Saturday, June 26, 2010

Latin American & Spanish Classical Guitar Concert in Aid of Visitation Church Restoration Fund

Featuring Classical Guitarists Justin Hyer & Sebastian Pompilio

Argentine guitarist Sebastian Pompilio and British guitarist Justin Hyer will perform a selection of solo and duo works by Spanish and Latin American composers. Concert to include works by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla, Turina, Pereira, Gnattali and Sanchez.

Date : 12th. July 2010
Time : 7.45pm (Light Tea included)
Venue : The Klana Resort, Seremban


John Lim : 012 924 6196
Adrian : 013 620 8404
Corina : 012 933 7368
Jerome : 012 330 8071
T. Xavier : 012 6800016
Aloysius Gan: 06 632 2209
(Tickets also available from the Secretariat)

(The Visitation Church, Seremban, is raising funds for extensive restoration works which include painting, electrical work and also new sound system.)

Parish Retreat 2010 - July 10

(4 language groups)
Theme: “The Bible, A Guide for our Steps, A Light for the World”
Date: 10th July 2010
Time: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm
Registration Fee: RM3/-

As part of our focus in this fourth year of the New Image of the Parish (NIP), we have invited experienced and dynamic speakers to preach on the theme of the Word of God in this year’s retreat. During this retreat, we will be led to meditate on the Parable of the Sower and to reflect on our call to discernment, to spirituality, to spirituality and finally to mission. This Parish Event is a grace-filled moment to deepen our understanding and experience of the Word of God. Don’t miss this opportunity. Registrations at BEC level and after masses.

Compulsory for all BEC Core Team Members, Zone Leaders/Coordinators, Ministry Committee Members, Catechists, and also open to all parishioners.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Closing Year of the Priest & Welcome Fr Andrew Kooi

Visitation parish closed the Year of the Priest last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 11, 2010. Elsewhere, Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Murphy Pakiam also both marked the same date as the closing for the Year of the Priest in Rome and Kuala Lumpur (St Anthony's Church) respectively.

During the homily delivered in 3 languages, Rev Fr George Packiasamy, the new Parish Priest, reiterated the principal goals of the Year of the Priest. He also spoke of the exemplary life of St John Marie Vianney, the Cure D'Ars, the patron of Parish Priests.

The day also served as a warm welcome to Fr Andrew Kooi, who has been appointed Assistant Parish Priest, w.e.f 10th June 2010. Fr Andrew Kooi has just returned from two years Mandarin studies in Taiwan. Fr Kooi is also an accomplished musician who has an internationally acclaimed website featuring many of his personal compositions for Mass sung parts and musical arrangements for responsorial psalms.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bible Camp Forms 1-3

The Sunday School (English section) Students of Forms 1-3, who are on their mid-year school break, attended a Bible Camp last Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Sr Amy Sam IJ and the other Catechetical team members took this opportunity to facilitate fun ways of learning and praying with the Bible. The students were also introduced to the Lectio Divina method of meditating on the Word of God.

The Tamil Sunday School had their Bible camp on the following day, June 9. A big thank you to all the teachers, facilitators and students!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moving Forward with Mercy and Forgiveness

Eleventh Ordinary Sunday Year C

What is the basis of our faith? What is at the heart of Christianity? Is it the obedience of God’s law and the laws of the Church? For many people, religion is seen merely in these terms – as the keepings of laws. A Catholic is one who must come to church every Sunday, must not eat meat on Friday, must go for confession at least once a year etc. When we begin to think of our religion as merely a set of laws, several things happen. When laws become the only consideration, our faith is then based on fear of judgment and punishment from God. If we obey these laws we will be blessed and nothing bad will happen to us, but if we break these laws then we will be punished and cursed.

When religion is based on fear, we become judgmental. We judge others by external appearances and behaviour. We are ready to catch people when they make a mistake and are quick to ostracise them from the community if they are habitual sinners. This was the kind of the mentality that the Pharisees had in today’s gospel. Based on his perception of his religion, the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house only saw a sinful woman. This woman is described as one who had “a bad name in town.” Perhaps, this is an indication of the kind of lifestyle that she lived. She may have worked as a prostitute. For the Pharisee, this woman’s sin is too great and cannot be forgiven. She will always be remembered for the mistakes that she had made in the past rather than what she can become in the future.

How do we see others? Do we often judge others by appearance? Do we often remember their mistakes and use it against them?

Today’s readings remind us of what it really means to be a Christian. According to St. Paul in the second reading, “what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the law, but faith in Jesus Christ.” What does this mean? It means that religion is not just following a set of rules and laws. Religion and faith is based on relationship with God and Jesus Christ. So, what is at the heart of our faith must not be the laws but love. This is how God relates to us – not as a judge waiting to punish us when we have done wrong but as a God who loves us. St. Paul speaks of his faith: it is “faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake.”

Since our faith is based on love rather than the law, we are also called to mercy rather than judgment. Today’s gospel gives us the beautiful story of Jesus and the sinful woman. Jesus also tells a parable that highlights the importance of mercy and forgiveness. Jesus saw the woman differently. He knew that she was a sinner but he also knew of what she could become if given the opportunity. Mercy and forgiveness creates the opportunity for change. Mercy and forgiveness allows us to leave the past behind. Mercy and forgiveness is how God relates to us and he challenges us to also show mercy and forgiveness to others.

We have been speaking about our parish as a welcoming parish. In order for this parish to become a welcoming parish, we must first learn how to forgive. In order to welcome others, we must show mercy, not judgment. The sinful woman in today’s gospel showed hospitality to Jesus. In return, Jesus rewarded her with mercy and forgiveness. May we too begin to show mercy, understanding and forgiveness to one another. We recognize that we are all sinners. We acknowledge that we are not perfect. We admit that we have hurt one another by our selfishness and jealousies. But we should not be trap by these failings. The way forward is through forgiveness and mercy.

(This will be the last blog entry from Fr Michael. He continues to blog on his own personal blog, "Your Grace is Sufficient")

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Meal for Strangers, A Meal that Unites, A Meal for Mission

Corpus Christi Year C

Much has been written and spoken about the Eucharist. Can anything else be said about it? I believe that the three readings of today can still give us some new insights.

In the first reading, we have Melchizedek, a foreigner, extending hospitality to Abraham. Melchizedek is not of the same race as Abraham, neither is he a close acquaintance. Melchizedek is in fact a stranger who goes out of his way and shows unusual hospitality to Abraham. Everytime we celebrate the Mass, Jesus extends hospitality to us. He does not only extend hospitality to those who are considered good and holy but also to strangers, luke-warm Christians, and sinners. The Eucharist is not an exclusive meal confined to only a few select people. We must always remember to extend hospitality to all who come to our Church, because in various ways they are hungering and seeking for meaning to their lives.

In the second reading, we read of St. Paul’s harsh words to the Corinthians. The main problem of the Corinthian church was the existence of factions. There were those who were rich and those who were very poor. There were those who thought themselves holier than others. There were those who were followers of Paul and others who were followers of Apollos. But in the Eucharistic community established by Jesus, there can be no room for factions. All are united in the Body of Christ. That is why St. Paul tells us that every time, we eat this bread and drink this cup, we are “proclaiming Christ’s death.” The Eucharist calls us to die to ourselves – to die to our selfishness, our prejudice, our suspicion of others.

Finally, the gospel tells us that the Eucharist calls us to be involved. There is no room for indifference and pushing the responsibility to others in the Eucharistic community. Jesus challenges us at every Mass – “give them something to eat yourselves.” The Mass does not depend on the priest alone. It depends on every one of you – in the way you participate in the Mass. You cannot complain of receiving nothing during the Mass if you do not take the trouble to contribute something. Each of you can contribute something by preparing yourself well before the Mass, by participating in the singing and the responses, and by listening attentively to the Word of God.

Every Mass is an occasion and an opportunity to extend hospitality to others- especially to strangers, the weak, the elderly, little children and those who seem to be alone. Every Mass is an occasion for us to die to ourselves and to our prejudices. Every Mass is an opportunity for us to participate in the mission of Jesus to establish God’s kingdom on earth. Let us pray during the Mass, for the grace to grow in our hospitality, in our self-denial and finally in our participation in the works of Christ.

St. Hilary BEC Charity Campaign

George Selvaraja Joseph

During the month of rosary our BEC St. Hilary (Taman Ampangan Seremban, Negeri Sembilan) planned a charity activity as we journeyed in the rosary prayer. Visiting orphanage home was the call that deepens our common interest. Even though there are few orphanage homes in Seremban town, we decided to go out skirt of the town area. It was “Vivekananda Home Rembau”, situated 27 km from Seremban town. On the 1st of May 2010, we visited the home collecting information on the needs and the situation so that we can make a fruitful visit.

The home “Vivekananda Home Rembau” situated 20 meters from Rembau town. The home was constructed based on village condition - half brickwork & timber wall with a zinc roof. It has 2 dormitories for boys and girls, narrowed office room, bath and a kitchen. The awning covered balcony is the place where the children gathered for food, rest, study and watch television. The home is registered with the district welfare department. The home is managed by Mr. Ramesh Patel with 6 care takers. Children’s ranging from age 2 to 18 years old with total of 52 children resides in the home

A brochure was prepared with the needs of the home and passed to BEC members, Visitation parish members, posting in Visitation face book and friends. Various BEC members donated basic necessities, clothes, school aids and cash. We received these love offerings as far as Kuala Lumpur. One of BEC member shared this with 2 of Muslim sisters during her morning exercise and to our surprise they donated cash for the home and praised the good work of our catholic church.

On 28th May 2010, with Visitation family BEC’s we journeyed to “Vivekananda Home Rembau”, 3 cars with a van carrying a month’s collection for the home need. We were welcomed by the care takers and the children’s. To break the boundaries of uncomfortable among us and the children, we started out with games and talent time. Our children and adults made the activity merrier by participating with the children. All of us enjoyed without barrier of the situation. Prizes were given out to the children’s. The children were served noodles and cakes for tea break. At end of the session we presented ration and cash for the home.

Even though our visit was a half a day event but it made us see life’s appreciation through this children’s. Our visits made us to walk more closely in the path of Jesus Christ in reaching out to those are in need. Our journey will continue in this mission of charity…...