Feast of The Visitation of The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church of The Visitation began its 7-day parish celebration of The Feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Thursday 24 May 2023 leading to The Feast Day on Wednesday 31 May, 2023.

Rosary Devotion in four languages, (Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, Mandarin, and English) was held each evening. This was followed by The Eucharist in four languages. A different theme was given for each day namely, family, elderly, youth, children, the poor, the BEC and the Synodal church. On the Feast Day the Rosary Devotion and the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was followed by the Eucharist. A summary of the message for each day is given below.

1st Day. Thursday 25 May 2023 Theme: Family and Newness of Life. The Eucharist was Presided by Rev Fr. Clarence Devadass.
The message was about the family being the start of everything.  We can choose our friends but not our family.  Relationship in family needs time, time to foster relationships.  Like Jesus, from Ascension to Pentecost.  Jesus gave us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to be with us.  There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit. All these gifts are to glorify the Father.  Unity in the Family.  A family that prays together stays together.  Jesus asks us to glorify our Heavenly Father.

2nd Day. Friday 26 May. Theme: The Elderly and the Caring the Eucharist was Presided by Rev Fr. Clarence Devadass
What does it mean by “they are growing old gracefully?” What does it mean in the real context? Is it easy to grow old? We are all growing old.  Growing old can be painful.  The theme, The Elderly and the Caring Community, do they go together? In John 21:18-23 Jesus tells Simon Peter ‘The truth is, when you were young, you tied your own belt and went where you wanted.  But when you are old, you will put out your hands and someone else will tie your belt. They will lead you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to show how Peter would die to give glory to God.  The elderly with a caring community does not establish a community that please people to do extraordinary things.  Pope France in his message on World Day of the Elderly on July 26 talked about five important needs of the elderly.  Firstly, learn how to respect the elderly.  Listen to them, listening is the foundation of respect. Secondly, provide them with purposeful living.  When you grow old you lose purposefulness.  How can you give them a new purpose in life.  Thirdly, provide the elderly a social relationship- develop new relationships, new friendships. Provide a place to grow in relationship.  Fourthly, provide them with care and attention, they tend to grow into a phase of being neglected and become detached from the community. Show them care and integrate them into the life of the community. Lastly, learn to pray with them.  Prayer is an integral part of a faith filled relationship.  Who is the elderly?   Each one of us is the elderly. Pope Francis in his message to the elderly in 2021, says, The Church Needs You (the elderly) to (i) preserve the traditions of church communities and families.  (ii) to pass on the faith to the next generation (iii) the church today needs you to build the Church of Today for the Church of Tomorrow.  It is not how effective the elderly can be, but how they can play an important role in the community of the person of Jesus Christ.

3nd Day. Saturday 27 May. Theme: Youth and Vibrancy of the Church. The Eucharist was Presided by Rev Fr. Moses Rayappan and concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Xavier Andrew.
Youth are a symbol of love, noise and the vibrancy of the Church, Firstly, God loves you.  Young people love to be loved.  Do you look at the cross, the altar and the tabernacle? The cross is a sign of sacrifice.  God loves you.  The tabernacle nourishes you spiritually. The altar is a sign of memorial.  Do what God wants you to do.  Which do you look at to embrace God’s love for you?  How can we embrace God’s love? Without the youth, the vibrancy of the church is a question we need to ask.  You must feel you are loved, that you are part of the church.  Secondly, Jesus Christ cares for you.  You must ask questions.  In the bible we read of a young man who came to Jesus and asked a question: ‘What good must I do?  Jesus replied to him, Keep my Commandments.  Ask, what must I do for the Church?  Mary too asked the angel Gabriel a question.  How can this be? Go to the cross of Jesus. Jesus won the cross for us. The cross is a sign of sacrifice. Never feel you are not good enough.  Jesus saves you.  Society does not save us.  Love yourself, God loves you.  Thirdly, Christ is alive.  He is with us.  He is always moving in us.  There was a rich man who had accumulated a lot of wealth, belongings and riches. He was asked to donate 200 wheelchairs for a home for disabled children.  He was asked to come personally to present them to the children in the Home. He went to the Home and presented them. When he was leaving the Home a child held on to his leg, he looked down and asked the child, what else can I do?  The child looked up at him smiling and said, I want to see your face because I want to remember your face when I see you in heaven.  The rich man felt joy that he had never felt before. Joy comes through giving.  Jesus came to give us the fullest.  It is possible that God can use you.  Don’t give up growing in Christ, be rooted in Christ.

4th Day. Sunday 28 May. Theme: Children, Reflection of Happiness.  The Eucharist was Presided by Rev. Fr. Moses Rayappan.
Whenever we talk about children it is a time of Joy.  A child is born or it’s a child’s birthday. When a child is born we want to make the child laugh all the time. As the child grows this tends to stop.  This could be the reason, that many of us forget our childhood.   Parents make time for your child. Time is important.  Isaiah 49: 16  says,  “See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hand; your walls are ever before me.” Give your children time not space.  Give your children quantity time not quality time.  Give them love.  Do not replace your love for them with gifts.  Do not substitute yourself for gifts to your children.  Give children time to grow emotionally, physically and intelligently.  Most children these days are unable to take stress. Work for unity in the family not conflict.  Parents do not fight or quarrel in front of the children.  Keep the family united.  Keep children as he or she is, and not to what parents want them to be.  Do not force children to do what they do not want to do.  Accept each child according to his or her own capability.  Let children know that you love and care for them. Every child in the family is important.  They should not be compared with other siblings.  Children should be treated alike.  Keep the family whole.  Parents are responsible for the spiritual life and growth of their children.  See what is going on and take the necessary steps to help your children.

5th Day Triduum, Monday 29 May. Theme: The Poor Enriches the Church.  The Eucharist was Presided by Rev. Fr. Robert Daniel
Mark 14:3-8 tells us of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil. People responded to this act with anger.  Jesus told them to “leave her alone. You will always have the poor”.  What is the meaning of “you will always have the poor?”

It’s a prophetic sign.  Prophetism comes with discomfort.  For example, a party of rich people, suddenly a poor man walks in and joins in the midst of them. We do not experience much of this in Church!  Prophetic sign of spiritual integrity is an authentic respond to God.  Matthew 25: 31-40; feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, visit the prisoner.

Poverty as a radical sign of God’s blessing. Christian faith is about radical interpretation of life.  What we consider essential may not be true in the eyes of God.  Being poor, in poverty is a sign of contradiction to the world. What people understand as unfortunate is considered as “blessing’. It challenges our value system.

Poverty is a sign of spiritual enrichment. In spiritual orientation, spirituality is the coming into the presence of God.  We need to start to take the correct step and be with the correct attitude. One attitude is humility, being in a sense of poverty, sense of inadequacy, or insufficiency (of human brokenness).   Our service and contribution to the community should begin because I am poor (material needs, etc) or at a place of vulnerability and not at a place of power or control.

6th day Triduum, Tuesday 30 May.  Theme: BECs the Pulse of the Parish. The Eucharist was Presided by Rev. Fr. Robert Daniel.
One of the greatest gift that is natural in us which is called self-expansion is that, we have a natural, inner capacity for something that is bigger than ourselves.  This natural capacity in us becomes evident when there is trouble or a crisis and people naturally gather to help each other, for example, in a road accident.  It is also very evident in a kampong or village where the community gathers naturally at a birth of a child or a funeral.  Grace is built from nature.  This is our Christian belief.  Coming together naturally in the presence of God. The recent pandemic has proven that people are unable to live in solidarity.  People have a natural sense of belonging and living in a community.  This is how the mechanism of the Basic Ecclesiastical Communities (BEC) is constructed.  It is built on this context of natural self-expansion of ourselves. BECs have seen the presence of God living in a small community.  In the Gospel of Matthew 18 it says: “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name I am in your midst.” The presence of God is felt in the midst of a gathering as small as two or three. BEC leaders are often dissatisfied that there are only a few members at meetings. God’s presence is here in the gathering of 2 or 3 members.

The BEC is the pulse of the church.  It reflects the sign of God’s presence. During the recent pandemic the church was closed due to restrictions that had to be followed.  Many people came together, helped each other and were connected to each other spiritually throught the handphone or media, that is a sign of God’s presence.  The late Rev. Fr. Clement said that the progress of a parish is the measure set at the pace of the slowest in the community, not those who are fast and active in the parish.  The progress and health of the parish is the obligation of the strong towards the weakest in the parish.  They are found in the BECs.  They are people struggling spiritually, economically, physically, emotionally.  We should go there, the pulse of the parish, the health check of the parish, that is the mark of progress of the parish.

Feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Wednesday 31 May. Theme: A Synodality Church Journeying Together.  The Eucharist was Presided by Msgr. Rev. Fr. Henry Rajoo and Concelebrated by eight priests, Rev. Fr. Albet Arokiasamy,  Rev. Fr. Philip Ho, Rev. Fr.  Wilveraj, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Gopal,  Rev. Fr. Nicholas Ho,  Rev. Fr. Christopher Loh, Rev. Fr. Chin Sin Wei,  Rev. Fr. Philip Teh and Rev. Fr. Xavier Andrew, Parish Priest, Church of the Visitation.

A Church that Journeys together.  What does it mean? In our faith we journey as a baptised people, as a community of the Church.  So, we are a people on a journey on earth towards heaven.  How are we supposed to live this journey?  In the synodal documents the three common words that appear are communion, participation and mission.  

Communion. What does it mean to be in communion.  God created us and we journey on this earth as one family.  In today’s gospel Mary had been told by an angel earlier, that Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant.  Elizabeth was of old age.  Mary went in haste to help Elizabeth and stayed with her for three months. Mary felt for the other, Elizabeth.  Communion is to feel for others who are suffering.

Participation. Focus on listening.  In the Gospel of St John, Mary participated in the marriage at Cana.  The wine had finished.  Mary heard that there was no wine left.  She did not gossip or embarrass anyone.  She went to Jesus for help.  She listened with her heart. Listen to people and listen with your heart, then, you are on the journey as a Synodal Church.

Mission.  When Mary received the news of her cousin Elizabeth, she did not consult anyone.  She did not ask the Angel Gabriel what she should do.  She made a decision and went in hast to visit Elizabeth.  See a need, make a decision and act on it.  You are on your way in the Journey of a Synodal Church!  Feel for the other, listen with your heart and act.

Youth the Vibrancy of the Parish.
One of the highlights of the Visitation Feast Day was an exhibition organised by the Visitation Youth Ministry to commemorate the events that were held by the various ministries and the congregation in the parish, for which the youths of the parish gave their endless support to make these events happen.

The Parishioners were invited to visit the Visitation Parlour to view these events and activities displayed in picture form, throughout the feast day celebrations from 25th May 2023 - 31st May 2023 from 6pm till 10pm.

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