Sunday, November 30, 2008

In honour of the day

My icon of the Holy Apostle St. Andrew the First-called

From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Andrew the First- Called Apostle

November 30


This Saint was from Bethsaida of Galilee; he was the son of Jonas and the brother of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. He had first been a disciple of John the Baptist; afterwards, on hearing the Baptist's witness concerning Jesus, when he pointed Him out with his finger and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1.29,36), he straightway followed Christ, and became His first disciple; wherefore he is called the First-called of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Saviour, he preached in various lands; and having suffered many things for His Name's sake, he died in Patras of Achaia, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an "X," the first letter of "Christ" in Greek; this cross is also the symbol of Saint Andrew.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

Let us praise the namesake of bravery, the divinely eloquent and first to be called of the Disciples of Christ, the kinsman of Peter. As he called out to him in days of old, so now he calls to us, "Come, we have found Him for whom we yearned."

Reading courtesy of Narthex Press
Apolytikion courtesy of Narthex Press
Kontakion courtesy of Narthex Press
Icon courtesy of Theologic Systems

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Non sum dignus

Dear Suzanne has kindly nominated our humble blog for this marvelous award.
All I can say is many thanks, and really, non sum dignus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm flummoxed at why some people choose to receive Holy Communion in the hand and standing. If that's really Christ the Lord, why not kneel and why not receive Him on the tongue? Why deny God the glory?


What could possibly induce a person who's aware of the great mystery before Him, the Creator hidden behind a veil of bread, to stretch out his hands while standing and not drop to his knees in adoration and receive his Lord an God reverently on the tongue. Why worry about what people think and what people might say or whether or not it looks strange. If it's the right thing to do, why not just do it? Why fear man?

Someone needs to help me out here cos I really can't think of anything.

Copy of DSC00144
Server Lawrence, doin it right

And besides, doesn't it look super cool? =)

Do pray for our new servers that they may persevere in doing what is right despite the crap that might come their way.

I've received several interesting comment. I like comments, that's why I don't have comment barriers such as type in the word or whatever. But sometimes, when we do something, it's good to have perspective. So here's some perspective.

This comment:
"And if you favour everything being done properly you will have to find also an adequate vestment for the gentleman who is distributing the Holy Communion. For me, that is even worse than receiving in the in the hand or standing - it shows little respect for the ministery he is playing... "

Are these ministers dressed well enough for you?

And this:
" OK OK, but...but...arrrgh...wearing sneakers with cassock and surplice is a crime! "

How about with a nice slipper?
They're wearing black shoes. Next time, I'll have recruit some to the above to serve since their outfits are coordinated.

Perspective, folks. The photos above were from a Wed weekday Mass on 2 separate weeks. How many parishes have servers on weekday Masses? How many parishes do you know of in Malaysia or Singapore which have black cassocks? How many servers have you come across kneeling for Holy Communion? Heck, not only servers, but anyone kneeling in this day and age for a Novus Ordo Mass?

Do get back so I can compile some statistics to gently persuade our new servers, who are doing great work, BTW, that they are out of the norm.

Again, perspective, folks.

Peter and Andrew

Pope Benedict XVI views relics of Saint Andrew during a special mass by pilgrims from the Diocese of Amalfi at the Vatican November 22, 2008.
REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (VATICAN)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good luck, kids

Some of you might remember the kids from my Confirmation class earlier this year.




Well, they are now taking their standardized tests, the SPM or Malaysian Certificate of Education which is equivalent to the British O-Levels.

In preparation for this intimidating moment (more intimidating for some (the lazy non-studiers) than for others), a special blessing for the students was arranged at one of the Sunday morning Masses.


Candles were lit as they got up to the front of the altar.


The people prayed for them with outstretched arms.



They prayed for themselves.


The priest prayed over them.


And blessed them with Holy Water.


And a good time was had by all. Anyway, good luck, kids and remember, please don't embarrass me..... further.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Requiem aeternam

In your charity, please pray for the soul of Mdm. Antoinette, the mother of our assistant parish priest, Fr. Mark Michael. Mdm. Antionette passed away this morning.

The wake will be in the IC Church funeral parlour and the funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow afternoon at IC at 3PM.

In paradisum deducant te angeli In tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres Et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem Chorus angelorum te suscipiat et Cum Lazaro quondam paupere Aeternam habeas requiem

Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis
succurente mereantur
evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.

Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and may they deserve
to avoid the judgment of revenge by your fostering grace,
and enjoy the everlasting blessedness of light.

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis ;
cum Sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.

May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with your saints forever,
for you are merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may everlasting light shine upon them.
with your saints forever,
for you are merciful.
REQUIEM aeternam dona ei , Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Catholic Priest, Fr. Paulino Miranda detained by police

Fr. Paulino Miranda

Fr. Paulino Miranda, parish priest of the Church of the Divine Mercy in Shah Alam was detained by the Malaysian police (the Federal Reserve Unit and the Special Branch) who broke up a peaceful gathering held for the abolition of the Internal Security Act which allows for extra-judicial detention without trial at the Amcorp Mall. The people were apparently singing the Malaysian national anthem, the Negaraku whne police in full riot gear charged them.

3 Opposition elected representatives including MP Tony Pua, Selangor State exco Ronnie Liu and Selangor rep Lau Weng San were also arrested with 20 others. More here.

Public gatherings, including Masses at Penang's Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and in my own parish of the Immaculate Conception, have been ongoing as the people have risen in support of the abolition of the ISA.

Do pray for their release of those arrested and for my country, Malaysia.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mass for the abolition of the ISA and debut of new servers


A couple of months back, there was a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit for the abolition of the Internal Security Act which permits extra judicial detention without trial at the discretion of the Home Minister. This has been abused to detain political opponents and squash all manner of challenges to the government. My report can be found here. (Pls ignore the comments as the thread kinda spun out of control.)


My parish began a similar Mass which will be a weekly event on Wednesday nights. They put up 60+ candles, each with the name of an ISA detainee. Fr. Marshall has decided that the candles will be lighted at every Mass until the detainees are released. I believe we'll need a whole lot of candles for a very long time =)



Anyway, at the Mass, 3 new altar boys served for the very first time. I'm very happy with the progress they have made so far. Here they are in the sacristy, vested in cassock and surplice, before the Mass began.

Anthony, Daniel and Lawrence

Fr. Marshall began the Mass by explaining that although some of the people detained were indeed criminals who forged currency, led armed insurrections, were from deviant Islamic cults, etc, they should be prosecuted under the existing laws of the country and not detained without trial.
The concelebrants arrived slightly late, and so vested in the sanctuary

Fr. Marshall emphasizing a point

But there are others who were detained for political reasons as well such as Raja Petra Kamarudin the blogger.


The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez of KL, Fr. Edwin Paul the Rector of the Seminary and Fr. Simon Labrooy, the Dean of Studies. The seminarians were present as well, decked in the finest anti-ISA shirts and badges.


Anyway, moving on. The servers, I thought, did an okay job, considering the little training they had and the sudden change with the participation of several priests.



The hands were together, they knelt properly and at the correct moments, the sanctus bells were rung correctly, etc.



Of course there were a few gaffes and LOL moments too, but hey, everything's got to start somewhere right?
Lookin like a pro

I was very happy and proud to see the new servers reviving the practice of receiving the Lord kneeling. It really made my day. So, Lawrence (shown below) and Daniel, kudos to you both. Keep it up.
Showing proper reverence during Holy Communion. The libbies in the parish must be fuming =) I'm glad that it took with these guys. My catechism kids seem less responsive.

Lawrence (don't look so fierce la), Daniel, Anthony and trainer Mark

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What I learned during the Solemnity of All Saints

God's love is bigger than everything because God is bigger than everything.

Therefore we will all go to Heaven (apparently regardless of whether we want to or not by sinning against God and using our free will to make a choice of refusing His mercy and grace). How does this view accommodate original sin? Easy, as the many priests here have taught for so long. Since Adam and Eve are not real people, original sin must not be real as well and since there's no original sin, everyone can go to Heaven. Why did Jesus have to come? I don't know, but He does love us and all will be fuzzy wuzzy and all right in the end. Alleuia. Amen.

We are, at this moment, regardless of whether we are in a state of grace or not, all Saints so this is our Feast day.

All who have died are in Heaven. (I wonder if the priests will be surprised when no one offers funeral Masses and Masses for the dead in the future, since there's no purgatory.)

And, oh yeah. There's no purgatory because the Church abolished (!) it.
The damage a homily like this does to the kids, God only can know. As if we don't already have no regard for sin and are so confident of Heaven. How much work this undoes, all of the training we give them on the consequences of sin and the need for repentance and contrition, all undone in a few minutes. It leaves behind a huge trail on antinomians who are free to do what they like as they are assured of Heaven.

There's an upside though. Many smelled the bullshit and many instinctive felt that this 'too-good-to-be-true' proclamation was just that. There's still hope.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

Here's my rant from last year.

This year? Same old, same old. No Mass or prayer service, nadda. the priests just came over and blessed the graves. but, as has happened for the past 3 years, even though my grandmother and me waited patiently at my grandfather's grave (where we lighted some candles and burned some incense), the priest assigned to the area (which happened to be our Lord Bishop himself this year) somehow bypassed us.

Oh well. Pics are of the cemetery in less busy times. On All Souls, the place is crawling with people.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. Exaudi orationem meam; ad te omnis caro veniet. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
(“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. A hymn becometh thee, O God, in Zion, and unto thee a vow shall be repaid in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer; unto thee all flesh shall come. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”)

The columbarium. Until recently, there was a Mass on All Soul's here before the blessing of the graves. After that, there was a Liturgy of the Word, then a paraliturgy. Now, nothing. The priests just file in and the blessing begins without any fanfare.

A close-up. There's some wear and tear on the facade. This is an old photo. You won't believe what happened to it now. They've put in a horribly ugly looking blue metal roof that is totally not in keeping with the architecture. What a shame.

The inside. Most of the niches are already occupied. My granduncle is in here too. On the top right.
The is the central cross. I normally use it to navigate around. It's been painted white this year.
My grandfather's grave is in a direct line in front of this cross.

Absolve, Domine, animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omno vinculo delictorum et gratia tua illis succurente mereantur evadere judicium ultionis, et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.
(“Forgive, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from all the chains of their sins and may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge by your fostering grace, and enjoy the everlasting blessedness of light.”)

Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex gloriæ, libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni et de profundo lacu. Libera eas de ore leonis, ne absorbeat eas tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum; sed signifer sanctus Michael repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam, quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini ejus.
(“Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, free the souls of all the faithful departed from infernal punishment and the deep pit. Free them from the mouth of the lion; do not let Tartarus swallow them, nor let them fall into darkness; but may the sign-bearer, Saint Michael, lead them into the holy light which you promised to Abraham and his seed.”)

This grave is on the Protestant side of the cemetery.

Memento mori

The memorial was erected by the Russian Government to honour their fallen comrades. I always light a candle when I pass this way for these men who died so far away from their family and homeland.

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in æternum, quia pius es. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.
(“May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord, with thy saints in eternity , for thou art merciful. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.”)

And for me personally too, I pray:

Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra. Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira. Dies iræ, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriæ, dies magna et amara valde. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
("Free me, Lord, from eternal death upon that terrible day when heaven and earth shall be moved, when thou comest to judge the world with fire. I am afraid and trembling, on account of the coming judgment and wrath. That day is a day of wrath, of disaster and misery, a great and very bitter day. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.")