Be not afraid, go forward!

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Peninsular Malaysia turned 50 with a three-day celebration at the Church of the Holy Family, August 31 - September 2.

Cardinal-elect Sebastian Francis praying over the CHARIS Peninsular Malaysia Service of Communion members. (photo/Robert Das)
By Cecilia Grace
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Peninsular Malaysia turned 50 with a three-day celebration at the Church of the Holy Family, August 31 - September 2.

The theme Rebuild, Restore, Renew, Behold I Make all things new (Rev 21:5), encapsulated the essence of the journey over the past 50 years.

The three-day event, organised by CHARIS Peninsular Malaysia Service of Communion (CPMSC), drew about 1,700 people, including clergy and religious from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, Diocese of Malacca Johore, Diocese of Penang as well as those from Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

The event commenced with Praise and Worship by the music ministry of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. During the celebration, the Music Ministry from the other two dioceses also took turns to lead the multi-lingual Praise and Worship and were involved in the Mass animation.

Fr Michael Payyapilly, VC from the Divine Retreat Centre of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Deacon Clement Samuel, former PMST Chairman (2004 – 2008) and Jude Antoine, Catholic lay missionary from Kuala Lumpur, were among the speakers for this event.

On the first day, Fr Payyapilly used the verse from Revelation 21:5 as the opening prayer. As this was also the theme for the event, he used it to share about the meaning of renewal in Christ and that our life is all about receiving Jesus and celebrating Him.

In another talk, Jude and Deacon Clement shared their experience of the Charismatic renewal which is about encountering the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Deacon Clement invited Rosalind Pereira, whose faith formation started in 1973, when Infant Jesus Sr Cyril (Sr Mary Cammody) who experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Ireland, started the first prayer group in Taiping with the permission of the Bishop of Penang at that time.

Rosalind shared her experience of the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’, about the growth and renewal in the Spirit thereafter all these past years. Rosalind, who is now based in Kuala Lumpur, is still living a communitarian lifestyle and doing her mission through the Servants of Yahweh, Covenant Community, which started in 1984 in Kuala Lumpur. She highlighted that the renewal of the Holy Spirit has imparted the authentic Christian life and knowledge of Scripture.

The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Julian Leow. The entrance procession was led by the East Malaysians. In his homily, the archbishop reflected on living in a righteous way and urged the people to always stay awake for God’s coming. At the end of the Mass, the congregation celebrated the 30th sacerdotal anniversary of Fr VA Michael.

On the second day, Fr Payyapilly spoke about holiness which we are to build through a relationship with God with the help of the Holy Spirit. One of the most important points shared during this session was about the Blessed Virgin Mary and her spousal relationship with the Holy Spirit. The day then concluded with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic celebration by Fr VA Michael, and general healing by Fr Payyapilly.

The programme on the third day commenced with a talk on the Domestic Church: Family, where Fr Payyapilly touched on family life, based on Bible verses related to love, marriage and giving to one another. Thereafter, during the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which was held after the talk, many present spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to receive and experience the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Cardinal-elect Sebastian Francis, celebrated the closing Mass. He began his homily with a question, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to us, to the Synodal Church and to the Peninsular Malaysia Catholic CCR, after 50 years of its conception and birth, historically in Taiping, and then moved from there to the North, South, East and West of Malaysia?” He concluded with a strong message to the community to move forward without fear as that is the only direction to look on, because the Spirit is moving the Church, humanity and creation forward since Pentecost.

At the end of the Mass, Cardinal-elect Sebastian, together with the clergy and deacons, commissioned the leaders of CHARIS Peninsular Malaysia Service of Communion (CPMSC) to continue their mission with tremendous confidence wherever the Holy Spirit leads.

Simon Matthew, the chairman of CPMSC, conveyed his gratitude to all present, the organising team and all those who worked tirelessly towards this glorious event, making it a successful and memorable celebration. He also said that the School of Charism would be launched in the first quarter of next year. This is an initiative by CPMSC that holds immense promise for growth and development of Renewal in Malaysia.

Many faithful from different parishes and dioceses who attended the Golden Jubilee celebration were overwhelmed by the event and how it was conducted, especially by the Bahasa, Mandarin and Tamil community who were assisted with translation service all through the threeday session.

Children were also part of this celebration, where the youth from Church of Jesus Caritas managed the children’s programme (age between four to eight) with many activities during the threeday celebration.

“For me, the three-day experience was, one, the CCR celebration itself and the other, the depth of Gospel preaching which touched me in many ways and bringing joy to me. I have understood how the Holy Spirit works within the Church and its people, all for the glory of God alone.” — Regina Chiam, Church of the Holy Family, Selangor Darul Ehsan

“The sessions were fruitful, and I came for the renewal of my spirit. From here I realise that Charismatic is not only about the gift of tongues or healing, but also about creating a relationship with God and to encounter Him personally in our lives. I also now understand we are all evangelists; we are not only identified as spiritual leaders etc, but most important is to move forward to evangalise.” — Eunice Loh Mee Yau, Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Ipoh, Perak. (Lead of the Mandarin Charismatic group)

“I have been too busy with work and I always feel the emptiness in me. This journey of experiencing the Holy Spirit made me realise how Jesus sacrificed himself to redeem from sin. This 50th Golden Jubilee celebration has brought so much joy within me and it’s going to help me to share the joy of Spirit with others in my mission.” “I am also delighted to take part in the praise and worship sessions which I led in Bahasa with the Diocese of Malacca Johore.” — Daniel Bedilly Kasianus, Church of Immaculate Conception, Johor Bahru

“This was a totally new experience for me where various language groups came together to celebrate this Golden Jubilee of the Peninsular Malaysia CCR. This shows how the Spirit works within us and in the Church. I also benefited from the talks about holiness in life to continue with my mission work for the glory of God.” — Navin George, Church of Holy Family, Ulu Tiram, Johor. (Tamil Charismatic Chairman of the Diocese of Malacca Johore)

“I praise and thank God for the gift of each of you. This 50th CCR Golden Jubilee celebration sparked a new fire in me to embrace the new wine (Jesus) with new wine skin (all of us), which is necessary for God to make things new in our lives. The glory of God in the holiness of His people, our intimacy with our Lord Jesus are crucial principles which must constantly permeate the CCR to effectively bring renewal to the Church.” — Adeline Teh, CHARIS Penang Service of Communion

This celebration has been a stepping stone for my ministry to encounter Christ through hymn and praise. It has been a new experience to encounter and build a relationship with Jesus. From this gathering, I have gained friendship with many young people who came together to serve the Lord.” — Kevin Sirach Louis, Church of the Divine Mercy, Shah Alam - Music Ministry