The Bishops of Malaysia had decided to transfer the observance of this Holy Day of obligation to the following Sunday which I think is ridiculous and pointless as those who are going to come for Corpus Christi would come regardless of when it was held and those who would not won't turn up just because it was on a Sunday. Actually, I think the opposite is true, that the Sunday observance would lessen the normal attendance as people try to find alternative Masses to skip the procession and benediction.
Anyway, to observe the 'real' day of Corpus Christi, I made my way down to the Church of St. Anthony in Nibong Tebal on the mainland. I took half the day off because we needed to arrive early to pass the candle holders to the parish.
Here's our little sweatshop assembling the candle holders.
Young and old, none are spared. The elderly lady above is my grandmother who was also roped in to help.
The Mass was presided over by Fr. Francis Anthony, the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Francis Xavier assisted. Both priests were vested in chasubles, which is a rarity these days. Cool.
How do you like the new stained glass in the back?
Fr. Francis Xavier read the Gospel. Before the Gospel was proclaimed, the Corpus Christi Sequence was sung in Tamil. After that, Fr. Francis Anthony or Fr. FA preached the homily. He explained the meaning of the procession and the symbolism of the lighted candles. He also spoke on the readings of the day.
Censing the altar and the gifts.
The elevation of the Sacred Host. Hoc est enim Corpus Meum, quod pro vobis tradetur.
After the Mass had ended, Fr. FA took the Blessed Sacrament in procession.
The congregation, bearing lighted candles follow behind Christ the Light. We who call ourselves Christians should be lighted to enlighten. You can see the candles ensconced in the little holders we had prepared earlier.
The cloud of incense surrounding the canopy with the Blessed Sacrament, calling to mind the Shekinah, the Cloud of Glory which manifested God's Holy Presence.
Another view of the 600 or so people who followed in the procession as we brought the Light of Christ through the darkened streets of Nibong Tebal.
During the procession, verses of St. John's Gospel on the Bread of Life were read and the Litany of the Blessed Sacrament was chanted.
At various points of the procession, Fr. FA blessed the people with the Blessed Sacrament. It was quite moving to see the crowd kneel on the ground or on the road for the blessing.
The river of light which followed Christ. Each person bore a lighted candle while Fr. FA bore the Light of the World.
The final station for the adoration and benediction was at the altar in front of the Grotto of Our Lady.
The Tantum Ergo and other Eucharistic hymns were then sung in Tamil.
Fr. FA blessed the crowds with the Blessed Sacrament to close the liturgy.
I really love processions and Eucharistic Processions in particular as we bring Christ into the streets in a public profession and manifestation of Faith. We're having another procession within my church compound as my parish celebrates Corpus Christi during the evening Mass on Sunday.
After the Mass and Procession, in true community fashion that one finds in the rural parishes, dinner was prepared for all by one of the BEC's or cell groups. Today is the beginning of the Novena to St. Anthony. Throughout all the nine days, food will be prepared for all by the BEC's in turn. The BEC's which were not selected for the 9 days prepare food for the priests and 'guests'.
As 'guests' were treated to some food prepared specially for us in the parish house. Yum...