Thursday, December 31, 2009

Malaysian court rules Christians can use 'Allah'

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 31, 2009; 6:27 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A Malaysian court ruled Thursday that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word Allah to refer to God, striking down a government ban as illegal.

The landmark ruling appeared to be a victory for freedom of religion in the Muslim-majority country, where the ban had become a symbol of what minorities say is institutionalized religious discrimination.

Government lawyers said they will consult with the Home Ministry before deciding whether to appeal Judge Lau Bee Lan's verdict in a higher court, where the ban could still be reinstated. They have one month to appeal.

Lau said in her judgment that Christians have the "constitutional right to use Allah" and that the Home Ministry is "not empowered" to impose the ban.

She was ruling on a lawsuit filed in late 2007 by the Herald, the Malaysian Roman Catholic Church's main publication, after the government blocked non-Muslims from translating God as Allah in their literature.

"This is indeed a landmark case for our nation," the Herald's editor, the Rev. Lawrence Andrew, said in a statement. He said the verdict upholds constitutional liberties of freedom of speech, expression and religion.

Authorities have insisted that Allah is an Islamic word that should be used exclusively by Muslims, and its use by other religions would be misleading.

The ban had affected the Malay-language edition of the Herald, which is read mostly by indigenous tribes who converted to Christianity decades ago. The Mandarin, English and Tamil editions do not use the word Allah.

About 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Muslim Malays. A third of the population is ethnic Chinese and Indian, and many practice Christianity.

Thursday's verdict means "that the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking community of the Christian faith can now continue to freely use the word Allah, a word that has been in their worships and instructions in the faith without any interference from the authorities," Andrew said.

The government had argued that the Herald's online edition can be easily accessed by Muslims. Although the government has not said it explicitly, the fear among authorities is that Muslims might be tempted to convert to Christianity by reading Christian literature.

Lau said the government argument is outdated. She said the Herald's readership is largely limited to followers of Christianity and "that is a sufficient safeguard."

Minorities have often said their constitutional right to practice religion freely has come under threat from the Malay Muslim-dominated government. The government denies any discrimination.

Recently, the government confiscated 10,000 copies of Bahasa Malaysia-language Bibles because they contained the word Allah.

The National Union of Malaysia Muslim Students urged the Home Ministry to appeal the decision.

In the Malaysian context, "the word Allah is exclusive and only refers to the concept of God that is understood by Muslims," it said in a statement. It warned that allowing the Herald to use Allah could cause confusion among Muslims who may leave their faith.

Treasure all things and ponder them in your heart

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
New Year's Day

The great philosopher, Socrates, once wrote: “An unreflected life is not worth living.” A person who does not pause once in a while to evaluate his life, to ponder on where he is going and where is God leading him, would soon find life burdensome.

Today, as we start a new year, we are given the example of Mary, Mother of God, who “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The New Year is often celebrated with parties and activities. Everyone is so busy having fun that they sometimes forget to follow the example of Mary to treasure and give thanks for all the things they received in the past year and to ponder on where God is leading them.

Today, let us take some time to reflect over the past year. We are called to remember not only the good things that happen to us. If we remember these good experiences, let us thank God for them. But if we also remember painful and sad experiences, we should also thank God. God has been given you the strength to go through these experiences. The fact that you are here today means that God has not abandoned you inspite of the many difficulties which you have experienced.

One needs to reflect on one’s life because it is only through reflection and prayer that we will understand God’s plan for us. Perhaps, we are not able to see clearly at this point of time. Perhaps, there are many uncertainties that lay in the future. But we believe that God is our constant guide. He continually speaks to us through the events of our lives. If we do not take time to pray and reflect, we will find ourselves moving from one activity to another, aimless and without purpose. It is only with prayer and reflect that we can come to recognize the presence of God even in our painful and difficult experiences.

As we begin a new year, let us put off our old selves, our old bad habits, our old selfish ways. Let us begin this new year with renewed faith in God as Mary did. We the priests of this parish also pray that you will continue to receive God’s blessings throughout this year. This is our prayer for you, the prayer of Moses:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holy Innocents - December 28

The children mentioned in St. Matthew 2:16-18:

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they were no more."

The Greek Liturgy asserts that Herod killed 14,000 boys , the Syrians speak of 64,000, many medieval authors of 144,000. Modern writers reduce the number considerably, since Bethlehem was a rather small town. This cruel deed of Herod is not mentioned by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, although he relates quite a number of atrocities committed by the king during the last years of his reign. Perhaps, the number of these children was so small that this crime appeared insignificant amongst the other misdeeds of Herod.

Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (cf. Mt 2:16-17). Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs. Throughout the centuries Christian art, poetry and popular piety have enfolded the memory of the "tender flock of lambs" with sentiments of tenderness and sympathy. These sentiments are also accompanied by a note of indignation against the violence with which they were taken from their mothers' arms and killed.

In our own times, children suffer innumerable forms of violence which threaten their lives, dignity and right to education. On this day, it is appropriate to recall the vast host of children not yet born who have been killed under the cover of laws permitting abortion, which is an abominable crime. Mindful of these specific problems, popular piety in many places has inspired acts of worship as well as displays of charity which provide assistance to pregnant mothers, encourage adoption and the promotion of the education of children.

The ancient Coventry Carol is a mournful lullaby to the Holy Innocents. The words are printed below.

Lully, Lullay, thou little tiny child.
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay thou little tiny child
Bye, bye, lully, lullay

O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing
Bye, bye lully, lullay

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

Then woe is me, poor child, for thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye lully, lullay.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

God at the Centre: The Holy Family

Holy Family Year C

Which is the greatest school of life? Is it the primary school where you attended classes from Standards 1 to 6? Is it the secondary school or for some of you the university where you continued your studies? Not one of these is the greatest school of life. Not even the Church where we receive our faith education and catechism. The family is the greatest school of life. It is in the family where we learn what it means to be a person, to be a citizen, to be a Christian, and to God’s children.

The family is the place where we learn to trust in and depend on others. The family is the place where we are loved and we learn to love. Today, the family as the school of life is under threat. We see so many broken families; families where husbands and wives are not communicating to each other; families where children are not communicating with their parents. The rate of divorce is on the increase. When people are not able to find happiness in their own marriage, they look for other partners. Many are sending their elderly parents into homes for the aged because it is too inconvenient to care for them. Children see more of their maids and babysitters than their own parents. There is so much pain, anger and frustration in our families. Parents give up on educating their own children especially when they become teenagers and often leave it others, to the school and the church, to deal with their problems. Do all of these sound sad and hopeless? Well, today’s feast of the Holy Family reminds us that all is not hopeless. All is not hopeless when we are prepared to make God and our faith the center of our lives again.

The Holy Family was not a perfect family. They too had their problems. For example, we hear of one incident in today’s gospel where Jesus’ goes missing. Joseph and Mary must have been both worried as well as angry. Any ordinary parent would? It’s not wrong to be angry especially when wrong things are done. It’s not wrong to discipline our children. In fact, it is the responsibility of parents to discipline their children and teach them the right values. Mary in today’s gospel also reprimanded Jesus: “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” The Holy Family is just like any other ordinary family – we remember them as the ‘holy’ family and not as the ‘perfect’ family. It is most likely that they had their disagreements and arguments, just like all other families. They may have experience disappointment and tension, just like all other families. But, what sets them apart from other families is their faith in God. They understood that a family is never truly a family unless God is made the center of it.

When God becomes the center of the family, we can begin to treat each other with true love because God is Love. How can there be love in a family if God is absent? No family can survive without love. The love of God reminds us that our children are not our possession, they belong to God. The love of God reminds us that our husbands and our wives are not our property, they belong to God. The love God reminds us that love is primarily about giving, even when one doesn’t seem to receive anything in return.

If we make God the center of our lives and the lives of our family, does this mean that all our problems will be solved? No. We will continue to have problems, but we believe that the God will not abandon us. He is ever faithful. If we remain faithful to him, he will remain faithful to us. And it is the faithfulness of God that will help you to overcome every obstacle and problem that you may face as a family.

My dear parents, today, I ask you to recommit yourselves again to one another as husbands and wives. Remember the promises you’ve made to one another on the day of your wedding. Today, I also want you to recommit yourselves to your children as parents. I hope you remembered the promise you made to God and his church on the day of your child’s baptism – the promise to bring them up according to the Catholic Faith. This calls for you to live up to your identity as Catholics. This calls for you to deepen your faith so that you can be an example of faith to your children. This calls for you to pray as a family. So many problems arise in today’s family when they stop praying together as a family. If you have failed to allow God to be center of your lives, if you have failed to remember him especially in your relationships to one another as a family, ask God for forgiveness and the strength to recommit yourselves to family life.

My dear children, the Lord reminds you today to listen and honour your parents. But more importantly, you must constantly listen to God. Make God the center of your lives. One day, you too will become parents and start your own family. I hope that God would also be the center of your family life.

Celebrating Christmas in the Kongsi

Fr. Michael celebrated mass with Indonesian migrant workers in a kongsi in Senawang area.

The Day After ... "Boxing" or "Stoning" Day?

December 26, the day after Christmas Day has often been shrouded with some strange traditions and festivals. The secular world knows it as "Boxing Day" but the Church's Liturgical Calendar commemorates the Feast of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr (or the First Christian Martyr).

Boxing Day
The name is not derived from the custom of clearing the empty boxes that had contained Christmas presents opened the day before. But the name is derived from the English tradition of opening the "Christmas Box."

The Christmas box was a wooden or clay container where people placed gifts, originally meant for the poor.

During the Age of Exploration, when great sailing ships were setting off to discover new land, a Christmas Box was used as a good luck device. It was a small container placed on each ship while it was still in port. It was put there by a priest, and those crewmen who wanted to ensure a safe return would drop money into the box. It was then sealed up and kept on board for the entire voyage. If the ship came home safely, the box was handed over to the priest in the exchange for the saying of a Mass of thanks for the success of the voyage. The Priest would keep the box sealed until Christmas when he would open it to share the contents with the poor.

Subsequently, an 'Alms Box' was placed in every church on Christmas Day, into which worshippers placed a gift for the poor of the parish. These boxes were always opened the day after Christmas, which is why that day became know as Boxing Day.

Many poorly paid workers were required to work on Christmas Day and took the following day off to visit their families. As they prepared to leave, their employers would present them with Christmas boxes.

During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would "box up" their leftover food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands.

Therefore, in spite of its secular connotations, the name "Boxing Day" had roots in Christian tradition of alms-giving.

Feast of St. Stephen

For the Church, December 26th is always celebrated as the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr. Stephen was one of the deacons appointed by the apostles to care for the poor, especially the widows.

Acts of the Apostles tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law (Acts 6:13-14). He was stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob and witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, the future St. Paul, the Apostle.

Saint Stephen's name is simply derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown", which translated into Aramaic as Kelil. Traditionally, Saint Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.

Why is the seemingly sober feast which commemorates the death of a martyr juxtaposed with the joyous feast of the birth of Saviour? It seems like some sick morbid joke. But the wisdom of the Church is expressed in depth of the liturgical catechesis found in the sermon of Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe for the feast of St. Stephen.

"Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier.

Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world. Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Our king, despite his exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet he did not come empty-handed. He brought his soldiers a great gift that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in his divinity. He gave of his bounty, yet without any loss to himself. In a marvellous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his faithful followers while remaining in full possession of his own inexhaustible riches.

And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbor made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment. Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven. In his holy and tireless love he longed to gain by prayer those whom he could not convert by admonition."

Christmas 2009 ... in and around Seremban

Fr. Michael and Fr. George would once again like to wish you and your family a very Blessed and Joyful Christmas!

More photos in Facebook album.

Friday, December 25, 2009




我们今天庆祝圣诞节。这一天,天主向我们显示他对我们的爱。他爱我们如此深,竟派遣他唯一圣子成为我们当中的一份子。耶稣,天主圣言不是只是一个空洞的诺言或言语。这圣言成了血肉降生成人。这圣言一言语奇迹,印证了天主对我们的爱。而最后, 这圣言在十字架上实现了。圣言死在十字架上为使我们能生活。我们不能再怀疑天主对我们的爱。他为我们而死在十字架上。那就是他对我们的爱的最大证明。我们不需要再征求其他任何的证据。耶稣本身就是天主圣爱的证明。


Word made flesh

Christmas Day

Throughout your life you may have heard these words many times: “I love you.” We hear it from our parents. We hear it from our brothers and sisters. We hear it from our friends. We hear it from our wives and husbands. Sometimes, some its difficult to say these words; “I love you.” Many Asian parents find it difficult to tell their children that they love them. My parents found it hard to tell me. But they know how to show those same words through action. Although my parents seldom say those words to me, but I know they really love me because of the many sacrifices which they have made for me. Therefore, love can be expressed through both words and actions. But actions are always more powerful than words although it would be nice to hear those words once in a while.

Today, we celebrate Christmas. It is the day God tells us that He loves us. He loved us so much that he was prepared to send his only Son to become one of us. Jesus, the Word of God, is not just an empty promise or mere words. This Word took flesh and became man. This Word spoke and performed miracles to demonstrate the love of God for us. But finally, this Word was made real on the cross. This Word died on the cross so that we may live. We can no longer doubt that God loves us. He died on the cross for us. That’s the greatest proof of his love for us. We don’t have to ask for any further proof. Jesus is proof enough of God’s love.

Today, Jesus has been born to us. He is the Word of God. He is the promise of salvation. He is the word of love, the love letter which God has written to each and everyone of us. We are given a choice - to accept him or to reject him. He has promised us that those who accept him “he gave power to become children of God” (gospel). If we have received the Word of God, we must now share it for others. A word unless it is shared is of no use. Words are meant for communication and for building communion.

Therefore, Christmas is not only a time to receive presents, sing carols and put up Christmas decorations. It is a time where we are asked to share the Word of God that we have received. We must share Jesus with others. This is the greatest gift that we can offer to one another. Let us continue to share him with everyone we meet so that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

Wishing friends, parishioners and loved ones, "a Blessed and Joyous Christmas"!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Politically Correct Seasons Greeting

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010 , but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great. Not to imply our country is greater than any other in the world Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

For those who are politically incorrect and unenlightened::
"Merry Christmas"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009









Today, a Saviour has been born to us!

Christmas Midnight Mass

Many of you have come home for the holidays. Many of you have come home to celebrate Christmas with your family. Many of you are present here because of your loved ones. Tonight is a night that no one wants to be alone. It’s a night we want to be with our loved ones, our family members and friends. It’s a night we want to feel welcomed and a place to belong.

Today, if you are here with your family, friends and loved ones, you are very lucky. It’s not always the same for everyone. It wasn’t like this on the first Christmas night for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. They too returned to Joseph’s hometown, Bethlehem. But instead of experiencing hospitality and a warm welcome from friends, family and the town’s people, they were turned away. They had no place to call home. They had no friends or relatives to welcome them. They were lonely, tired, hungry, cold and unwelcome on the night the Saviour was born. Jesus was born into a world that did not recognize him or wanted him. Everybody was too busy with their own problems and affairs. No one had time to think about the greatest event in the history of man – the day God became man and was born into this world.

Today, we may also have forgotten about the main reason of our celebration. We may be so caught up with our own needs and desires. We may have been so busy preparing for Christmas by cooking, putting up decorations, caroling, shopping and buying presents that we have forgotten the main reason for today’s celebration. It is Jesus. Are we going to make the same mistake again as the inhabitants of Bethlehem on that first night of Christmas? Have we been so caught up with the darkness of worldly pleasures, the pursuit of riches and fulfillment of our ambitions that we have failed to see the great light of Christ’s coming? Have we been so blind that we do not recognize that Jesus continues to come to us in the form of the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the lonely, the mentally ill, the sick and the weak?

The psalmist calls us to wake up to this beautiful truth: “Today a saviour has been born to us; he is Christ the Lord.” As the Prophet Isaiah foretold long ago: “For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him; Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Today, if you are feeling lonely because your family and friends are not present with you at this mass or at home, rejoice and be glad. Stay close to Jesus. Accompany him on this night. He and his parents too experienced loneliness and rejection. Today, if you feel trapped by your problems and things have not been going so well for you, rejoice and be glad. Jesus, the light of the world, has broken into our darkness. He is our salvation and our liberation. Today, if you feel that you are poor and that you have nothing much to celebrate, rejoice and be glad. Jesus, the Saviour of the World, was also born in a poor manger among animals who were his guardians. His visitors were not the great kings of the earth but poor shepherds who had to work even on such a night. Today, if you are weighed down by sorrow, rejoice and be glad. For our saviour has broken “the yoke that was weighing on (us), the bar across (our) shoulders and the rod of the oppressors.”

Tonight, we are also asked to think not only of ourselves and our own needs. Tonight, we are invited by Christ to think of others, especially those who are poor, the homeless, the elderly, the lonely and the sick. Let us bring this good news today, the good news announced by the angels: “Glory to God in the highest heave, and peace to men who enjoy his favour.” Wishing you all a happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joint RCIA Christmas Event and Fellowship - December 20, 2009

By Arthur Pinto

This event was organized with the joint effort of the English, Mandarin, Tamil and the Bahasa Malaysia RCIA facilitators.

The programme started at around 10:30 am with some of the groups having their individual class session. The English group did a session on the meaning of Christmas.

At around 12:00 noon, all four groups came together at the Parish Hall, already set up with decorations to give the feeling of Christmas. Participants were made up of the RCIA candidates and their family members, sponsors and facilitators. In total we had a headcount of about 120 who attended.

We started with an ‘Ice Breaker’ to get the groups integrated and then ‘carol singing’ by each group in their own language. They was a lot of fun and excitement during the ‘Ice Breaker’ and we also observed some good preparation in the ‘carol singing’ especially by the Tamil and the Bahasa Malaysia groups.After this, we had a buffet lunch with Christmas cakes and cookies. Both young and old had a good feast and the food was well appreciated. By about 2:00 pm the party ended.

More Photos in Facebook.

Confirmation Class Community Service - Gotong Royong Cleanup

The Confirmation Class students came together in full force on December 18 to do a thorough clean up job of the church,hall, formation centre and compound. Community service is an integral part of the Confirmation class programme.

Congratulations and a Big Thank You for the fine work!

More photos in Facebook.

(Photos by Elizabeth Chong)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The "O Antiphons" of Advent

Adapted from an article by Fr. William Saunders

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. This is the sequence in which they are sung/recited:

* December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
* December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
* December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
* December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
* December 21: O Oriens (O Sunrise)
* December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
* December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Most of us are unaware that we do sing the "O Antiphons". The hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel (in Latin, Veni Emmanuel) is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Announcements - December 19 -20

Frs. Michael Chua, George Packiasamy, Clement Lim and Sr. Theresa & PPC Members would like to wish all parishioners a joy-filled and blessed Christmas.
Always remember "Christmas begins with CHRIST"

Farewell and Well Wishes to Fr. Clement Lim
Fr. Clement Lim leaves us to take up the post of Parish Priest in the Church of Immaculate Conception BVM, Port Dickson on 26th December 2009. We will all certainly miss him. On behalf of Fr. Michael Chua and Fr. George Packiasamy, Sr. Theresa and PPC, we would like to thank him for his service, pastoral care, cheerfulness and love for this parish and its parishioners. We assure him of our prayers in his new undertakings.

Masses during Holiday Seasons
Please take note that there will be no morning masses in the Church on the following days, as there will be vigil masses in the evening:
As both priests will be on leave on 28th December (Monday), there will also be no morning mass at 6.45 am. The intentions of the day will be offered by the priests in their personal masses.

Parish Office Closed for Holidays

The Parish Office will be closed for the Christmas holidays from 24-26th December (Office will be reopened on 26/12/09 from 5.00 pm to 7.30 m)
For urgent matters, please contact the following:
John Lim 012-9246196
Jerome - 012-3308071
Paul Tan - 012-3775953
Arumai - 012-6608190

BEC Mass Animation Schedule for 2010
BEC Coordinators please collect the mass animation schedule from the Parish Office

Special Blessing for Children - Feast of the Holy Family

26th - 27th December 2009 (Sat & Sun)
Special Blessing for children after all masses in conjunction with the Feast of Holy Innocents.

Gotong Royong

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the Confirmation class students and other volunteers who came to clean the church on 18th December 2009.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How the Christmas Tree Evangelises

Pope Reflects on Symbolic Significance of Decoration

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2009 ( The Christmas tree -- with its journey from a dark forest to the brilliance of decorative lights -- represents every Christian, called to share the message that the Light of the world has become man.

This was a comparison made by Benedict XVI today when he addressed a delegation from Belgium, which provided the Christmas tree for St. Peter's Square this year.

"In the forest," the Holy Father said, "the trees are close together and each one of them contributes to making the forest a shadowy, sometimes dark, place."

"But here," he continued, "chosen from among this multitude, the majestic tree that you offered us is today lit up and covered with brilliant decorations that are like so many marvelous fruits."

"Leaving aside its dark garments for a brilliant explosion, it has been transfigured, becoming a beacon of light that is not its own, but rather gives testimony to the true Light that comes to this world," the Pope suggested.

He compared the tree's destiny with that of the shepherds, who "keeping watch in the darkness of the night, are illumined by the message of the angels."

"The luck of this tree is also comparable to our own, we who are called to give good fruits to manifest that the world has truly been visited and rescued by the Lord," the Pontiff continued.


Benedict XVI said the Christmas tree, in its spot beside the Nativity scene, "shows in its own way the presence of the great mystery present in the simple and poor site of Bethlehem."

"To the inhabitants of Rome, to all the pilgrims, to all who will go to St. Peter's Square by way of the televisions of the whole world, it proclaims the coming of the Son of God."

"Through it," he told the Belgian pilgrims, "the sun of your lands and the faith of the Christian communities of your region greet the Child-God, he who has come to make new all things and to call all creatures, from the smallest to the greatest, to enter into the mystery of Redemption and be united to it."

The tree is decorated in gold and white -- the colors of the Vatican.

It is a fir from the Ardennes forest of Belgium. The 30-meter (about 100-foot) tree is 100 years old, has a 7-meter (22-foot) diameter and weighs 14 tons.

The tree was to be felled, along with others of the same forest, to allow for the growth of other nearby trees and plants.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hospitality and Peace

Fourth Sunday of Advent Year C

One of the greatest desires of every person is that of peace. We constantly hear this all the time. We realize that money cannot always buy happiness. We experience that conflicts and misunderstandings are part and parcel of life. But there is one thing we always hope for is peace. Firstly, it is peace for ourselves and then peace for others – our family, our society and the world.

But in world that is so filled with violence, hatred and wars, where we see conflicts occurring not only in society but also in our own families, we may start to think that peace is only a dream. It is easy to be disillusioned and to feel that peace can never be attained. The problem lies with our incorrect understanding of what peace really means. Peace is not to absence or the cessation of violence and conflict. Peace is possible even in the midst of conflict. Peace is not only an external reality but something that must take root in our hearts. If there is no peace in our hearts, we can never experience peace outside of ourselves.

A great deal of unrest is caused by the unrest in our hearts. There can be no rest in our hearts as long as we constantly want to have things according to our ways. The problem with wanting things according to our ways is that we are never in control of the situation. We want our children to grow up and be successful. We want them to marry good wives and husbands. But we are not in control of these things. When we don’t get things our way, we will not be happy. We won’t have peace in our hearts. The only way in which we can find peace is to allow God to take control of our lives. In the second reading, we are given the example of Christ, who came to obey the will of God the Father. When we are prepared to allow God have his ways and not our ways, then we will have peace in our hearts. It is only when we have peace in our hearts that we can become peacemakers.

It doesn’t take much to be a peacemaker. Today’s gospel gives us one simple way of making peace – hospitality. When we offer hospitality to one another just like Mary and Elizabeth offered hospitality and friendship to one another, peace takes place. It is when we refuse to offer hospitality to another person or when we refuse the hospitality given by another person that causes the lack of peace. We don’t have to begin by trying to solve all the problems of the world. We don’t have to wait till countries stop producing weapons of war. We don’t have to wait for violence to end. Peace can be a possibility today. All it takes is a simple word of encouragement, a kind act, a loving offer of help. Peace begins when we believe we can make a difference, beginning with ourselves.

A little baby that was born 2000 years ago to a poor family made a difference. In the face of so much opposition and where so much hate and violent exists, one man who spoke of peace made a difference. When so many people were unable to forgive one another for the injury that they have done to one another, a single man on a cross was able to make a difference by forgiving his executors. That man is Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus was able to change the course of history, world events and lives of so many people without lifting a gun, starting a war or ruling a country. If today you feel that you are just one person, don’t worry. You too can make a difference. Start by allowing God to take control of your lives. Surrender your life to him and you will find peace, peace even in the midst of problems and difficulties.

Sunday School Christmas Presentation 2009

The Sunday School had their year end Christmas presentation from the students of the Forms 1-4 classes on Sunday, December 13.

More photos on Facebook.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Go to Confession

Many people feel awkward having to go to confession especially after a lapse of many years. Some may have even forgotten how to celebrate the sacrament. This short video gives a simple explanation of the preparation needed and steps in making a good confession. Always remember, God and the Church always celebrate when someone returns home to humbly confess that they have sinned and would need God's loving forgiveness.

Our parish will have its penitential service this coming Wednesday, December 16. The Lord invites you to come and celebrate his love and compassion!

Catechetical Youth Camp with Y2Y and Fr. Danny Matthews

Last Thursday, December 10, the Visitation Sunday School organised a single day catechetical youth camp for its students, ranging from Forms 1 to 4. 128 students participated in the one day event, which focused on Youth Outreach. The main presenter for the camp was the dynamic and charismatic Fr. Danny Matthews, who was an instant hit with the students. He was assisted by the Y2Y youth mentors and student leaders who animated the ice-breakers, games and group dynamics.

More Photos can be obtained from the Catechetical Coordinator, Mrs. Elizabeth Chong's Facebook album.