It was the culmination of all the years of catechism, serving in a church ministry as a prerequisite, attending an interview with Fr Martin Arlando, the parish priest and attending a confirmation camp by Martin Jalleh. The 16 young parishioners of the Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) Penang knelt before Bishop Sebastian Francis to affirm their faith and receive the third sacrament of initiation, Confirmation on the 24th June.
In his homily, His grace told them that this Sunday of their confirmation was an auspicious day, as it was the feast of St John the Baptist. This is because this is the only saint that the church gives more than one feast day, the others are Our Lady and St Joseph. Jesus had declared that there was no man greater than St John the Baptist. The first church to be established in Penang was St John the Baptist church in Batu Kawan, to cater for the migrants that came with the French priests from China.
Bishop also explained that Jesus had invited them to be his friend and not his slave (John 15:9-17) as he had revealed to them all his Father had told him. Jesus also invited them to be his brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-36) to share the Word of God. He explained that Christian vocation is not confined only to priests and religious. Each one of them has a Christian vocation in whatever role they played in life. They only had to have faith by sharing the Word of God in the way Jesus did. By seeing, speaking, touching and doing the Word of God. In this way, they would be able to see Jesus in others and everything.
At the end of Mass, Benedict Stephen spoke on behalf of all the confirmands. He related his faith journey and the experiences he encountered to become a renewed Catholic. The confirmands then sang and danced to a song entitled “Made New” by Lincoln Brewster. They were presented with confirmation certificates and a souvenir. At the potbless after the Mass celebration, all the confirmands got to share some close fellowship with Bishop and Fr Martin together with friends and family.
The happiness and joy of the confirmands was clearly shown to all friends and family. This was a result of the great rapport they had cultivated while participating and serving in the various activities organized by CDM. This spirit displayed by them gave much hope and promise for the continued growth of the Catholic community here in Penang.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
25th June, 2018.