New evangelisation calls us to reach out to the world outside

The Feast of Sts Chastan and Imbert was celebrated with a Triduum which began on Sept 20 and concluded with the Feastday celebration on Sept 23.

Oct 12, 2018

By Sheila Rose Darmaraj
The Feast of Sts Chastan and Imbert was celebrated with a Triduum which began on Sept 20 and concluded with the Feastday celebration on Sept 23. This year, the celebration was special as the relics of our Martyrs were available for veneration. The veneration was held before Mass on Saturday and after Mass on Sunday.

The first day of the Triduum focused on discipleship. Fr Louis Loi (Asst parish priest), who had just returned from visiting the martyrs’ shrine in Korea, told the congregation the story of Sts Chastan and Imbert who sacrificed their lives for the faith and were martyred in Korea. Both of them had taught at College General in Penang. Chastan from 1828 to 1830 and Imbert from 1821 to 1822. Jacques Chastan was also the 4th parish priest of the Church of the Immaculate Conception from 1830 to 1833. Fr Louis also showed slides of the persecution tools used to torture and execute Christians. He explained that the crosses we bear are thorns that help us recognise that we need Christ.

On the second day, Fr Dominic Santhiyagu (parish priest) related the “call” to our vocation which St Paul talks about in Ep 4: 1-7, 11-13.When Jesus calls, we respond to the call in different ways — some are called to be disciples, pastors and teachers but we must be worthy of our vocation. He said that the respondent becomes worthy of the call by loving God. It is a process of love which begins with friendship. As friends of Jesus, we need to listen to him. Then we move on to become his disciples, we need to be obedient by keeping his commandments. Next, we respond to our call as apostles of Jesus with the mission of Jesus (Mat 28: 19).With this mission, we encourage others that Jesus is truly active and alive — be enablers to make things possible (Mat 28: 19-20).Then, from mission, we move on to ‘new evangelisation’ — rekindling the fire in those who are lagging in the faith or have distanced themselves.

On the third day, Msgr James Gnanapragasam preached on Mission. He drew similarities on the lives of Bishop Oscar Romero, Jesus and Sts Chastan and Imbert. He said that all of them were called to a mission of peace but it soon turned into a mission on the path to persecution. Bishop Oscar Romero was conservative and traditional when he was first appointed as Archbishop of El Salvador. A string of events transformed him into a radical person in support of the liberation of the people and who voiced out against the atrocities and terrorisation of the people. Jesus chose 12 apostles to carry out his mission in peace — to preach, heal and deliver. However, in Matthew 10:28, the scene changes and Jesus says to his apostles “do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body.” Here, he said that Jesus is warning the apostles of their mission that entails persecution. Similarly, Jacques Chastan and Imbert left France to preach in Penang and were martyred in Korea. Our mission, said Monsignor James, is to give witness.

On the feastday, Msgr James narrated the subway story on paradigm shift: A man’s perception changed and he began to think differently after hearing the story told to him. Paradigm shift, Msgr James explained is when there is a complete reversal of what we have been talking about or thinking.

Jesus makes a paradigm shift too, he said. Jesus had just transfigured himself and was talking about the suffering he has to endure but the disciples were preoccupied with their own discussion on who among them was the greatest. Jesus then embraces a child and says that the greatest among them is the least among them (Mark 9: 30-37).

Msgr James added that the ‘new evangelisation’ calls us on a mission to reach out to the outside world. It is to reach out to Catholics who have fallen away. Many say they are spiritual but do not have religion. The only way we can reach out to them is to be like children, happy and joyful to have embraced Christ. He urged the congregation to spend time with fellow Catholic friends and not to come to church with a mournful look. He said be cheerful and reach out.

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