Friday, March 30, 2007

Stamping out Liturgical Abuse

One of the things that distract me greatly is liturgical abuse. To help stem out liturgical abuse, I present to you these attractively designed banners which can be turned into flyers and distributed in your very own parishes so that you, humble Joe and Jane Pew can play your part in combating this scourge.

From the Alive and Young [No doubt quoting from Pope Benedict's Inauguration speech] blog.
From the Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police: Father Ron Ronson just recently announced the new seemingly drastic measure the office is taking to prevent Liturgical Abuses. It is being called the "Flyer Campaign" and is designed to speak not to a person's reasoning mind but to persuade and beckon a person's heart to end Liturgical Abuses. In response to early criticism about the on-hand preview of flyers, Father Ron had the following to say: "Harsh. I suppose it could seem that way. What is harsh? What is harsh is abuse. Abuse of any sort is a grave evil. There are people in this world who can't receive valid sacraments because of these abuses. There are people whose souls are being murdered by bad liturgists and priests. Woe to them. So no, I do not think there is anything harsh about the "Flyer Campaign."

Below are samples of the flyers to be handed out and posted in churches.

This flyer is called Bunny Punch. Don't make Beth do something she doesn't want to do.

This flyer has been dubbed Caring Kitten If not for your fellow person, then do it for the kittens.

This final flyer on hand ties into the long held love/hate relationship between France and America. This flyer received the most harsh criticism of all.
The French one is a bit harsh. But hey, the place did lend its name to the predecessor of Freedom Fries .

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Blessing and Dedication of the new Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

Ok, previously, I shared with you guys some photos of the our new Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. Just to recap, here's what the old Shrine looked like. A bit worn and grungy.


Pretty crappy, no? But still, it was an oasis of prayer for the people of my parish, myself included, who flocked to the protection of Our Lady and implored her intercession in prayer.

On the 13th of each month, the people, around 60 to 80, would gather for the recitation of the Holy Rosary around this Shrine.


The Shrine replaced a an older Shrine which looked a like the one below. Our Marian statues are the same as well.


You can see the former Cathedral of the Assumption, built in 1786, in the background. Majestic, isn't it? But due to a dwindling urban population, the Cathedral was transferred to the modern, round 1970's Church of the Holy Spirit. Sigh...


Here's what our new Shrine looks like before the statue of Our Lady was translated.


The Rite of Blessing was supposed to take place after the evening Mass, which was followed by the Penitential Service. But during the Mass, it began to rain, so Fr. Mark said that, though the Blessing would have to go on anyway because the the contractors were supposed to demolish the old one the following day, the time would be determined by God. It would begin when the rain stopped.


So, when the rain receded into a drizzle, the people gathered before the old Shrine of Our Lady. The Rite came from the Book of Blessings and was arranged by your humble scribe.


Fr. Mark then began the Rite of Blessing. Blogger Mark is on the left, trying to look solemn.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mother, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

After the song, Purest of Creatures was sung, the statue of Our Lady was translated, by Mark and another server while the Ave Maria was recited.


I warned them in the sternest words regarding the consequences of dropping the statue.


The statue was then reposed in the new Shrine.


The final adjustments.


Fr. Mark then blessed the Shrine with Holy Water.


And incensed the statue of Our Lady.


Note the glorious smoke of the incense.




A glimpse of the people who had gathered in spite of the rain. Confessions were being heard in the Church by 11 other priests.


Father then intoned the Solemn Prayer of Blessing.

Lord God,
we acknowledge your infinite glory
and the abundance of your gifts.
Before the foundation of the world,
You appointed Christ
the beginning and the end of all things.

You chose the Blessed Virgin Mary
as the Mother and companion of Your Son ,
the image and model of your Church,
the Mother and Advocate of us all.

She is the new Eve,
through whom You restored
what the first Eve had lost.
She is the daughter of Zion,
who echoed in her heart
the longings of the patriarchs
and the hopes of Israel.

She is the poor and lowly servant,
who trusted solely in her Lord.

In the fullness of time
she was delivered of the Sun of Justice,
the dayspring from on high,
your Son, Jesus Christ.

In the flesh she was His Mother,
in her person, His disciple,
in her love, His servant.


may your children
who venerate this image of Mary
know her protection
and trace in their hearts the pattern of her holiness.

Bless them with faith and hope, love and humility;
bless them with strength in hardship
and self respect in poverty;
bless them with patience in adversity and kindheartedness in times of plenty.

May they search for peace,
strive for justice,
and realize your love,
as they pursue their journey through life
toward Your heavenly city,
where the Blessed Virgin Mary intercedes as mother and reigns as Queen.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


The people in rapt attention while the Prayer was recited.

The final blessing.

Through the Motherhood of Mary,
God in His goodness has chosen
to redeem the human race.
May he enrich you with His blessing.

May you always and everywhere
experience the protection of Mary,
through whom you have received the Author of Life.

May you who have come here today out of devotion
take away with you the gift of joy in your hearts
and the rewards of heaven.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


The admonition.


The people then gathered to ask for the Blessed Virgin's intercession.


Our Lady of Fatima, enthroned in her new Shrine.



In the photo below, you can see altar server John in ecstasy having a vision.



The Old Shrine. This was demolished the following day.


A night view of the new Shrine.


A close-up. Neat eh? =)


Monday, March 26, 2007

Et incarnatus est

Today, Holy Mother Church commemorates the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. This year the feast got bumped because it fell on a Sunday, which, as a memorial of the Resurrection, takes precedence.

Ecce ancilla Domini. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

The rubrics specify that all genuflect at the 'et incarnatus est', one of the 2 times in the year when the obligatory pre-Pauline Missal genuflection is mandated, the other being Christmas. So, how was it done in your parish? Did you all genuflect? Do drop me a comment and let me know.

I attended Mass at the seminary Chapel which was bereft of priests as the Penitential Service was taking place at the same time at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. No genuflection =(

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I was tagged by Joee, to list 6 weird things about myself, so here it goes... =)

Here are the rules:
People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as stating this rule clearly! Three people need to be tagged and their names listed. Finally a comment needs to be left on each tagged person's blog...
1) I ride a motorcycle to the office everyday, about 20KM away. Come rain or shine, and it does get very rainy sometimes, I still do it, even though I do have a car. It's been almost four years since I started doing this and my colleagues and friends think I'm nuts for risking my life in this manner. [You need to actually drive in Penang to understand this. It's mad!]

2) Besides the Catholic stuff like hagiography, theology, scripture and apologetics, I really like reading books from the fantasy genre. My current read and favourite is George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. I read lots of classics too, mainly because as a poor student, they were cheap and long, like Tolstoy's War and Peace.

2) I have lots of prayer places and home altars. I also collect large crucifixes, neck crosses and rosaries. I also collect Bibles and these are among my collection:

Catholic Versions
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine/Douay-Rheims Version
The Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision with the Haydock Commentaries
Today's English Version (TEV) also known as the Good News Bible (GNB), Catholic Edition
New American Bible (NAB) ?*
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) - Catholic Edition
Revised Standard Version (RSV) - Catholic Edition
Jerusalem Bible (JB)
New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) – Catholic Edition
Christian Community Bible
Biblia Sacra Vulgata (The Latin Vulgate) – The official and normative version of the Sacred Scriptures for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church
The Greek Septuagint (OT)
Hebrew/Greek-English Interlinear Version (OT and NT)

Protestant Versions
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New International Version (NIV)
King James Version (AV) also known as the Authorized Version (AV)
New King James Version (NKJV)
Amplified Bible
Today's English Version (TEV) also known as the Good News Bible (GNB)

Jehovah's Witnesses Mistranslation
The New World 'Translation' [I use it when talking to the JW's]

That should be weird enough.

3) I named my Golden Retriever Summer, after a direwolf from A Song of Ice and Fire. But now, I just call him Furry, cos he is =)

4) In college, I led the mainly (aside from me and a friend who later became President) Protestant Christian Fellowship.

5) I think I have a vocation to the priesthood, but not yet. Most of my heroes, like St. Edmund Campion, St. Thomas More, Ignatius Cardinal Kung (the Pius XII appointed Bishop of Shanghai who went to prison for 3 decades) underwent martyrdom so I think I have a death wish.

6) My favourite ice-cream is rum and raisin. MMmmm... I can just taste it now. But it's too indulgent and too expensive. I used to enjoy the cheap McDonald's Butter Pecan flavoured ice-cream but it has since been discontinued. So sad...

I tag Mark from Ireland, Shellie from Profound Gratitude and Mr. Smith.
Good luck! Weirdos ... =)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Construction of the New Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima


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.


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.


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.


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.


The Stages of the Construction

The Early stages on construction

Almost done. The back wall is not yet completed.

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.



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.

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.


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.

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. =)