Archbishop Julian Leow celebrating the Mass with Archbishop Simon Poh and Fr Dominic Tan (photo/Dominic Chung)

By Dempsey Fernandez and Bernard Anthony

Oct 23 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – The Church of the Holy Rosary, founded in 1903, celebrated her 120th anniversary October 7. The nine-day celebration began on September 29, featuring daily novena and Rosary during the initial six days. The central theme was Encourage One Another and Build One Another, drawing inspiration from 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

During the triduum, Fr Andrew Wong CDD, from the Church of St Ignatius, focused on Building Community for the Elderly (Oct 5). On Oct 6, the Archbishop of Kuching, Most Rev Simon Poh, delivered a sermon on Building Community for Youth. On Oct 7 Archbishop Julian Leow spoke on Building Community for Family. The celebration concluded with a procession in honour of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The church and hall were filled with parishioners on Oct 7. The day began with hymns to Mary and the novena, followed by the Mass, presided over by Archbishop Julian, with Archbishop Simon and Church of the Holy Rosary parish priest, Fr Dominic Tan, concelebrating.

Archbishop Julian expressed gratitude for the majestic church and the Catholic community it housed. He emphasised the significance of prayer and Mary’s intercession in overcoming life’s challenges, citing the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 as a historical example. Archbishop Julian encouraged the congregation to emulate Mary’s unwavering faith and her willingness to do God’s will.

On the theme Build Community for Family, Archbishop Julian expanded the concept of family to include one’s broader community, parish, nation, and the universal Church. He urged the assembly to focus on giving, rather than receiving, exemplifying Jesus’ sacrificial love. He stressed the potential for positive change in the world through faith in Jesus’ birth.

Archbishop Julian also reminded the congregation that Mary, at a tender age, must have been fearful of what the angel told her. Mary was as fearful as perhaps we are today with rising prices, a challenged world, children not coming to church anymore and other problems. Yet, the angel asked Mary to LISTEN. We too need to listen as attentively to what God is telling us. In this spirit, the Holy Father is listening also to the cries of the larger Church in this era of the ongoing Synod, to understand and to respond as Church. “Nothing will be impossible as we listen and trust in God,” said the prelate.

A procession featuring a statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary led the congregation in praying the Rosary. The celebration concluded with Benediction back in the church.

Fr Dominic expressed gratitude to all and invited everyone to a fellowship dinner at the hall.

Archbishop Simon praised the parish and her youth, encouraging them to continue the good work of their parents and be lights in the world. He extended an invitation to visit the Cathedral of St Joseph in Kuching.

During the Mass celebrated the day before, he reminded young people to live in the NOW, as we are the NOW. He encouraged all young people today to not merely sit in the gallery or the balcony but to respond and relate to all that is happening around them. The world needs the strength of the young person as we encounter a period of change in the way we live.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop Julian stressed the importance of strengthening communities and building personal relationships with God and one another. He expressed confidence in Fr Dominic’s leadership and wished everyone a Happy Feast Day.

At the hall, both prelates joined Fr Dominic in cutting the anniversary cake, symbolising the parish’s 120th anniversary.

Throughout the celebration, parishioners also recited a special 120th anniversary prayer, and the church’s facade featured decorations reflecting the anniversary logo and theme.

Looking back over 120 years, it’s remarkable to see how the Church of the Holy Rosary has grown into a thriving, multi-racial community, blessing countless lives along the way.

The feast day celebrations witnessed joyful participation of the young and the seniors from all ministries in the parish, including BECs. Each ministry carried their banners to join in the walk to fittingly enthrone the Blessed Mother as Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. – Herald Malaysia