Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pilgrimage to Fatima Church, Banting (Part 1/2)

Local pilgrimages to Catholic churches is gaining popularity among churchgoers. Usually it's a day trip and made affordable to parishioners of all churches for all walks of life by George Yeow, a dear friend and a tourist guide by profession.

For the recent pilgrimage to Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Banting on October 11th, a total of 150 pilgrims, mainly from Petaling Jaya, Brickfields, Cheras and Kajang, traveled together in 3 buses and 2 vans. It was not surprising to see such a large crowd, after all the charge was only RM45 per pax and that included transport to Fatima Church and other interesting places at Tanjung Sepat, buns and a bottle of mineral water for light breakfast and seafood lunch.

The actual Feast Day for the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Banting was to be celebrated on Tuesday, October 13th, commemorating the anniversary of Our Lady's last apparition on October 13 1917. We attended the Novena and Sunday Eucharistic Celebration instead, 2 days earlier for the convenience of the working pilgrims.

Altar and tabernacle, inside the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Banting, Selangor
The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. VA. Michael celebrated the Mass, with the feast theme, "Seeing goodness and charisms in every person". He spoke enthusiastically and gave a profound homily on the theme, assuring one and all, that each person is unique and special in God's eyes, and endowed with fruits (Galatians 5:22-23) and gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

He encouraged us to never think less of anyone and to be good stewards of our gifts/talents for the good of the church and for humanity as a whole.

A well-attended Mass, overflowing with probably about 800 parishioners, pilgrims and other visiting members.

A healing session followed immediately after the Mass by the charismatic Parish Priest, who moved amongst the crowd and blessed the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament by tracing the sign of the cross with the monstrance held steadily upright before him. As Jesus passed by me, tears streamed down my cheeks as I became choked with my sinfulness and unworthiness.

We were all then invited to partake lunch. Though a simple meal, it speaks volume of the Church's generosity. A big thank you to Fr. Michael and his church team for their kindness and hospitality, catering to our spiritual and material needs.

Side view of the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Banting, Selangor

I can see that the Church is poor, building looks a little run-down and in dire need of painting. Even, Fr. Michael mentioned that the Church's weekly collection is about RM400, but unbelievably that day's collection for aid to flood victims in Philippines and Vietnam totaled RM3,000. Father, sure was proud of the faithful.

Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Banting, facing the Klang River

The Church's front has a nice view, facing the Klang River, which was swollen that morning. In the compound, there stood one of the most beautiful grotto I've even seen, a lovely masterpiece indeed! Fabulous bougainvillea bushes in vibrant red and pink decorated the grotto, which has a lovely man-made water feature with luxuriant Bird's Nest Ferns and other plants, and neighbouring palm trees.

Fr. VA Michael, flanked by John and I, at the Grotto of Our Lady of Fatima, Fatima Church, Banting, Selangor

Gereja Katolik Fatima (Church of Our Lady of Fatima) (1976)
140 Jalan Kekwa, Taman Seri
Telok Datok
42700 Banting,
Kuala Langat, Selangor
(Tel: 603-3181 5980)

Here's sharing
lyrics of the song, Dear Lady Of Fatima
(that was sung during the bus journey to Fatima Church
and also at the end of the Mass, befitting that special occasion.
A favourite of mine too, usually sung at our BEC weekly rosary prayer meeting)

Dear Lady of Fatima
We come on bended knees
To beg your intercession
For peace and unity
Dear Mary, won't you show us
The right and shining way
We pledge our love and offer you
A rosary each day.

You promised at Fatima
Each time when you appeared
To help us if we pray to you
To banish war and fear
Dear Lady on first Saturdays
We ask your guiding hand
For grace and guidance here on earth
And protection for our land.

Having completed our pilgrimage mission around 1.15 pm and spiritually uplifted, we then traveled to Tanjung Sepat as a leisure trip, to visit places of interest as scheduled in the itinerary. (To be continued...)
Edited Nov 11, 2009: continued at Touring Tanjung Sepat, Kuala Langat (Part 2/2).

P/S: Almost forgot to add this testament by Mdm. Serena Foong, one of the pilgrims from Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Jalan Peel. She shared this enroute on a recent pilgrimage to Church of St. Jude in Gopeng on Oct. 24. A new convert with a windy-stomach disorder, she said that during the healing session at Fatima Church, when Fr. Michael neared her with the monstrance, she felt a warm sensation flowing from top to toe as a figure in dazzling white garment laid hands on her head. What a blessed healing experience!
Definitely, that was Jesus Christ, all-merciful and all-compassionate, who promised in Matthew 18:20: "For where 2 or 3 come together in my name, I am there with them." And, He says in Luke 11:9: "Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you."

Praise and thanks be to God!

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