Last Friday, the 19th of July marked the beginning of the 9 day Novena in Bukit Mertajam where I live, in honour of St.Anne, the maternal grandmother of Jesus. The theme permeating this year’s celebration is: “Deepening our Discipleship through Spirituality of Communion”.
It also marked the Diocesan level launching of the “Year of the Priest”, the main celebrant being Bishop Anthony Selvanayagam together with a host of priests from the diocese. In his homily, Bishop Anthony touched on the reasons for the jubilee year for priests as espoused by Pope Benedict the VIV. The pope explains his reasons here.
The feast of St. Anne has always had a special significance for people – not only Catholics but also a large number of non-Christians from the region. The official website of St. Anne’s Church sheds more light on its history. Tens of thousands make this annual pilgrimage from neighbouring countries as well as all over the country. Check the full schedule of the novena and feast. Click MyCen for a map and location of St. Anne’s.
Read also the details of the times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, mass offerings and other information.
From what I observed, the Church was packed to capacity during the first two days (Friday and Saturday). The number of pilgrims usually level off in the next few days before peaking on the night of the eve of the feast on the 25th and climaxing on Sunday the 26th.
My hope and prayer? That in a difficult time in Malaysia, where many have been hit by personal tragedies, health issues, economic uncertainty, family and marital problems, increasing religious insensitivity and intolerance, this year’s theme which calls for a deepening of our discipleship through a spirituality of communion, will help all of us appreciate all the blessings we have been bestowed, and strive to grow that little bit more in faith, stature and wisdom.