St Anne’s pilgrims visit City Parish
PENANG (Herald Malaysia): Every year pilgrims for the St Anne’s feast will drop by at other churches. It is an opportunity for the priests and parishioners to show their hospitality by warmly welcoming them.
The four churches of City Parish, located in the heart of Georgetown, usually see many visitors, local and foreign, dropping by. There are also migrants and visitors from Sabah and Sarawak.
Fr Dominic Santhiyagu, the parish priest, said that City Parish is in the process of forming a Welcoming Team that caters to visitors. Every year, during the Feast of St Anne, many pilgrims from all over Malaysia and other countries make their pilgrimage to the church for the feast.
City Parish which consists of four churches, sees about 400 pilgrims visiting the four churches during the feast.
On July 21, three groups of pilgrims visited the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (OLS). On July 28 and 29, more than 300 visited OLS church and Assumption church.
The first group came in two buses — 90 of them, from the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Hat Yai, Thailand. They were accompanied by their parish priest, Fr John Lissandrin, SDB.
City Parish warmly welcomed them when they dropped in at OLS Church at about 4.00pm. They went to the church first to pray, then all adjourned to the parish house, where tea was served to them.
Fr John is an Italian and has been in Thailand for 43 years. He said that it is a tradition for his parish to arrange a pilgrimage to St Anne’s Feast every year. His parish has 2000 Catholics and their church is the biggest in Southern Thailand.
“The parishioners were very eager to go on the pilgrimage. We had no problem at all in filling up the bus. We started in the morning and went to St Anne’s church for Mass and the Stations of the Cross.
Then we visited the Assumption Church, and now we are here at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. We are very grateful to the parish priests and the staff here for their hospitality in welcoming us.”
City Parish gave the Thai pilgirms a family blessing poster and the parish brochure. In return, the parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes gave a donation.
The other group of 28 from the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Singapore came for the sunset Mass. Their spiritual director, Fr Augustin Joseph, con-celebrated with the celebrant Fr Mark Michael.
Fr Augustin said their first stop was at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Silibin, Ipoh, then St Anne’s Church, before they came to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows. He remarked that the Singaporean pilgrims were fascinated with Penang food.
Another group of about 30 Indonesians, also made a stopover at OLS church on July 21.
On July 29 more than 100 pilgrims were present at OLS church. They were treated to a simple breakfast after Mass.
There was a special Thai Mass at Assumption Church on 29 July morning, celebrated by the Thai pilgrims’ spiritual director.
At the usual 10.00am Mass, more than 100 pilgrims were present.
The Assumption Church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Icon, is open daily to visitors. There is a guest book for visitors to sign when they visit the church. — By Lucia Lai
(taken from Herald dated 19 Aug. 2012)