Friday, June 08, 2007

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Nibong Tebal 07

For all those who did not celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi on the day appointed to it in the General Roman Calendar, too bad.

The Bishops of Malaysia had decided to transfer the observance of this Holy Day of obligation to the following Sunday which I think is ridiculous and pointless as those who are going to come for Corpus Christi would come regardless of when it was held and those who would not won't turn up just because it was on a Sunday. Actually, I think the opposite is true, that the Sunday observance would lessen the normal attendance as people try to find alternative Masses to skip the procession and benediction.

Anyway, to observe the 'real' day of Corpus Christi, I made my way down to the Church of St. Anthony in Nibong Tebal on the mainland. I took half the day off because we needed to arrive early to pass the candle holders to the parish.


Here's our little sweatshop assembling the candle holders.


Young and old, none are spared. The elderly lady above is my grandmother who was also roped in to help.


The Mass was presided over by Fr. Francis Anthony, the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Francis Xavier assisted. Both priests were vested in chasubles, which is a rarity these days. Cool.


How do you like the new stained glass in the back?


Fr. Francis Xavier read the Gospel. Before the Gospel was proclaimed, the Corpus Christi Sequence was sung in Tamil. After that, Fr. Francis Anthony or Fr. FA preached the homily. He explained the meaning of the procession and the symbolism of the lighted candles. He also spoke on the readings of the day.


Censing the altar and the gifts.


The elevation of the Sacred Host. Hoc est enim Corpus Meum, quod pro vobis tradetur.


In an example of true and legitimate inculturation, a few girls carried incense, lighted candles and flowers which were strewn before the Blessed Sacrament during the Doxology. This is a traditional Indian way of showing respect and is what true inculturation should be like rather than the funny stuff like ancestor worship that goes on in some of our Churches.


After the Mass had ended, Fr. FA took the Blessed Sacrament in procession.


The congregation, bearing lighted candles follow behind Christ the Light. We who call ourselves Christians should be lighted to enlighten. You can see the candles ensconced in the little holders we had prepared earlier.


The cloud of incense surrounding the canopy with the Blessed Sacrament, calling to mind the Shekinah, the Cloud of Glory which manifested God's Holy Presence.


Another view of the 600 or so people who followed in the procession as we brought the Light of Christ through the darkened streets of Nibong Tebal.


During the procession, verses of St. John's Gospel on the Bread of Life were read and the Litany of the Blessed Sacrament was chanted.


At various points of the procession, Fr. FA blessed the people with the Blessed Sacrament. It was quite moving to see the crowd kneel on the ground or on the road for the blessing.


The river of light which followed Christ. Each person bore a lighted candle while Fr. FA bore the Light of the World.


The final station for the adoration and benediction was at the altar in front of the Grotto of Our Lady.


The Tantum Ergo and other Eucharistic hymns were then sung in Tamil.


Fr. FA blessed the crowds with the Blessed Sacrament to close the liturgy.

I really love processions and Eucharistic Processions in particular as we bring Christ into the streets in a public profession and manifestation of Faith. We're having another procession within my church compound as my parish celebrates Corpus Christi during the evening Mass on Sunday.

After the Mass and Procession, in true community fashion that one finds in the rural parishes, dinner was prepared for all by one of the BEC's or cell groups. Today is the beginning of the Novena to St. Anthony. Throughout all the nine days, food will be prepared for all by the BEC's in turn. The BEC's which were not selected for the 9 days prepare food for the priests and 'guests'.


As 'guests' were treated to some food prepared specially for us in the parish house. Yum...


Rita said...

Thank you so much for the photographs, you are making me feel quite homesick for the land of my fathers.
I've one question though, I presume you had the Corpus Christi Mass, if so, how did the parish get permission from the Bishop, or were they being naughty ;-)?

I agree with you though, it seems very short sighted to move this feast to the Sunday, and as other bloggers have pointed out, it just increases the idea that Church is just something that happens on Sundays.

Andrew said...

Haha, Rita, when I was in Bangkok for only 5 days (and 4 nights), I was already homesick. I don;t think I can live anywhere else.

The parish had permission. The parish priest is the Diocesan Liturgist. The reason permission was given is because of the novena in the run-up to the patronal feast of the parish, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua started the next day. The Bishop presided over the start of the Novena so it was all above board.

Anonymous said...

It's a great feeling to see the catholic faith in the world which doesn't want God.
"Catholics who hold on to the traditions, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are the true church." - St. Athanasius

I'm also very glad to see a person who supports Trident Mass and respect His Holiness Pius XII (brave person, his "black legend" is work of Soviet regime).
I hope that your country won't be touched by the disease of secularism and atheism like Holland or France.

Best wishes from Poland,

Andrew said...

Hello Mogrim and thank you for your very kind comments. Truly, the catholicity of the Mother Church embraces peoples of all times and places in her arms.

I am praying hard that the Church in this country does got get infected by the diseases of secularism and modernism as well. Do pray for us, that the Good Lord will permit us to hand down what we have received.

God bless!