Thousands of Catholics join in Holy Week celebrations

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Fr Felix Au holding up and proclaiming the wood of the Cross. (Photo: Stephanie Chua)

KUCHING — Palm Sunday marks the start of the Holy Week. It heralds the coming of the King with the blessing of palms, which symbolise the welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Thousands of Catholics congregated at Blessed Sacrament Church (BSC) for the Holy Week celebrations.

Rector of BSC, Fr Felix Au in his homily on Palm Sunday 14 April 2019, extolled that God’s love for us in Christ is constant and faithful. His passion and willingness to suffer death for even those who denied, betrayed and executed him, contrasted with the ‘fickle’ love of those who, only days earlier, had welcomed him into Jerusalem. Yet days later, joined in condemning Jesus.

The three days of the Sacred Triduum encompasses Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday commemorated the Last Supper of Jesus with his twelve apostles. On this day, Jesus gave them a new commandment: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.’

In humble humility, Fr Felix washed the feet of twelve representatives from BSC ministries/ lay organisations, enacting Jesus washing the feet of his twelve disciples.

On Good Friday, the Church was stripped bare of many of its symbols. Crosses were removed or covered. It was a picture of mourning. The narrative of the Lord’s Passion reminded us of Jesus’ sufferings, and parishioners were invited to venerate the Cross.

There was a Children’s Stations of the Cross earlier in the morning, organised by the Sunday school catechists.

The Holy Saturday Easter Vigil was spectacular and beautiful. It started with the blessing of the fire used to light the Paschal candle. The celebrations began with the Church engulfed in darkness, illuminated only by handheld candles lit from the paschal candle.

Easter Vigil. A spectacular sight of the Church illuminated by handheld candles. (Photo: Dominic Bong)

After the Gospel reading, Fr Felix asked the congregation to listen with quiet hearts, to the Word of God. To meditate on how God in times past, saved his people. He sent us his Son as our Redeemer. To pray that God might complete his paschal work of salvation by the fullness of redemption.

The darkness symbolised the sins of the world. The lighting of the paschal candle symbolised the light of Jesus, the light that dispels the darkness of sin and death. “We are no more people of darkness, but people of light,” he said.

At the liturgy of Baptism, 32 catechumens received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, together with 15 confirmands from the Sunday school. The entire congregation also renewed their Baptismal promises.

The Easter Vigil ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the pronouncement that Christ is Risen!

For more photos, visit: Blessed Sacrament Church

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