Thus it was with much gratitude that my parish of the Immaculate Conception held a special Mass on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the old Candlemass, now known as the Presentation of the Lord, which coincided with the World Day of Consecrated Life. Many of the religious living on Penang island attended the Mass, presided by Frs. Joe Matthews and Paul Cheong OFM Cap and our parish priest, Fr. Marshall Fernandez.
During the course of the Mass, candles for the use of Church and home, were also blessed.
Among the many religious orders represented were the Little Sisters of the Poor, in veils, the Infant Jesus(IJ) sisters, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM), La Salle brother (FSC), Capuchin brother and others.
It was nice seeing so many religious. I estimated that they had together gave the Church more than 600 years of service. It's humbling.
But I was also sad to note that their median age was rather advanced and there was no replacement for these religious once they go to their reward. I was also saddened that so many have abandoned the habits they were clothed in when the professed their vows as an outer sign of their inward commitment.
Seeing the long line of religious approached the priests for Communion was rather nice too.
I was glad that so many servers turned up despite it being a weekday. Thanks to Keshure, Mark, Daniel Roy and John and Joseph.
After Mass, the parish prepared a meal so that all could enjoy some fellowship. His Lordship te Bishop of Penang also turned up, having just returned from outstation.
Bro Paul Ho, FSC, centre, who rejected my application to enrol in St. Xavier's Institution (one bus away from my home) of which he was and is principal. This providentially and fortunately sent me to the Penang Free School (2 buses away from my home), the premier school in Penang where I learned so much, academic brilliance being no substitute for poverty of character not the least among them.
Overall, it was a good celebration. Perhaps next year we could print out Holy cards as a token to be distributed as a sign of thanks to the religious for the sacrifice and for answering God's call. May God accept and reward them.