Kampung Pandan:-After a hiatus of 27 years, a candle light procession was held in conjunction to the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Health (OLGH)’s grand celebration this year. Some 2,200 Catholics from far and near participated in the hour long procession that saw both the Blessed Sacrament and icon of Our Lady, each mounted onto a separate beautifully decorated
4WD that led the faithful around the lanes of the “Indian Settlement’ area of the vicinity of the chapel; while the faithful prayed the Rosary.
OLGH Chapel Administrator, Fr Christopher W. Soosaipillai together with Msgr Sebastian Francis from Johor who is the presider at the evening Mass joined in the procession. Some non-Christians including Hindus and Indian Muslims watched as the procession proceeded solemnly along the routes passing the madrasah, surau and Hindu temples including homes where some also lited candles on their compound fences as a sign of respect to Our Lady.
In his homily preached in both English and Tamil, Msgr Sebastian said may our Mother lead us to show us the way to evangelize, being true disciples of Christ as our focus today and everyday are discipleship, mission and evangelization -all for Jesus Christ.
The diocesan priest said mission begin with the Trinity-Father sending His Son. On mission means one who is sent. Son of God sent by His Father on mission;and Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. Now the era of Holy Spirit sent continuation of mission of Christ and Holy Spirit still on giving. Msgr Sebastian added that only disciples are called on mission and sent on mission and not the crowd. Jesus called them, prepared them, formed them and send them on mission.
Msgr Sebastian who is also the Vicar-General of the Melaka-Johor Diocese went on to say that Mary is disciple par excellent, first and best disciple among humankind: chosen by God to bring Church into the world. “No contradiction, a theologian said Mary brought Jesus- Son of Man and Son of God- truly Man and God participate as human flesh through the Blessed Virgin Mary”.
“The Catholic Church believes the closer you get to Mary the closer you get to God as she brings us to God. Mary dual identity- Mother to her Son and disciple to her Son .Long before Pentecost, she has a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit when she bear Jesus in her womb, Holy Spirit penetrated in Mary. Msgr Sebastian said we all called to mission have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit who is our Counselor and Consoler. He also said Mary rather interesting person yet a person with few words; one instance in the Bible she spoke directly to us at the wedding at Cana “Do whatever He tells you”.
Msgr Sebastian emphasized the urgency of mission for us as chosen and baptized to listen to Jesus and do what He tells you. He also quoted about the pontiff who has dedicated next year 2012 for the New Evangelization as Holy Spirit going to give us new dawn to be evangelists, focus on the plentiful harvest. He said it will be a win- win and called all to go and reap the harvest. “Eleven years has gone since the millennium and urged the assembly to do it our Catholic way ‘to put out into the deep’ with the help of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God will show us the way. You must be a witness, how Jesus suffered and died. Today discipleship goes beyond the Cross and experience the glorious resurrection. Mission is entrusted to the Holy Spirit, we will succeed because the Holy Spirit is with us”, he added.
Msgr Sebastian said each of us disciples will complete the mission of Christ to reach out to the hurt, broken, struggling with sin, so that all will be healed by the power of God; as Christ is the head and we are the Body of Christ (the Church)- we are one.
Just like Mary said Fiat (Yes), we too must say yes to Christ and yes to His Church- we cannot have the head running without the body; just like Pope Benedict XVI at WYD in Madrid told the young that they cannot fool themselves when they said Yes to Christ, but no to Church. “We need both”, said Msgr Sebastian.
He invited all to ask Blessed Mary and her Son Jesus to feed us with the Word and with the Body of Christ that we be ready for this New Evangelization next year. We predicted all kinds of crisis in the world, we pray in the midst of all these crisis, we will say Yes for this New Evangelization to Jesus, Mary and the Church. He ended asking all to be prepared to be evangelizers and missionaries.
After the procession, Benediction was conducted back in the chapel and the celebration ended with a dinner fellowship for all.