By Cecilia Grace Robert
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was celebrated from June 26 to 30 at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The celebration commenced with the hoisting of the flag.
Each day, the celebration began with the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr VA Michael and Sr Mary Heng FDCC led the Liturgy of the Word for the Tamil and Mandarin-speaking of the parish before everyone joined in the main celebration presided over by Bishop Sebastian Francis.
On the first day, the theme was Missionary Disciples of Mercy which highlighted that every Christian is a missionary disciple to the extent that we encounter the mercy and compassion of God.
On the second day, the Bishop of Penang shared on the Missionary Disciples of Hope which is a command from the Holy Spirit for the present and future of all the churches in Peninsular Malaysia.
He stressed that hope is based on the promises of Christ which were already fulfilled in His time. He also explained that the mission entrusted to the Holy Spirit would continue in God’s time. It is lived in the present, especially in the Eucharist.
On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is also the World Day of the Sanctification of the Priests, a Mass was celebrated in the morning by Fr Christopher W. Soosaipillai. He shared that the journey of the priesthood starts from sanctifying to be holy. Despite the struggles that priests face, they continue to bring life and healing to the people. This is the Missionary Disciples in Priests.
On June 29, the Eucharistic celebration was followed by a procession in the vicinity of Peel Road. The float, decorated with recycled material by the Parish Catechism children, carried the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A large crowd of the faithful joined in the candlelight procession with the theme Baptised and Sent. Catholics are reminded that the mission mandate is imperative for a baptized disciple.
The feast concluded with the theme A Church on Mission in the World. In the homily, Bishop Sebastian emphasized on the Sacrament of Baptism. This was indeed a great conclusion to the themes of the feast that, ultimately, we are sent on a mission to the world with the empowerment that comes from Baptism. He also quoted what St Paul mentioned; ‘Fan into a flame the power. He explained the laying on of hands for empowerment in the four sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, Priestly Ordination, and Anointing of the Sick.
The celebration concluded with a message: Mercy, Hope, and Joy is what the world needs. The mission is not within the Catholic Community but, with the Holy Spirit, to go into the world and be witnesses and preachers of the Gospel.