Saturday, October 04, 2008

Celebrating 200 Years: The College General in Penang (Part 2) - The Mass

The Mass celebrating College General's 2ooth Anniversary in Penang was indeed a fascinating event. It wasn't the most grand of celebrations, but the presence of the many bishops and priests did lend an air of festivity to the whole occasion. The following pictorial journal of the Mass was made possible by the photographic talents (and cameras!) of of Mark's mum, Angela and your own humble scribe). The various angles provide a great visual experience akin to watching a football match on ESPN. It's better than being there (but for experiencing the atmosphere live) because you get multiple viewpoints rather than just one. Especially if you had a bad seat =)

The seminarians (and an ex-seminarian) performed the duties of the acolytes as our servers did not serve, in the end. Our humility mixed the incense for the Mass. I thought it was rather nice, not too smoky with a pleasant after smell, ecclesiastical with floral hints as well. As you might be able to tell, our humility loves incense.

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The processional crucifix is from the College Chapel

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The long lines of priests making their way in wearing the specially made stoles. In case Catholics all over Malaysia were wondering where their priests were on Thursday.

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They came from all over the place, from East and West Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam, most of them alumni of College General which served the entire region before the minor seminaries of St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter in Ponggol in Singapore and Kuching respectively became major seminaries in their own right.

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Several of the old professors of the College General, the missionary MEP Fathers from the Parish Foreign Mission were also present. Fr. Larry Tan represented the Jesuits, Frs. Paul Chong and Joe Matthews, the Capuchins. I did not note other religious priests. Wasn't paying much attention, to tell you the truth.

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The Vicars General of most dioceses were also present. Fr. Danny is last of the priests because he's holding the stoles.

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The forest of mitres. Most of the Crowned Heads of Europe, eerrrr... I mean the Mitred Heads of Malaysia were present as well.

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The Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia, His Grace Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio represented the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

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Archbishops Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur and Nicholas Chia of Singapore were the main concelebrants.

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His Lordship Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of Penang, who's also the President of the Seminary, was the main celebrant of this Mass.

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The procession of priests made it's way to the front where the entire section of seats was cordoned off and reserved for them.

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The bishops made their way up onto the stage.

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The Bishops venerating the altar. We did suggest to put up an altar cross in the sanctuary. And also to bring the nice candlesticks. But the missal stand was there at least.

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Bishop Antony censing the altar.

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The priests. Count them if you can.

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The galleries were also filled up by this time.

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Large projectors were used to project the text of the songs and the video images unto the walls of the hall so that others seated further away could see. For the priests, to spare them from bending their heads up, TV screens were put up front instead. Note the coolers which were put up all around which mitigated the effects of the heat slightly.

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His Grace the Apostolic Delegate was flanked by the Archbishops of Kuching, John Ha of the left and Kota Kinabalu John Lee, on the right. You can make out Archbishop Emeritus Anthony Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur on the far right.

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The effect. You can just see the edge of the projection of the top left corner and the Hall cross in the top centre.

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This Sister read the first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel where God promises to gather His people and replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. May God bring this about soon.

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Censing the altar with mitres.

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The Vicar General of Malacca-Johore Msgr. Sebastian Francis who was my parish priest at one time read the Gospel.

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His Grace Archbishop John Ha of Kuching then gave the homily.

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The Offertory. It was at this point that we did our stuff at the other table removing the purificators and all.

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The concelebrants with Bishop Selva, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur and Archbishop Nicholas Chia of Singapore. Had the shock of my life when I say His Lordship sporting a Roman Collar. He did not wear one even during the ad limina.

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The Final Blessing.

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Throughout the Mass, I was struck by the fact that Archbishop Ha was a very deeply prayerful man, often in deep prayer and concentration.

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After the Final Blessing, there were the usual speeches. More on that later.

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After all the speeches, the long line of priests made their way out a nice lunch.

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My favourite photo of the event, of Archbishop Ha helping Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez down the steps of the Altar.

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I hope you've enjoyed these images which captured the sights and atmosphere of this celebration. More coming soon.

18 comments:

justin said...

Nice photos.

With re. to mitres - they are indeed worn when seated for the readings and then removed for the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

You can confirm that at numbers 136-140 of Cerimonial of Bishops.

DonAaron said...

But most of the pics I seen the crowns were on them... Quite irritated with the last mitre everyone wore the best mitre but come on... Asian Bishop's Conference? LOL... And.. wasn't it supposed to be mitre's down when at the incensing and mitre's on before the 1st Reading begins? Gospel off and Homily back on again? (Well for the exception of the homily the zuccheto would do just fine unless Pope Benedict celebrates mass) LOL

gregwar said...

Great reporting Andrew. Excellent pictures except the ones with the glare from the large windows at the back. BTW did you notice that your PP's robe was of slightly different shade? One small correction: Fr Joe Stephens is a Redemptorist.

Anonymous said...

yep ,saw my current parish and both my ex parish priest ...

Good to see fr.danny doing fine after his back operation ...he was the one that bless my car with only hos shorts ....he he ...

nice fellow anyway and he sings well...

Andrew said...

Yup, I must say I stand corrected. =) Mitres are indeed worn when seated and that includes the readings. Haven't read the Ceremonial in a while. Went through Fortescue as well and it says the same thing. Thanks for the correction, guys.

There were bits of mitre madness at the beginning, as DonAaron had noted, which threw me off. And as for zuchettos, I only saw one, on Archbishop Pennacchio. I might have missed others as I know Bishop Paul Tan usually wears one.

Uncle Greg, I actually meant to say Fr. Joe Matthews. Both of them have similar names and look similar too!

Anonymous said...

asian bishop conference is the based of all sickness with the hierachy

DonAaron said...

Yeah, I mistaken both Fr Joes too when Fr Joe Stephens came down once for a wedding mass here I thought it was Capuchin Fr Joe, but the confusion came when he wore the rosary with the alb and when my priest was mentioning him in the homily...(wondering is this the same capuchin Fr Joseph) LOL

DonAaron said...

Not only His Lordship Paul Tan wears the zuccheto, but I noticed even his Lordship emeritus of Melaka-Johor donned it... till today

Any wayz... From the vatican videos and some other ceremonial of bishops I use to review...

Mitres on during the begining of Liturgy of the Word, procession, offertory receiving and final blessing, other than that during ordinations is during the dialogue of obedience....

Mitres off during incensing, at the begining of mass, gospel (Archbishop Murphy used to use the mitre during gospel and with staff in hand... don't know how come the last mass he celebrated @ OLOG he did not use it - maybe during ad-limina he noticed this protocol LOL) and when offering bread and wine...

Most of the time the zuchetto stays on except when prayer before communion concludes i.e. .... we ask this through Christ.... and then cap's off or someone takes it off for the bishop.... other concelebrants will take off theirs before approaching the altar...

Zuchetto's back on after communion is over and when a bishop sits on the throne or if there's a procession of the blessed sacrament involved, cap stays off...

Anonymous said...

Could I suggest a short blogpost giving a brief history of the College General and its significance. What so important about it that so many bishops had to attend? Pardon my ignorance.

Andrew said...

Hi Anonymous.

Thanks for the suggestion. Will look into it soon. But the simple reason for the attendance of the bishops is that all of the diocesan bishops and priests attending are alumni of the College General. It served the entire region of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Burma before those countries established their own seminaries in the 60's and 70's onwards.

Thus, the bishops you see (with the exception of the Jesuit Bishop Paul Tan) and the diocesan priests in attendance were celebrating the milestone of their alma mater.

DonAaron said...

Actually I was wonderin, since most of the sacred vessels were taken out from the museum, his Lordship could have taken the one crosier hanging in the museum to be used for this mass... LOL

Andrew said...

Yup. The one he used is old faithful, having followed him since I can remember. It's a simple rattan crosier. The one belonging to Bishop Chan in the museum is much nicer.

DonAaron said...

Oh that belonged to him? Tot I saw a similar piece during the Installation of HG Archbishop Murphy @ the mass of his installation for KL Arcd...

Gerard W. said...

Do forgive me for being late in commenting, but I must say that I am impressed with this reporting. Fine work! The Church in Malaysia needs more coverage sometimes.

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