nice, Andrew; thanks!

nan said...

Wow again and Thanks. I love your many pictures.
Our Bishop has a very great devotion to St. Joseph and always celebrates his feast day in March with a special Mass. The scripture about God having set him over His household is the topic of most of those homilies. And our Bishop has encouraged the praying of the litany of St Joseph, which 10 years ago few here even remembered existed. This year our Bishop is having (has had, by now) major, and fairly sudden, surgery on May 1. May St Joseph's intercession comfort him.
Nan

Joee Blogs said...

What a wonderful post! I TOTALLY love the picture of Mark kneeling while there's all the commotion around him - and the glowing altar LOL! that's funny!

moi said...

Christ is Risen!
wow, great pictures, thank-you for your blog..i too especially love the photo of the young man kneeling in reverence amongst seem chaos...wonderful
pax et Bonum.
i will link you to my site
Emile-James

-josh- said...

I took the pic of Fr.Mark on the bike!!!HEHE
pardon my ego

Mark Cephas Tan said...

Mat rempit Fr Mark...=>

Andrew said...

Thanks for all your comments. Let us pray for Nan's Bishop. We know that St. Joseph, whom the Lord had put over His household, will not desert those who had recourse to him.

Joee, yes, Mark... that was a rushed photo. Most of the later ones were. The Earlier ones were taken by Joshua, as he so helpfully pointed out =) Then the batteries of my camera died and I had to share batteries with another kid. So he took some and then took the batts out of his camera and I loaded them into mine and etc etc...

Thanks for the link Emile. God bless.

marie said...

It's so wonderful to see people whose faith is so alive and vibrant.
I remember when we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament(the 2nd time in 10 years) and all I got was "*yawn* do we REALLY have to do this?" Only 6 people showed up in 8 hours...sad really:(.

I also LOVE the pics of St. Joseph truly beautiful...Thankyou Andrew.

Yours in Christ,

Marie

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