After a period of two years under construction the two new buildings at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang (CHS) were officially opened and blessed by Our Lordship Bishop Sebastian Francis on the morning of 20 May 2018. We were honoured to have with us as our chief guests, the Member of Parliament for Bukit Gelugor, Y.B. Ramkarpal Singh and the Seri Delima Assemblyperson, Y.B Syerleena Rashid. The Mayor of Georgetown, Ar. Yew Tung Seang, also made a brief appearance. Present were a number of generous donors and a big crowd of parishioners. The ceremony took place in front of the new Cenacle, the Prayer Area (Upper Room) of the Cathedral.
Fr. Joachim Robert, our parish priest, in his welcoming address, shared the pride and joy of all the parishioners on the happy occasion of the Official Opening, which was also the birthday of the Church as well as our Feast Day. “Every birthday reminds us of two things, firstly of new life and new beginning and secondly that as we mature, we age and need to adapt ourselves to new environment and changes.”
He thanked God for His faithfulness and generosity to our community for giving us “twins” the Cenacle and the Oikos. Fr Joachim then briefly traced the history of CHS from late 1950s when the early community gathered for worship and masses at the canteen of Convent Greenlane. Ten years later the Church proper was built in the present location. In 2003 it was dedicated as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Penang.
Two years ago, to cater for the growing pastoral needs of the parish it was decided to built two additional buildings under the guidance of the then parish priest, Fr Bernard Paul (now Bishop of Melaka Johor). Fr. Joachim also paid tribute and his deep appreciation to his predecessors, Fr. Anthony Liew, Fr Francis Anthony and Deacon Lazarus for overseeing the project before it was handed to him.
Fr Joachim also thanked all those involved in the construction for coordinating and ensuring the completion of the buildings in the desired manner. He expressed his gratitude to the generous donors for “sharing God’s blessings with us and assisting us in funding the project.” He also acknowledged with thanks the contribution of RM500,00 from the Diocese of Melaka Johor as well as RM200 00 from Penang State Government. Although initially the projected cost was RM5.8 million but through the diligent efforts of the buildings committee and the contractors and consultants the overall cost was reduced to RM5.2 million.
In conclusion Fr Joachim, left us with these words of Pope St John Paul II, “let us look at past with gratitude, live in the present with enthusiasm, live in the future with confident hope.”
In his brief address, Y.B Ramkarpal expressed his happiness and pride in able to be present on the happy occasion. He said we are now a “new Malaysia” and as one people we will continue to contribute work for the growth of our country.” He also remembered that his late father Y.B. Karpal Singh mentioning with fondness about his visits to CHS.
Bishop Sebastian thanked Y.B Ramkarpal and affirmed that we the parishioners of CHS are also his constituents. Bishop thanked God for a perfect day. Then began Official Opening and Rites of Blessings of the new buildings by His Lordship Bishop Sebastian with readings, singing of Psalms and Intercessions and Prayer of Blessings.
After this there was a ribbon cutting ceremony by our Chief guests, Bishop and priests and our generous donors Then our Bishop affixed his signature to a plaque signifying the building officially open. This was followed by presentation of Golden Scissors to our generous donors and guests. Finally, our Lordship and guests lit the Thanksgiving candle followed by Blessing of the buildings.
By Gregory R Warrier