Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas in IC


Some of you have been asking how Christmas was in my parish since I’ve reported on Christmas in Rome and Bethlehem, but neglected to report on matters closer to home…

Well, here it goes.

Christmas was a simple affair, but the Church was very packed as the Christmas/Easter Christians turned up in full force. This was even though a Vigil Mass was celebrated in Tamil in the evening (this is distinct from the Midnight Mass). The choir, which had been practising for a while, presented a selection of carols before Mass began.


The Church was darkened and remained so until after the Gloria.



We were fortunate to have as a guest concelebrant Fr. Alex Edwin, a friend of Fr. Marshall and our former parish priest. Unfortunately, he is unwell and has been so for a few years and has to undergo dialysis treatments. I'm sure he was very glad to be 'home' with us and celebrate Christmas in this parish. It must be lonely to not be able to minister as a priest.



Overall the celebrations and Mass was pretty straightforward and ordinary (although the event celebrated, the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ was certain not).


But the most striking and extraordinary feature of the Mass would have to be this, a veritable army of extraordinary ministers.


Extraordinary, isn't it? If only the same understanding of the word 'extraordinary' in the extraordinary form of the Mass as allowed by Summorum Pontificum was as widespread.



La Grande Armée marching forth.


M@rK said...

was the kalends sung??

Rita said...

Your Eucharistic ministers are all very respectful and due to the layout of your church, they are probably very necessary, especially for the balconies. I only wish Eucharistic ministers where I am could be half as respectful.

Incidentally, what would happen if you followed the rubrics and only had one cross for veneration on Good Friday? Last time I was there it took 20 mins with 5 crosses. Then again, it was the incessant singing of "The old wooden cross" that was a little tedious. Sung reproaches would be a lot more fitting....and suitably penitential.

Give thanks for a packed church full of respectful worshipers, you are blessed!

Adam Schwend said...

How unfortunate that that extraordinary minister seems to be wearing a deacon's stole.

Andrew said...

Hello Adam.

The minister is actually wearing a sash, which is the universal practice of the Church in Malaysia and Singapore. The ministers of hospitality (who also do the collection) also wear a sash of a different colour as a mark of their ministry.

And in our parts, deacons are an extremely rare breed. We haven't had one in my living memory in this parish. The whole country only has one permanent deacon, ordained 30 years ago. And transitional deacons, given the current vocation situation, are also rare.

Andrew said...

Mark, haha. Surely you kid.

Rita, I agree that some of them are needed and have defended their use in other forums, especially to carry the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and the infirm, especially at hospitals. We have so many hospitals, what, 6 or 7, within the parish bounds. This also helps alleviate the burden of the parish priest.

But what I oppose is their indiscriminate use. Arguments can be made that they are necessary for the balconies. Fair enough. And even the side wings. Ok. But we have ministers in the middle of the Church as well and lines are divided into two. And we even have ministers during weekday Masses where there are less than 100 people and even ministers when Mass is celebrated at outstation chapels and in homes! This is indiscriminate usage.

As for the crosses for Good Friday, I could not be more happy if there were only 5. Because last year, we had the same number of crosses as Extraordinary Ministers... about 12. When I was young, we had only one cross and I came down from the balcony to venerate it, with everyone else. And this was in the 80's, and no one complained.

The issue I have is that people want to always take the easy way out, even when sometimes the hard way is precisely what the rite entails, to make us give an extra effort at least once a year.

I'm all for pastoral solutions, but never pastoral abuse.