Assumption church closed for restoration works
4 September 2016
This was the interesting question Fr Gerard Theraviam asked in his homily during the Feast of the Assumption Eucharistic Celebration on 14 August 2016 at the Church of the Assumption, Penang.
According to Fr Gerard, our visa lies in the gospel reading of today, where Elizabeth said, “Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled”, as well as in the vigil gospel reading that mentions “happy are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” “Do you believe in the promise of God? Do you hear and keep the Word of God?” he asked. “If you do, this is your visa to heaven. Armed with both passport and visa, we can enter heaven with Mary.”
Referring to the first reading where the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ was mentioned, Fr Gerard explained that this is recognized as the presence of God.
“This title — the Ark of the Covenant — was given to Mary too. Why? Simply because Mary carried baby Jesus in her womb. She was chosen because she was holy and sinless. The Church believes that after her death, she was not in the tomb but was assumed, brought by God into heaven directly. Her Son won eternal life for her.
“In the first reading, you notice that a woman ‘adorned and glorified’ was chased by a dragon but, in the end, she successfully gave birth. This woman believed in the promise of God.
“During the annunciation, no doubt she was, at first, scared on learning that she was chosen to bear baby Jesus, but she trusted in the Word of God and believed the angel with her response ‘let your will be done’.”
Fr Gerard remarked that in the Magnificat, Mary gave glory to God for all the great things done to her. He put forward this question to the parishioners: “What are you grateful to God for and what do you have to be glorified?”
He said that each time we come for the Eucharistic Celebration, we are called to bring thanksgiving, just as God called Mary.
“We glorify God each time we come to the Eucharist. Today, as we glorify God and thank him for the gift of Mary, we also thank him for this church, as, in a sense, this church is the Ark of Covenant, because God is present. Generations of people have come to worship in this church,” he said.
“As the church is restored to its original beauty, let us ask God that we, too, be restored, that we grow, not only through physical beauty, but inner spiritual beauty as well. We ask that during our life we will give thanks to the glory of God.”
The Feastday Mass on August 14 was the last Mass to be celebrated at the church before it closed for restoration work.
Fr Gerard Theraviam, as the main celebrant, concelebrated with parish priest, Fr Nelson Chitty and assistant parish priest, Fr Joachim Robert.
After the post-communion prayer, Fr Nelson, the parish priest, gave a brief speech about the church restoration project and appealed for donations. The estimated cost for the project is RM2.5 million and it will take about 14 months to complete.
Fr Gerard, who is the chairman of the Assumption Church Restoration Committee, also spoke about the project. A slide presentation of the restoration webpage was shown. The parish blog and facebook also provide some information.
Those who wish to donate, please visit this page. Thank you.
NOTE: All photos taken during the feast, can be viewed at our Facebook photo album.