Monday, August 16, 2010

Mary Isabellle celebrates her first year as a Cradle Catholic

It has been a full year today since my beautiful daughter was baptised. It is also my husband's birthday today. So it's a double celebration of sorts.

She is indeed God's little favourite - as He has given her really great days in her life thus far. Firstly, she was born on 31 May 2009 - which happened to be Pentecost Sunday (the Church's birthday). It is also the yearly feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which explains why her name is Mary.

She came into our lives as our daughter on 7 July 2009 - my mother's birthday and became Roman (Cradle) Catholic on 16 Aug 2009, her papa's birthday. We didn't actually planned it. It was just the Sunday that Patrick's home parish sets for infant Baptism.

Although just 14 months old, she has been an active church going Catholic (no choice, or rather best choice as recommended by her parents), an active choir member (same reason as earlier one), attends regular BEC gatherings and seem to be a little celeb after mass when her weekend "fans" visit her for some cheek pinching or just simply to say "hi" to her.

Our challenge is now of course to teach her by example the reverance we offer to God during mass as our little toddler is learning to run. Thank God we had experience some success with the help of the Holy Spirit and our stroller for blocking her route to a free sprint down the church aisle. She also can be quite noisy - speaking especially during the homily. She seem to think our parish priest is having a conversation with her or something... hmmm. If you are or have been a parent of very young children, you'd understand what I'm sharing here, right? So please pray for us that we may soon find the best way to help her appreciate mass as a special time set aside for God and that we worship as a family in reverance.
My ardent prayer and dream is that she will change the meaning of what a Cradle Catholic would be into the future - a person who truly LOVES and UNDERSTANDS her Faith and encounters GOD in everything she does, and NOT the norm now which is generally a blur follower of Christ whose Faith is easily shaken due to lack of knowledge and understanding of our own Faith.

This blog was started with my Cradle Catholic eyes' view of my world. I see and feel that soon it will be shared by my little Cradle Catholic Mary Isabelle, whose eyes are oh so precious to us all and especially to our Lord.


Monday, August 2, 2010

First major St Thomas More Feast Day celebrations in Subang Jaya (2010)

A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)
More in DVD
This year 22 June 2010 was special. How and Why? Well, it's the first time our parish celebrated in a big way our Parish Feast Day.

Although, we did it last year with Fr OC celebrating mass a day earlier on Sunday (as the actual feast day fell on a Monday on 2009), it was a Sunday mass. The homily was of course powerful as Fr OC himself, a qualified lawyer, had always been a fan of the saint.

My vivid memory was about the part when he said (Fr OC) - in not so many words that if it came down to it, we should "hate" even our family members if they will prevent us from loving our God. Sounds harsh right? Well, if you don't already know the story ... his most beloved daughter Meg begged her father Thomas More to take an oath that would declare an earthly king, head of the Church instead of Christ's appointed successor the Pope.

True to his Faith and conscience, Thomas More rejected even his most loved daughter's pleading request, and ended up with his head chopped off. How many of us can do this? Perhaps, (in shame) not even me, when cornered to such a point.

This year, again, we invited yet another lawyer Fr Michael Chua. He gave a powerful and long homily reminding us how important TRUE JUSTICE AND PEACE is, especially in Malaysia and that when we are challenged as Catholic-Christians (remember the hoax SMSes to take down your Rosary or risk having your windscreen smashed), we should remind ourselves how St Thomas More responded.

Apart from the resounding message from this saint which is absolutely apt for Malaysia today, we also treated our eyes to two beautifully painted Stations of The Cross by our very own artist Christie Das. In fact, all fourteen stations will be her masterpieces. At this point of the post Fr Simon Labrooy told us after mass that all 14 stations had been successfully sponsored as part of the church's fund raising activities.

For me personally, it was indeed a great milestone in my journey of being a parishioner of this church. Those of you following my blog would have read earlier that I've somehow gotten the job of script writer for a play which will be staged on the life of St Thomas More as part of the opening celebrations of our new church building.

After almost two months of research and writing, the script was finally completed just before March ended and auditions and rehearsals started early April. As there was another major play being staged, most of the talent pool had gone there...

Due to God's great providence, we still ended up with a team that would do quite a good job, we felt. Then, three weeks into the rehearsals, our Music Director whom, we depended a lot upon, due to his vast experience in this field, decided to quit the team due to personal reasons.

As this a volunteer project, his departure was beyond our control. In desperation, I prayed one night that God will truly help us out of this terrible situation as we needed a few very important songs to complete the tale of Thomas More in the next few days when the rehearsal resume.

The most remarkable thing then happened. It was about 11pm then. My husband, who was quite worried about the entire situation had retired to bed. Out of the blue, I felt like penning some thoughts down. And then it happened ... a tune for the St Thomas More theme song came to me. I know it is truly divine inspiration, cos' on my own strength - I have no such talent.

I then reflected his life and the different aspects of who Thomas More was ... to cut a long story short by about 2.30am I had the theme song roughly recorded. Then I looked at the other important part which needed to be expressed and it was that  heart wrenching moment when Margaret, fondly known as Meg to Thomas More, wrote to her father, begging him to change his mind and take the Oath of Supremacy.

That, my research showed, was one of the most, if not the most painful moment of Thomas More's life- that his daughter, whom he considered his kindred spirit, could not understand what she was asking of him.

And so from 2.30am to about 4.30am, Meg's Letter was composed. It was roughly recorded by 5.30am, by 6am I was so dead tired I slept. However, the moment I heard Patrick waking up, I was up, excited to share my new songs and yet not knowing whether he would approve of them (he's got high standards).

Somehow he felt the songs and we started calling friends who played the piano to play for us and thank God, Christine Das (yes, she's my earth angel) answered the call. Yes, besides being an artist, she is a great pianist. She brought the exact emotions to Meg's Letter.

What affirmed me that God had truly inspired the song, as some people later told me (including Christine) - the song reminded them of their relationship with their own father and it touched them deeply (some to the point of tears).

Back to the feast day... it was indeed a proud moment when my joint composition with God - Hymn to St Thomas More was played in church. What confirmed for me that it was from God was that it coincided with Fr Michael Chua's homily and it felt like it was a summary of what he had preached.

I really can't wait for the play to open when we move into our new home. As Erasmus (STM's best friend) would say, it would be my pleasure to tell the tale of my friend Thomas More.

Come join us spread this message of Thomas More to all Malaysians... May Allah's name be praised always!!! Amin!

(At this point of writing ... God has continued to send the right talent to help us ... slowly but surely. He sent us a really creative set designer who happens to be Christine's husband, a talented tailor, a swell sound engineer/technician, a fabulous choir master, a very efficient secreatary, a innovative creative designer, a very dedicated co-producer, who is also our backbone when we are busy with other areas. Dedicated cast who are internalising their lines and taking on important characters with an important message for all. Our team is getting better despite some minor hiccups along the way .... if you are reading this post, please continue to pray for us.... we definitely need it... Amen)