Friday, October 03, 2008

Celebrating 200 Years: The College General in Penang (Part 1)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the bicentennial celebration of College General which marked the 200th year since it's move to Penang. The seminary was founded in 1665 in Ayuthia is Siam, now Thailand. This first part will cover the sights in and around the College before the actual Mass started. More on the Mass and the reception in the coming days. First, here's a behind the scenes look at the happenings before the Mass. Because I arrived before the security folks did, I managed to part right at the Hall. Too bad I had to ferry someone later on and lost my space =(

I was at the College early in the morning to help out in putting the final touches to the liturgy. Me and several of our servers were selected to help backstage in getting everything set up.

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The chalices and ciboria were filled with hosts and wine and covered with purificators. These were for the communion of the priests. During the offertory, I helped to remove the purificators from the chalices for the consecration.

Here's the view of the Hall from the Bishop's chair.

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Here's what the Apostolic Delegate will be seeing.

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The altar and backdrop.

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Early on, I was there breaking the unconsecrated large hosts and putting them in the main ciborium for the use of the concelebrating Arch/Bishops and the Apostolic Delegate. The hosts were not broken over the ciborium in order to prevent the crumbs from falling in.

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The chalice used is a gift from Pope Benedict XVI for this occasion. It came in a special case and was supposed to be presented to the College after the Mass but it was decided to use the chalice for the Mass itself. You can just make out the inscription here. Pardon the non-macro mode and my shaky hands.

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It says 200th Anniversary of the establishment of College General - Penang 2.10.2008. Pope Benedict's coat of arms can be seen in the centre.

Outside the Hall, chairs were set up under tents to accommodate those who could not find a place inside. A vocation booth was also set up.

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Many pilgrims came from far off places in Malaysia, Singapore and even from Thailand and Vietnam. Here are some Vietnamese pilgrims before the statue of the martyrs St. Phillip Minh and Companions who were former students of the seminary and canonized saints of the Church.

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Nuns from various orders turned up as well.

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The hall began to fill up and the people waited in expectation for the Mass to start.

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Further off, the bishops and priests were vesting and mingling.

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The seminarians too, from Malaysia and Singapore (and Brother Ross who studied English here for a while, from Cambodia), turned up in full force.

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Seminarians from College General joined in the choir from the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit led by Andre Ong.

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Several of the distinguished invited guests were seated at the front. From the right, they are YB Chow Kon Yeow, who represented the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Penang who was unable to make it because he was out of the country. Beside him is a person who is wearing the Papal Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great and a papal medal (Bene Merenti or Pro pontifice). I really can't tell. On the far left is the Consul General of Thailand in Penang, the Honourable Manopchai Vongphakdi. The College General was first established in Thailand.

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The altar servers from our parish worked behind the scenes to tend to the fire and doing other stuff.

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Mark and the boys in black.

Ok, more soon on the Mass itself.

PS

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Our humility and blogger Mark caught in this shot.

Photo credits: Mark's Mum, Angela and myself. Can't tell which is which now. Mark's mum's camera has zoom. Crappy photos are mine. I'm expecting photos from Mark Yeoh's SLR camera soon.

1 comment:

DonAaron said...

Did the statue of the martyrs have a new paint job?