Feast of The Visitation - 31 05 17

Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17The Feast of the Visitation of The Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on 31st May 2017, saw a crowd of about 2,000 faithful from all 4 language group gathered at the Church of The Visitation, Seremban. In line with the Parish aspiration to become a Disciples of Hopes by being Inclusive, Creative and Bridge-building, members of other faiths and Christian denominations were also invited as special guests and seated in front pews reserved for them. (Our Muslims brothers joined in during the fellowship as they were observing the breaking of fast and Isha’s prayers). Also in attendance were some 40 parishioners from The Church of St. Francis of Assisi (SFA), Cheras. The Feast of the Visitation which dates back to the 12th and 13th century, is an extraordinary and joyful meeting between two pregnant women (Mary with the child Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth with the child John the Baptist) in a hill country side town of Judah as recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke, 1: 39 – 56. The feast with the theme on “Mary, help us to be missionaries first in our families and then to all persons” was the culmination of the nine days of Novena with Rosary and Mass which began on the 23rd May 2017 (two out of the nine days were set aside for Prayer, Reflection, Novena, Rosary and Fellowship at BEC level). The celebration began with the recitation of the Rosary at 7.00pm and then proceeded with the multi-lingual Holy Mass at 7.30pm. It was for the first time in the history of the Church, the Mass were streamed live on YouTube which was made possible by the team from the KL Archdiocese Social Communications.
Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17 The Celebrant The main celebrant on that day was Rev. Father Andrew Manickam, OFM Cap (Church of St. Francis of Assisi). Con-celebrated were Rev Fathers, Gregory Chan (Church of The Assumption, PJ), George Harrison (Parish Priest of Church of The Visitation) and Andrew Kooi (Assistant Parish Priest of Church of The Visitation). In his homily, Fr. Andrew Manickam said that the meeting (The Visitation) of these two biblical women can help us to become missionaries, beginning in our homes where we are deeply rooted. He went on to explained that there are 3 aspects in the blessed visitation that we need to consider. The first aspect was to put aside any elements of personal agendas which at times can be difficult. We need to emulate like Mary who reaches out to Elizabeth to help her and to be helped, to share stories, to give oneself to another. Hence one need to put aside his or her plans and try to fit in God’s plans for them. The second aspect was that the grace of the Holy Spirit like in the words of St. Ambrose of Milan, does not know delayed efforts and as shown by Mary who hastened to visit her cousin despite the long and dangerous journey and did not allowed anyone to stopped her. When God calls us, there is no time to waste or to give a thought about it or to postpone it but to move forward like Mary did and take action. The third aspect was, when we allowed our circumstances or situation in our lives to delay efforts in doing something good and becoming the kind of persons that God wants us to be, thus preventing us from becoming missionaries both in the family and community at large. This is due to the lack of believing that God is uniquely presence and working through these very circumstances for our betterment and development. Like Mary and Elizabeth, they did not allow their circumstances of two different extremes nature to limit who they were or what they might become as what God has planned for them. Towards the end of the Mass, the faithful were given each a pocket-sized prayer card (The Rosary) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1st of series of apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal in 1917.

Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17 offetory
The solemn procession of Our Lady proceeded after mass. The Communion ministers took turn to carry Our Lady walking around outside of the Church premises. As the procession got under way, the Church bell rang. The Altar server boys carrying thurible, candle stands and Ave Maria banner led the procession and followed by representatives of Zones each carrying their respective banners, followed then by the Statue of Our Lady, the Priests, flower girls and the faithful who were holding candles. Balloons with the colours of Our Lady were given out to children. At the end of the procession, the Church bell rang again. Pictures of Our Lady of Fatima were then blessed and given out to each family. The celebration continued with dinner being served to all including invited guests. Performances by individuals and groups including from the Baha’i community accompanied dinner. The height of the evening celebration was the presentation of a short video clip and followed by a short speech by Fr. George before together with Fr. Andrew officially launched the “Journeying towards 170 years of the Parish” to the applause of the faithful who stayed on. At this juncture, fireworks were displayed and confetti rained down from a cannon. It is anticipated that, there will be exciting programs and events lined up for the next 12 months leading to the finale on the 31st May 2018. The celebration of the feast of the Visitation came to a closed at around midnight. In his closing speech, Fr. George thanked the organizing team, the technical team and all who worked hard to make the Feast day a success and meaningful.
Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17 Balloons

Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17 Procession begin
Feast of The Visitation 31 05 17 Laaunching
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