Monday, November 30, 2009

Pilgrimage to St Jude's Chapel, Gopeng

The Chapel of St Jude in Gopeng, Perak draws quite a large crowd of pilgrims from all over Malaysia and Singapore annually before and on its feast day. This year, it celebrated the feast of Apostles St Simon and St Jude on October 25, that was preceded by 2 days of Novena prayers and Masses to St Jude, the patron Saint of desperate cases.

Chapel of St Jude in Gopeng, Perak

Interior of the Chapel of St Jude in Gopeng, Perak

This year, my darling and I were numbered in the multitude of 1,500 people who thronged St Jude's Chapel to attend the Eucharistic Mass Celebration that Sunday morning. We felt blessed indeed to be able to travel together with 24 other pilgrims from our parish and others, by bus from Kuala Lumpur to attend its feast day.

It was an organized pilgrimage tour package by George Yeow where we journeyed a day earlier so that we could also visit the Church of the Sacred Heart in Kampar in the morning, attend the Saturday's Novena prayer and Mass at St Jude's Chapel in the evening and its feast day the next morning.

Fr. Robin Andrews, the Parish Priest of St Joseph's Church in Batu Gajah (which administrates St Jude's Chapel) celebrated both the Saturday's Mass and Sunday's Feast Day Mass.

Sunday, being the actual feast day, saw a much bigger crowd. The Chapel's organizing committee has set up many tents on its grounds and even transferred its Altar outside in anticipation of the larger attendence.

Eucharistic Mass was celebrated in the grounds of Chapel of St Jude in Gopeng, Perak

Fr. Robin celebrated the Mass in multi-lingual. In his homily, Fr Robin shared a little on the history of Saints Simon and Jude, highlighting on the later's tremendous love for God and touched on favours granted through St Jude's intercession. Referring to the blind beggar, Bartimaeus in the Gospel reading of that day, he exhorted the faithful not to be just observers or close our eyes to the injustices that we see around us, but be the voice for the voiceless and powerless as we're baptized, anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He said, "Jesus comes to feed us with His Body and Blood, ready to listen and help us. Let us ask for the grace to follow Him everyday and to be faithful to the end."

Statue of St Jude at St Jude's Chapel in Gopeng, PerakAfter Communion, Fr. Robin gave a blessing for the sick over the whole congregation, as he said that all of us are sick one way or the other, and followed by sprinkling of the Holy Water.

Subsequently, the statue of St Jude was carried in procession by hospitality ministers around the Chapel's grounds, followed by the Priest who led the crowd in solemn reverence of God's presence.

After Mass, all present were invited for lunch. All of us did stay on to fellowship and enjoy the food generously provided.

What really struck me most during those 2 wonderful Mass Celebrations was the awesome singing by the St Jude's Choir. It's made up of 10-11 year-old children and a few teenagers, singing their hearts out in youthful praise and worship, in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil. So harmonic, lively and angelic!

Sharing the lyrics of the final hymn, Shine Jesus Shine, that was sung on that feast day :

Shine Jesus Shine
Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus, Light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me! Shine on me!

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light.

Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood I may enter your brightness
Search me, try me consume all my darkness
Shine on me! Shine on me!   (chorus)

As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Nearer here may our lives tell your stonry
Shine on me! Shine on me!   (chorus)

A big thank you to Father Robin Andrews, the choir and his organizing committee for an excellent job done. Your hospitality, generosity and spiritual food for us pilgrims and others are very much appreciated.

St Jude's Chapel was built by Fr. Noel Maury MEP, after the French Tekka Mining Company donated a piece of land in 1919.

More at Diocese of Penang, Malaysia

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