Celebrating the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
The celebration, under Penang Island Deanery, was organized by City Parish (which consists of four churches). There was a multi-lingual Mass, followed by a candlelight procession to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (City Parish), ending with solemn benediction.
“What is so special about Corpus Christi this year?” asked Bishop Sebastian Francis in his homily. “Well, first the Pope had called us to be in solidarity with him today to spend an hour with him in Rome – a call for all Catholics worldwide.”
“Secondly, let us remember that we are now entering into the second half of the Year of Faith. Let us not forget the one invitation to enter the door of faith, the one identity of us as disciples of Christ and the one prayer ‘Lord, increase my faith.’”
He asked the congregation to focus on responding to the call of entering the door of faith as an individual through personal repentance and re-commitment.
The Bishop then said there are three words we need to focus on to really understand the meaning of the feast: Presence, Sacrifice and Communion.
“Presence. The presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We are here to celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ. Jesus is present with us, not absent. Sacrifice is related to the presence. The total sacrifice of Jesus of his Body and Blood is testimony to the Father for each one of us. Jesus had made the ultimate sacrifice through his presence. Both presence and sacrifice are two sides of the same coin. Communion summarises what Corpus Christi is about. When you are present, when you sacrifice yourself, this is what communion is about. With these three words, I invite you to enter confidently into the rest of the Year of Faith.”
Bishop Sebastian made a brief mention about the recent General Election. He said that the news that had been going around is that the General Election was not free and fair. He was not talking about politics but about the sanctity of the vote of the people. He said that our votes are sacred and thus must be safe-guarded, so let us continue to pray for free and fair elections.
He ended his homily, stressing on the three words again.
“The gift of Jesus’ Body and Blood is his last sacrifice. When he gave us his body and blood, he is present with us. Today, we celebrate Jesus’ presence and Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us. Due to his sacrifice, we grow in communion and intimacy.”
After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was transferred to a beautifully decorated lorry for the candle-light procession. Pretty Flower Girls led the Blessed Sacrament, throwing scented flowers on the streets.
The procession passed through Farquhar Street (where Assumption Church is situated), Penang Road, Macalister Lane and ended at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Macalister Road. The distance was about 2 km.
During the procession, the Blessed Sacrament made three stops along the road for veneration. The people knelt down on the road in respect and reverence, as the Blessed Sacrament was lifted high up amidst a thick smoke of incense.
When the Blessed Sacrament reached the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Fr Julien Leow carried it solemnly into the church and Benediction followed.
Bishop Sebastian was happy with the turnout for the Mass and procession. He said that the street procession was an act of faith to share Jesus’ presence and sacrifice with everyone. – by Lucia Lai