Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Newman's Funeral

At 3PM last Saturday, Newman made his final journey from his house to the Church. His casket was borne by several of his classmates, friends and relatives for the mile plus walk to Church accompanied by hundreds of mourners.

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I was at the Church as I was requested to be the commentator for the Mass and was supposed to coordinate the Choir.

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The turnout was overwhelming at the Church was packed. The casket made it's way into the Church to the mournful, deep tones of the Church bell. Many non-Christians friends of Newman attended the Mass which was mainly in Tamil (except the presider's prayers and the Eucharistic prayers and the General Intercessions). The outpouring of grief, love and affection was very touching.

Fr. Marshall, our Parish Priest presided over the Mass.

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During the Sign of Peace, Christians and non-Christians alike exchanged the sign of peace with each other.

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During Communion, the people took the opportunity to get one last glance at Newman.

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His final exit was accompanied by the solemn tolling of the Church bells which rang out amidst the drums from the his school's Lion Dance troop. When the casket, once again borne by his family and friends exited the Church gate, firecrackers were let off. Interesting.

Anyway, what a great outpouring of love and affection for Newman, an indication of the many lives he had touched during his brief sojourn. Wish I had known him better.

Eternal rest grant unto Newman, O Lord.
And perpetual Light shine upon him.
May his soul rest in peace.
Amen.

7 comments:

Augustine said...

Amen.

M@rK said...

That's the funeral I want too when my time arrives.

Andrew said...

Then you'd better go soon, while we are all still around to attend =)

I would very much like mine to be a simple affair, celebrated in St. Peter's Square by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, after a long and fruitful and holy pontificate.

Augustine said...

"Then you'd better go soon".

Here we have a blogger truly welcoming to his readers :-P

Adam said...

Andrew,
Can you tell us something about the open coffin? The last time I attended a funeral in Hong Kong the coffin was laid before the altar, open, for the duration of the Mass. At the end of the ceremony the priest, standing at the head of the coffin, led the congregation in making three profound bows towards the coffin, which was then sealed in our presence. Is this, then, a common practice in SE Asia?

Andrew said...

Adam,

In recent years, the trend has been to have the casket half open. The cover comes in 2 parts, the lower half of which is sealed. Some of these have glass covers which seal the coffin but allow the occupant to be seen, like Newman's, while others don't have this glass cover.

Most of the coffins are sealed when the casket leaves the home for the Church. In some cases, such as Newman's, the casket is then opened again during the funeral Mass so that the people may have a last glance during Communion. It is then sealed at the Church entrance or at the cemetery before being lowered into the ground.

I have never seen the 3 bows setup in Malaysia, but it is a Chinese custom to make bows to the casket as a sign of respect to the deceased.

Hope this answers your question.

Adam said...

Thank you.