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Sunday School Advent Programme Certificate Presentation

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Complete 26 requisite activities during the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas. This challenge was issued by St Ignatius Church (SIC) Sunday School to some 150 of its primary students who were not able to gather as usual in their classrooms due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Why 26? Because there are 26 days in Advent and there is an activity for each day in the season.

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On 11 November 2020 when the Advent Programme was launched, parents were granted online access to register their children, use a guidebook explaining the reason behind each activity listed in the Advent Calendar, & follow instructions on how to upload pictures of completed activities. Virtual Christmas trees were decorated with symbols (each child was assigned a symbol) as activities are completed.

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“Advent is a time of hope, joy, anticipation, reflection, forgiveness & thanksgiving; a time of self-preparation to receive baby Jesus,” shared Catechism Class Support Team member Lelia Chan. “We hope the children who participated in the Advent Programme have gained this deeper understanding of Advent; making their Christmas a more meaningful one.”

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On Saturday 2 January 2021, four students who completed all 26 tasks – Jayden Jayatilaka, Zachary Lau Xue Rui, Allena Mitzie D Valiente & Tristan Jace Edward – were each presented with a Certificate of Achievement by SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong CDD. According to two of the recipients, designing ornaments for the activities & abstaining from regular use of smartphones or electronic devices are amongst the most difficult to achieve. Also present to share their achievement were the students’ parents & a few siblings.

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Available for viewing are two videos on the Advent Programme produced by the Catechism Class Support Team: Our Advent Journey Part 1 and Part 2. More photos of the certificate presentation taken by the Parish Communication Team (PCT) are available at Parish Life in Pictures

 

SIC Flashback Video

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Let us recall the happenings & events that took place at our parish in the past year via Flashback Video.

 

Archdiocese Notice - 31 Dec 2020

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Discovering Deeper Meaning of Christmas

Christmas just a few days ago was extraordinary in many ways. Due to the unabating Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia and restrictions imposed on travelling, gathering & socialising, there was not much of the usual excitement this Christmas with the singing of carols in shopping malls & over the radio; last-minute shopping for Christmas presents; and for Catholics in particular – attending Mass.

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For the benefit of parishioners, St Ignatius Church (SIC) conducted live webcasts of Masses on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with cantata & carolling, and videos of season’s greetings from church ministries & BECs. The church building was decorated and a crib set up for parishioners to pray & reflect from 1 pm to 7 pm on Christmas Day. Refreshments & finger food were also provided in the church cafeteria for a quick snack before parishioners leave for home.

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Below is an article titled My Five Minutes Before the Crib in St Ignatius Church on Christmas Day which describes the author’s visit to the crib & chance encounter with SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong CDD.

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I lost it when I stepped into the church after months of not being able to. Tears were just flowing. Our parish is St Ignatius Church in Petaling Jaya and the parish priest had gotten permission from the KL Archdiocese to allow parishioners to come and pray at the crib in the church on Christmas Day. And my husband and I grabbed the opportunity. This time last year, I was someone who took church, masses, the priests and Holy Communion for granted. There were times when I felt masses got in the way of my social life and church events were dreary. Not anymore.

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Tears started to flow as I walked into the church on Friday and looked up at that familiar sight – Jesus on the cross on the wall and the tabernacle. The Holy Eucharist. It felt like I had come home for Christmas. The tears were flowing fast and strong and the mask was getting soaked. I wanted to use up the five minutes allotted to us as much as I could. But no prayers or praises came out, only tears. Tears of frustration, anger and fear.

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The pandemic robbed me of all things normal and for months I had put up a brave front but when I knelt before the baby at the crib, I lost it. My facade slipped off and exposed my true feelings. He made me see that inside I was still holding on to so much anger and resentment. I was angry with just about everyone and everything for taking church away from me. A sense of helplessness came over me and made me see that there was nothing I could do about all this. More tears flowed.

Then something inside me asked: “How far was I willing to go for Christ?”. All those times I sang songs about giving everything to Him and surrendering myself to Him seemed empty now. Was I really truthful when I said I am Yours, Lord Jesus? My faith in Jesus cannot be conditional. Now is my chance to show that I am willing to let nothing get in the way of my faithfulness and obedience to Him. And what is outside will not diminish my love for Him.

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I picked myself up and walked away from the crib and out of the church, not sure when I’ll be able to return for masses again. But my heart was filled with the assurance that He who is in me is greater than anything out there. I am willing to face anything because He is with me. Our sacristan told us that our parish priest Fr Andrew Wong CDD was waiting in a nearby room with refreshments. We went there not knowing what to expect. And then we saw Fr Andrew. He had been there since 1 pm and it was close to 6 pm now. This was his chance to meet the parishioners for some personal time with them. He said he wanted to see us all personally because it has been a long time since he did.

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We took this time to find out more about Fr Andrew. There were only three of us in that room at that time with the buffet table between us. He told us that he left a high-paying job as a chartered accountant to serve God, and how his late parents were open to him dedicating his life to God although he was the only son. God’s only Son humbled Himself before the cross. The Wong family’s only son is serving the sheep in St Ignatius Church. And I was reminded of the question I was grappling with earlier – how far am I willing to go for Christ?

Videos & photos of Christmas Mass at SIC taken by the Parish Communication Team (PCT) are available at SIC Youtube Channel and Parish Life in Pictures. More faith-filled stories are available at Vanitha’s blog titled Journey With Us - Asia.

 

Youth Ministry 15th Anniversary Video

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This year, the St Ignatius Church (SIC) Youth Ministry is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Through this ministry, many lives, both near and far, have been transformed through the works of our Lord Almighty. And the Youth Ministry would not have been able to get to where it is without the generous support of many throughout the years.

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Although it has been a challenging year so far in 2020, this milestone calls for an occasion to celebrate! Hence, the Youth Ministry invites us to take a walk down memory lane through its Anniversary Video.

 

PIHDM Brings Christmas Cheer to Zomi

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The current Covid-19 pandemic has hit all sectors of our society. Amongst the most affected are migrants & refugees who are not able to get permanent jobs or government assistance due to their status. St Ignatius Church (SIC) Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) has been helping many migrant refugees who seek our aid for many years. One of the groups we have been providing food supplies etc are the Zomi migrants from Myanmar.

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Due to new norms, PIHDM was not able to hold a Christmas party for them this year. So in the morning of Saturday 19 December 2020, we brought food rations, essential goods and toys for more than 50 of their children & families. At their hall in Kota Damansara, we were able to invite only about 20 of them – due to social distancing requirements – to give presents to their representatives who will redistribute to the others later.

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In this season of Advent, we are blessed to be able to bring some Christmas cheer to the poor & needy & let them experience the love of Christ. SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong CDD was also present to greet attendees & gave away presents. We thank all our donors & volunteers who support our ministry in carrying out corporal works of mercy & helped pack gifts on this occasion. Peace & love to all.

 

SIC Notice - 18 Dec 2020

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Genesis of Christmas Hope Song

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Christmas Hope is the Saint Ignatius Church (SIC) Sunday School Choir’s second virtual project since the Movement Control Order (MCO). The song is an original written by SIC parishioner Nicholas Kurt Sta Maria, with inspiration from the children’s thoughts on celebrating Christmas in a pandemic. With hopes to present something special this holiday season, the children were asked to write down and submit how they felt about the unfamiliar situation faced this Christmas.

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The children expressed feelings of loneliness and boredom, being apart from family and friends for so long. ‘Since the MCO started, I feel very sad because I cannot go to school or meet my friends. I do not enjoy staying at home because there is nothing to do, except eat and sleep,’ stated one choir member in their e-mail. Despite the melancholy, most of their responses ended with positive hopes about celebrations at home as they wait for the situation to improve, ‘my wish for Christmas that pandemic will stop, and we can go back to our normal lives… it will be nice to video call and that we could celebrate Christmas together.’

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About 20 responses were compiled and sent to Nicholas, a young and multitalented musician with an Honours Degree in Music & Popular Music from the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. He is also an experienced music teacher currently working in Singapore and loves children. His passion for music and his ability to reach out to kids helped in creating a song that they could connect to. He touches on their loneliness and fear but stays centred on the hope that comes with the true meaning of Christmas. Within a week, a complete demo was ready to be sent out, with help from the rest of the team, so the choir could record their parts.

The final video premiered on SIC’s YouTube channel on 14 December 2020 and was featured on the Catholics At Home Podcast’s ‘An ExtraOrdinary Christmas’ (starting at 1:31:10) on 19 December 2020.

 
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