St. Anne’s Feast Day 2010

St. Anne's Church Bukit Mertajam
St. Anne’s Church Bukit Mertajam.

St. Anne’s Feast Day falls on 26 July. It has been a tradition for Mum to make a pilgrimage to the St. Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam a few days prior to the feast day to avoid the traffic jam and the crowd of pilgrims. Since moving to Kuala Lumpur, I have tried to keep to that tradition by going back to Penang towards the end of July and then onward to Bukit Mertajam with Wuan.

I love to be there, to soak in the ambience of the hallowed ground, to let my eyes follow the stairs of granite up to the distinct structure of the church halfway up the hill. It is a wonder that despite the bustling all around the church compound, I always felt a sense of serenity whenever I was there. If there is anything that I look forward to in the month of July, it must be St. Anne’s Feast Day celebrations in Bukit Mertajam.

Unfortunately, we are not able to go on the pilgrimage this year. Wuan has been inundated with work and had to go back to office on weekends, too. She has not had a good night’s sleep for weeks now. We may make a trip to the church when we are in Penang next. I foresee that it will be a totally new experience to be there without all the activities and pilgrims.

When You Do Not Respect My Religion

How do you expect me to respect you as a person and the religion that you claim you profess when you so blatantly disrespect the Body of Christ that we Christians hold so sacred in our hearts? It is sacrilege of the utmost degree to desecrate the Host by spitting it out, take a photo of it and then put it up in your magazine for all to see. Did your religion not teach you to respect other people’s religions?

In response to this desecration, I implore my brothers and sisters in Christ to lodge their strongest protest with the authorities and the publisher of the magazine for this grave insult. At the same time, I also urge my brothers and sisters in Christ to keep their hearts open for forgiveness and pray for these lost souls to be enlightened of their errant ways. Having said that, I am also proud and blessed to count among my friends Muslims who respect my faith as much as I respect theirs.

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.’ Then they cast lots to share out his clothing.
(Luke 23:34 NJB)

Blogs with related posts:
Screenshots – Do you read Al-Islam?
Dustyhawk :: Broken Mirror – Ravenous Religious Bigots

Read this, this and this for context.

Update:
Sunday March 7, 2010
Al-Islam apologises for hurting Christians’ feelings

KUALA LUMPUR: Al-Islam magazine has apologised over a special report last year for “unintentionally hurting the feelings of Christians, particularly Catholics”.

The apology was posted on the website of its publisher Utusan Karya on Friday.

It said in a three-paragraph statement that the report was to investigate allegations of apostasy and the actions of its journalists “were never intended to deride the Christian faith, let alone desecrate their house of worship”.

“The two reporters involved also tendered their apology for not realising that what they have done in the course of their assigment has offended the feelings of Christians. Al-Islam hopes that such a thing will not recur,” it said.

The magazine stated that the apology would be published in next month’s publication.

The report entitled Tinjauan Al-Islam Dalam Gereja — Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Melayu Murtad (Al-Islam’s investigation in the church — finding the truth on teenage Malay apostates) was published in its May 2009 issue, in which its journalists had posed as Christians and participated in a mass at the St Anthony’s Church in Jalan Robertson near Puduraya.

The reporters were said to have admitted to receiving the Holy Communion then spitting it out, an act Catholics consider a sacrilege.

Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam had on Thursday said the church would not pursue legal action against the magazine nor its reporters if a public apology was offered.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had said stern action would not be in the interest of justice, peace and harmony at this particular time, adding that the reporters “did not know the significance of the white bread”.

Reverand Murphy said he was pleased with the quick response by the publishers, editors and authors.

“We accept their apology and extend our hand in peace. The Catholic community is now at peace following the apology. May God bless our country,” he said.

Living In Mortal Sin

Today, I was made aware that as long as my marriage is not blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, I am living in mortal sin and can no longer receive the Holy Communion. The civil marriage that I went through is not acceptable in the eyes of the Church.