Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An outrage! - Lina joy loses appeal to convert out of Islam

Lina Joy, who was born Muslim but converted to the Catholic Church has lost her appeal in the highest court of the land to legalize her conversion. Apostasy from Islam is illegal for Malays in Malaysia as a Malay is defined as being Malay in race as well as Muslim in religion.

Malaysia has 2 judicial systems, the civil courts and the Shariah courts which are supposed to concern itself with Muslim affairs. Problems arise when overlap of jurisdiction occurs and the civil courts defer to the Shariah courts thereby referring and putting non-Muslims under it's jurisdiction. Problems also arise when one wishes to renounce Islam because you need the Shariah court order to do so but if you renounce Islam, then you should not be subject to the Shariah court.

The current situation is ridiculous and an outrage. The Federal Constitution guarantees religious freedom but we all know its a sham. It is now legally a sham.

Can't comment fully. Don't have the time. But here's the news.

Lina Joy loses appeal

PUTRAJAYA: Lina Joy lost her final round of appeal when the Federal Court dismissed on Wednesday her appeal against a ruling that the National Registration Department was right not to allow her to remove the word "Islam" from her identity card.

Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Federal Court judge Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff delivered the majority decision dismissing her appeal.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum dissented.

On Sept 19, 2005, the Court of Appeal decided that the NRD director-general was right in refusing her application to drop her religious status from her IC on the grounds that the Syariah Court and other Islamic religious authorities did not confirm Linas renunciation of Islam.

Among the idiotic, despotic and draconian comments are such as these:

Counsel: Islam can’t be renounced at will

PUTRAJAYA: Lina Joy cannot become an apostate at will as she is subjected to the dual legal system, namely the civil courts and the Syariah Courts as well as the Syariah laws practised in this country.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Kalthum Abd Majid, who appeared for the Government and the NRD director-general, said this was because Lina is still a Muslim, unlike a non-Muslim who is only subjected to the civil courts.

“The issue of renunciation is a matter pertaining to the akidah (faith) of a Muslim transgressed into the realism of the Syariah Law, which needs serious consideration and proper interpretation of such laws,” she said.

“As such, only the Syariah Court and/or bodies are qualified to make such a determination.” [If you renounce Islam, they re-educate you in camps like the recent case where the mother was separated from her baby because she had embraced Hinduism, the religion of her husband.]

Umi added that a proper determination of the status of the purported renunciation of Islam by Lina, being a Muslim, is important as the determination will take her out of the application of the Syariah Laws and out of the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.

She said there was no relevance to make references to Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution, as Lina was not prohibited from renouncing her religion.

“The issue here is that, in order to renounce Islam, she must go to the proper channels as provided by law and she cannot renounce her religion, Islam, at will,” she said.

Substitute Islam for Christianity or some other religion and you'll see their faulty logic. Supposed to renounce Islam one needs to Bishop's permission (not that it would not be granted but...). imagine that. Let there be no compulsion is religion my a**. Is this is not compulsion, aside from holding a sword to your throat (which they are not above doing, by the way), then I don't know what is.

Here's the history behind this case.

Crucial decision in Lina Joy case

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Court judgment today on the Lina Joy appeal will be a historic one with legal and social repercussions, whichever way the decision goes.

This decision by the apex court will affect one’s constitutional freedom to choose one’s religion as well as who one can marry, especially for those who want to renounce Islam and for people who convert to Islam but later want to revert to their former religion.

The judgment, which was reserved on July 4 last year, will clarify whether conversion is a religious matter or a constitutional matter.

Lina Joy, 42, who was born to a Malay Muslim couple, became a Christian when she was 26.

The sales assistant has taken her case all the way to the Federal Court because unless the government recognises her conversion, she cannot get married under civil law.

While Lina managed – the second time around – to get the National Registration Department to change her name from Azlina Jailani in 1999, accepting that she had renounced Islam, it refused to remove the word “Islam” from her MyKad.

The NRD said it could not do so without a syariah court order certifying she had renounced Islam.

As long as the word “Islam” remains on her identity card, Lina cannot marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

In 2001, she took her case against the NRD director-general, the Government and the Federal Territory Religious Council to the High Court.

She lost – Justice Faiza Tamby Chik held that Malays could not renounce Islam because a Malay was defined in the Constitution as “a person who professes the religion of Islam,” adding it was the syariah court that had the jurisdiction in matters related to apostasy. [Utter bollocks, if you ask me.]

Lina appealed to the Court of Appeal and lost again, this time in a majority decision – Justices Abdul Aziz Mohamed and Arifin Zakaria upheld the decision of the NRD but Justice Gopal Sri Ram said it was null and void.

In 2006, she got leave to appeal to the Federal Court and asked the panel comprising Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Court Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff these questions:

  • WAS the NRD entitled to require a person to produce a certificate or a declaration or an order from the syariah court before deleting “Islam” from his or her identity card;

  • DID the NRD correctly construe its powers under the National Registration Regulations 1990 when it imposed the above requirement, which is not expressly provided for in the regulations?; and

  • WAS the landmark case Soon Singh vs Perkim Kedah – which held that syariah courts have the authority over the civil courts to hear cases of Muslims renouncing Islam – correctly decided?

    While Datuk Cyrus Das appeared for Lina Joy, Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Khaltum Jamid appeared for the NRD director-general and the Government and Sulaiman Abdullah appeared for the religious council.

  • The Lina Joy case: Right not infringed on

    PUTRAJAYA: Compelling a Muslim to get an apostasy order from the Syariah Court to renounce his or her religion does not infringe on a person’s Constitutional right to profess another religion, the Federal Court heard.

    Sulaiman Abdullah said the Federal Territories Administration of Islamic Law Act 1994, which conferred on the religious council the power to govern Muslims, was consistent with the Constitution.

    “The Act was created to smoothen the administration of Islam among Muslims so that the harmony and well-being of the community are protected,” he said yesterday.

    “The provisions strike the correct balance between individual rights and the interest of public order,” added Sulaiman.

    Lina Joy is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s majority decision on Sept 19, last year, which ruled that the National Registration Department director-general was right in not allowing her application to delete the word “Islam” from her identity card.

    The ruling was on the grounds that the Syariah Court and other Islamic religious authorities did not confirm her renunciation of Islam.

    In his submission, Sulaiman said the constitutional issue must be viewed historically.

    “We have to take into account that Islam was here from the 13th century. The Malay Sultanate became Muslim and, later, its people,” he said, adding that the system was interrupted with the intrusion of colonial powers.

    “The law that was applied then was Islamic law and several centuries later, Malaysia became a fully Islamic country.”

    He said everything about the Malays then was governed by Islam and Malay customs. On the other hand, British law was limited and based on Christianity.

    “Unfortunately, the British were the stronger party and had their way on what should be Malay customs and Muslim law,” he said, questioning the need to conform to the British legal system after the country’s independence.

    Sulaiman said the Malaysian Constitution was unique in that it had a special place for Islam.

    He added, however, that Muslims could not declare their renunciation of Islam without the involvement of religious authorities because there would be Constitutional repercussions.

    “For instance, one may declare himself a Muslim in the morning and by the evening he is not a Muslim. Or, he is a Muslim when it’s time for zakat and not a Muslim during the fasting month,” he said.

    This prompted Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim to ask: “Are you saying that a Buddhist can be a Buddhist in the morning and a Christian in the evening?”

    Sulaiman answered there was nothing to stop anyone from doing so.

    He said several legal representatives of non-governmental organisations had, in their submissions last week, made attacks on the position of Islam.

    “That is a total reversal of what the Government had set out to achieve,” he said.

    The NGOs had supported the view of Justice Gopal Sri Ram, who gave his dissenting judgment in the Court of Appeal, that the NRD’s refusal to make the amendment in Lina’s identity card without an order or certificate from the Syariah Court was null and void.

    On April 23, 2001, the High Court refused to decide on Lina’s application to renounce Islam on the ground that the Syariah Court should decide the issue.

    The appeal continues today.

    NRD has right to require apostasy order, says counsel

    PUTRAJAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) has an implied power to require Lina Joy to submit to it an apostasy order from the Syariah Court.

    This is provided for under the National Registration Regulations, said Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, adding that the implied power was necessary and appropriate for the NRD to carry out its purpose.

    She said the National Registration (Amendment) Regulations 2000, which were brought into force retrospectively on Oct 1, 1999, included a provision to compel a Muslim to state his religion.

    She said although the regulations were gazetted in March 2000, the NRD was allowed to place the word “Islam” on identity cards from Oct 1, 1999.

    Umi Kalthum said the regulations were procedural and, therefore, could be applied retrospectively to identity cards from Oct 1, 1999. This included Lina’s application to change her name in her identity card.

    “The rights of the individual, the appellant (Lina) in this case, would not be affected,” she said.

    She said the contention of Lina's counsel Datuk Cyrus Das – that the NRD had tricked Lina into making a statutory declaration without revealing her change of religion in order to get her name changed from Azlina Jailani to Lina Joy – was unjustified.

    “Malaysians are very helpful people and the appellant (Lina) was very anxious to make the change. That was not a proper thing to say,” Umi Kalthum said, adding that Das’ insinuation that NRD conspired to thwart Lina’s efforts could not be sustained.

    Justice Richard Malanjum then interjected, “Readers’ Digest would not agree with you,” in an apparent reference to a survey in Kuala Lumpur by the publication which revealed that Malaysians were a rude lot.

    Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim allowed Federal Territory Religious Council counsel Sulaiman Abdullah to adjourn his submissions to Monday after the lawyer told the court that he was ill.

    Sulaiman was not present on the first day of the appeal at the Federal Court on Wednesday as he was attending a conference.

    At the end of yesterday’s proceedings, Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz told assistant counsel Halimahtun Saadiah Abdul Rahman that if Sulaiman was still unwell she would have to make the submissions instead.

    Court has yet to decide on Lina Joy’s appeal

    PUTRAJAYA: There will be no decision yet on Lina Joy’s appeal to the Federal Court against the Court of Appeal’s majority decision on Sept 19 last year which ruled that the National Registration Department director-general was right in not allowing her application to delete the word “Islam” from her identity card.

    Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the three-man bench comprising himself, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judge Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sheriff needed time to look into the submissions by the parties carefully because the issue was sensitive.

    He said the judges had to consider the submissions of every non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was represented by counsel in the appeal.

    The NGOs included the Malaysian Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism; Hakam, Malaysian Women Lawyers Association and National Council of Women’s Organisation, All Women’s Action Society, Sisters In Islam, Women’s Aid Organisation, Women’s Centre for Change and Women’s Development Collective.

    “That is why we need to have some time. We can’t rush this thing. We have to be very careful when we write our reasons,” he said.

    On July 3, the Federal Court reserved its judgment to a date to be fixed.

    Lina, 42, was born Azlina Jailani to Malay parents. She was brought up as a Muslim but at the age of 26 decided to become a Christian. In 1999, she managed to change the name in her identity card to Lina Joy but her religion remained as Islam.

    On April 23, 2001, the High Court refused to decide on her application to renounce Islam as her religion on the grounds that the issue should be decided by the Syariah Court.

    It also dismissed her application for an order to direct the department to drop the word “Islam” from her identity card.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers is mulling over the setting up of a special commission to study religious-sensitive cases like the Lina Joy matter, said Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.

    The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said that in his opinion, the commission, if approved, should comprise the heads of various religions.

    »In my opinion, the question of conversion should be settled in an ‘extra legal manner,’ especially when children are involved,« - DATUK SERI NAZRI ABDUL AZIZ Aziz.
    Nazri said the proposal would be submitted to the Cabinet once it was finalised.

    “In my opinion, the question of conversion should be settled in an ‘extra legal manner,’ especially when children are involved,” he said.

    Replying to Karpal Singh’s (DAP – Bukit Gelugor) query on why a decision had yet to be reached in the Lina Joy case, Nazri said:

    “The decision is difficult to make as it is very sensitive and we have to consider the consequences. Even if it is made in the right decree, the acceptance may be difficult,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address.

    Expressing hope that such a commission would find a resolution to sensitive cases, Nazri noted that the setting up of a Federal Constitutional Court was not the answer to such cases.

    “Even with the Federal Constitutional Court, the judge will be of a certain faith and if he makes a decision favouring that faith, he may be labelled biased,” he said.

    The Government, Nazri said, had ordered the A-G’s Chambers to study in detail issues pertaining to cases such as that of M. Moorthy and A. Rayappan, including gathering input from all sides.

    “It cannot be denied that such cases have raised a lot of sensitive questions that need a deeper understanding between the races if they are to be solved permanently,” he said.

    Although the Moorthy and Rayappan cases involved the conversion of a non-Muslim to Muslim, Article 121 (A) will not be amended. Nazri also said the civil court cannot interfere on matters under the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

    He also said Syariah laws would not be forced upon non-Muslims and the A-G’s Chamber’s had been ordered to study matters arising from divorce case of a non-Muslim couple when one party converted to Islam.

    The family of A. Rayappan, 71, were involved in a legal tussle with the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) on the right to claim his body following his death on Nov 29, last year.

    The former van driver converted to Islam in 1990 but left the religion and returned to Catholicism in 1999. Mais eventually withdrew its claims to the body and stated that evidence pointed to Rayappan being a non-Muslim.

    He was finally cremated according to Christian rites on Dec 8.

    A controversy was triggered following the death of Mount Everest climber Sjn M. Moorthy alias Muhammad Abdullah on Dec 20, 2005.

    His widow, S. Kaliammal, and the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council were embroiled in a legal tussle over the right to bury him when it was discovered that he had converted to Islam the previous year.

    His widow, however, sought a declaration in the civil court that Moorthy lived a Hindu life.

    On Dec 28, 2005, the High Court ruled that it would not disturb the declaration that Moorthy was a Muslim because the latter was under the purview of the Syariah Court system and he was eventually buried according to Muslim rites.

    Lina Joy, born a Muslim, is claiming that she had converted to Christianity and is seeking to restate her religious status in her MyKad. A court decision is pending.

    Concern over decision to refer non-Muslim to Syariah Court

    PETALING JAYA: Judges of the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and the High Courts in Malaya have been urged by various groups to uphold the Federal Constitution, which guarantees citizens the fundamental liberty of professing and practising their faiths.

    In making the appeal, they voiced concern over the March 13 decision of the Court of Appeal where a non-Muslim had been urged to submit to the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

    The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism Sikhism and Taoism urged the Government to make the necessary legislative amendments to safeguard the rights of all Malaysians and to ensure non-Muslims have full and proper access to justice in the civil courts.

    In the case of “T. Saravanan vs R. Subashini,” the council expressed disappointment that “once again, the non-converting, non-Muslim wife of a convert to Islam has failed to get relief from our civil courts.”

    “We express our objection to any requirement for non-Muslims to have to go to Syariah Courts for relief as such courts apply Islamic theological law.

    “Religious laws cannot be applied to people who do not profess that religion,” said council president Datuk Chee Peck Kiat in a statement.

    He added that they objected to any interpretation of the Constitution that deprives any person of fundamental liberties and denies access to a non-Muslim to the High Court applying that general civil law.

    On March 13, the Court of Appeal had asked R. Subashini, a Hindu, to seek recourse at the Syariah Appeal Court.

    The court dismissed her appeal to stop her Muslim-convert husband from going to the Syariah Court to dissolve their civil marriage and convert their children to Islam.

    The Catholic Lawyers Society said they viewed the decision with grave concern.

    “It is disheartening when the very institution that is in place to govern and protect the interests of all persons in accordance with the Federal Constitution refuses to adjudicate when an aggrieved non-Muslim wife seeks redress,” said society lawyer Francis Pereira in a statement.

    “Section 46(2)(b) Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 clearly states 'A Syariah High Court shall in its civil jurisdiction hear and determine all actions and proceedings in which all parties are Muslim',” he added

    “The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Catholic Lawyers Society calls on all parties to give the Constitution due recognition,” Pereira said.

    The Christian Federation of Malaysia executive committee chairman Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing said in a statement that the federation viewed the decision with great concern because it urges a non-Muslim to submit to the jurisdiction of syariah courts.

    “It is troubling to note that what is clearly stated in the Federal Constitution – that the syariah courts shall have jurisdiction only over persons professing the religion of Islam – is now being extended by the court’s decision to include non-Muslims,” he said.

    Please pray for her.

    More, from the local newspapers.

    Crucial decision in Lina Joy case
    Commission to study religious- sensitive cases
    Court has yet to decide on Lina Joy’s appeal
    Counsel: Islam can’t be renounced at will
    The Lina Joy case: Right not infringed on
    NRD has right to require apostasy order, says counsel

    What’s Lina Joy’s status?
    Non-Muslim council holds special prayers
    Concern over decision to refer non-Muslim to Syariah Court

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    The Bangkok Post

    This post was written in Bangkok, while the folks around me are havin their meeting. Unfortunately, the LAN port on the laptop that I am seems to be malfunctioning so even though I have broadband here in front of me, I can’t use it. Sigh… this has been quite frustrating.

    Anyway, all of the photos were taken yesterday. The one below shows the Bangkok sky as we made our way through massive traffic jams to head back to our hotel. It was an hour of total gridlock. But before we hit the jams, the driver was driving at breakneck speeds on the main outer ring road leading into Bangkok from the industrial area.

    Bangkok is really really flat, as far as the eye can see. I however, really like the hills as Penang has lots of hills. And the sea. I love the sea. Chiang Mai, up in the hilly north is more my kinda city as it reminds me of Penang. Hmmm...does anyone notice a trend here?

    I really love Penang. Shortly after by birth, I was taken up to Penang and have live there ever since. I can actually count the days I have spend away from Penang. It totals less than a month out of 26 years, if you're wondering.

    Penang is my Tol Eressea, the lonely isle in sight of Valinor, heaven, where I hope to dwell one day. But in the meantime, Penang will do.

    Bangkok is a major metropolitan city with about 8 million people. And it shows with the rush of traffic and cars and noise. Yikes! I definitely can't stay here for long. I sure as hell can't live here.

    Anyway, I took some photos of the hotel where we stayed in yesterday. The Dusit Thani, Bangkok. Posh. Real posh. And it was bloody expensive, at about 150 US dollars a night.

    Nice bed. And the pillows were so fluffy. Needless to say, I slept, not like a baby, but like a newborn’s mother whose baby went off for the weekend.

    Check out the bathroom. Neat eh? There was even an aromatherapy thingy lighted when I came back. Cool.

    I've swiped the soaps and shampoos so drop me a message and I'll share my stash when I get back. =)

    I would write more but at the moment, all I can think of is getting under the covers and dream. Care to guess where I'll be dreamin of? =)

    The bed beckons.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    What major is right for you?

    Well, there goes my college tuition...

    You scored as Religion/Theology, You should strongly consider majoring (or minoring) in Religion, Theology, or a related major.

    It is possible that the best major for you is your 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th listed category, so be sure to consider ALL majors in your OTHER high scoring categories (below). You may score high in a category you didnt think you would--it is possible that a great major for you is something you once dismissed as not for you. The right major for you will be something 1) you love and enjoy and 2) are really great at it.

    Consider adding a minor or double majoring to make yourself standout and to combine your interests. Psychology is a good minor to add to any major. Please post your results in your myspace/blog/journal.





























    created with

    So, what am I supposed to do with my engineering degree now?
    All my majors seem to be related to the priesthood. History. The Church is historical and so are the Scriptures. Psychology. Confession and counseling. English/Journalism. Homilies, sermons and blogging (as can be seen by the many priest bloggers who have chosen to cast out into the deep of the net). Political science/Philosophy. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More.
    Ok then, Catholic priesthood, here I come!

    I noticed that I got a 100% in management as well. Perhaps an episcopal/papal career is in order? =)

    Anyone want to give it a try?

    Off to Bangkok, Thailand

    Addresses and English, French and German Mass times for Bangkok Churches can be found a the bottom of this post.

    I'll be off the Bangkok, Thailand for a week on some company business. I'm not sure whether I'll have an internet connection there, so in the meantime, I'm going to share with you these photos of the Churches within the Archdiocese of Bangkok.

    Check it out. I love the Cathedral of the Assumption, depicted above, which His Holiness Pope John Paul II visited on his trip here. It is the seat of His Eminence Michael Mitchai Cardinal Kitbunchu, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangkok. The photo on the right shows His Eminence with a Thai Princess at the premier of a Mozart concert in Bangkok.

    Cardinal Kitbunchu was appointed the second Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangkok by Pope Paul VI and elevated as Cardinal Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of February 2, 1983, becoming the first Thai cardinal. He also wears his biretta in his own country. If any of our bishops wear their biretta, supposing that they have one, I think the temperature of Hell will drop slightly and certain porcine animals will take wing. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. I hope he voted correctly =)He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. I hope he voted correctly =)

    The Churches are a mix of traddie and modernist buildings. Some of the traddie ones are pretty nice and include the following:

    Santa Cruz Church

    Immaculate Conception Church

    St. Joseph's Church

    Holy Family Church

    Holy Rosary Church

    Our Lady's Church

    St. Teresa's Church

    Epiphany Church

    St. Francis Xavier's Church

    Mt. Carmel Church

    Immaculate Heart of Mary Church

    Church of Our Lady of Fatima

    The are some pretty nice looking modern ones as well.

    Church of St. John the Baptist

    Church of St. Paul

    Church of St. Joseph

    Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

    St. John's Church

    Church of Mary, Mother of God

    Church of St. Michael the Archangel

    Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mystical Rose

    Not all of the Churches are large. Some are just small chapels.

    St. Mark's Church

    The Thai Church has also managed to inculturate their architecture pretty well as the Church below shows. The architecture is clearly Thai, and yet, with the addition of the Cross on the facade, manages to be identified as a Christian place of worship.

    St. Joseph's Church

    Church of the Holy Infant Jesus

    Church of St. Peter

    Church of St. Louis, built in the style of a traditional Thai house

    Then, as everywhere, there are the ugly modernist ones.

    Church of St. Raphael

    Church of Our Lady
    Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

    Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help

    I don't think I'll have the time to visit any of these Churches because I'm travelling with some other guys and we'll probably be stuck with very little personal free time but I'm going to try to visit at least one.

    Do pray for me that I make it back alive!

    All photos courtesy of the Archdiocese of Bangkok.


    There have been many people looking for the addresses and Mass times for Catholic Churches in Bangkok and have found this page. So, as a service to them, here are the addresses of the Catholic Churches in Bangkok that offer and English, French and German Masses.

    Assumption Cathedral
    Address: 23 Oriental Lane, Bangkok Thailand.
    Tel: (02) 234-8556

    Sunday English sermon at 10:00
    Foreign Mission of Paris
    Address: 254 Silom Road (between Soi 18 and Soi 20)
    Bangkok, Thailand.
    Tel: (02) 234-1714
    Weekly French masses at 7:30 and 11:00.
    Sunday French masses at 7:30 and 10:30
    tel: 02-234-1714
    German Speaking Catholic Church
    Address: St. Louis Hospital (215 Sathorn Tai Road),
    Bangkok, Thailand.
    Tel: (02) 1853739 or 081-8691075
    Info: German Speaking Catholic Church. Services Sunday 10:30 at the chapel of the St. Louis Hospital (215 Sathorn Tai Rd)
    Holy Redeemer Church
    Address: 123/19 Soi Ruam Rudee (off Wireless Rd, behind US Embassy) Bangkok, Thailand.
    Tel: (02) 253-0305

    Info: Weekday English masses at 7:00, 8;00 and 17:30
    Sunday English sermon at 8:30, 9:45, 11:00 and 17:30
    (662) 256-6305; (662) 256-6157; (662) 256-6422; (662) 256-7626 (Thanks to Meg for the updated numbers)
    Saint John
    Address: Hayaek Ladprao, Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Bangkok, Thailand
    Tel: (02) 513-4286

    Sunday English masses at 10:00

    This site offers descriptions and maps to get to the Churches.

    You may contact Holy Redeemer Church here.

    Or alternatively, you can contact the Archdiocese of Bangkok. They should be able to advise you.

    Bangkok Archdiocese Center

    51 Oriental Avenue, Bang Rak,
    Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    66 22 33 87 12
    Fax :
    66 22 33 74 41
    eMail :
    Website :

    I hope this helps.

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Novena to the Holy Spirit

    The great Feast of Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season and the Descent of the Holy Spirit the Gift, Helper, Advocate and Comforter, the Great Paraclete promised by Jesus and sent in the name of the Father to the Church assembled in the Upper Room. The descent of the Holy Spirit marks a turning point in the history of the fledgling Church and enabled and empowered the followers of Jesus to be true disciples and apostles, commissioned, sent and empowered to carry out the Great Mission to the Nations to baptize all men in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all the commandments of Jesus.

    What a great transformation the Holy Spirit had wrought in the lives of the Apostles. From a bunch of quivering scaredycats, hiding in the Upper Room, with the doors barred out of fear of the Jews, they became fearless witnesses. When the Holy Spirit descended in Power upon them, they became great evangelists, fearing nothing by God alone.

    The same Peter who denied his Lord was empowered to speak to the nations gathered in Jerusalem and even, though he was unschooled, to preach the Gospel to the Sanhedrin themselves. What marvels the Holy Spirit had accomplished when these men offered themselves to be empowered by Him. And what marvels will we accomplish in the name of Jesus if we but let our hearts be opened to the Holy Spirit so that He may work through us to renew the face of the earth. Truly, as Jesus had promised, we would work great wonders in His Name.

    Many of the Churches in Penang, including my own parish of the Immaculate Conception, the Church of St Anne in the mainland and the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit have organised special novenas and prayers to prepare the people spiritually as we wait to celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost and commemorate that day the the Holy Spirit descended upon the first disciples amidst the wind and tongues of fire. The novenas serve to remind people of the reality of the Holy Spirit and to ensure that the people are open to receive His gifts.

    Some of you might be wondering what Oi have been up to, since there have been no posts for a while. Well, for the past few days, I've been attending the Novena to the Holy Spirit organized by it's namesake Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Penang.

    The Novena is themed upon Discipleship. Fr. Francis Anthony, the Administrator of the Cathedral has invited speakers who is supposed to give an hour long homily at each evening following the novena prayer to the Holy Spirit.

    Msgr. Eugene Vaz (right ->), the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Singapore started of the novena and preached for the first 3 days. Fr. Vaz is a charismatic and powerful speaker. He kinda reminds me of Master Yoda ( <- left) in the Star Wars movie where he hobbled in with a cane and then proceeded to thrash Count Dooku with a lightsaber and then hobbled off on a cane again. Msgr. Vaz too limped up the chancel steps to celebrate the Mass and limped to the Ambo to preach. But once he was at the ambo, he transformed from the gentleman on the left to the gentleman below. Wow! Speaking and emphasizing his points with gestures and changes in voice pitch and intonation, he certainly managed to hold the parishioners rapt attention as he challenged them to live a life of radical discipleship in following the Lord Jesus Christ.
    After the redoubtable Msgr. Vaz, the newly ordained Deacon Stanley preached on the fourth day. He began by telling us that he did not know that he would be following Fr. Vaz who had been his speech instructor at the Seminary or else he might have declined. Although his delivery has hampered by some technical problems with the mike, Fr. FA declared that he had full marks for content. The newly ordained Deacon Stanley preached the fourth day.

    The preacher of the fifth and sixth days was the Redemptorist, Fr. Neville Sinnappan CSsR from the Church of Mother of Perpetual Help, Ipoh. Fr. Neville highlighted the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus Ligouri as a model of discipleship.


    This is the chancel of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang, where the novena Masses were held. Note the Bishop's Cathedra of chair on the left. The chair of the Bishop gives the Cathdral it's name as it is his seat from where he governs and teaches his flock, the local Church of the diocese of Penang.


    I normally come early, after work and this is what it looks like.


    Another shot. The crucifix has a depiction of the Risen Christ and used to be hung at an angle but is had recently been straightened and a spot light attached to highlight the altar which was previously in the dark.


    Here, Fr. Francis Anthony is saying Mass with deacon Stanley, who preached on the fourth day of the novena.


    The Cathedral entrance. You might be wondering why the u sphoto is like that, as opposed the usually nice photo you see here. It's because Joshua took it, that why. =)


    Fr. Neville Sinnappan CSsR giving the homily. Fr. Francis and Fr. Henry can be seen in the background. Fr. Sinnappan is a Redemptorist priest from Ipoh.


    More tmrw as we celebrate the completion of the novenas and the great feast of Pentecost. I will be celebrating Pentecost in my parish where we'll be having a coffee morning to raise funds for the new Church being built in Sungai Ara. More pics and reports to follow.