Coordinators of both English and Mandarin-speaking church ministries and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) processed into church 10 minutes before 8 pm on Thursday 30 July 2015 to mark the start of this year's Triduum. The Novena to Saint Ignatius of Loyola was recited followed by Mass with Fr Joe Pereira (Chancellor, Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur) as the main celebrant and SIC Parish Priest Fr Lucas Ng as concelebrant. This year's Triduum is anchored by the parish pastoral theme for 2015-2016 – To be a Worshipping, Welcoming & Caring Community – with the first day focusing on SIC as a Worshipping Community.
In his homily, Fr Joe preached that God is Father of all humanity regardless of religion and is ever-present in our churches. This is signified by the ever-burning tabernacle lamp just as He manifested His presence as a pillar of cloud by day and fire at night as recorded in the book of Exodus. God's presence has made the land on which SIC now stands 'golden' and precious, a far cry from the land which was almost worthless before the church was first built.
After the homily, parishioners Ken Cham and Kamala Mary each gave a short sharing on the present state of the worshipping community at SIC and their hopes for the community in future. Church leaders present were blessed by Fr Joe with the Blessing of St Benedict's Medal and each received a Mission Rosary with a daily prayer for the spread of the Gospel. Towards the end of Mass, SIC Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) chairman Erwin Ho brought in a cake to celebrate Fr Lucas' 56th birthday. Priests then joined some 400 parishioners for light refreshments after Mass.
A Welcoming Community was the focus of the second day of the Triduum Mass held on Friday 31 July 2015 at 8 pm with Fr Joe as the main celebrant and SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong as the concelebrant. Parishioners John Gan and Stephen Ho shared personal experiences which make SIC a welcoming community. A parishioner of 25 years who was baptised in SIC a decade ago, John related that he felt welcomed all along despite being a non-Catholic for the first 15 years. He is particularly grateful to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and his BEC of which he later became coordinator and now BECCOT chairman. As for the future, he hopes SIC parishioners will go beyond singing a welcome song during Mass for first-time visitors by reaching out in friendship and invite them to join our activities.
As for Stephen, he mentioned that SIC which has a dress code has not denied entry or communion to anyone who were improperly attired – just as Jesus has never turned away anyone. He cited in particular the efforts of the Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHD) in giving assistance to migrants and the needy. Another example of inclusiveness mentioned was a joint initiative by Parish Coordinating Council chairman Alphonso Lourdesamy and SIC Scripture Study (SSS) to conduct Bible study modules in English & Bahasa for our brothers and sisters in Christ from East Malaysia. Fr Joe then accorded a special blessing on the sick and elderly and highlighted Romans 15:7 Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God – on the significance of being a welcoming community. About 350 parishioners joined the priests for fellowship and light refreshments after Mass.
On the final day of the Triduum, Fr Joe was the main celebrant and Fr Alberto Irenus (Church of St Francis Xavier), Fr Lucas, Fr Andrew, Fr Francis Chong CDD and Fr Pedro Chia (Society of Jesus) were the concelebrants at the bilingual High Mass which started at 6 pm. Fr Alberto, who was the celebrant at the Triduum Mass for the Mandarin-speaking community at Costantini Community Centre on the first two days, gave the homily in Mandarin followed by Fr Joe in English. Elaborating on the theme of A Caring Community, Erwin shared that ministries such as PIHD as well as parishioners have reached out to the poor both within and around the parish. To a certain extent, SIC has reached out to the Last, Lost, Least and Little mentioned by Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow but the parish can be more worshipping, more welcoming and more caring.
In closing, Fr Joe asked all to commit Ephesians 22 that you should put away the old self; Ephesians 23 be renewed in the spirit; Ephesians 24 and put on the new self – to our hearts and to use it for God's plan and dream for SIC. Fr Joe then invoked a blessing on all families present to become a more worshipping, more welcoming and caring community. Fr Lucas presented Frs Joe and Alberto with love offerings in appreciation for making the Triduum a success and priests joined parishioners for a fellowship dinner after Mass.
Click here to view more photos of our Triduum.
Photography: John Ari Ragai, Matthew Soo & Peter Law
by Sulochini Anne Nair
Signs and symbols, which the Catholic Church is so rich in, must be understood clearly and interpreted correctly to be passed on to the young. Otherwise catechists risk getting the message garbled and the young risk getting it wrong and losing their faith. This was the thrust of the talks and sharing by Fr Gregory Chan at the 12-14 June Annual Outstation Retreat attended by 40 St Ignatius Church Sunday School Catechists and Administrative staff. The retreat at the Barre I J Centre in Cameron Highlands was themed Catechesis: Indispensable Ministry of the Church.
“As catechists do we punish or pretend we don’t see when something is not right, or do we try and understand Catholic signs and symbols (and teachings) so as to impart them correctly. Otherwise you risk causing misunderstandings,” Fr Gregory cautioned. For example, he said, priests come across all manner of posturing when members of the congregation come up to receive the Eucharist when the correct way is to say Amen before receiving the host. He told catechists that their lives too must be consistent and consummate with the Church. “Your lives must be a sign and symbol of the authentic (Catholic) life. Don’t become a counter-sign.”
Fr Gregory reminded us that catechesis means proclamation or reverberation of the faith to all and is not restricted to Sunday School, RCIA or RCIY – just as Jesus exhorted his disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News. And catechesis is not new, he said, tracing its existence to the time of the Gospel writers. “We have to proclaim to the world and to do that we have to use the correct language of (inter-faith) dialogue.”
This dialogue comprises four important elements: 1) LIFE – as in dialogue with one another; 2) ACTION – caring for one another, for instance, in a disaster; 3) THEOLOGICAL DISCOURSE – talking about the similarities rather than differences of faiths; and 4) DISCUSSION & FAITH SHARING – we need to understand that all religions have a reflection of the truth of God but the Catholic faith has the fullness of the truth because of the Incarnation when God chose to enter humanity. Due to the problems of Islamisation and proselytising especially of our youths, Fr Gregory went on to enlighten the participants with an introduction to the Quran, saying nowhere in the Quran are Christians described as non-believers. On the other hand, they are accepted as people of The Book.
Fr Gregory also touched on demonology and shared his experiences in the Deliverance Ministry he was placed in charge of as a priest in Seremban. He urged catechists to be alert against games invoking demons that our children are being exposed to especially via the Internet. He said those who invite the spirits consciously are willingly asking the devil to take control of them. “The presence of evil is very real. Demons work for the systematic destruction of the Church.”
Earlier, he explained the timeline of Salvation History right up to the Gospels. Participants also had the opportunity to watch two documentaries: Miracles of the Eucharist and Nine Days That Changed the World on Pope St John Paul II’s historic pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979 where he moved the Polish people to reclaim their courage and free themselves from communism. Besides being an educational two days with Fr Gregory patiently answering the many questions he was asked, participants (half of whom were youths) also bonded together over meals and the bus rides up and down the hill while refreshing themselves for their ministry work ahead.
In a departure from previous years, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi or The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ was celebrated at St Ignatius Church (SIC) on 6 & 7 June 2015 with the theme Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life. The programme on Saturday 6 June started at 8 pm with Exposition & Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Gospel reading and homily in both English and Mandarin by SIC Parish Priest Fr Lucas Ng. A video on Miracles of the Eucharist was screened followed by recitation of two decades of the rosary (Joyful & Luminuous Mysteries) interspersed by a praise & worship session.
Parishioners learnt from the video that the miracles in Bolsena and Orvieto in Italy brought about the Feast of Corpus Christi and the famous hymns O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo penned by St Thomas Aquinas. After a coffee break, the programme resumed with a video titled Miracle of the Eucharist at Macerata, a Chaplet to Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life, praise & worship, and ended with Benediction at midnight.
The programme for the following morning of Sunday 7 June included activities to create greater awareness and respect for this most precious gift of our Lord to all humanity. Well before the official starting time of 9 am, the cafeteria was already busy with parishioners being served free food and drinks – nasi lemak, fried beehoon, roti anai and fried kuay teow. Activities organised were an art exhibition contest, video screenings on miracles of the Eucharist, exhibition & quiz on vestments and sacred vessels used during Mass, a Gospel hunt & Sudoku puzzle contest, and story-telling for pre-schoolers.
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Some may call it perfect timing whilst others say it is divine providence. Nevertheless, this year's Rosary at the Grotto in St Ignatius Church (SIC) ended with the procession entering the church building just as a few drops of rain started to fall. The timing is especially crucial as this is a period with intermittent heavy rainfall in the afternoons and evenings. Some 500 parishioners took part in the event on 31 May 2015.
Starting at 5 pm, a statue of Our Lady decorated with flowers was carried by six SIC youths starting from within the church to the first station near the Grotto. Altogether the statue was carried around the church compound by representatives from BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) and ministries from the English- and Mandarin-speaking communities to five locations – each relating to the five decades of the rosary.
At each location, all present recited a decade of the Glorious Mystery in English, Mandarin, Bahasa and Tamil and sang hymns in honour of our Blessed Mother. SIC Parish Priest Fr Lucas Ng, SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong, Fr Philip Tan (Provincial, CDD priests in Malaysia) and Fr Francis Ng CDD also joined in the procession which signals the end of the month of May which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year's event was organised by BECCOT (BEC Coordinating Team). BECs taking part include St Emmanuel, St Alphonsus Liguori, SS4 combined and Kayu Ara, as well as representatives from the Legion of Mary.
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Photography: John Ari Ragai
Pentecost is one of the great celebrations of the Catholic Church although it is not as well known as Easter or Christmas. The word Pentecost comes from the Greek word Pentekostos which means fifty. Pentecost Sunday – the 50th day after Easter Sunday – marks the close of the Easter season. On 24 May 2015, Catholics celebrated with joy this wonderful day when Christ filled the Church with the power of his Spirit and sent it out into the world to bring his peace, joy and forgiveness to all peoples.
At St Ignatius Church (SIC), the Feast of Pentecost was celebrated with a Novena to the Holy Spirit from 15-21 May & 23 May, and a Pentecost Rally on 22 May which included praise & worship, novena, silent adoration, benediction and Mass. SIC Sunday School celebrated this feast which is regarded as the birthday of the Church in a visual manner. Pupils of Standard 1 St Paul wore flame headbands – created by their catechist Ivy Wong – to illustrate the descent of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire on the disciples of Christ.
A week before Pentecost Sunday, His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow presided over his first Mass to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Ignatius Church (SIC). During the Mass which started at 6 pm, Archbishop Julian and SIC Parish Priest Fr Lucas Ng conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 93 Catholic youths witnessed by godparents, family, friends and fellow Catholics. In his homily, Archbishop Julian reminded confirmands that they are fully adults after having completed the sacraments of initiation. As soldiers of Christ, they were advised to deepen their faith and be ready to face a world which is hostile to followers of Christ. SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong and Fr Francis Ng CDD were the concelebrants at the Mass.
Seventy-one students from the English Sunday school and 22 students from the Mandarin Sunday school were anointed with the Oil of Chrism to signify receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit which marks their total belonging to Christ and their enrollment in his service for ever. With Confirmation – the completion of Baptism – the baptised are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed. In addition to bread and wine, confirmands offered up their talents and gifts for which they have been blessed with, and faith experiences encountered through Sunday School lessons, Renewal in the Spirit Seminar, service projects, Confirmation Camp and other activities.
One of the last to leave the church building was Charlene Alexis Teresa Andante Cacas who was busy taking photos with her parents, sister and aunt. Asked for her feelings on being confirmed, Charlene could only utter one word: Happy! It is most appropriate that she should feel this way as Joy is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. Apart from Joy, we hope that all confirmands will be blessed with other fruits such as Charity, Chastity, Faithfulness, Generosity, Goodness, Kindness, Love, Modesty, Patience, Peace & Self-control.
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Photography: John Ragai, Daniel Khong & Matthew Soo