Wednesday, February 4, 2015

OLL Parish Feast and Novena 2015

By Ashley Stephen Chau

Mention the name “Our Lady of Lourdes” and the first image that comes to mind is that miraculous Marian apparition in 1858, to a simple peasant girl by the name of Bernadette Soubirous. It was there that the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Mother of Jesus Christ – appeared, bringing the message of the need for prayer and penance in an increasingly troubled world. Inexplicable medical cures have also been confirmed since then, from those who visited the spring water on the very same site where the “Lady of Lourdes” appeared and till today, Lourdes in France remains a popular pilgrimage site for many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Much nearer to home, Our Lady of Lourdes conjures up another image, and that is of a beautiful white church located at the heart of the old royal town of Klang. Completed in August 1928 at the cost of $45,000, the Gothic-influenced architecture still stood majestically to this day, reflecting proudly the heritage and rich history of this town.

From the 5th until the 15th of February this year, for 10 consecutive days, the Catholic lay faithful will be making their own local pilgrimage to celebrate the solemn feast of Our Lady of Lourdes in this church. The focus and theme of the celebration this year is “Mary, the Star of Evangelisation”, which hearkens back to the proclamation made by Saint John Paul II in 1999, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is indeed the Star of Evangelisation because through her powerful intercession which “yielded a splendid flowering of Christian life” in America. Various activities such as exhibition on the life of St Bernadette, of the apparition in Lourdes, faith catechesis, quizzes, prayer sessions and anointing of the sick have been planned for the pilgrims and visitors.

Several highlights include the celebration of Holy Mass with Most Reverend Julian Leow, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur followed by a Eucharistic procession on the 7 February and Holy Mass with Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia on the 14 Feb, followed by a Marian procession. Weekday daily masses will be at 7.30 pm every day except weekends, at 6 pm.

This year’s celebration will also see the church displaying a replica of the miraculous tilma of our Lady of Guadalupe, which was loaned from the Church of Lady of Guadalupe in Puchong. There are only 10 such replicas in the whole world and this will be on display for public veneration in the adoration room throughout the whole 10 day celebration. The church has also managed to secure the first class relics of Maria Goretti, an Italian saint, who died after being stabbed by a neighbour in 1902. Maria, at her deathbed in the hospital, was able to extend forgiveness to her assailant and the holy relic of this patron saint of forgiveness will be available for public display and veneration from the 5th until the 7th of February only. Also available for public viewing are the window panels from Sime Darby Medical Centre (formerly known as Subang Jaya Medical Centre) which have been placed under the custody of the parish since November 2012.

Parish Priest Rev Michael Chua points out that as much as Lourdes remain as a centre of hospitality for pilgrims – it is also a place for the healing of the soul and those who are weary, just like the hospital. For many people, in the misdt of suffering, the rising costs of living, the plummeting of our currency and in the aftermath of the airline tragedies, the message and celebration of Lourdes bring much-needed comfort, forgiveness, healing and peace of mind. It is a message that is full of hope, love and divine goodness.

For more information on the feast day of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Klang, call the Parish Office at +603-3371 305 or visit us on Facebook

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