Holy spirit

Advent 2021 at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang

Our Advent theme for 2021 was Behold, I Make All Things New from Revelation Chapter 21.

06 January 2022

By Andrew Loh
The Advent season here at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (CHS) is over; and here are some of our Advent stories:

Our Advent theme for 2021 was Behold, I make all things new of chapter 21 of the book of Revelation. To begin, on the first Sunday of Advent, we gathered via Zoom, for a day of recollection on the theme A road to our God. It started with a session of praise and worship, followed by an update on the various CHS projects for Advent.

Later, the Resident Priest, Fr. Francis Anthony spoke about the Gospel of Mark which emphasizes the gift of God’s peace to man, who enjoys God’s favor and benevolence. He also touched on repentance, discipleship and mission, the miracles and parables of Jesus, the facts of life, integration, inclusiveness and building bridges. This was followed by a breakout session where participants in breakout groups shared on three talking points from Father Francis’ speech. Participants were very enthusiastic and shared their experiences and challenges; and were also inspired by others sharing in their small groups. Then Father Joachim led the intercessory prayers.

There was also the ‘Crèche Renewal Experience’ session – where we met within our zone/BEC groups and CHS Friends groups on certain days for a creche prayer session, which was created next to the entrance to our chapel. During this revival experience, we had the opportunity to practice gratitude and put our faith in the Word (found in Matthew 7:7 & 8) into action as we wrote our private petitions during these sessions. – these private petitions were boxed and offered at our Christmas Eve mass. Also at these sessions, attendees were asked to take home anonymous petition forms folded into a basket (these petitions were submitted anonymously by people via Google Forms); and pray for these people and their petitions throughout the season of Advent. The sessions ended with the singing of Christmas carols and photographs taken at the crèche. Many expressed their appreciation for these sessions which they said brought them closer to God and to others; especially in this time when we are suffering all the effects of the pandemic.

We also distributed blessed Advent candles to each family – each candle wrapped in red cloth and adorned with a bell and heart-shaped ornament, to remind us to “Pray, Hope and Love”. Said candles were distributed during the “Renewal Experience at the Crèche”; and for those unable to join the session, the candles were then distributed by their respective BEC leaders.

On the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Bambinelli Sunday, we were encouraged to bring our Baby Jesus figurines home from our nativity scenes, to be blessed during weekend Masses.

Another project was the delivery of gift bags to all pediatric wards in Penang Hospital. The items in the gift bags were donated by CHS catechism children, parishioners and CHS friends (in cash or in kind). The response was very good and it was a meaningful experience for all.

What we experienced this Advent at CHS was the meeting of people’s ideas, actions, hearts and minds.