Friday, February 29, 2008


Just came back from the Stations of the Cross and Mass. Great attendance, about 400-500, as in last year. The music was horrid though... perhaps the schola can sing for the Mass.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sacred Spaces in Casa Andrew: Altar in Grandma's Room

Here’s another edition of Sacred Spaces in Casa Andrew.


Recently, the Crescat posted some recent photos of her home altar. It has loads of icons and has a very Eastern feel to it. In response, other bloggers posted on their home altars as well. Surprisingly, many of these home altars have icons as their primary devotional focus rather than being predominantly based on statues as is the Western Catholic tradition. Hmmm….

Icon of the Yaroslavl Mother of God which hangs in my room

Don’t get me wrong. I have a deep love for the spirituality and meaning of the icon. In fact, I have a pretty good collection of icons myself and they help me greatly in my spiritual life as windows to Heaven. I do plan to post more on my icon wall soon, but I am Western Catholic, where the devotional development has tended towards statues in it’s expression. And as such, the prayer corners of my home primarily have statues of Christ, the Mother of God and the saints as the focus of devotion rather than icons.


So, since the Crescat has expressed surprise over the lack of statue oriented home altars, I present to you the main altar in my grandmother’s room, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Like all typical Catholic altars, this one is centred on the Crucifix.



The crucifix is a smaller version of the one which hangs in my room.



As you might have guessed from this altar and the one in my room, we’re pretty big Sacred Heart fans.



The altar is also dedicated to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Protector of the Holy Family, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster Father of Our Lord Jesus, the man He called His Father on Earth. St. Joseph has a special place in our hearts as our special patron and protector and to his intercession we place the protection of our home, that he may pray for us and protect us as he once protected the Holy Family in Nazareth.



The white statue of the Sacred Heart with outstretched hands is supposed to go over our front door. But I haven’t managed to get the pedestal set up yet, so temporarily, it’s venerated here.


Anyway, there you have it. The main altar in my grandmother's room. It has been a great help and focus of prayer and I hope you have been edified in sharing this sacred space with me.

Past posts on the Lady Altar, the Altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the little altar in my room can be accessed by clicking the links.


Have a sacred space at home? Do share! Post a link in the combox.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

YOU can make a difference!

An altar transformation in Dublin, at the RSCI chapel, from this:

Note the heretical antependium. It's a tree with all sort of religious symbols growing out of it. Mark tells me is symbolizes the various religions of the student body. But frankly, I find it heretical to drape the Altar of Sacrifice, the Symbol of Christ the Rock, in such a thing. Note also the off-centre crucifix and the lack of an ambo.

to this:

Note the Benedictine altar arrangement. Why is the chalice veil of a different colour? I don't know. Perhaps it's the only colour they have. St. Peter's it's not, but note the difference when compared to the photo above.

Again, from this:

to this

Don't mind the makeshift ambo (which happens to be on the Epistle side rather than the Gospel side because that is occupied by the presider's chair. Why did Mark not move it? I don't know. Mark? It was later draped with a covering as well.

Check out Mark's account on how this took place here. This took place during Advent.

This just goes to show that all of us can make a difference, no matter where we are. What have YOU done to re-orient and re-sacralize the celebration of the liturgy?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Struggling to breathe

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Don't you just hate it when you visit a blog and it's not updated? Yeah... me too.

Sorry for the sparse posting folks. It's not as if I have nothing to update, but the opposite. And that's the problem. There has just been too many things to do.

But I promise to post an update tomorrow... or I'll eat my hat!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pope to Jesuits: Come back to your original charism

He sent Cardinal Rode and, just in case they din get a clear enough message, he said it himself. Emphasis mine. From the Vatican Information Service:


VATICAN CITY, 21 FEB 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants of the Society of Jesus’ general congregation, with the newly named superior general, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, which has been meeting in Rome from 7 January.

The Pope encouraged those present and all their brothers in the Society to continue in their faithfulness to the mission received from God, “in full fidelity to the original charism in the ecclesial and social context that characterizes this beginning of the millennium”.

“The Church”, he said, “urgently needs persons of solid and deep faith, of serious culture, and of genuine human and social sensitivity; of priests and religious who dedicate their lives to living at the margins in order to bear witness and help further the understanding that there exists a profound harmony between faith and reason, between evangelical spirit and a thirst for justice and dedication to peace”.

“The Society of Jesus, Benedict XVI continued, “faithful to its best tradition, should continue forming its members with great attention to the sciences and to virtue, without conforming to mediocrity, because the task of confrontation and dialogue in very diverse social and cultural situations with the different mentalities of today’s world is one of the most difficult and costly there is”.

“In the attempt to build bridges of understanding and dialogue with those who do not belong to the Church or who have difficulty in accepting its positions and messages, you must loyally take charge of the Church’s fundamental right to remain faithful to its mandate and adhere completely to the Word of God as well as to the Magisterium’s charge of conserving the truth and unity of Catholic doctrine in its entirety”.

The Pope emphasized that “this holds not only for the vow of each Jesuit. As you work as members of an apostolic body you have to also remain attentive that your works and institutions always maintain a clear and explicit identity so that the goal of your apostolic activity is neither ambiguous nor obscure and so that many others might share your ideals and might effectively and enthusiastically join with you, collaborating in your vow of service to God and as human beings”.

The themes that are debated and questioned today, such as the salvation of all in Christ, sexual morality, and marriage and the family, should be considered in the context of contemporary reality, maintaining, however, that harmony with the Magisterium that avoids the provocation of confusion and uncertainty in the People of God”.

The Holy Father encouraged the Jesuit fathers to “continue and to renew” their mission among and with the poor. “For us”, he said, “the option for the poor is not ideological but rather is born of the Gospel”. Besides making the “effort to understand and fight the structural causes” of injustice and poverty, he added, “it is necessary to fight the deep roots of evil in the very heart of the human being, the sin that separates us from God, without forgetting to care for the most urgent needs of others in Christ’s spirit of charity”.

Finally, referring to the Spiritual Exercises, “which from its origins have characterized your Society”, the Pope asked that they “continue making them a precious and effective instrument for the spiritual growth of souls. (...) The Spiritual Exercises represent a particularly precious journey and method for seeking and encountering the face of God in and around us and in all things; for coming to know his will and putting it into practice”.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The quotable Pope

Amen brother! ... errrr.... Father....

(all above, real quotes of Pope Benedict XVI)

Halo-tip to Mark.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greek Orthodox Archbishop enthroned

Metropolitan Hieronymos of Thebes, was officially elected head of the Orthodox Church of Greece a week back to succeed Archbishop Christodoulos who died on cancer.

He was officially enthroned in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

Let's wish him many years.

Ordination of Deacon Matthew Bun to the Priesthood - Part 1

REPUBLISHED WITH CORRECTIONS: Someone whose opinion I greatly respect and who has more accurate knowledge on the matter has informed me of some factual errors in the post regarding Fr. Jacob Wong. I apologize for the mistake. It was not intentional and originated from a source I accepted in good faith.

The corrected post below.

The previous Friday, we had the privilege of attending the Ordination of Deacon Matthew Bun to the Sacred Priesthood. His is a special case as although he is from the diocese of Penang in the north, he will be serving in the neighbouring southern diocese of Malacca-Johore instead.


The seminarians.


The priests. Including clergy from Fr. Bun's new home, Malacca-Johore.

Fr. Matthew had his seminary training in Taiwan where Mandarin is spoken and spent some time at the local seminary after his return from Taiwan, to familiarize himself with the local Church. We has posted to my parish of the Immaculate Conception for a while and had sessions with the young people where he fielded questions. Good effort.

I also saw him during the many times I attended Mass the seminary chapel. In our conversations, he strikes me as an orthodox and solid Catholic.


The ordinand.

He had requested permission from the Bishop of Penang to be ordained in his cathedral which is also Fr. Bun's home parish. The Bishop agreed. The ordaining bishop, however is the Bishop Paul Tan, SJ of Malacca-Johore.


The Bishop of Penang, His Lordship Antony Selvanayagam.


Present also were bishops Paul Tan, SJ of Malacca-Johore, Archbishop Emeritus Anthony Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur and Bishop Emeritus James Chan of Malacca-Johore who sent Fr. Bun on his way to seminary. The VG's of Penang and MJ were there as well.


The Jesuit Bishop Paul Tan is the only Malaysian Bishop to wear his skullcap, or perhaps the only Malaysian bishop to even possess it. He was the General Assistant for the Jesuit Assistancy of East Asia and Oceania and worked in the Jesuit curia in Rome before being appointed bishop. A scholarly man, he was actively involved in ecumenism, having co-founded the Christian Federation of Malaysia which groups the Catholic Church with the Council of Churches, Malaysia (mainline Protestants) and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship. He was also instrumental in founding the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism which represents and speaks for the non-Muslim population.


Bishop Paul Tan calling the candidate, above and Deacon Matthew Bun answering the call, below.



The instruction of the candidate replaced the homily. It was read by Bishop Paul with deacon Matthew listening attentively at his side.

“My son, you are now to be advanced to the Order of the Presbyterate. You must apply your energies to the duty of teaching in the name of Christ. Share with all mankind the word of God, meditate on the law of god, believe what you read, teach what you believe and put into practice what you teach.”


Accepting the promise of obedience.




The Litany of the Saints, above. Deacon Matthew is prostrate as the Bishop prays over him, below.



Next, we come to the key moment, the laying on of hands, where the Bishops and priests present lay hands of the candidate. Bishop Paul Tan, above, and Bishop Antony Selva below, lead the procession.



Archbishop Emeritus Anthony Soter Fernandez and Bishop Emeritus James Chan, above, and Msgr. Sebastian Francis and Fr. Bun's seminary rector in Taiwan, below.


The selection of photos below show the priests performing the laying on of hands.




Check out the alb on the last priest above.


The bishops and priests, with hands outstretched, await the completion of the laying of hands.



After the laying of hands was complete, the Bishop prayed the Prayer of Ordination, raising Deacon Matthew to the priesthood.


More photos coming up in part 2, soon.