Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Feast of St. Anne 08

The statue of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The relic of St. Anne is in the golden reliquary.

I'm not going to do into much detail about the Shrine of St. Anne, which is the premier Catholic Shrine in Malaysia. The past posts do it enough justice, I think.

My visit to the Shrine last year will give appropriate background and atmosphere. The Feast of St. Anne 07

The old hilltop Church of St. Anne, the Shrine Church

The new Church of St. Anne

The Stations of the Cross. The life sized stations are placed all around the Church grounds.
The Shrine Church. The Old Church of St. Anne. The High Altar and sides altars are still intact and Mass is still said there once a month.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Beautiful, quiet and prayerful.
The Chapel of Reconciliation. The great grandmother of all Confessionals.


I'm going to relate the trip that 4 members of our Schola Cantorum made to the Shrine last Saturday to celebrate the Feast of St. Anne. We first attended a Mass said in Thai. Interesting. They knelt throughout the Eucharistic Prayer until the Per ipsum. Nice.


We then stayed back for rosary and novena to St. Anne followed by the 6PM Mass, which was the anniversary Mass of the dedication of the new Church. The Mass was said by His Lordship Bishop Paul Tan SJ, of the diocese of Malacca-Johore.



In what the parish priest Msgr. Stephen Liew termed a first for the Shrine, the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng accompanied by the honourable Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng and her husband and other members of the DAP entourage attended the Mass.


The Chief Minister was greeted by His Lordship Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of Penang and was accompanied throughout his visit by Msgr. Stephen Liew, the Vicar General and parish priest of the Shrine.


The Anniversary Mass of the dedication of the Church (which was performed by the then Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia His Grace Archbishop Adriano Bernardini) was said by the Jesuit Bishop Paul Tan of Malacca-Johore. It's nice of see the a Bishop observing the protocols such as wearing the simple mitre and the Roman skullcap.


The Mass was con-said by 3 other priests whose names and faces escape me at the moment. The Mass Ordinary, including the Credo, was competently chanted in Latin. The Missa de Angelis and Credo I were used.


The Bishop was ably assisted by his own Master of Ceremonies (the gentleman in black cassock and surplice) from Malacca-Johore. More about this in another post.


The Bishop preached a good and catechetical homily on how Mary treasured the various episodes of her life in corde sua as the Gospels attest.


The Chief Minister and his entourage left the Church after the very long Communion.


After that Mass, we adjourned outside for the main Feast Day Mass. The rain, which had earlier threatened the festivities, subsided, no doubt from the overwhelming impact of countless prayers. Large crowds started to gather in the open space in front of the Church.




Which swelled as the time got nearer for the Mass to begin. You can see the outdoor altar and the large screens set up for the people to follow the Mass.




The main 'sayer' of the Mass (you might have noticed I'm trying to kick the 'celebration' language and restore the terms 'saying Mass', and hence 'sayer' for celebrant and 'con-said' for concelebrated. I'm sure this phase will pass but till then, please bear with me as I'm trying to make a point.) was the Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia, His Grace Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, titular Archbishop of Montemarano. His Grace is also the Papal Nuncio to Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate to Myanmar, Laos and Brunei.


'Con-saying' the Mass with him were Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of Penang and Bishop Paul Tan SJ, of Malacca-Johore.


Msgr. Liew reminded the people of the great privilege of having the Apostolic Delegate, the personal representative of the Holy Father himself say the Mass for us. During his speech, Bishop Antony asked the people whether they respected, loved and prayed for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to which the people, estimated to number 30,000 by the secular press, have hearty affirmative responses. The Bishop then asked His Grace to convey the love and prayers of the People of the Church of Penang to the Successor of Peter and Supreme Pontiff in effusive language and to particularly express him own personal communion with the Pope. I was stunned, to say the least, especially when the sentiment most often heard of Rome is that it is far away and never have I heard professions of obedience and fealty towards the Vicar of Christ.


Hi Grace, a jolly Neapolitan and native of St. Anne's parish in Naples preached a brilliant sermon on the place of the Blessed Virgin and St. Anne, noting that it was her upbringing that surely contributed to her fiat, her readiness to listen and to obey the Word of the Lord spoken to her and her being a model Christian and model disciple. He noted how images of St. Anne always depicted her as a mother teaching the child Mary with an open book, the Scriptures.

His Grace also spoke about families and how the main threat to society today is the disintegration of families. Archbishop Pennacchio then related how he himself was from the parish dedicated to St. Anne in Naples and how he longed to join in the celebrations back home. He had also heard of the great Feast in Malaysia and wanted to be present and now, after 5 years as delegate, was finally able to be here with us. Overall, it was a solid homily, something we sorely need more of.

Oh, yeah. His Grace sang most of the prayers, as it should be.


At the end of the Mass, His Grace delivered the Apostolic Blessing, in Latin. Nice!


The statue of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary were then solemnly crowned in the presence of the Bishops and the Apostolic Delegate.


After that, the procession began, amidst the flickering of candles, the 30 plus priests, Bishops and the Apostolic Delegate in tow.


His Grace was blessing the crowds as he passed.



The processional image of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin. If you look closely, you can see that they have been crowned.




Our humility can be seen to the left of the image above, taken by Angela.




The sea of lights. I was moving around so you can see the size of the crowds.



The altar from above.




Till next year.


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Beautiful post...Anne is my middle name..

anthony said...

Andrew, this is what you call "not going to go into much detail"?? What happens when you DO go into detail? But great photos, nice post. As a Singaporean, I've always heard about the St. Anne's shrine. Seeing the photos, maybe one day I'll make the trip.

Andrew said...

Anthony, LMAO! When I DO go into detail? You do NOT want to know =)

Check out the photos in the others posts for more on St. Anne's. Do email me if you plan to visit Penang. My gmail username is the same as my blogspot username.

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky that you have a solemm mass with Latin ...the language of the Church...

over here in St Anne Port Klang ..it was terrible ...secular music, clapping during the hymms, priest acting like a MC than a priest ...felt I walking out but did not ..

trust the Jesuits to destroy the Remnant