Communicants (top) and confirmands during Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion in CMI Dec 8
By CMI SOCCOM
Dec 20 2021
BUKIT PADANG – In the evening of Dec 8, during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) had a three-in-one joyous celebration: the patronal Feast Day of the Church, Sacrament of Confirmation for 25 confirmands and First Holy Communion for three communicants.
The Mass was presided by Archbishop John Wong during his pastoral visit in conjunction with CMI’s feast day, and concelebrated by parish priest Fr Paul Lo and assistant priest Fr Joshua Liew.
In his homily, the prelate began by quoting the introduction to the solemnity from the Sunday Missal “We celebrate the conception of her whom God chose to be the mother of Christ and the new Eve, the mother of all the living. He chose her to be the first of the redeemed, holy and spotless, to live through love in his presence.”
By this proclamation of the Church to Mary, one powerful theme kept on coming back and that was God’s loving choice of Mary; equally powerful theme was the obedience and humility of Mary. It was evident that from the above proclamation, from the conception of Mary, she was destined to be constantly in the presence of God.
The prelate continued, saying that God’s loving choice of Mary was clearly spelt out in the second reading where St Paul said God chose each one of us even before the foundation of the world to inherit the special blessing and to lead a life that is holy and spotless.
On the virtues of obedience and humility of Mary, they were reflected in the Gospel of St Luke (the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary), who was called as ‘highly favoured and has won God’s favour’.
He further expounded, Mary also lived the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Because her will was manifested in God, Mary was chosen to be the mother of His son. Every time we recite the Hail Mary, we say ‘You are full of grace’ and we should ask ourselves ‘Do you want to live a life full of grace?’ And like Mary, do you say ‘Yes’ to God? By allowing the will of God to manifest in our lives, are we ready to receive God’s graces?
From the first reading in the book of Genesis, the Archbishop reflected that when God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, He had given them all the graces. When they fell, God came to them and the first question God asked them was ‘Where are you?’ Similarly, today God is also asking each one of us ‘Are you there to be seen?’
Towards the end of his homily, the prelate highlighted the closing for the Year of St Joseph on Dec 8. Although it is over, he believed that the spirit of St Joseph is still very strong in each one of us. We all need a fatherly figure like St Joseph, the prelate emphasized, to follow and imitate especially to intercede for us during these challenging times.
He encouraged the parishioners to read the letter of Pope Francis on St Joseph again and again so as to increase their devotion to St Joseph. He said, God had chosen Mary and Joseph and blessed them with all the graces they needed during their lifetime. Similarly, God has chosen each one of us and desired to give the graces and virtues that we need in our day to day living. Let us be like Mary and Joseph, and say ‘Yes’ to God all the days of our lives.
Before the dismissal, Fr Paul reminded the confirmands that they have, in the eyes of the church, reached ‘adulthood’, and are to live the Catholic faith that they have received since their baptism.
He hoped that after receiving all the sacraments they would continue to go to Church and be witnesses for Christ. He also reminded the parents and godparents to fulfil their duty in journeying together with their children.
Final words from the prelate touched on the joyous feast day celebration. He congratulated the confirmands and communicants, and thanked the parents, god-parents and facilitators for their contribution.
To the newly-confirmed he told them that they have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and have become ‘soldiers’ of the Church, to fight and defend their faith whenever their faith is being challenged.
The celebration continued with a fellowship dinner in compliance with the SOP. It was attended by the clergy, members from the Parish Pastoral Committee (PPC), Ministries and Groups of CMI.
Archbishop John Wong with the clergy and CMI PPC during cake cutting for CMI Feast Day
At the simple fellowship, in addition to celebrating CMI’s Feast Day with a cake cutting ceremony by the prelate, PPC also organized a cake cutting ceremony for Fr Paul Lo on the occasion of his 16th Sacerdotal Anniversary, which falls on 10th December.
In their respective addresses, PPC Chairlady, Catherine Engsun thanked Archbishop Wong for his pastoral visit to CMI although CMI is blessed to have him celebrate Mass quite often throughout the year, Fr Paul for his support in organizing this feast day Mass and fellowship, and to the organizing committee for their involvement and commitment.
Archbishop Wong was very happy that both English and Chinese communities were well represented at the fellowship but joked that perhaps next time they should be mingling and not sit among themselves. He also explained that the purpose of his pastoral visit was to see the progress of the Church and her communities.
CMI would like to congratulate all the confirmands and communicants, and thanked the parents and god-parents for their support, and especially the facilitator for the good work done especially during these challenging times of online classes.