By Gregory R Warrier
The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit celebrated its Feastday and Golden Jubilee celebrations with Bishop Sebastian Francis. Concelebrating with him were His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez, Bishop Bernard Paul of Malacca Johore Diocese, Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam, Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam, Fr Francis Anthony, Fr Matthew Bun, Fr Thomas Koo, Fr Joachim Robert and Fr Michael Raymond OFM Cap. The Cathedral was packed to capacity. Many had to follow the Mass in the adjoining chapel and multi-purpose hall via cctv. The Mass was also telecast live on a YouTube channel.
In his opening statement, as well as during his homily, Bishop Sebastian asked some searching questions. “Has the Risen Lord, who promised the Holy Spirit, delivered? Have the Son and the Father kept their promises? If they have, then let us celebrate, because after this we are going on mission.
“At Pentecost 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit came as tongues of fire and landed on all the apostles and all those present.” From then onwards the fire has been passed down to the whole Church. Bishop Sebastian then pointed to his chair and said, “This was the chair used by Bishop Francis Chan, the first Bishop of Penang. Have we, the five Bishops of Penang, passed on the fire? Fifty years ago, Bishop Gregory Yong, Fr Maurice Surmon and the people of Green Lane built this church. Some of them are present here today. Have we passed on the fire to others?” asked Bishop Sebastian again.
The Holy Spirit is also represented by the dove, the two wings, “Love” and “Truth”. They need to flap together in order to move forward. “No denials, especially denial of truth. When the Holy Spirit is present in us, we are open to love and truth.” Bishop Sebastian mentioned another kind of fire called the “Searching fire” of love and truth, which burns away all evil that is present in us and the world. The mission of the Holy Spirit is to burn it away. Therefore, “we and the Holy Spirit are witnesses to those who obey Him; and to move forward to the second and final glorious coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is leading the Church to deeper communion with the Trinitarian God.”
As he concluded his homily, Bishop Sebastian recounted, “Fifty years of preparation for this Golden Jubilee. Three of the five Bishops of Penang, Soter, Selva and I are here this morning. Fifty days of preparation from Easter Vigil till today.
How did the Risen Lord prepare us? He gave us His Peace. He gave us an Advocate who will remind us and teach us everything.” Bishop then addressed some of the pioneer missionary priests and lay people who had worked in this Diocese, especially with the Orang Asli. “Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we continue with our Mission.”
At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Sebastian launched the Golden Jubilee Souvenir magazine by scanning the QR code. The digital version can be accessed through the QR code printed in the souvenir card given out to all present. Printed copies will be distributed through the BECs and zones.
Following this, Pedro Geronimo, the PPC Chairperson, addressed the congregation. He wished everyone a very happy feastday. He thanked God for “being planted in this parish where everyone is dedicated in serving God. With God’s help we have managed to overcome many difficulties as we went through so many projects and many fundraising campaigns especially in the last few years. But now we are enjoying the fruits of our labour. From the last Pentecost we saw the parishioners coming together in unity and involving themselves in many events as we geared towards our Golden Jubilee.
All these could not have happened without the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit.” Pedro thanked all for their help. He was also happy with the unity shown by all the different language groups. Finally, he thanked all the preachers of the Novena and Triduum Masses. He also thanked the organising team for their dedication and effort towards a meaningful Golden Jubilee celebration. “With God’s love we have succeeded.”
On this occasion, the services and contributions of six past and the present PPC Chairpersons were recognised as they were invited to come forward to receive a Certificate and a token of appreciation from Parish Priest Fr Joachim. The names of four who had returned to the Lord were also mentioned.
Fr. Joachim then gave a brief address thanking God for His amazing love for this community as they journeyed together in unity and love. He said he could not thank everyone enough and God alone knew each and everyone’s contribution. Fr Joachim then called upon Bishop Sebastian to present to the long time Parish administrator, Ms Clare Wai Chun, the special Papal Blessing from Pope Francis for her 47 years of service in the parish. Bishop Sebastian also handed over to Pedro a special Papal Blessing for the Golden Jubilee of the Parish.
After the conclusion of the Mass everyone adjourned to Dewan Holy Spirit for a sumptuous feast day lunch, Golden Jubilee cake-cutting as well as some light entertainment.
The article above appeared in The Herald 29 June 2019 edition