Monday, May 26, 2008

Corpus Christi @ IC

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was celebrated in pretty low key way at IC. Since our application to have a Eucharistic Procession out in the streets was rejected by the police, Father decided to cancel it altogether.

Fr. Marshall and the server knelt before the Holy Eucharist. I forgot to take a pic and only remembered when they were getting up.

Instead, after the morning Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and adoration continued throughout the day until the Mass in the evening.

People praying before the Blessed Sacrament. This continued throughout the day.

The various groups and ministries each had their turn adoring Our Lord Jesus, including the kids from my class who are about to be confirmed a 2 weeks. Throughout the day, groups can be seen praying, singing and praying the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Overall, although without our much hoped for procession, Corpus Christi was celebrated in a dignified and solemn fashion.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day of Prayer for the Church in China

Please do remember the Church in China in your prayers. Pray that there will be reconciliation in the Church and that all her wayward sons may return to communion with Rome.

Also remember the servants of God who so faithfully kept the Faith alive during the darkest days of the Communist persecution, in particular the late Ignatius Cardinal Kung.

For Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians
VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2008 ( Benedict XVI has composed a prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan to mark the Day of Prayer for the Church in China this month.

In his pastoral letter to Catholics in China last May, Benedict XVI designated May 24 as the day of prayer for the Catholic Church in China. The day is the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan, located 21 miles from Shanghai.

"Look upon the People of God," the Pope wrote in the prayer, "and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens."

He refered to Mary as the "Mother of hope," and asked that help her the faithful to "discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence."

"Our Lady of Sheshan," he added, "sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus."

The Pope continued, "Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built."

Below is the Vatican's English translation of the prayer:

* * *

The statue of Mary Help of Christians inside the Marian Basilica of Sheshan, Shanghai, China

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians," the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.

We come before you today to implore your protection.

Look upon the People of God and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God's eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.

You willingly and generously co-operated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, Who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross.

The image of Mary Help of Christians inside the Sheshan Seminary

Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.

Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love.

Marian altar inside the Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan

May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.

Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

Our Lady
Empress of China
Ora pro nobis

New Archdiocese, new Archbishop

VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, separating it from the ecclesiastical province of Kuching and raising the diocese of Kota Kinabalu to the status of metropolitan archdiocese with the suffragan dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan . He appointed Bishop John Lee Hiong Fun-Yit Yaw of Kota Kinabalu as first metropolitan archbishop of Kota Kinabalu. The archbishop-elect was born in Kota Kinabalu in 1933, he was ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated a bishop in 1987.


He is worthy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Corpus Christi in Rome

We'll be celebrating this Feast on Sunday in Malaysia. But the Universal Church celebrated the Feast of Corpus Domini, the Body and Blood of the Lord yesterday. In Rome, the Holy Father led the traditional procession from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Our parish did not get the permit we requested from the police (in February with regular and multiple follow ups) for the procession, so we'll only have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after the morning Mass right up to the evening Mass. My Confirmation class has a slot. Anyway, in Rome...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Feast of St. Felix of Cantalice

I'm very privileged to live in an area of Penang very close several Catholic institutions, among them the Capuchin Friary of St. Felix of Cantalice.


The Capuchin Friary of St. Felix of Cantalice celebrated the Feast Day of it's patron with solemnity. Although the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is the primary celebration here, a small group of friends and collaborators of the Capuchin Fathers and Friars were invited to this familial celebration.

The celebration started with Bro. Allan reading from the Life of St. Felix who is also known as St. Deo Gratias because he often uttered the phrase.


The Mass was concelebrated by Frs Michael Teng OFM Cap, Fr. Michael Raymond, Capuchin Custos for Malaysia and Fr. Decroix, MEP who lives nearby at Stella Maris.


Bros. Allan, Matius and Francis were the choir for the day.



After Bro Allan and Fr. Michael Teng read the First Reading and the Gospel respectively, Fr. Michael Raymond preached the homily in which he traced the life of St. Felix and the qualities that he had that made him a good Christian and follower of Jesus. He also spoke of the renewal of religious life, quoting the thesis of Bro. Matius.



2 of the Friars then renewed the vows, clasping the hands of the Custos. First of was Bro Raymond.



Followed by Bro Matius.



Besides these 2, Bro Allan and another friar (who I presume have made their perpetual vows) also signed the register.




The Kiss of Peace was then exchanged.



The Mass then continued with the General Intercessions.



Going up for Holy Communion in the little Chapel of the Friary. There were more people in the adjacent hall and several other friars as well, including Fr. Paul Cheong, the local Guardian, Fr. Andrew Manickam, Fr. Valentine Gompok and Fr. Joe Matthews OFM Cap, all, who also lives in the Friary.



On the wall of the Friary you can see the various canonized Capuchin saints and beati. St. Pio of Petrelcina is honoured with a statue at the bottom (which you can't see).


Then, we Feasted. A cake, in honour of the anniversary of several priestly ordinations and renewal of religious vows was cut.


Here, you can see many of the priests and friars who travelled from Gethsemani Friary and St. Francis of Assisi parish in Cheras and the Friary in Ulu Tiram, Johore to be present for the celebration.



Good food and good company.



Again, a good time was had by all. Deo Gratias.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mercy, the essence of Christianity

From the Vatican Information Service

VATICAN CITY, 17 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This afternoon, the Holy Father began his pastoral visit to the Italian cities of Savona and Genoa, departing from Rome's Ciampino airport at 3.30 p.m. and landing at Christopher Columbus airport in Genoa at 4.20 p.m. From there he travelled by helicopter to Savona and thence to the nearby shrine of Our Lady of Mercy.

On his arrival at the shrine Benedict XVI was greeted by the religious authorities. He then entered the building, pausing in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and praying before the image of the Virgin, at whose feet he laid a golden rose in memory of his visit. Subsequently he was taken in an open-top car to Savona's Piazza del Popolo where he celebrated Mass and pronounced a homily.

The ladies of the Pope's fan club

In his remarks, the Pope commented on the day's readings where, in a passage from Exodus, God reveals His name to Moses. "The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness", said the Pope quoting the biblical text. "These are human words", he added, "they tell us the truth about God. They were true yesterday, they are true today and they will be true always. They cause us to see the face of the Invisible with the eyes of the mind. They tells us the name of the Ineffable. That name is Mercy, Grace, Faithfulness".

He then recalled how the Virgin Mary had appeared to a local peasant in the year 1536, and how she is still venerated today with the name of Virgin of Mercy. "This is the essence of Christianity because it is the essence of God Himself", he exclaimed. "God is One in that He is entirely and solely Love, but precisely because He is Love He is openness, acceptance, dialogue. And in His relations with us, sinful mankind, He is mercy, compassion, grace, forgiveness. God created everything for existence, and He always and exclusively wills life".

"During the history of the Church, the Virgin Mary has always invited her children to return to God, to entrust themselves to Him in prayer, to knock with trusting insistence at the door of His merciful Heart. ... My visit to Savona on the day of the Blessed Trinity is above all a pilgrimage, through Mary, to the font of faith, of hope and of love".

Benedict XVI then recalled the figure of his predecessor Pius VII. "Two centuries on", he said, "I have come to renew the recognition of the Holy See and of the Church for the faith, the love, and the courage with which your fellow citizens supported the Pope during the exile imposed upon him here by Napoleon Bonaparte".

"That dark page of European history has, by the power of the Holy Spirit, become a rich source of grace and education, even for our own time. It teaches us the courage to face the challenges of the world (materialism, relativism, laicism), never giving way to compromise but ready to pay in person in order to remain faithful to the Lord and His Church".

Those events, and the apparition of the Virgin at a tragic moment in the history of Savona, "come together to transmit a message of hope to the Christian generations of our own day. They encourage us to have faith in the instruments of Grace which the Lord places at our disposal in all situations".

Among these "instruments of Grace", the Holy Father highlighted "individual, family and community prayer". In this context he also recalled how "Sunday needs to be rediscovered in its Christian roots, beginning with the celebration of the Risen Lord", and how "the Sacrament of Penance" represents a "fundamental means of spiritual development".
"Works of charity are other indispensable means of growth", he continued. "In the modern world, which often makes beauty and physical efficiency an ideal to be pursued in every possible way, we are called as Christians to discover the face of Jesus Christ, 'the most handsome of men', in the suffering and the excluded".

In this context, the Holy Father then greeted "prisoners and staff in the St. Augustine penitentiary of Savona" and the sick people of the city.

Turning to address members of the clergy, the Pope invited them "to trust in the effectiveness of your daily priestly service", and to "go out and seek people, as the Lord Jesus did, ... making your presence felt in all areas of work and life". To religious he reiterated the fact that "the world has need of your witness and your prayer".

Finally, Pope Benedict called upon young people "to put your youth at the service of God and your fellows. ... Give this city the passion and enthusiasm that derive from your living experience of faith, an experience that does not dampen the expectations of human life but exalts them by sharing in Christ's own experience".

Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope travelled by car to the port of Savona whence he was taken by helicopter to Genoa where he spent the night at the shrine of Our Lady of Guard.