Eurasians of Penang re-enact landing of Sir Francis Light
7 September 2014
At 3.00pm, the PEA presented a re-enactment of the Landing of Captain Francis Light on Penang Island, on the grounds of the Assumption Church. This was followed by tea.
Among those present were the Chief Minister of Penang and some of his Exco members, including the Bishop of Penang, Rt Rev Sebastian Francis. The five-minute re-enactment saw the actors and actresses in full 18th century costumes. When the re-enactment ended, the Chief Minister commended the PEA for organising this event, and said that he was happy that the Eurasian culture is alive in Penang.
This was followed by the launching of the book The Eurasians: A founding community of Penang by Eustace Anthony Nonis.
Mass began at 6.00pm, presided by Bishop Sebastian Francis and concelebrated by Fr Nelson Chitty, Fr Michael Thoo, Fr Gerard Theraviam and a visiting Vietnamese priest.
In Bishop Sebastian’s homily, he said that as St Anne prepared Mary for her mission, so too Mary prepared Jesus Christ for his mission . Then, Jesus prepared his apostles for their mission and thus all of us are called for mission.
“The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, continues the mission of Jesus. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit or we will be left behind,” he said, “On October 19, I will be sending everyone — clergy and laity — on mission. This will be your personal mission. We thank Mother Mary for completing her mission and she continues to intercede for us, not only for Catholics but for everyone, for the whole world.”
Bishop Sebastian also spoke about the Eurasian Association, saying he was happy to join them in recalling their history. The Eurasian community has an early history in the church of the Assumption. A few days after the founding of Penang by Capt Francis Light, the first Eurasians from Kedah came over to Penang on August 15, 1786.
Bishop Sebastian said it is good to see the Church coming back to life and thanked everyone who helped to bring back life and soul to the Church. The Church, being the second oldest Church in Penang and a UNESCO heritage icon, should be open to all, including tourists and migrants.
Finally, he touched on what’s happening currently around the world — the persecution, the killings, the spread of the Ebola disease. He asked everyone to pray for God’s protection and blessing against Ebola and mentioned that those who worked to contain the disease and died of it were modern day saints.
According to Aloysius Gasper, the organising chairman of the whole event, the presentation gifts (including the bread and wine) depict the four different segments of their community — the very young, the teenagers, the middle aged and the seniors.
“This is to show and remind us of the wide age group we have. In our efforts to give new hope to the younger generation, we also have to look after the needs of the elderly in our community,” said Aloysius.
When the Mass ended, the parishioners were invited to purchase an array of Eurasian food on sale. There was also entertainment with live bands and an award presentation ceremony.
August 15 was just the first day of the PEA’s three-day celebration. On Aug 16, there was ‘An Evening with the Eurasians,’ a carnival held within the church compound (after the Sunset Mass) to showcase Eurasian food and talents and on Aug 17, there was a treasure hunt, using the church compound as the base.
– by Lucia Lai