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BEC Reflection Paper

For the month of November, we are encouraged to reflect on the theme Hope: Engaging Different Cultures and Religions at our BEC gatherings. Click on Reflection Paper for the information in four languages.

Holy Week 2017

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Instead of the usual route around the church building, this year's Palm Sunday procession before the 6 pm Mass on 9 Apr had to start from the vicinity of Costantini Community Centre's new lift due to rain. Despite the inclement weather, parishioners of St Ignatius Church (SIC) were happy to have their palms blessed during this and other Masses of Palm Sunday which ushered in the start of Holy Week. SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong CDD led the procession via the covered car park into church for Mass. Representatives from BECs and ministries helped clean and cut the palms down to size yesterday morning for the benefit of all parishioners. 

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As in previous years, a big gathering of parishioners which overflowed around the church building attended the trilingual Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday which began at 8 pm. This Mass inaugurates the Easter Triduum and commemorates the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders (priesthood). It is also called Maundy Thursday with the word 'Maundy' derived from the Latin mandatum or mandate given by Jesus to his disciples in John 13:34 to love one another.

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The Washing of Feet which ensued took on a different tack from previous years when it was primarily male-oriented. Taking the cue from Pope Francis who has washed the feet of females and even non-Christians, Fr Andrew started by washing the feet of SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Lawrence Ng CDD in imitation of the Lord 2,000 years ago when he taught his disciples that there is no task that is beneath them and nobody is above serving their neighbour. The 12 representatives who had their feet washed comprise the young & not-so-young, lay & consecrated, local & foreign, male & female – reminiscent of the scene in Revelation 7:9 where "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." 

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Shortly after holy communion, Frs Andrew, Lawrence and Stephen Ng CDD led the procession to transfer the Most Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle to the Altar of Repose on the first floor of Costantini Community Centre. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for silent adoration till 6 am after which it was transferred to the prayer room downstairs where it is reserved for communion during Good Friday service. Members of the Liturgy Ministry in particular the Altar Society and other volunteers helped decorate and set up the Altar of Repose for this year which featured a waterfall providing soothing sounds of raindrops complemented by soft Gregorian chants.

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It was hot and humid at 1 pm on 14 April but more that 1,700 parishioners turned up for the Way of the Cross @ Riverbank on Good Friday. Fr Andrew started off proceedings by carrying a wooden cross accompanied by Fr Lawrence from the altar to the church entrance after which a group of communion ministers carried a bigger cross to the First Station. Apart from the Liturgy of the Word, the Good Friday celebration of the Lord’s Passion also included Veneration of the Cross where parishioners come forward one by one to kneel before the crucifix and kiss the feet of Jesus. Click on Good Friday @ SIC to view a video snippet of the event or Good Friday for the Mandarin version.

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RCIA Recollection @ Villa Dominic

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Villa Dominic in Genting Highlands was the venue for the St Ignatius Church (SIC) Class of 2016-2017 RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) Recollection weekend (8-9 April) before their baptism at the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday 16 Apr. Fr Philip Tan CDD celebrated Palm Sunday Mass with attendees and listened the confessions of some confirmands. Martin Jalleh was the recollection master for the event which elicited the responses below:

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I think it was a enlightening weekend having to bond with God, RCIA mates and facilitators. Being back to basics at Villa Dominic serves as a good reminder on things we have taken for granted and appreciate how blessed we are compared to many who had lesser/none. Sincere thanks to all facilitators for their time and love in this journey. – Alfred Raphael Lim. Before this, all I can think of is God as a ‘punisher’. It is because when I keep on falling into the same sins, I always condemn myself, depressed, thinking that I'm not forgiven anymore. But now I got the answers that I'm looking for. As the saying goes: Let Go and Let God. This journey has given me a new perspective. God's love is unconditional. After all, I feel blessed and enlightened especially when dealing with the ‘mind’. It is not easy that's why we have to depend on Him. That's what He wants when we're in the midst of all kinds of difficulties, hardships, confusion and all that. Thanks be to God for this journey and let us rejoice always in Him! – Danny Dominic Joe.

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The speaker was excellent in sharing his experiences with lots of funny stories. Sometimes I got drifted away by his jokes and needed to remind myself what’s the message he wanted to convey. I appreciate the sharing of who is Jesus and what to expect in Holy Week. This was also the first time that I attended Palm Sunday and listened to the Gospel reading of the Last Supper. I like the serene environment, learnt various way to pray and was so touched at the washing of feet. Food was nice, double and triple rounds every meal! Appreciate all the efforts of the facilitators. – Catherine Ler. What can I say...it was truly a very good and beneficial weekend for this old horse. Time just flew by especially with the correct choice of getting Martin Jalleh to be the recollection master for the weekend. The sessions were truly informative and educational, further  strengthening my Roman Catholic faith. He was witty and coupled with his brand of humour made his presentation on the various aspects of the Catholic faith very palatable. I definitely came out from the Recollection weekend very much energised and fully committed to the faith. Thank you hardworking RCIA facilitators. – William John Paul Wong.

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Kudos to all of our RCIA facilitators who organised such a holy retreat with so much of informative & entertaining programmes. It is not an easy job and we were especially touched when we saw them washing our plates and cups. Thank you so much for accepting me into the class and Christianity. I truly appreciate all your guidance throughout my journey here even though I was a late comer. – Hemma Hemalatha. Learnt a lot from the good speaker and his inspirational and motivational talk. It is informative in the way of minor details like getting to know the true meaning behind each word/action we often mention/do. Touched our hearts deeply to know our faith well. – Anne Lim. I've learned a lot through this retreat especially Martin’s presentations and I also felt bonded with members of our group. Thanks to all the RCIA facilitators. – Christine Khoo. Thank you to all RCIA facilitators for being so Christ-like in serving all of us both sacrificially and lovingly into our lives. I had such a great time learning about Jesus and the Catholic Church as well as enjoying the company of all elects. Thanks be to God for all of you. – Jonathan Lim. The two days were wonderful and fruitful especially the healing session. – Alice Lai.

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I've enjoyed and learned a lot during the recollection especially the following activity with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ: (1) Washing of feet - what humility really means. (2) Healing - to remind ourselves that we are imperfect and it’s okay. Learn to ‘let go and let God.’ (3) Guiding and being the blind - to have faith in God and having Him we will be able to go through any challenges we may face. (4) Topics of Holy Week. Last but not least I thank you all facilitators for guiding and bringing us together on this journey. – Judith Yuen. It was such a fun and blessed weekend. Martin Jalleh is such a great speaker. He's really good in giving information and guidance to us. I like all the sessions and am more knowledgeable about Catholic faith. – Karen Montecerin. Such an awesome journey actually and I really had fun, peace of mind, felt spiritual etc. And Martin's talk was so nice. I had tears during the feet walking sessions, nailing the sins on the cross and when Martin started to pray right after the nailing session I started to cry but I had no idea why. It was a great journey for me. – Nishen Perapakaran.

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I feel very happy, blessed and really enjoy the two days and wished it was longer. Martin Jalleh gave us a very good talk. I like the healing session, nailing on the cross, washing of feet...really bring tears...I also cried. This is a great journey so thank you RCIA team. – Daphany Lim. I must say that this is one of most meaningful pre-baptism /motivational preparation for me. Thought the session seems to be ephemeral but the understanding we gained is for our lifetime. A big thank you to all the facilitators, may the Lord bless you all, the devoted and faithful servants. – Steven Aw. It was a wonderful experience for me spiritually. All the sessions and talks that we had were amazing. – Luke Amit Shil. To me it was a wonderful experience especially the washing of the feet. Did not expect that we would experience it too. – Serena Ooi.

 

FLM Singers Outreach to Orang Asli

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by Shelagh Nunis

On Sunday 26 March 2017, St Ignatius Church (SIC) Family Life Ministry (FLM) Singers and friends from BECs and the SIC Main Choir brought an array of supplies to the Jakun Orang Asli of Kampung Amak in Pahang. For most of us it was the first look at a people caught in a time warp way below the poverty line. Full on, we saw the lives of the little, the lost, the lonely, and the least, in the extreme. Our first stop was a dump site where six families actually live and work amidst smoking piles of raw garbage. Materials reclaimed by these families are sold for a mere RM2 to RM3 a day. We then went on to the larger village of Kampung Amak – home to 27 families – most of whom are rubber tappers. They live in a cluster of dwellings made of branches and attap leaves or boards hammered onto posts.

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The Outreach Team served lunch of fried rice, mee hoon and ikan bilis sambal to the kampung folk. And also distributed precious supplies of rice, flour, milk, sugar, flour, oil, salt, canned food, water and biscuits. In addition, we brought along clothing and play things for the children, and a chainsaw for the community to use. After the provisions were given out, there was an exchange of ideas with the kampung menfolk. This would help in charting a long-term plan of outreach. What was identified as an immediate need was to purchase two water tanks to alleviate the water shortage faced by residents of Kampung Amak. FLM Singers coordinator Francis Chong commented: "The outreach showed me the stark picture of a marginalised community. I hope that our group can continue to help these brothers and sisters of ours to break away from such a vicious cycle."

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Some of the youths in our outreach group were also touched. Esther Marie shared that "after witnessing how the communities are surviving without even the most basic necessities and resources, I realise how much I have to be grateful for at home." As for Ashley Kwan: "I feel I have to give my best to help (the Orang Asli). I feel that the world can be a better place for them. At the same time, I hope I can inspire people to be more thankful for what they have in life and also to work together to help these people." It was also eye-opening for Emily Legada: "As we were walking in the dumpsite, I realised how it never struck me that there still might be people living in this kind of environment without even the most basic necessities, right here in Malaysia. I felt sad to see them among the rubbish and the smoke. Even at the village, I realised that I was not grateful for everything that I had, when there were people who could live with nothing at all."

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We are grateful to John Chin of the Assumption Church Orang Asli Ministry who led us into this initiative and SIC Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) for their support. May God bless our Orang Asli with His grace, love and hope. Let us remember them in our daily prayers: that the Lord will protect them from all unwanted elements and keep them safe.

 

RCIA Rite of Election

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by Christine Chua

On 5 March 2017, about 600 catechumens from the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese participated in the Rite of Election held at the Church of The Holy Family in Kajang. A total of 67 catechumens from both the St Ignatius Church (SIC) English and Mandarin-speaking RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) Class of 2016-2017 were there too. This rite is the second to be celebrated in the RCIA process after the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. During the ceremony which was conducted entirely in Bahasa Malaysia, the names of all the catechumens were presented to Kuala Lumpur Archbishop His Grace Julian Leow.  

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In his homily, Archbishop Julian stressed the importance of spiritual preparation before baptism. He pointed out that to be a good Christian, we must trust God, resist worldly temptations and always pray for fortitude and faith. The event ended with light refreshments and fellowship. Now known as elects, many took the opportunity to have their photos taken with the Archbishop. Helping to officiate at the event was Fr Alvin Ho SJ who is the Ecclesiastical Assistant to the Archdiocesan RCIA Facilitating Team. SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong, RCIA facilitators, godparents, family members and friends also went along in support.

 

Stations of the Cross @ Riverside

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On 3 March which is the Friday after Ash Wednesday, 500 parishioners of St Ignatius Church (SIC) filed out of church after Mass which started at 8 pm to participate in the first-ever Stations of the Cross in the car park along Sungai Kayu Ara. A slight drizzle slowly ceased as SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong and Assistant Parish Priest Fr Lawrence Ng led the trilingual devotion together with representatives from the English, Mandarin and Bahasa-speaking communities.

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The event ended at 9.40 pm with prayers & meditation at the 15th Station – The Resurrection of Christ – which is not traditionally part of the 14 stations. Each of the stations (newly-installed and made of wrought iron) depicts in abstract form an event which occurred during Jesus' Passion and Death at Calvary on Good Friday. Fr Andrew urged parishioners to do their own Stations of the Cross at their convenience during this season of Lent.

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RCIA Coffee Morning

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by Shaun On

Catechumens and sponsors of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Class of 2016-2017 teamed up to organise and run their coffee morning on Sunday 19 February. About 20 varieties of food were served as a result of their full cooperation and determination to serve the children attending Sunday school as well as parishioners of St Ignatius Church. The planning for this bonding exercise was done in conjunction with some experienced facilitators, but deep within, it helped to uncover the enthusiasm of the catechumens in food preparation, coordination within and between groups in selling, assigning of hospitality duties as well as cleaning up of utensils and the cafeteria floor.  

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As a goodwill gesture, all the food sold was on donation basis. There was a big round of applause which could be heard throughout the cafeteria venue when all the food were completely sold out just before noon. It was an well-participated activity to help foster continued bonding among catechumens, sponsors and facilitators alike.

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Big Turnout for Bible Timeline Scripture Study

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A hundred and five participants have registered for The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation module which started at 8 pm on Monday 13 February in Room 2-6 of the Costantini Community Centre. This 24 session module is being facilitated by 24 members of the SIC Scripture Study (SSS) group. Joining the attendees for the first session was St Ignatius Church (SIC) Assistant Parish Priest Fr Lawrence Ng who sat through the praise & worship, enthronement & video presentation. Despite Monday being his off-day, Fr Lawrence enthusiastically joined one of the eight groups for faith & knowledge sharing which ended just after 10 pm.

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Earlier on when Fr Lawrence addressed the attendees, he advised that Bible studies should be done gradually and continually – akin to taking small bites each time, every day, to digest. SIC Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong dropped by at around 9.45 pm to greet participants and facilitators alike at their respective groups. This module is a new presentation by Bible scholar Jeff Cavins of the module of the same name conducted by SSS in 2011 & 2013. A study set with questions & answers, a bookmark and a newly-designed Bible Timeline Chart illustrating the major events, people and places of salvation history are used to augment learning. Also present at the opening session was Catechetical Ministry Coordinator Francis Jong.

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Click on SSS for more information.

 

Installation of Mother Mary & St Bernadette Statues

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A new and bigger statue of Mother Mary at the Grotto was unveiled and blessed by St Ignatius Church (SIC) Parish Priest Fr Andrew Wong, CDD after the 6 pm Sunset Mass on Saturday 11 February 2017. Also celebrated today is the optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes which marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous – the firstborn daughter of a miller from Lourdes, France. "I am the Immaculate Conception" was the revelation to Bernadette who in a trance had asked Our Lady repeatedly as to her identity. Canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1933, St Bernadette is the patroness of illness, people ridiculed for their piety, poverty, shepherds, shepherdesses, and Lourdes. A small statue of St Bernadette at the Grotto was also installed and blessed. Fr Andrew hopes that more parishioners will pray at the Grotto which now has 10 new concrete benches for seating at least 20 persons comfortably. 

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World Day for Consecrated Life 2017

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During the General Audience on 1 February 2017, His Holiness Pope Francis asked Catholics to pray for all those in religious and consecrated life, those who have been called to profess the evangelical counsels. With this appeal very much in mind, some 300 Catholics from various churches attended a special Mass to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life at St Ignatius Church (SIC) on Thursday 9 February starting at 6 pm. They came to pray for and to be in solidarity with about 70 priests, nuns and religious brothers from 10 religious communities who were present.  

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Celebrated in English and Bahasa, the Mass followed the liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord with His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow as the main celebrant. His Eminence Cardinal Soter Fernandez, His Grace Achhbishop Joseph Marino (Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia), His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam and SIC Assistant Parish Priest Fr Lawrence Ng, CDD were the conclebrants. In his homily, Archbishop Julian said on this day, the religious are celebrating the vows they took. He reminded that religious life is a calling, not a career; a way of life, not a job; an identity and not just a role they play. The lives of the religious – their witness & example – puts flesh to all that they preach. After Mass, the religious gathered together for a fellowship dinner.

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Physical Enhancements in SIC

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Today (7 Feb 2017) marks the 220th day that Fr Andrew Wong, CDD and Fr Lawrence Ng, CDD has been shepherding St Ignatius Church (SIC) as parish priests. In this relatively short space of time, many enhancements & changes in many forms have been implemented throughout the biggest church in Petaling Jaya (in terms of the number of parishioners). In the area of physical enhancements, some are obvious to the naked eye but some are not. Perhaps the most obvious – especially at night – are the lighted letterings of the SIC name which are now a floor higher and complements the Welcoming Christ statue. Similarly, the letterings have also been shifted higher at the other end of the Costantini Community Centre facing Paradigm Mall. 

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These initiatives will provide motorists and pedestrians travelling along LDP & surrounding roads and LRT passengers greater awareness of the location of SIC. A metal plate listing the timings of Masses, Novenas, Holy Hour and Sacred Heart Devotion has been put up at the main entrance gate. Within the church, there are now two confessionals at the right wing instead of one, two new LED projectors and another LED TV screening Mass proceedings have been installed. Free wifi (sic30) is now available in most parts of the church compound except the most remote areas. The pigeon hole rack for letters has been shifted across next to where the Communion Ministers & Lectors room is located. New wardrobes to store lectors' vestments have been installed in this room. 

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Five hundred new plastic chairs have been added as well as 10 concrete benches seating at least 20 parishioners at the Grotto. New wallpaper now adorn the funeral parlour and Michelangelo's famous masterpiece Pieta hangs on the Rooftop wall at the new lift landing at Costantini Community Centre. A new traffic system has been implemented to ease the entry and exit of vehicles into and out of the church compound. This entails marking the roads – which are newly resurfaced – as well as putting up signages at strategic locations. Priests, staff and volunteers have and will work hard to continually improve the church in all aspects. It is up to each and every parishioner to make full use of our new facilities and cooperate with each other as a Worshipping, Welcoming & Caring Community.

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