PENANG — “We must continue the missionary spirit in Malaysia; the great evangelisation of faith from the past to present, in line with the Gospel values of giving what we have received,” said Archbishop Joseph Marino at the Assumption Church’s Feastday celebrations August 14.
It was the first time that the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia had visited the Church of the Assumption (City Parish). He was welcomed by a spectacular lion dance performance.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Archbishop Marino, with Bishop Sebastian Francis, Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam, Msgr Stephen Liew and Msgr Aloysius Tan (parish priest), together with 10 other priests concelebrating.
The Nuncio began his homily by stating that the Feast of the Assumption is a feast of hope that celebrates the process of human salvation, that embraces the entire human being and experience.
“Throughout its entire history, the Church has always been interested in the total destiny of man, especially those most in need,” he said.
Archbishop Marino also noted that the Second Vatican Council, through Gaudium et Spes, proclaimed for the human person to be saved and society to be renewed.
“The process of salvation is underway and involves our entire being. For Jesus did not just save souls, rather, he saved the totality of the human person, body and soul, flesh and spirit.”
The Nuncio said that the Church feeds us with the Body and the Blood of Christ. At the same time she desires to relieve the misery of all humanity. The Church points humans to a world marked by justice and charity.
Archbishop Marino said that as Catholics, our wish is to follow Mary wherever she goes, to be with her where she is and to enjoy what she now has in heaven.
“In the same way she leads us to heaven, she leads us in prayer, that the reign of God be made visible today in our societies throughout the globe.”
He ended by urging the faithful to go with the spirit of hope when celebrating the Eucharist. From there they can see the glory of God and taste the sweetness of the Lord.
Bishop Sebastian, in a short speech, gave a historical description of the Assumption Church, which is the oldest Catholic church in Penang, founded in 1786.
“We are happy to note that the story began here. As a pioneering church, the mission continued in cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and beyond,” he said.
The Bishop thanked the Nuncio for taking time off to visit and assured him that the community, with its solid foundation from the past, will move in confidence towards the future.
As a sign of love and prayer towards the Holy Father, the congregation, led by the multi-lingual choir, sang God Bless Our Pope to the glorious accompaniment of the church’s century-old pipe organ.
City Parish pastoral chairman John Dass then presented Archbishop Marino with a selection of Penang’s delicacies as a token of appreciation.
The Nuncio also received a pleasant surprise when a cake was brought in to celebrate his 40th Sacerdotal Anniversary which falls on August 25.
“Never had I imagined that I would be in Malaysia to celebrate 40 years of priesthood,” he remarked whilst thanking the parish for the warm hospitality.
Aaron Lim HERALD