I'm not going to do into much detail about the Shrine of St. Anne, which is the premier Catholic Shrine in Malaysia. The past posts do it enough justice, I think.
My visit to the Shrine last year will give appropriate background and atmosphere. The Feast of St. Anne 07
The Stations of the Cross. The life sized stations are placed all around the Church grounds.
The Shrine Church. The Old Church of St. Anne. The High Altar and sides altars are still intact and Mass is still said there once a month.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Beautiful, quiet and prayerful.
The Chapel of Reconciliation. The great grandmother of all Confessionals.
I'm going to relate the trip that 4 members of our Schola Cantorum made to the Shrine last Saturday to celebrate the Feast of St. Anne. We first attended a Mass said in Thai. Interesting. They knelt throughout the Eucharistic Prayer until the Per ipsum. Nice.
We then stayed back for rosary and novena to St. Anne followed by the 6PM Mass, which was the anniversary Mass of the dedication of the new Church. The Mass was said by His Lordship Bishop Paul Tan SJ, of the diocese of Malacca-Johore.
In what the parish priest Msgr. Stephen Liew termed a first for the Shrine, the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng accompanied by the honourable Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng and her husband and other members of the DAP entourage attended the Mass.
The Chief Minister was greeted by His Lordship Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of Penang and was accompanied throughout his visit by Msgr. Stephen Liew, the Vicar General and parish priest of the Shrine.
The Mass was con-said by 3 other priests whose names and faces escape me at the moment. The Mass Ordinary, including the Credo, was competently chanted in Latin. The Missa de Angelis and Credo I were used.
The Bishop was ably assisted by his own Master of Ceremonies (the gentleman in black cassock and surplice) from Malacca-Johore. More about this in another post.
The Bishop preached a good and catechetical homily on how Mary treasured the various episodes of her life in corde sua as the Gospels attest.
Which swelled as the time got nearer for the Mass to begin. You can see the outdoor altar and the large screens set up for the people to follow the Mass.
Hi Grace, a jolly Neapolitan and native of St. Anne's parish in Naples preached a brilliant sermon on the place of the Blessed Virgin and St. Anne, noting that it was her upbringing that surely contributed to her fiat, her readiness to listen and to obey the Word of the Lord spoken to her and her being a model Christian and model disciple. He noted how images of St. Anne always depicted her as a mother teaching the child Mary with an open book, the Scriptures.
His Grace also spoke about families and how the main threat to society today is the disintegration of families. Archbishop Pennacchio then related how he himself was from the parish dedicated to St. Anne in Naples and how he longed to join in the celebrations back home. He had also heard of the great Feast in Malaysia and wanted to be present and now, after 5 years as delegate, was finally able to be here with us. Overall, it was a solid homily, something we sorely need more of.
Oh, yeah. His Grace sang most of the prayers, as it should be.
The statue of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary were then solemnly crowned in the presence of the Bishops and the Apostolic Delegate.
After that, the procession began, amidst the flickering of candles, the 30 plus priests, Bishops and the Apostolic Delegate in tow.
The processional image of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin. If you look closely, you can see that they have been crowned.