The Church of Divine Mercy, Penang (CDM) held it’s confirmation for 24 candidates on the 6th July of this year. His Lordship Rt. Rev Bishop Sebastian Francis concelebrated the confirmation evening mass together with CDM parish priest, Fr Martin Arlando.
The Bishop began the mass by saying that even though we had celebrated Pentecost some time back, at each confirmation we celebrate Pentecost again with the coming of the Holy Spirit. He then posed the questions “Who is the Holy Spirit? What is the Holy Spirit in our lives?”
At his homily, his Lordship explained that one word comes to mind when we speak of the Holy Spirit and that word is “creative”. The word is a verb but what does that mean? It means that when we have the Holy Spirit in our lives we become alive in our work, our spirituality, prayer life, in everything that we do. The Holy Spirit is this source of energy behind this creativity. In the old catechism we are told that the Church is one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But today the Holy Spirit in Peninsular Malaysia is telling that we want a Church that is inclusive, creative and bridge building. If we do not listen to the Holy Spirit then we are either disobedient or lazy. We are told that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. So when we pray do not pray for a better harvest but to send more labourers. The Holy Spirit wishes us to continue the mission of Jesus Christ to perfection. This is the push of the Holy Spirit for the future. He is there to purify and sanctify all of us of our words, deeds, thoughts and intentions. Not all of us are motivated to do this with the right intentions because of our ego and attachments to worldly things. The Holy Spirit purifies us to be an instrument for God’s purposes. This is to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. He presents a new understanding of the Church as made up of apostles and missionary disciples who are baptised and sent. We all share the same identity through baptism and are the labourers of the vineyard of the Lord. As the people of God we are sent out of the Church on mission in the world. To be creative does not mean we are after a novelty but to return to basics and have a relationship with the Holy Spirit to on mission. The Bishop reminded the newly confirmed that as they progress from teenagers to adults, the Church is there to back them up to face the world with the Holy Spirit as their constant companion. This is shown in the laying of hands on them during confirmation ceremony. This is to help them make the right decisions in life and to face the challenges of the future.
At the offering of gifts, the Year 4 CEC students presented a poster affirming their support for their seniors. At the end of the mass, a thank you speech was given by the class representative and the newly confirmed presented a skit of their faith journey to this point of their lives and receiving the empowerment of the Holy Spirit this very day. The Bishop then presented the confirmation certificates while Fr Martin gave out a picture frame souvenir from the parents. At the end of mass a parent sponsored a cake for everyone to enjoy in fellowship remembering all their years together in class, understanding the faith.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
15th July, 2019