Sunday, November 30, 2008

In honour of the day

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My icon of the Holy Apostle St. Andrew the First-called

From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Andrew the First- Called Apostle




November 30

Reading:

This Saint was from Bethsaida of Galilee; he was the son of Jonas and the brother of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. He had first been a disciple of John the Baptist; afterwards, on hearing the Baptist's witness concerning Jesus, when he pointed Him out with his finger and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1.29,36), he straightway followed Christ, and became His first disciple; wherefore he is called the First-called of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Saviour, he preached in various lands; and having suffered many things for His Name's sake, he died in Patras of Achaia, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an "X," the first letter of "Christ" in Greek; this cross is also the symbol of Saint Andrew.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

Let us praise the namesake of bravery, the divinely eloquent and first to be called of the Disciples of Christ, the kinsman of Peter. As he called out to him in days of old, so now he calls to us, "Come, we have found Him for whom we yearned."

Reading courtesy of Narthex Press
Apolytikion courtesy of Narthex Press
Kontakion courtesy of Narthex Press
Icon courtesy of Theologic Systems

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Non sum dignus

Dear Suzanne has kindly nominated our humble blog for this marvelous award.
All I can say is many thanks, and really, non sum dignus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flummoxed

I'm flummoxed at why some people choose to receive Holy Communion in the hand and standing. If that's really Christ the Lord, why not kneel and why not receive Him on the tongue? Why deny God the glory?

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What could possibly induce a person who's aware of the great mystery before Him, the Creator hidden behind a veil of bread, to stretch out his hands while standing and not drop to his knees in adoration and receive his Lord an God reverently on the tongue. Why worry about what people think and what people might say or whether or not it looks strange. If it's the right thing to do, why not just do it? Why fear man?

Someone needs to help me out here cos I really can't think of anything.

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Server Lawrence, doin it right

And besides, doesn't it look super cool? =)

PS
Do pray for our new servers that they may persevere in doing what is right despite the crap that might come their way.

Addendum:
Perspective
I've received several interesting comment. I like comments, that's why I don't have comment barriers such as type in the word or whatever. But sometimes, when we do something, it's good to have perspective. So here's some perspective.

This comment:
"And if you favour everything being done properly you will have to find also an adequate vestment for the gentleman who is distributing the Holy Communion. For me, that is even worse than receiving in the in the hand or standing - it shows little respect for the ministery he is playing... "

Are these ministers dressed well enough for you?

And this:
" OK OK, but...but...arrrgh...wearing sneakers with cassock and surplice is a crime! "

How about with a nice slipper?
They're wearing black shoes. Next time, I'll have recruit some to the above to serve since their outfits are coordinated.

Perspective, folks. The photos above were from a Wed weekday Mass on 2 separate weeks. How many parishes have servers on weekday Masses? How many parishes do you know of in Malaysia or Singapore which have black cassocks? How many servers have you come across kneeling for Holy Communion? Heck, not only servers, but anyone kneeling in this day and age for a Novus Ordo Mass?

Do get back so I can compile some statistics to gently persuade our new servers, who are doing great work, BTW, that they are out of the norm.

Again, perspective, folks.

Peter and Andrew

Pope Benedict XVI views relics of Saint Andrew during a special mass by pilgrims from the Diocese of Amalfi at the Vatican November 22, 2008.
REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (VATICAN)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good luck, kids

Some of you might remember the kids from my Confirmation class earlier this year.

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Well, they are now taking their standardized tests, the SPM or Malaysian Certificate of Education which is equivalent to the British O-Levels.

In preparation for this intimidating moment (more intimidating for some (the lazy non-studiers) than for others), a special blessing for the students was arranged at one of the Sunday morning Masses.

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Candles were lit as they got up to the front of the altar.

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The people prayed for them with outstretched arms.

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They prayed for themselves.

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The priest prayed over them.

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And blessed them with Holy Water.

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And a good time was had by all. Anyway, good luck, kids and remember, please don't embarrass me..... further.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Requiem aeternam


In your charity, please pray for the soul of Mdm. Antoinette, the mother of our assistant parish priest, Fr. Mark Michael. Mdm. Antionette passed away this morning.


The wake will be in the IC Church funeral parlour and the funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow afternoon at IC at 3PM.


In paradisum deducant te angeli In tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres Et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem Chorus angelorum te suscipiat et Cum Lazaro quondam paupere Aeternam habeas requiem

Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis
succurente mereantur
evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.


Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and may they deserve
to avoid the judgment of revenge by your fostering grace,
and enjoy the everlasting blessedness of light.

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis ;
cum Sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.


May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with your saints forever,
for you are merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may everlasting light shine upon them.
with your saints forever,
for you are merciful.
REQUIEM aeternam dona ei , Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Catholic Priest, Fr. Paulino Miranda detained by police

Fr. Paulino Miranda

Fr. Paulino Miranda, parish priest of the Church of the Divine Mercy in Shah Alam was detained by the Malaysian police (the Federal Reserve Unit and the Special Branch) who broke up a peaceful gathering held for the abolition of the Internal Security Act which allows for extra-judicial detention without trial at the Amcorp Mall. The people were apparently singing the Malaysian national anthem, the Negaraku whne police in full riot gear charged them.


3 Opposition elected representatives including MP Tony Pua, Selangor State exco Ronnie Liu and Selangor rep Lau Weng San were also arrested with 20 others. More here.

Public gatherings, including Masses at Penang's Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and in my own parish of the Immaculate Conception, have been ongoing as the people have risen in support of the abolition of the ISA.

Do pray for their release of those arrested and for my country, Malaysia.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Christian-Muslim dialogue

There's a meeting going on between the Catholic Church and some Muslim representatives as a follow up on the letter sent by 138 Muslim scholars to the leaders of the various Christian communities in the wake of Pope Benedict's Regensburg address. Personally, I feel that this is all futile rubbish.

Why? Because the Muslim representatives are of no consequence and represent no one but themselves as there's no united Muslim government. Whatever they say or agree to is meaningless to the other Muslims out there. There are no mighty Mullahs from Iran or Afghanistan or Muftis from Saudi Arabia and these are the folks who really matter. This makes the whole thing pointless and the Muslim representatives don't have any locus standi to speak on behalf of Muslims and no Muslim of consequence bothers what they think anyway.

The leader of the Muslim delegation is the Grand Mufti of...... Bosnia. Yep. And we all know the importance Muslims all over the world place on the opinions of the Grand Mufti of Bosnia (oooohh), right? How they all, Osama and al-Zawahri et al, hang on this every word?

Sorry if I'm being bitter, but living here, on the ground in a Muslim country, I realize just how academic this all is and how it's unlikely to have any real actual impact on Christian relations with Muslims on the ground. And I suspect it's the same elsewhere.

Illuminated by the Cross of Christ?
Muslim delegation head Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, reads a document during a meeting at the Gregorian University in Rome November 6, 2008. Catholic and Muslim leaders at unprecedented Vatican meetings vowed on Thursday to work together to combat violence and terrorism, especially when carried out in God's name. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY)

I hope they don't issue a death fatwa against the Pope for violating sharia law by touching a woman with whom he is not mahram. If you're interested in this, Muslim jurisprudence is as Pharisaical as the most intricate of Jewish legal codes.
In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, at right, greets participants of a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum hosted by the Vatican, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. The Pontiff has told Muslim clergy and scholars that Christians and Muslims must overcome their misunderstandings. He is also urging freedom of worship for non-Muslims in the Islamic world. Man at left is unidentified. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)


Hold on one minute there, bub.
In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, right, talks with Mustafa Ceric, head of the Bosnia Islamic Community, during a a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum hosted by the Vatican, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. The meeting is intended to help the two faiths find common ground and improve dialogue. The closed-door forum is gathering 29 scholars and clerics from each side and will end next Thursday, Nov. 6 with an audience with Pope Benedict VI.
(AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)


Note the icon of the Embrace between the Brothers, Sts. Peter and Andrew in the background. Somehow, the dialogue between Cardinal Touran and the Mufti does not seem so brotherly. Hmmm...

And finally, the Church Militant.
A Roman Catholic priest blesses machine guns for the army in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Nineteen Muslim separatist rebels have been killed in fresh air strikes carried out by Philippine troops on southern Mindanao island, an official said (AFP/Str)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mass for the abolition of the ISA and debut of new servers

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A couple of months back, there was a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit for the abolition of the Internal Security Act which permits extra judicial detention without trial at the discretion of the Home Minister. This has been abused to detain political opponents and squash all manner of challenges to the government. My report can be found here. (Pls ignore the comments as the thread kinda spun out of control.)

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My parish began a similar Mass which will be a weekly event on Wednesday nights. They put up 60+ candles, each with the name of an ISA detainee. Fr. Marshall has decided that the candles will be lighted at every Mass until the detainees are released. I believe we'll need a whole lot of candles for a very long time =)

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Anyway, at the Mass, 3 new altar boys served for the very first time. I'm very happy with the progress they have made so far. Here they are in the sacristy, vested in cassock and surplice, before the Mass began.

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Anthony, Daniel and Lawrence

Fr. Marshall began the Mass by explaining that although some of the people detained were indeed criminals who forged currency, led armed insurrections, were from deviant Islamic cults, etc, they should be prosecuted under the existing laws of the country and not detained without trial.
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The concelebrants arrived slightly late, and so vested in the sanctuary

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Fr. Marshall emphasizing a point

But there are others who were detained for political reasons as well such as Raja Petra Kamarudin the blogger.

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The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez of KL, Fr. Edwin Paul the Rector of the Seminary and Fr. Simon Labrooy, the Dean of Studies. The seminarians were present as well, decked in the finest anti-ISA shirts and badges.

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Anyway, moving on. The servers, I thought, did an okay job, considering the little training they had and the sudden change with the participation of several priests.

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The hands were together, they knelt properly and at the correct moments, the sanctus bells were rung correctly, etc.

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Of course there were a few gaffes and LOL moments too, but hey, everything's got to start somewhere right?
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Lookin like a pro

I was very happy and proud to see the new servers reviving the practice of receiving the Lord kneeling. It really made my day. So, Lawrence (shown below) and Daniel, kudos to you both. Keep it up.
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Showing proper reverence during Holy Communion. The libbies in the parish must be fuming =) I'm glad that it took with these guys. My catechism kids seem less responsive.

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Lawrence (don't look so fierce la), Daniel, Anthony and trainer Mark